Tag Archives: wool

Zen in Skåne (the making of)

I meant to make this post few months ago, but better late than never (the motto of this blog) , so here it goes.
This is my crazy project of making round meditation cushion in Skåne rölakan technique.
In the end it somehow became a cushion, or something cushion-like, almost round.

And it was accepted for the local “Utvalt i Skåne” craft show and now traveling around from Malmö to Simrishamn to Helsinborg and then to Germany.



a little doodle from two years ago:


Pictures from the process:

rölakan weaving


weaving side stripe – with halvkrabba inlays (here was the part when I had serious doubts about it all working out)






I filled the cushion with kapok fibers

(Don’t take seriously the last picture)


Latest weaving – two cushions in rölakan (interlocked tapestry)  technique




This one is variation on antique carriage cushion from Bara district, Skåne.




And this one is a little sampling of local birds from folk textiles



I have used wool yarn from Wålstedts spinning mill -Wålstedts gobelänggarn Nm 5/2.


winter knits

uncomplicated basic stuff – a sweater, a hat, a pair of mittens and a pair of wrist-warmers IMG_20150105_111848 Untitled “Heathered” cardi – I am not 100% happy with the way it turned out and the yarn (from laid-down little spinning mill Morjärvs ullspinneri) is definitely on the prickly side, but it is warm! Untitled Untitled A bicycle hat for my husband (this simple pattern) , want to knit one for myself Untitled Untitled mittens (inspired by the colors of this winter) from my handspun yarn stash Untitled simple wrist-warmers Untitled and fun free-form pullover on it’s way IMG_20150206_092755

wool distraction

I am back  from my self-proclaimed and self-indulgent summer holiday. I have spent it mostly sitting in the garden and carding and spinning wool.

handspun yarns

Last autumn my father-in-law left two huge sacks of wool in our garage.
Unsorted, unwashed, from unknown breed, full of straw and dirt,  “just wool”.

I’ve decided to have a look at it (and may be try to sort it) mostly because those sacks take space in the garage, I thought I don’t have time to process it.

All the possible colors and fiber qualities.


I have never tried to sort wool before, after throwing away 2/3 of it I still have 10 kg left, at least, may be more.

washing wool

Since it ‘s been exceptionally warm and dry weather I have been washing the wool outside in the garden – soaking in cold water for a few hours and then drying on a net.
drying wool

I liked this kind of washing (contra – warm water with detergent) because while all the dirt and dust is removed – the lanolin remains, staples remain almost intact, which makes it very easy to spin.


Carding and spinning in the garden  is so much more convinient than in the house –

all the debris is left outside.  (I am very happy with my Strauch drum carder).


I wanted  just to try to spin one color, but ended up spinning for many days – talk about easily distracted.

First I thought I could use the yarn for weaving blankets in all those beautiful natural colors, but now I realise that most of the fleece is double-coated – mixture of both fine wool and coarse hair , “peasant” sort of wool,  which in the end makes it more suitable for carpet-weaving.

But I still like the colors, here are some:
handspun yarns

Ah, may be it will become a carpet one day – rölakan-style little carpet….(I have spun only one kilo, I think I would need at a couple of kilos more) . We’ll see.

Well, it’s been a real summer wool-camp for me :) Now the summer weather is (totally) over here and I am back to my weaving loom.

Folkweave, handspun yarn and a rooster

Finally I am doing something that was on my “one day I will start this”-list – weaving a sample of rölakan – swedish folk flatweave (kilim-like weaving). This one is Skanian rölakan (skånsk rölakan) (wefts of different colors  are interlocked with each other and form a ridge on reverse side) and it is woven upside down, to make it all more exciting :)

And I just love it. It is very different from “normal” weaving with a shuttle, here you just sit with one square, one thread at a time,  totally focused, it is pure meditation, zazen of weaving.

This is how it looks when you crawl into the loom and try looking up:

Last summer when I first tried this technique I was  very self-conscious about the colors, this time it is primary colors, as bold as it goes .

As a warming up before I start something bigger I am making small square pattern brought up by Gunvor Johansson in Swedish  weaving guild newsletter.

And (finally again) I have finished spinning my alpacas – silky white suri and brown baby huacaya.  Two totally different fibers and yarns.

When I look at them I am thinking shawls or scarves or throws (I have around 250 g of each). The brown one is a bit too reddish-orange for my taste, I would prefer it to be more sober-muted-greyish-brown….But it’s probably too dark to try to overdye. Ah, we’ll see.

last summer when I experimented with indigo – I tried to dip a little bit of that alpaca yarn in my vat –
and it came out black (with very light green hint). I might try an acid dye…

talking about indigo –  sowed some dye plants seeds yesterday

When I am working  in the greenhouse I am followed by our new rooster, he is of tiny local breed called Åsbo,  and he is very friendly and curious, almost like a pet.

I wish you warm and happy spring! (or autumn, depends where you live:)


A cardigan I finished sometime ago. Simple and cheap 2 ply wool yarn bought at  Tampere Art and Craft center during our job trip to Finland (We looked at finnish landrace horses and cows and it was very cold. Oh and yes, I went to Moominvalley :)

One-piece, seamless, very easy-going pattern –  Yellow Wall by Judy Brien on Ravelry.

While knitting I had a suspicion it would turn out quite oversized, and it did, but I decided to try to felt it a bit in hot soapy water. First tried on a little sample and then on a whole sweater and quite happy with the result – it all feels smoother and warmer, it somehow worked well for this particular yarn. (And it is exactly  my size!)


favourite bracelet, custom-made by a jewellery-maker-photographer friend Elena Erda.

new life

I am officially a free artist now, at least I have been for a week (at the genebank where I worked they have 8-year contract system and I’ve managed to get stuck  there for almost 9). We’ll see where I go from here, but right now it feels quite wonderful :)

Here are the farewell presents I got from my nice and fluffy colleagues  – beautiful flowers, a book by Laila Duran and a gift card for Hemslöjden shop in Landskrona (which I partly used to buy some yarn):

Colored Rauma tapestry yarn for my future rölakan project and really nice dark grey alpaca for a sweater for myself. Couldn’t resist and started knitting right away this sweater.

As for the book, it is the third volume on Scandinavian folk costumes, and it is pure eye candy.

one day I will weave some yardage for a dress and enroll for the course on folk costume sewing with people on this picture – Gillis and Monika Jimheden 

Oh, and I will just continue to show off – here is my new drum carder (!) , it’s been on my wish list for two years, and it is my “late christmas/embarking on a new life”-present from my man and myself

After reading all the discussions on the net about different carders I decided on Strauch finest (bought it via this shop in Denmark) and so far quite happy with my choice.

random  decoration item, from handspun wool and indigo-dyed nettle yarn (used this pattern), don’t know, just had an impulse to knit it.

finished the blue warp with some more daldräll

and preparing to weave a 8-shaft twill for the next school task.

finished shawl

(I am several weeks behind with my blogging, but I am working on it!)

Quite a generous shawl it is.

shetland wool shawl

Last month’s task  – wearable cloth in any twill (a set of samples or whole yardage).

After all the experimenting (see previous post) I settled for a shawl, just nice large warm woollen shawl.

supersoft lambswool 11/2  bought from the Handweavers Studio , wove samples  8 and 6 threads per cm (the latter density felt right). The yarn is quite greasy and softens-fluffs-up considerably after washing.

pictures of the finished shawl are coming in the next post.


I am having a lot of fun!  I have enrolled in a year-long distance course in weaving at Fristads folkhögskola. We meet at school once a month for theory lessons, to get assignments and show and discuss the previous ones.

As a first homework we had to weave in black wool singles as warp and the same wool alternated with linen weft in different densities, as balanced as possible.

Training in beating technique and in being present during the process. And then we had to wash the pieces in washing machine at different temperatures to study the shrinkage.

weaving with black on black is not easy for the eyes, but it makes you look at the weaving more closely and carefully.

One of my clumped pieces after washing :)

we could experiment with the rest of the warp as we wished, so i tried  checked “myggtjäll” (swedish lace) in different variations and colors.

after hand-washing:

the wool is Farö (6000m/kg, 12 wic), surprisingly strong, not a single thread went off, and quite soft after washing.

their own stripes

my first cardigan  made from scratch. A year ago I bought 0,5 kg unwashed Gotland lambswool for 50 Kr (5 Euro).

Hand-carding the wool was the most time and labour consuming part.

I don’t know where the stripes are coming from, they are just there !(after all mixing the wool while washing, carding AND plying). Because the wool is so silvery-shiny you don’t see them while spinning.  First when I noticed them coming I thought “oh-oh…” but now this is just… randomly striped cardigan

Very warm and the most ecological sweater I own. (The pattern is Tilda


winter knitting

Gathered all  winter knitting in one posting.

Central Park hoodie for my daughter, yarn: Cascade Heathers

8-sqare slippers, used most of my first spinning scraps

wurm hat, yarn : Malabrigo worsted

classic mittens made with my homespun Gotland wool, 3 ply

And some presents for people:

Henry the Knitted Bear

Mittens, yarn -Rowan felted tweed

knee high socks, handspun wool mix, 3 ply, together with 1 strand Zauberball

grey matter

carding, spinning, knitting, weaving. All in grey.

Gotland lambswool

cat mat №2, same but different, this time in 2/2 twill

carding and spinning

Here are the people, who introduced me to the world of wool and spinning wheels, Inger and Bengt from Den Gamla Skolan (wetplate collodion portrait is taken by my man). I spent two weekends with them – learning about different wool sorts, washing, carding and spinning wool, chatting about everything in the world, eating good food,  well, just having really good time.

In the end, happy, content and inspired  I went home with my own Kromsky Minstrel spinning wheel, hand carders, a niddy noddy and couple of bags of sorted unwashed wool.

This is the wool from one of the bags (managed to wash it) – 300g of platinum white silky shiny soft curls from a leicester-like cross breed sheep.

and I have been carding and spinning it for a while now.

what a feeling! I just love the whole process, it’s  an existential experience, as Handarbetaren put it. I realise – you can’t make any shortcuts, slow craft is not a concept, it is just way to do things, the real way. One soft silky curl at a time. .

Late evening picture, my wool-loving colleague shows her appreciation.

scandinavian midsummer socks

made with handspun wool

(not the warmest summer ever, to put it softly).

really well-writen, universal and basic sock pattern-tutorial. Socks for the people.

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