Thursday, May 28, 2015

Harmony Fiber Art Festival--Shameless self-promotion

Looking for something interesting to do on Saturday, June 13? The town of Harmony is holding a series of events that day for their Spring Fest. There's a plant sale, roving musicians, food trucks, kids' activities, and more. And there will be a first-ever fiber festival!

I'm sharing a spot with my friend Sue and we've been working hard and fast to make scrumptious accessories for you. Sue specializes in handwovens while I'm the spinner/knitter, so there will be plenty of scarves, shawlettes, hats and even some handspun yarn for those who want to make it themselves. Handspun, handwoven pieces are generally one-of-a-kind or one of only a few produced by the artist, so investing in one of these pieces is a special opportunity. And handmade accessories generally are warmer and last longer than items from those big box stores. Treat yourself to a special piece of art!

You can find our booth in the Center of Harmony building, upstairs and in the middle of the room. And if you're interested in supplies for your own crafting endeavors, I'm sure you'll find something among the other booths--there's weaving, spinning, knitting, crochet supplies. There will also be demonstrations of many of these crafts to whet your appetite for getting involved. We all need something to do during those dreary winter months, right?

A sampling of what I'm bringing to the festival:

Handspun, handwoven scarves

Handspun handknit cowl

The back of the gradient shawlette
A shawlette in gradient-colored handspun

Pillbox hat knit with my handspun

A slouchy beanie that can also be worn as a regular tossle cap

A lacy tam/slouch beanie in handspun yarn

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sweden--the Vasa Museum

Once upon a time there was this Swedish king who felt that for political reasons, he needed to flex his muscles show the world the power and might of his reign. So he commissioned a mighty ship, covered with meaningful carvings and equipped with 64 canon able to fire from the 64 gun ports along the ship's sides. It was launched on 10 August 1628 from Stockholm harbor, caught a gust of wind and heeled over but righted herself. The second gust of wind did her in, water rushing in the gun ports flooded her decks and took her down with most of the crew and guests. You can read the full story here

When we walked into the room, I stopped dead. I have never been so awe-struck over anything including the birth of my two boys. By way of explanation, my father was a master carpenter and I love wood and wood carving. This ship was covered with marvelous intricate carvings, every one of which had meaning--either of royal might or royal lineage or royal benevolence.

And the original carvings were painted!

The stern today

The stern as it would have appeared in 1628

They didn't have acrylic paints so used ground minerals and salts mixed with oils and any substances they needed to preserve the color.

They found about 15 bodies under the ship, some of the clothing, and many of the day-to-day objects needed for life aboard a ship in 1628. I discovered a glove liner that was created using nalbinding. No photo because the museum is kept on the dark side to preserve the objects, and flash photos help to speed the deterioration of those objects.

And I leave you with this..... the ship was certainly a testament to his power.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

I'm back, all refreshed and rested! And a FREE SPINNING MAGAZINE

We had a wonderful time in Sweden. We landed at Landvetter Airport on April 25 and spent the night at the hotel before we headed into Gothenburg. Spent an evening in town and met our friend Elin for a ferry ride to the southern archipelago. It was interesting enough that I forgot to take photos..... And Elin and I had months' worth of news to catch up on.

Painted glass ceiling in our 150-year old Gothenburg hotel
After lunch we were off to her sheep farm for a few days. She and Erik have a wonderful place in the countryside with a dozen or so Varmland sheep (sorry, Elin, but blogger doesn't have diacritical marks in the English text function).

We took the opportunity to visit local (western Sweden) sights, with a stop at the Boras Textile Museum. Unfortunately, we found that the Museum is a misnomer--it's really part of the design school and the only exhibits were the student end-of-term work and a Swedish designer. However, the entryway was a fascinating crochet yarn-bombing by students.

On another day, we went to a fiber mill to pick up a fleece sorting table that Elin had purchased. This is proof that no matter where you travel, fiber mill equipment is the same. And it's where I just couldn't resist some indigo-dyed fingering weight Finull yarn. There it is, on the right side of that top shelf....

The sorting table in action that evening.

On Saturday, we had scheduled two workshops and nearly filled the room with students. There are fewer spinners in Sweden than here so many of these ladies drove a good distance to get to the farm. I taught a class on different drafting methods in the morning, and we had a breeds tasting class in the afternoon. Lunch was something special--although I've hiked through stinging nettle and know that it is a medicinal herb/supplement, I never knew you could eat it. It makes a wonderful soup, especially when served with fresh whole grain bread, butter and Brie cheese. My students were so easy to teach and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn so much about spinning in Sweden. Traveling is always such an educational experience and I love meeting and learning from other cultures.

L to R--Isabella, Sandy, Linda and Elin

Elin and Ulla, who quickly grabbed the spots near the fireplace

Sweden is a beautiful country (when the sun is shining), and the people we met were helpful and friendly. Since it was spring, I couldn't resist the wildflowers popping up alongside the farm lane.

More on our travels next week.

And a plug for PLY Magazine, which is a treasure of spinning and fiber knowledge published by Jacey Boggs. Each issue is themed, covering that issue's topic in depth with articles written by leading spinners and many no-so-famous-but-knowledgeable spinners. In an effort to introduce the magazine to more US spinners, Jacey is offering a free issue--the June issue, no strings attached--to anyone who signs up on the website. Remember, this is for new readers in the US only.
Go here and input the code: NEWEYES. You'll have to be quick as the free issue will be coming out in the next few weeks, but PLY Magazine is SO worth it!