“Slow fashion”

Today I want you to watch Josefin Waltin’s beautiful video “Slow fashion – from sheep to sweater”.

Slow fashion

While on Youtube, watch her other videos! There’s one on how to spin on a supported spindle which in my opinion is one of the best instruction videos about this technique.

Spreadsheet and distaffs

Don’t worry, I’m here! I have been dyeing wool, and I’m not finished yet. I’ll show you later.

Today I want to show a spreadsheet from the 19th century. It was used for keeping count of the work that was done by day workers on a farm here in my municipality.

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The odd looking pieces of wood on the table and the wall are bidding sticks, older times telephones. When something alarming or urgent happened in a village, the stick was hastily passed from house to house together with the message. These are small local sticks. The object hanging above them is a book support. The book in this case would’ve been a Bible.

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To the left the worker’s mark, then the amount of days done. I don’t know what the different signs indicate.

The objects are from this summer’s exhibition at our museum Myrbergsgården. The textiles show examples of a kind of lace that was common in many parts of Finland. I don’t know the English term for it. If someone knows, please let me know! There are also a few beautifully worked distaffs.

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Talking about marks on wood: our dog Kasper is a carpenter. He slowly makes a piece of wood disappear. A couple of days ago he took a spindle from my box of class spindles and carefully put it on top of his latest work. I wonder what he thinking?

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Up and down the mountains

What a stage in Tour de France today! Luckily I was plying, so I didn’t have to keep an eye on my spinning. It’s scary to watch the riders come down in full speed, up to 90 kilometres an hour. They were going up those hairpin bends, but it was still horrific to watch them coming down on the other side of the mountain.

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My Tour de Fleece is going very well this year. I didn’t set more goals than to chain ply a thin singles with a lot of twist, and that I have already done. So I’m just taking it easy and spinning for pleasure. I have finished a small skein of Finnsheep lamb, grown and dyed by my favourite sheep farmer Petra. We call her wool Petrawool nowadays to show our liking and admiration for what she’s doing. 2-ply, 70 grams, 477 meters.

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I also finished two skeins of Finnsheep + Finnsheep x Texel. I dyed two tops earlier, and wanted to spin a chain plied yarn to see how the fibers bend. They bend pretty well, better than I thought they would.

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This is very nice wool for sturdier projects if you spin with much twist, and for finer textiles if you spin thin with less twist.

Today I plied 100 grams of BFL/Cashmere, a custom blend from World of Wool for my friend Britt-Marie in Sweden. I haven’t skeined it yet, so have a look at it as singles. The plied yarn looks much the same:

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Tomorrow I’ll start spinning two batts carded by my friend Carina, with wool from her own sheep, Dala Fur.

Last Sunday hubby and I worked in public. I was spinning (surprise?), and he was making rope together with another crafter. He looks rather puzzled, while his companion Rune looks more happy.

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Rune’s wife Stina was nalbinding. She’s a lady with many skills! A bookbinder, a beginning spinner, a skilled knitter, book printing, and probably many more skills I haven’t seen yet. Just to make things a bit exciting in public, she was binding a sock!

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A spindle from Sweden

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Some of you may have noticed I’m fond of wood. My spindles are made of beautiful woods by skilled craftsmen. I have lots of spindles! But there’s always room for one more.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a new spindle maker in Swedish spinning groups on Facebook. I became interested because Forsnäs hemman uses Swedish woods, which isn’t very common in the spindle world. I also noticed the shape of the whorl: broad, thin, and slightly rim weighted. An accomplished spindle spinner immediately understands what that means. The spindle will spin for long, and fast. I was caught:)

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I was a bit uncertain about the placement of the whorl. I’m a dedicated top whorl lover. As you know, that doesn’t have much to do with the performance of the spindle, it’s a personal preference only. After a couple of days of pondering, I decided to buy a bottom whorl. I learned to spin on a bottom whorl in the 80s, I wouldn’t have problems spinning with one now. After all, it’s a long time since I last purchased a bottom whorl, so why not step out of my comfort zone?

I’m happy I bought the bottom whorl! It’s a lovely spindle. I love the wood, I love the colours. It’s smooth, it feels nice. The balance is very good. I can use the spindle both supported and suspended – a great advance when you want to spin thin on a spindle that in fact is too heavy for the very fine yarns I usually spin with spindles. I start half supported (only letting the spindle gently touch my thigh, drafting worsted), and when the yarn has enough strength I lift it up and give the yarn the final twist (suspended). Drafting worsted with a supported spindle is possible when there’s a hook. The upper part of the shaft is slightly square, which helps in having a firm grip when you twirl it.

Today I took it out and tested its performance in the constantly windy weather we have in our valley. No problems at all! It seemed it didn’t notice the wind! I know Abby Franquemont says somewhere that bottom whorls are better in windy surroundings. now I have noticed that for myself.

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Maybe a seed from this little pinecone will grow up and become a spindle one day?

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Pines, spruces, and rowans in our back garden. And the very annoying pole that was planted in one of our flower beds one day by the telephone company. Why couldn’t they just dig the cables into the ground? OK, too expensive, I know.

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Dyed wool

I dyed some wool last week. Method: cling film and a steam cooker.

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This is Finnish wool, a mix of Finnsheep and Finnsheep/Texel cross. Soft and not very long, just above 7 cm which is what’s required for commercial tops. It behaves a bit like Merino: gets bigger and bigger while drying because of great amount of crimp.

I’ll spin two braids during TdF.

Lazy days

I haven’t done much lately. Finishing patterns for a tapestry crochet class, spinning a bit, knitting socks. Made a mess of my rooms, and don’t seem to be able to gather enough strength to tidy up. It doesn’t matter. I know I’ll get myself together when it starts to bother me.

Hubby and I went to my home town for the fish market that is held at the beginning of June every year. Vaasa is nice in the summer, if you remember to dress for the cold winds that usually blow from the sea this time of the year. The town is so green, and so blue! There are lots of trees and water everywhere.

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There was a band, but they weren’t ready yet when we left. I wonder how many kilometres of wire they need? A guy was fixing the sound forever!

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This is a typical street by the water front. This part of the town is one of the oldest, and the flagstones are protected. There was a lot of discussion the last time they had to repair the streets, as it’s very expensive and time consuming work. Luckily the stones are still there!

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I spin in a SAL in the group Mirkwood Arts & Handcrafts on Ravelry. I wanted to spin something I’ve never done before, and came up with a bead yarn on a supported spindle. I’ve spun bead yarns on my wheels, so I’m familiar with it, but the supported spindle needs a slightly different technique. I add about 20 beads at a time, and protect them with tissue paper so the very thin singles won’t get tangled up when I wind on more yarn. I don’t make a ball for the same reason, instead I use a ball winder. I hope to be able to spread the beads while plying. Spindle: TdF 2015 Racer from Mirkwood. I love that spindle!

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Two more weeks to go with the SAL, then it’s time for Tour de Fleece once again. I think this will be my seventh TdF. The summer is so full of fun events!