Swedish Knitblogger who loves spinning, knitting, dyeing and yarn. I will do some other roundabouts about life too.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Gotland Symposium Part 4 (of 4)

The last day had nothing to do with Chicken. But I fell in love with this one, who garded the entrance to Huskroken. Actually, from a distance, it looked real. These intestive great days. I ended up with the imaginative short course "try and test new possibilities" that recycled and cut plastics, made wholes, and knitted attachments (as well as bike-inner tires). Great! But I was at this time exhausted, tired! I just were content. No room for any more impressions. And, I love recycling, but my mind goes to Antiques rather than Ikea, home-made. Im just not into knitting with electrical cable, plastic bags, or any other type you can make into wire. But, Suede got me where it feels warm. Hide, to be cut up and knitted. Hmm. Well, a great course, some lunch and a good discussion with friends.
Dearest C. who nicely enough gave me a ride to Visby. We had a good time, checking out Yllet and the medieval fair. I got a ride and a long chat with my knitting friend H, and hit the sack around 5 in the morning (ferries at night is about as scared I can get, unfortunately have close relations to the Estonia catastrophe). So, now I have been working and I think there will be a lot more travelling - with work. Soon London (ok, no knitting on the plane this time!) Sigh. That is just so hard to understand letting a few yerks rule my world, paranoia is a disease spreading fast. I do not mind to travel, but if I'm unable to knit? I do not know I long I will last. Looking forward to airplane business announcing -
Here it is ok to knit with wooden needles. ok. I give you a small picture on my shoe. It is filled with yarn of course. As my life. And lately my dreams. Yarn do fill up. Tangles life. Give me hope. I will need that when I do sense hostility is starting to grow in the world. I always wonder if we WANT to misunderstand each other, or if are making an effort to see we are all humans as incomplete as we are.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Gotland Knitting Symposium Part 3 (of 4)

This day was mostly about Spinning. I felt very confident. I have spun some so I was not a total beginner. Most of the group had some experience, but the few who didn't really got going fast in my opinion. But, all of the Spinning wheels were "semi-modern" or modern, hence all of them was upright. I have an Ashford Elizabeth, a traditional wheel that I bought from Gudrun, but that beauty was at home. So, a local had made these, with an extra large entry whole for the thread. Becuase this was not an ordinary spinnig course, this was a local invetion (well...) called "Spinna Tott", which in my translation is spinning directly cut from the sheep. No carding!
The wool has too be long and of excellent quality, since you are supposed to clean out the tip at the same time you are spinning! We were taught by our teacher, Ingmarie ( in striped) had a lot to think about. Somehow my local, very beautiful crafted spinning-wheel just did not agree with me. But Hey, I know this, so I just struggled, and struggled and struggled... I realize that as soon as I started, the tension loosened up, so it was just twisting the thread, but not "eating" in (swe matade). So, what is called "breaking the neck" of the thread, or making a "rubber band", was at risk. You spinners surely understand.

The second problem I had is that I'm used to sit low and relaxed with my feed on the ground. This spinning-wheel was so high up that I had to "sit in the air" with my hands very high. Somehow I just could not relax.Back aching. And also, very unused to have the "whole" and the pedal above each other. But I thought. Practice. So I spun according to Ingmaries rules. Take the "tott" from the cut side. I sure became an "effect yarn", which was interesting. You need to be fast. And threading with both feet, my back got sore, my arms and shoulders was hurting, and snap, I strained a muscle. Poor me. Poor me. I got sad and angry. Non of the "relaxing" comforting spinning I have been used to. Sigh.But we had a break, and have a traditional got to the field, which is "gau te Änge" (my dialect attempt).
This means take your knitting, have a FIKA (coffe with saffron-bun and gorån) and just enjoy. This local meet should be done in apron and take on your best clothes and has been very important in history. I wonder how many kids that has been produced in those bushes ;-) Anyhow, We had good local accordian, and fiddle band and also a bit guiding. Wow. Very nice break to a broken body. Look at this great local ladies. They one in the middle were so proud, she had spun and weaved and sawn her dress.
She was though complaining about the Fardhem yarn being "to uneven". So I realize, we all have different preferences in life. I think it is a feature, they think it is a fault. Anyhow this great break did make me grow up to a decision, instead of whining about my disagreement of the spinning wheel. I just bought fleece. And thought to do it in peace on my own wheel. And, to be honest, I have been sitting two evenings now and and no problem - but, then I was told by Lilly from Sigster's that when you spin directly without carding, you should start IN THE MIDDLE. So I was tought wrong. I realized why my yarn had bad ends. Very interesting. But best of all, there is no problem doing it. I have though discussed that combing the tip a little before starting makes it better, maybe because I want a good yarn. I met her at the medieval week, where I also ordered a special thingi (got. Kränku?) (see picture above) to have your wool in. It is put on a pall (hmm, stool?) and you can turn it. The idea is of course you can us the pall to sit on in between. But when this wool addition is on, if the wool is cold, (and you know how hard it is to spinn cold wool) is that you have it up in front of the fire, and then turn it and pick a warm piece to spin. Nifty?! Well, All in all a fantastic third day. Except the total cliquing that occured. Making it hard to meet new people. Well, one better know when people rather talk ABOUT you than with you. That is a sad truth. On the evening there was also a Fashion show with all the local designers. To big and without printed program it just rushed by. So, Let me present one of my heroine, Agneta Werklin, behind Yllet! I just say that the Gotland people both have a fashion, colour and money-making sense. I just say. WOW!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Gotland Knitting symposium Part 2 (of 4)

The second days highlight was to visit Fardhem spinnery. A machine that came from one of the nestors Alan and Sotenäs spinnery from the Westcoast of Sweden. They started as Havdhem, but folded. And then a whole lot of people bought shares and it is a collective start, and some EC support, these two ladies have taken on the hard work of learning all there is about the machine and producing a very softspun yarn, where all aspects of yarnmaking - from sheep, washing, spinnery and distribution is done at Gotland.
Anyway, a bold attempt that produced a must have yarn.
So at this point I must confess. I have no idea what the lovely ladies names were, and currently I'm to lazy to find that little note. Why? I was so focused on the spinning process. In detail. Like she has to weigh just the amount of wool, that has been prepared with coconutoil (!) and water to the right moistness, and spread it out evenly in a short moment of the machine. bit, by bit, slowly but surely. That is really feeling your yarn!
Then on this picture the hanks are binded by hand. And - a must on two places (easy to forget!). Then a detail on Abba's sillinläggningar (hmm, herring-lids, a little thing from the west-coast) that I just found interesting. You really have to be creative to keep this old machine going. Anyway, I must say I really loved this visit. It brought me as close to the wool as I would like to be. And the two sheep GUTE and Gotlandsk sheep (curiously not the same).

The later has also been called gotländskt pälsfår (meaning Gotlandsk pels or fursheep), but the have redecided on the name. What is curious is that all of them are called lamb's in the local dialect, and a lamb is called a lambkid. And also, both female and male have horns. Wow, now Mary-Lou, a good translation would do, horns? I feel it is like an anti-loop (sorry, had to put in hyphen there, since Im a computer nerd!). Anyway, Gute is the original sort of sheep. Both have great wool, and they breed for wool. Lately that have had focus on the meat, which is a pity (for us wool lovers). What I also learned is that the lambkid (haha) lammunge (Gotl.) fur is not cut the first fall, but saved until february next year, to become extra long. This wool is used to spin directly from (handspin) without carding (swe: Spinna tott!)
Here we can se the fleece getting spun into one thread. A process that must be watched to fix if it breaks. You can also see Marika in her fantastic real bragging-knitted beautiful Ovanåker in Twinni yarn, trying
to avoid my camera (or is it me?)
This last picture is the phase before, where the yarn is cut/moved into fleece-strands. Wow, I realized that handspinning is really a great, just needs some wood and string. Ahh, ok, the screws are metal, but I know they are not necessary. But, yet. In this noise these two ladies work so hard to create a new and novel yarn. I bought Sork (the really thick one), in the different natural shades of grey and grey-white (to difficult to clean the machines from all gray!) also because I alreay have Töis in grey and lime for a sweater (the more common, one-threaded yarn). So, I was happy - But - as you know, I have yarn enough ;-) And I can also spin!

Don't you just love it?
Then we went in the beautiful evening to Huskroken. I never understood that they are behind the colouring of ecological cotton etc.. Great colourplace, but most colourblends just do not agree with me, and - I know how to color wool (I know it is not the same process!) and I really looked for some cotton yarn, I just were not yarn hungry. I have a good stash to take from here. (WOW, what a surprise!). But such a great evening. This is the real Gotland to me. At the coast. The sunset, heat and flowers. But, again. I might have my colour course to close. I'm filled up, content. No more.
For me this colour is like someone just played-Kids stuff, ok for kidsclothes. Maybe doing a neckless. But that is it, again. But, she is a weaver, which I think is an explanaition. Knitting is not always good for superbusy. I think colour and colour-mixes are so personal. It is ok to have different point of viewes. What was curious about this whole knitting meet that it was a very select group that was invited. Well, that is how it is. So what course did I go to? It was called Knit in all directions. And was led by an artist Pia Berglund, who seem to make a living of copying others work (good for her). Like knitting Sushi (found of 33000 hits on the internet for that!), and knitting shoes. And imitating painting from Matisse etc. So I started in - from an artist point of view- bad mood.
I personally think using someone elses pattern "copy", and takes away a bit of the personal touch the whole creation is. An artist should invent "ideas", well, I warmed up. Her idea to make a one day workshop, buying old shoes (smelling badly), and knitting around them were not that bad. Actually, I got into it. Not that I see the process very liberating - since I'm a free spirit. But a lot of routine - pattern bound people really were extatic. And the result - I agree - was great. An exhibition of all our shoes. But now I sit with this stinking thing, and thinking that I wasted my expensive yarn on something that just takes up space. Interesting. Very interesting. So, being the most grumpy participant... well,. The Fardhem Visit was really good for me. Doing something for the waste-basket. At least I worked hard to make my shoe useable. But the thought of doing anotherone, and also having to walk in these high-heels, really makes me anti. So why did I not do the simple way? just a fun shoe? I'm such a serious person, with so little time in life.I do not know. Maybe it is because my very original and extremely poor brother struggle so hard, I nothing is copy about his work. And blogger refused my shoe picture. Something to dwell on later then.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Gotland Knitting symposium 2006 part 1 (of 4)

It was time to meet my fellow knitters. After a very early start, the plane dumped me at Gotland airport, and luckily I found other knitters in the same predicament. We shared a cab all the way to the middle of the Gotland Island - Hemse (read: This means too far from swimming in the heat!) First day was great! I really felt like a lot of people actually wanted to meet me, which created a warm fuzzy feeling. A lot of dear hello's, and many familar faces. And also some new... What a great start. After a long introduction of all the teachers we could finally get into knitting: I took a short course with special pattern used in Sweden but probably from Faroese or something (no one never credits the right person for a pattern, sigh)... clumsy translation: lift hank, lay hank, knit hank and stitch together. That created this nice thick pattern. (A bit weird starting this knitting though, you have to read the pattern carefully). This course was tought by one of those really important strong knitting women, Kerstin Nilsson, who arranged last years knitting symposium in Åsa. She is a very entertaining speaker and has a lot of knowledge, but I heard rumors she is waiting on her pension, probably leaving this carousel and becoming private. Well earned, since she has been working at Hemslöjden for many, many years. Her true soul is of course with BINGE, a traditionally Swedish pattern group (and totally screwed up in some english written pattern books). So the "lay hank .."-pattern looks great in both thick yarn and thinner yarn, but should be knitted to 5 to 6mm needles. Not as fast growing, as one could think. But, as some patterns with a story, a very interesting experience to knit. In the evening we heard an seminar about Gotland's knitting tradition from a non-Gotland women Birgitta (who only lived there 26 years!) (OT: This says all about an attitude that I just can't understand. We all live in the same world? Who is counting years?) We got a Gotland history of knitting through her speculation, which I rather liked.Who knows without research, and unfortunately this women power have never been in focus or documented in such detal, that it can be truely known. Therefore the blogs will serve as a great research database for the future. But, Gotland knitting tradition with "trojkellingar" (hmm. sweaterwomen), was very interesting how these women earned something for themseleves. The Gotland pattern collection and recording is saved only because one Women: And a lot of the thanks goes to Hermanna Stengård, a strong women living many years ago (end of 1800), that collected knitted artifacts, and copied down their unique patterns. It has been documented in a book, "Gotländsk Sticksöm" which I have managed to get a copy of some years ago. Just an amazing book. Do not even try to look for it - It is an antique. But, since I'm a pupil of Britt-Marie Christoffersson, the number one mentor of all knitting for the last decades in Sweden (like US Elisabeth Zimmerman) , I already new most of this. Britt-Marie has been presented before on this blog, and I think almost all teachers and current knitting designers in Sweden is a pupil of hers. And I owe all my skills in knitting to her. Of course my first break I sneaked into Solveig's Bohus class,
and checked out her new patterns. Having broken her arm, she confessed she has been very bad for a long time - no colouring or knitting, so it was such a warm meet. I truely respect this wonderful women. Her coloursense is beyond words. I so much hope she will find strength to give the world more Bohus patterns as accurately as she does. It is such a true and rich pattern treasure, the world would be poorer without it. Finally my favourite collar is created. Look at Marianne posing in Grey mist. She does not look happy. But she, a wonderful friend really is one of those warm and generous persons. Second picture here Marianne is posing in the great yellow lace collar. Of course in my collection and on needles, but not that far gone. But, the true news here is "the Egg", small picture, which I of course immediately bought.
These very intricate patterns in the wonderful merino-angora (50-50) yarn is the peak of luxury. It is so filled with status, that one person told me, (story probably origin from Solveig in class, but great stories spread fast),anyway, this women had stopped some distance from Solveigs stand and started to cry when she say that blue shimmer was for sale as a yarn pack, since that was one of her highest wish in life, to become so wealthy to be able to own a true Bohus Sweater. Get it? Beyond our comprehension. But I have no problem crying over a Bohus pattern, it just moves me to tears too. It is so sensual at the touch to do these patterns. They are so great. And, my weird mind cannot remember the other new patterns name on this last picture (which is a bit fuzzy), but you get the picture? Beyond words. Note, Blue shimmer is not in these pictures. But on my needles. Also, For those US readers, do not miss my very distant Swedish friend that runs One of Susanna's, and makes it more easy to get Solveig's patterns in the US! Did that end day one? No, it became so busy and late that my head was spinning (hihi) before I fell asleep after a lot of knitting and discussions in the nice Swedish summer-evening.