Friday, July 24, 2009

Rauma Yarn (Rauma Garn) and other goodies

When you want to purchase Rauma yarn (Finullgarn, Gammelserie and the felting one that I can never remember the name of), Syvilla Tweed Bolson is IT. She has been carrying unusual and highly-saught-after Norwegian specialty yarns as long as I can remember. Like this:

And, this was a found treasure of Perendale, which will someday become a pair of socks or something sock-like (from Syvilla's treasures).

Syvilla and her quality yarn can be found at:
512 Locust Road
Decorah, IA 52101
Phone: 563.382.3711

Syvilla sells weaving yarns and other accroutments for knitting and weaving. Good stuff.

RIGHT NOW, at this very minute, friends are celebrating Nordic Fest (also in Decorah) and probably hung out at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum today. Wish I was buying yarn at Syvilla's and eating a quality lunch at the Oneota Food Co-Op!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Natural Dye Course at Saterglantan

Saterglantan's Natural Dye class (June, 2009) yielded these yarns from "lottery". Our class (6 amazing women) dyed seventy (70) 1/2 skeins of wool using cochenile, madder root, indigo, lichen, buckthorn bark, birch and mountain ash leaves on natural grey and ecru yarns. We also used flowers (dyer's chamomile) and some mystery root that we may not have identified locally.

When the class was completed, we all drew a number from a "hat" and then our instructor, Mia Olsson, called "turns" for us. We got to choose our skeins from the 70 colored. I was NUMBER ONE, which meant nothing as all numbers were good. Number One was called first, so I chose the dark, dark brown skein dyed with lichen. This colorway and dye process was my favorite at that moment and I really, really wanted that skein. Gods of Randomness shined down on me! Yeah! Other than that lichen skein, my goal was to choose an assortment of yarns dyed with dyestuff that represented our whole experience.

In the dye course, we also had the opportunity to dye some yarn on our own (seen in photo)--after all of our required course work was done, and usually after supper.

I wanted to dye some zed (z) twist yarn ("red" on the left at the bottom of the photo) for a pair of tvaandstickning mittens (pattern from Walstedt's Spinnery). I wanted the colorway to be a little antiqued.

There is some 3rd dye-bath birch ("green" in the center). The blues are all indigo.

All of this dying was masterfully orchestrated by our instructor, Mia Olsson. She brought samples of plant stuff as well as instructed us on purchase-able natural dyes (commercial). Those samples of natural plant stuff--we then tromped around the Saterglantan area woods and collected enough material to make dye baths. We prepared plant dyes over open pit fires and used hot plates for temperature-controlled dye baths when we dyed the yarns.

It all was sooooo cool!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Saterglantan, SE

When you arrive at Saterglantan (in Insjon, SE) you see this cheerful sign! This can only mean good things to come!

A friend and I had registered to take a one-week course (short course) "Natural Dying". We arrived the evening before the course was to begin. When we got to the train station (by train), there was an expansive gravel parking lot. We were EARLY. A few factors played into our next experience: There was no "station" or any businesses to inquire of our ride (prepared for 3 hours later), it was the weekend following Midsommer, so still considered a holiday day. It was a warm sunny afternoon.

I inquired of a family (also in the parking lot) if they knew about arriving at Saterglantan. Puzzled, the wife said there were no taxis, etc. and promptly volunteered her husband to ride us the 3 kilometers there. Which he did. Shining armour was donned and we were off!

Each meal looked like this. Serving pieces were HUGE pottery bowls with carved wooden ladles, beautiful platters with cheeses and meats, etc. Always fresh food. Later, this came to be known, that the vegetables were local and FRESH.

This was my Princess Bed (which I considered fit for a princess).

And this was what we did in Natural Dying class. It might look complicated, which it was. Our instructor, Mia Olsson, guided us through the processes--washing and mordenting the yarn; gathering and preparing a variety of leaves and bark and roots, crushing cochenile, soaking lichen, mixing indigo; rinsing and washing and rinsing and whahlah, beautiful colored yarn (next time)!

Oh, and did I mention shopping at the Butiken?

Tallin, Estonia Visit

On a recent trip to Sweden, we took a little side-trip to Tallinn, Estonia. There was lots of knitting and yarn and books to be found. Found is the important information. We stayed at Hotel Bern on Aia street (10 minutes from the airport via speedy taxi). The hotel is within easy walking distance of everything, is small (58 rooms), clean and the staff were outstanding. This is a little picture of the b'fast fixin's. They had cereal, hot eggs/meat, cold meat and cheese, a variety of beverages and The Best Corn Flakes of the whole trip. The wait staff at breakfast was also polite and on top of the b'fast game. No empty platters or bowls here!

One evening, we climbed to the "top" of the city and viewed the city from an over-look. This was well worth the walk and lots of stops along the way to rest and enjoy the city. We stopped in a little cafe on the hill/steps up and I had THE BEST pesto-filled buttery flakey roll thing-ey of my LIVING DAYS and My Friend had THE BEST berry tart thing-ey. Ymmmmmmmmmmmmm is not even describing of these treats.

And, there were several Koosituu shops offering mittens, art goods, etc.

And, this "Wall of Sweaters". It's on the map like that--Wall of Sweaters.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This mitered square sock blanket has traveled to Sweden! And, to the emergency room at least 3 times with side effects of a nasty case of c-diff bacteria. We (we, because My Husband has to do almost everything for me) are working on my second course of antibiotics (second antibiotic). I had to forgo my summer job teaching. Aargh.

Since I have been sick (and traveled while recovering), I have been working on this blanket . . . it is a just-right project that requires just enough thinking to be distracting, but not enough brain power that requires actual thinking. The square knitting becomes like making your favorite cookie recipe. It makes my tummy feel better.

In Sweden, a friend and I traveled to Uppsala, SE; to Tallin, Estonia; to Saterglantan (Insjon, SE), then to Falun, to Goteborg and on to Stockholm for our return flight. At Saterglantan, we took a short course in Natural Dying with Mia Olsson. When feeling up to it, I will post photos of my "lottery winnings" of the yarns dyed in our course. Amazing!

Oh, and I am getting mail from myself . . . yarns! LYS, will not be visiting for quite awhile.