Monday, July 26, 2010

Dying at the Symposium

One of the themes for the classes at the symposium was colour and dying your own yarn was part ot that theme. The most interesting technique was perhaps the use of mushrooms, but the group was full when I registered. Here is a picture of their results:

Since I had never done any dying before and new challenges draw me in I chose two other dying classes, both using acidic dyes. This means there are very few chemicals involved besides the pigment and vinegar. On Monday afternoon we heated water in large pots and made solid colours. The recipes where a bit tricky, but at the end of the day I think I knew the mathematical system. I had to do a lot of calculations because I wanted my heather pink to have different shades so I could make a gradual change across a sweater.

On the last day I went back to the dying, but this time we painted the skeins by hand and set the colours in the microwave oven. This was more fun, but the results were perhaps harder to control for us beginners. I didn't really have a plan, but I wanted the yarns to look good when knitted and not only on the skeins. Therefore I used soft colour changes and for two of the skeins I made very short sections while the last was half and half in pale red and blue.

The green and pink became my homecoming presents for the children. During the past week we have been travelling a bit and their new hats fitted nicely in a small knitting bag. We are going to decorate them later, probably with applications...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nordiskt Sticksymposium 2010 - Wednesday

Last week was so amazing that I had to rest for a couple of days to be able to process it and start writing. It was spent with 140 knitters in Härnösand at the 11th Nordic Knitting Symposium and I'm sure we are all bursting with impressions, inspiration, patterns , yarns and new skills. I will divide my recollections in themes and start with the hot and busy excursion to northern Hälsingland last Wednesday. That was also the first day when I remembered to bring the camera, because I slept at home and not at the school.

The first stop was at the Holma-Helsingland linen mill in Forsa. Since there were so many of us we were divided into groups and I started out in the workroom of a conservationist working with wall paintings and old wallpaper. The painted walls are very special in this region and we saw some on location later in the day.

Next I joined a tour of the mill guided by the owner herself. She took us through the steps of processing the yarn. Almost all the yarn is spun on the continent, but here it is dyed on cones as showed on the first picture. Then it is plied into the required thicknesses. The only yarn that is spun here at the moment is their only woolen yarn Lovikka, a heavy 1-ply used for traditional mittens from northern Sweden, which is skeined in the third picture. After the tour it was time to squeeze into the shop and grab some yarn...

After this stop the group was divided in two and sent to look at local museums with traditional houses in Forsa and Delsbo. These pictures show the 300-400-year-old wooden farmhouses in Delsbo and a group of tired travellers stealing a few minutes to knit in the shade.

The next stop was at Forsa folkhögskola, where Håkan Liby lectured on the traditional costumes of the region. Last but not least we went to Mellanfjärden by the coast where we had a selection of local fish dishes for dinner overlooking an old fishing village turned turist paradise.

The main knitting themes during the day were linen yarns and traditional sweaters, but they deserve their own posts because they were also an important part of the classes and lecures throughout the symposium.