måndag 30 maj 2011

Dala Floda, part 1 – Heaven is a Place on Earth

If I should end up in heaven when I die – I´m sure that I´ll recognize the place.

I never thought that I would live to see such a huge collection of beautiful Dala Floda costumes!

Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg, who organized the weekend in Dala Floda, had borrowed some from the local village museum and some of them come from her own family. Her mother and grandmother were both embroiderers – or påsömmerskor as they say in Floda.

Anna-Karin is a very talented påsömmerska herself, and had made a beautiful jacket with embroidered flowers, that I failed to take a photo of. But this is Anna-Karin arranging all the dräktdelar (costume parts).

From the beginning everything looked the same to me, but we quickly learnt to distinguish between older and slightly newer embroidery and knitted sleeves. There is also quite a difference between costumes from Floda and the neighbour parish of Gagnef. But these two jackets are pretty typical for Floda.

The knitted sleeves were sewn onto a bodice made of green woollen material. Anna-Karin has written a very interesting essay about the knitted sleeves and gave us a talk in the evening. Then the teacher Karin Kahnlund, taught us how to knit the mittens that belong to the costume in a special twined technique.

On the inside of the sleeve you can see that the knitter bound every second stitch and on the following row made sure that they did not line up.

The patterns are smaller closer to the cuff and grow bigger as the sleeves get wider.
Sometimes the knitter would use embroidery patterns for the knitted sleeves. These rather complicated flowers are probably an example of that.

On Saturday there was the annual local market for selling and/or trading costumes. Eva Eriksson – who gave us a very interesting talk about the costumes in the nearby parish of Boda – bought this cute hat for one of her daughters.

I bought two old embroidered hats, too – even if my teenage daughter wouldn´t be caught dead in one. I just needed a little hat like this, you know...

And as soon as I have save up enough I think that I need a jacket like this, too.

To be continued...

söndag 29 maj 2011

Home Alone

This weekend I saw husband and son off to Hamburg for a long weekend while daughter went on a 24-hour school trip. I was all alone in a big, empty flat (that usually feels small and crowded).

So after wiping my tears there was only one thing to do. Party!

I belong to a group of knitters that are really serious about knitting (nördfaktor 10 typ). We call ourselves The Knit Salon, Sticksalongen, and the subjects we discuss would bore non-knitters to tears if they hade to endure one of our meetings.

Seven of us met on Saturday afternoon and we knitted, talked about knitting and had wine that is supposed to taste like wet wool (don´t ask). In this photo you can see Tove B, Asplund knits, En till and Wynja. Knitting with Katarina was probably in the kitchen when this photo was taken, dishing out the cake she had brought. Ah, cake!

I took the opportunity to work on the neverending ruffle edge with beads on my Grace shawl. It´s easier to do boring things in nice company. Nevertheless it took me five hours to reach the half way point.

I found a good description in Knitty about how to do a beaded picot edging. You can find it here.

The main part of the shawl is made of two strands of yarn held together.  Madeline Tosh silk and Rowan Kidsilk Haze work together beautifully. The ruffle edge is knitted using only the silk yarn and the change of texture adds a little extra something.

I wish I could say that this is all my own brilliant thinking – but I have to confess that I had a helper. Blogless Anna, who is a member of Sticksalongen, is a master of combining yarns and she gave me the idea last summer.

(Anna is the one dressed in black, reading a new book with Norwegian patterns that Ivar had brought.)

To make that picot edging isn´t my own idea either. It was Maria, who suggested it. She couldn´t join us yesterday because she is away on the west coast – of America.

What a party that was!
I don´t think my husband will recognize our home on his return tomorrow (it´s not usually this tidy when I´ve been on my own).

Half the edging done – and half to go. Thanks for coming over and keeping me company!

Today, my very tired daughter and I have taken it real easy. I´ve been working on Wendy´s Mystery Shawl while thinking about ideas for new patterns. I´m still digesting the fantastic weekend in Dala Floda and I promise to post more about it soon.

And I predict that next winter will be all pink.

tisdag 24 maj 2011

Pretty in Pink

An old bag mature woman nearing 50 should surely not be knitting pink things for herself. She ought to grow up and realize that her pink phase is over.

And if she insists on pretending that she´s still in her 30´s she ought to get a face lift to make it easier for other people to believe that she is still a girl in her prime. Or she will be a walking embarrassment.

Okay, then. A face lift it is. Because I clearly can´t stop myself from buying new pink yarn.

Last week my friend Wendy started a Summer Mystery Shawl knit-along. And for the first time I decided to join in the fun. Wendy makes such lovely lace designs that I am willing to take the plunge, even if I have no idea what the finished shawl will look like.

Come to think of it, this must be pretty good therapy for an old control freak...

I don´t know if there is anything called a stash malfunction – but when I looked through my stash I could not for the life of me find any suitable yarn at all. Weird.

Luckily I live very close to the yarn shop Litet Nystan and I seemed to recall, albeit vaugely, that I´d seen some pretty nice hand dyed lace wool in there last time I visited.

It was this little beauty.

The next part of the pattern won´t be published until Thursday so I had to find something to occupie myself with while waiting.

And lo and behold – look what I found in my heap of UFO:s.

Why yes, it is another pink shawl. I started it last year, but never quite finished it. Because I decided to to do a beaded picot edging and it takes forever. This is how far I had got after a whole weekend´s work.

And I´ve got about a gazillion stitches left to cast off.

The pattern is called Grace (ravelry link) and it´s designed by my friend Heléne, who is also a very talented designer. Grace is a simple, but stylish shawl with beads and a cute ruffle edge.

I thought that I was very clever and traded one of my own patterns for this pattern and I´m very happy with the swap.

Now there is only one more knitted thing that is just ever so slightly pink. It´s a new Britta hat made in wool from Östergötlands ullspinneri.

And if you can´t afford a face lift it works nearly as well if you just grow your fringe until it covers all the wrinkles around the eyes...

tisdag 17 maj 2011

Ja, vi elsker!

Today is the National Day of Norway and I hope that all my Norwegian friends have had a lovely time.

Of course, I secretly wish that Sweden and Norway were still united – because then all those lovely lusekofte sweaters and Selbu mittens would be part of my inheritance, too.
(Honestly, I´m only after the knitting patterns for some inspiration – you can keep the oil.)

But at least my first name sounds more Norwegian than Swedish (so maybe I could pass for Norwegian) and earlier this year some of my ancestors were actually pictured in the Bunad magazine.

In this issue: no 1,  2011.

If you look up page 51 you will find a photo of my great great grandfather and great great grandmother.

That´s the couple in the top right corner.

Here they are:
Eric Persson and his wife Katarina Christina.

Now, I´m sure you´ve all wondered where my devilishly good looks come from – and here you have the answer right in front of you.

And if this doesn´t almost make me honorary Norwegian I might as well give up the struggle and suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune...

måndag 16 maj 2011

Sneak Peak

I very nearly fainted as I entered the room and saw this – an enormous heap of colour and patterns.

The Dala Floda folk costume is simply stunning. Both the knitting and the embroidery are amazing.
You want proof?

Exhibit 1: Marvellous mittens

Exhibit 2: Knitted sleeves in the twined technique.

The long weekend in Dala Floda was unforgettable. This post is just a first preview – these pictures are all taken with my cell phone camera. I have still to upload the 240 photos from the real camera.

Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg, who put together and organized all the workshops had thought of everything.

When we walked to the mountain farmstead she brought her violin and played to us.

(Hon är spelman också)

Her best friend Lill-Karin was our guide – a guide with the gift of the gab (as they say in Ireland). I have not laughed so much in years. She is a natural stand up comedian – with a horse as her side kick.

The walk up the hill and the storytelling gave us a real feel for the way the people in Dala Floda used to live – and still do to some extent.

There was quite a view from the top of the hill.

And then we returned to the treasure trove again.

There is lots more to come.

So if you – for some STRANGE reason – are not interested in folkloristic patterns I suggest that you go away now and come back in about a month...

But if you are dying to see what the inside of a knitted sleeve in the twined technique looks like – stay tuned!

onsdag 11 maj 2011

Child Labour

You have no idea how BORING a weekend spent on an island in the Baltic sea can be. There is absolutely nothing to do. If you are 13, that is. I can assure you that I was fully occupied myself.
So I asked teenage daughter to take some photos for my blog. And she was so bored that she agreed to do it – and without charge.

Off she went to the jetty with my new Britta hat in tow.

She did a good job of taking photos, I think.

As you can see from the next picture my father in law has got the sail boat in place. It´s summer!

I´m knitting a new Britta hat in wool from Östergötlands ullspinneri. It´s my favourite Swedish yarn, very soft and the colours are beautiful.
But it has a slightly different gauge compared to Shetland yarn or Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Solids. Therefor I´ve had to change the pattern slightly – or the hat would end up more like a sack (which – admittedly – can be useful when you don´t want your mug on display).

Incidently there happen to be a new book about Östergötlands Ullspinneri, that Ulla-Karin (who runs the spinnery together with her husband Börje) has written – to celebrate the 30th anniversary. I was there at the book release and snapped a photo of Ulla-Karin and Ann at Anntorps Väv.

Another lovely addition to the knit book shelf!
But I seem to be making a habit out of going to book releases, don´t I?

Tomorrow I´m going somewhere very special. Dala Floda – where there will be a kind of knit- and embroidery camp for four days. Lots of work shops and visits to the local craft shop and Wåhlstedt´s wool spinnery have been planned by Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg – here with cute daughter Emma in their Dala Floda costumes.

I hope to come back with something like this:

But if I do I will probably have bought it off someone. Embroidery is not my best discipline.

(The mitten belongs to my friend Eva-Karin)

torsdag 5 maj 2011

Fantastic Folklore

My friend Eva-Lotta was right - I wasn´t disappointed when I finally held a copy of Scandinavian Folklore in my hands. It´s the book about folk costumes that you couldn´t even dream up.

This is a photo from the book release held at Biologiska muséet in Stockholm last Tuesday.

The photography is beautiful, you learn a lot about how folk costumes have been used and it´s a great source of inspiration.

It´s written in Norwegian, Swedish and English - which is really good if you wish to send it to a friend abroad, for instance.

But I have to warn you that it´s NOT a good bedtime read if you are easily agitated. Too much colour, too many pretty patterns – I could feel my blood pressure rising with every page I turned.

The authour Laila Durán has spent a whole year travelling around in Sweden and Norway visiting museums and private collections to take photograhps of folk costumes in action.
And a lot of the models in the book had gathered in Stockholm to celebrate the release.

Two Flokullor: Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg and Lill-Karin Gustavsson in their Dala-Floda costumes. Like I´ve said before it´s my own personal favourite among Swedish folk costumes. There is something about the colourful embroidery that I can´t resist.

And I can´t believe my luck. Next weekend I will be in DalaFloda to attend a workshop arranged by Anna Karin Jobs Arnberg. Then I will try to learn how to do påsöm - the Dala Floda embroidery.

Their knitting wasn´t bad either. Anyone for a close up of that mitten?

Yes, I thought so.

And Lill-Karin has knitted sleeves, made in the traditional twined technique.

The sleeves were usually knit in black and white wool and then dyed red.

I wasn´t the only one there taking photos of the event.

And even if you happen to like dressing in traditional style, it doesn´t prevent you from using the latest technology.

It was some party! And plenty to eat, too.
Served by maids in 18th century costumes.

Can you believe that going to events like this one is part of my job? No, I also find that hard. And now I´ll have to go on another diet and that will be really hard.

If you live in the US and would like to buy the book you will get a special price that includes the postage, so it won´t cost much more than what we pay in Sweden or Norway. Just send Laila an email.

And you can find her blog about the making of the book here.

måndag 2 maj 2011

Nice Work (If You Can Get It).

I´m really looking forward to going to work tomorrow. Yes, even more than usual. I´m so excited that I even have to blog about it!

The reason is that I´ve been invited to the press release of this book, held at the Skansen outdoor museum. A whole, big book about Scandinavian folk costumes.

I saw some of the photos for this book back in the autumn and I have been looking forward to seeing the rest ever since.

It was actually the mother of this cute girl on the cover who showed me the photos. And a friend of mine said that I behaved like a stalker after that. I would perhaps prefer to describe my behaviour as more like that of an enthusiast.

Believe me, it was hard to try and feign some sort of indifference after seeing pictures like this:

Photo from the book Scandinavian Folklore

These girls are wearing the Dala Floda costume, that just happens to be my own personal favourite among folk costumes. The jackets with knitted sleeves that belong to this costume are just as amazing.

A friend of mine at work was born in Dala Floda and she, of course, has a full costume. You can see it here on her blog. If you scroll down you will find photos of Eva-Karin and her daughter Amanda wearing their full Dala Floda outfits.

After nagging Eva-Karin incessantly asking Eva-Karin nicely only a few times she brought her beautiful embroidered mittens into work to show me one day.

She told me that a very talented seamstress called Edith made these mittens for her about 20 years ago. Notice the expertly made "kavelfrans" (the fringe) and the embroidery on the thumb. Of course these mittens were made using the technique called twined knitting on such small needles that you can hardly make out the stitches. Nice work indeed!

Eva-Karin wearing her mittens

And that is why I am so looking forward to going to work tomorrow.
It has turned pretty cold again so maybe – as a tribute – I will wear my Edith hat.

The pattern was actually borrowed from a Dala Floda sleeve and named after the seamstress Edith from Dala Floda.