It's -20 C this evening. I'm thinking about all the animals that live in the wild. How do they survive? Yes, I know they are protected, but still I feel uncomfortable. I found undercoat from a hare in our garden in the spring a couple of years ago. It's warm. It's been used for mittens in Scandinavia in old times. The fibers are only about 2,5 cm long, but you can spin them into a soft, warm yarn on a supported spindle or with a long draw on a spinning wheel.
We have a beautiful tradition in Finland: we make "heavens" from straw, preferably rye straw. If you search internet for "himmeli" or "olkihimmeli" you'll find lots of photos. I'll show himmelis made by Eija Koski, exhibited at Loftet in Vaasa. Eija Koski uses old traditions as a base for making new items from straw. The traditional himmeli was hanging from the ceiling in the old days, but you can still find them in Finnish houses especially in Christmas time.
I liked this himmeli made from Cow Parsley very much:
The fresh Cow Parsley has green stems. See how the color has changed from a deep green into a deep brown when the stems have dried!
If you want to use Cow Parsley you need to cut the stems while fresh, otherwise they'll split. Read about this beautiful wild flower here: Cow Parsley. In Finnish it's called "koiranputki", dog's pipe, and in Swedish "hundfloka" or "hundkäx", "dog's ?" or "dog's bisquit". On a warm and sunny afternoon when the hundfloka is flowering you can smell the fresh scent of a clean dog fur. It smells good!
Why is it that I can't stay on the road when reading texts on internet? I have been trying to read Jane's blog posts about Boreray for a couple of days. True to her exploring mind she has loads of relevant links, and true to my exploring mind I follow those links. And that's when I get lost and find myself somewhere I didn't intend to go, and suddenly half the day is spent reading various texts and I start getting worried about my spinning.
Now I'm going to give the Borerays a new try. They fascinate me, and Jane knows lots about them. And it's Saturday, which means I take it easy with my spinning.
The sun doesn't rize very high in December. It stays up for about five hours now. Very often it's clowdy, like today when I'm writing this. When the sun shows it has beautiful effects on the landscape. Quite often you can see halos, like the one in my photo. Foxes keep their cubs under the old barn in summer. For a few moments the roof shines like a jewel in the fading light.
Wouldn't you like to go into the wood and see what's in there?
I like the stitch markers, they're like gems in the knitting
When knitting easy things like this hat, I read while knitting. That's Jacey Bogg's Spin Art on the music stand. The tape? It keeps the book open! I would like one of those wire things you can buy for the same purpose, but I never seem to remember when visiting a shop that may have such necessary things.
If I button the cowl I can meet the autumn winds with confidence. The buttons were made by my grandmother a long time ago. I love them! And I do love this hat and cowl. Ingrid's yarn was spun aroung a core of metal wire, so both the hat and the cowl stay in shape besides being warm and soft. I don't know what finer Jon used, but it's also soft and lovely.
I haven't had time to read Wovember for a couple of days, and what do I see when I'm catching up? Me and my friends Malin, Sarah Jane, and Tini!!! Buying wool at Woolfest last year! That photo keeps popping up every now and then in magazines and on internet. And it always makes me want to go back to Cumbria and Lake District.
Even more I liked what was in this letter: my Wovember brooches.
Estonian Kihnu Skirt left, UK Cotswold Check right.
My winter jacket wanted the Estonian brooch. My autumn and spring light green jacket wanted the Cotswold tweed. You still have a few days time to buy yours, link to Felicity Ford's shop in previous blog post.
Sigh - all my efforts to focus and smile at you were in vain... please imagine a smile :)
If you are in Barcelona Nov 8-9, go and see a beautiful dance performance and listen to great music: Slipping Through My Fingers. My son Jukka will be on stage together with Johan Skugge, so this is a performance with live music. Take a look at the lights also!
The sun is rising outside my studio window. It looks fantastic, but I'd rather have a room where you can see what's happening outside also in the winter. It seems to be a difficult problem to cope with. There is an under pressure in our house, and that's something you can't fix by just changing to new windows. I don't know what you have to do, really, and nobody else seems to know either.
While waiting for Ingrid to find out about the wool she sent me, I show you a better photo of the wool I talked about in my blog post yesterday. I took staples from different parts of the fleeces, and as you can see the crimp varies a lot. Good Finull should have much crimp, and there are such staples in the fleeces. This wool is soft even as unscoured, it feels strong and nice. I'll tease and mix the different qualities, keeping the colors apart, in order to get a yarn of even quality.
Later: I have now gotten the answer to the question about what wool this is: it's Swedish Finull just like Ingrid (who sent me the wool) said. Conclusion: just like other sheep each individual Finullsheep has several types of wool in it's fleece.
If you have wool from several fleeces you can sort out the different types for different yarns and projects. If you have only one fleece you can mix the different types for a bigger project.
Some of you have already heard about the fire that destroyd Judith MacKenzie's studio and her looms, wheels, textile samples, books, fibers, furniture, and all the other equipment and tools needed in a textile studio.
I highly value and admire Judith. Her knowledge about spinning, fibers, and textiles is amazing. Just as amazing is her ability to teach and to talk about these fundamental things. I mean, how would our lives be without fibers and textiles? People like Judith MacKenzie has done so much to spread knowledge and skills about textiles, not only how you make the thread textiles are made of, but also about textile history. She is successful in drawing strings to the past and connect people from ancient times with us and our textile world. I love the way she does it while spinning and showing what her skillful hands can do.
My MacKenzie library
We're all happy that Judith was not in the studio when the fire started. It's now clear that the fire started in an electrical panel in the Rainforest Art Centre where Judith's studio was.
I'm a very happy spinner indeed. Kind spinners keep sending me lovely wool, and now it's autumn, and that means it's shearing time in Scandinavia.
This is what I've been scouring today:
Lovely Finnwool sent to me by a Finnish spinner! It's soft, has lovely crimp, and it's very clean. Still I have to scour it, because there's dirt in it. Scouring Finnwool is delicate work. Don't touch, only look:
It felts. Warm water, detergent, and agitating makes felt out of this wool in a couple of minutes.
That means winter is coming. Along with them was a lonely trush. It must have lost it's flock, or it's temporarily moving together with the waxwings. Waxwings are so beautiful! And trushes are so fun :)
No, we won't disturbe this new inhabitant of our house. Soon the net will become dusty and it'll start breaking up. Then the spider will move to another place, and we can clean up. Until then we enjoy that masterly piece.
I spun this alpaca-camel-silk yarn last year. For a long time I didn't know what to make from it, then I thought a very simple pattern would suit the yarn best. The result pleases me very much. It's a strong, soft, floating fabric, lays steady on my shoulders. Anna, a spinner from Sweden, sent me the alpaca for no reason at all. She had washed the raw fibers keeping the fibers in order, so I combed them and spun worsted. I bought a baby camel/silk top from Wingham Wool Work for the second thread. The pattern is Melon Stitch from Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today.