I have just returned home after five days in Dala-Floda, Dalecarlia (Dalarna) and my head is spinning with the effort of digesting all the information and the experiences that I have had during these last days.
Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg and Karin Kahnlund had arranged a course about twined-knitting and embroidery in Dala-Floda. They delivered far beyond my expectations. But let´s start from the beginning.
The course took place at Dala-Floda Värdshus (an Inn) beautifully situated close to the lake. The owners were very friendly and made everyone feel at home. We were just over 20 participants from Sweden and Norway.
On the very first day, entering the room, we saw lots and lots of very old examples of the local handicraft. Right away I knew that this was going to be special (in the very best of ways). During the following days we were privileged to participate in workshops and lectures regarding different techniques of local embroidery and twined-knitting as well as historic background, folklore and music.
One day we made a "stickjälsvandring" - walking while knitting. In the old days it was considered impossible not being productive to the maximum, so knitting while e.g. herding cattle was a must. We met our guide Lill-Kerstin, who was to guide us to a "fäbod" - a place high in the mountain forest where the farmers took their cattle for grazing during the summer. We were lucky since the weather was nice and quite perfect for walking.
Lill-Karin entertained us with folk lore and hilarious local stories. Walking while knitting can be nice if you are knitting something not too complicated.
When we arrived at our destination we were served lunch by the hosts from the Inn, and thrilled by Anna-Karin´s "kulning". "Kulning" is an ancient way of singing/shouting that was used for communication and calling the cattle by women in the old days. It is very forceful and in an extremely high pitch, it can be heard for kilometers around. The tunes have a very "old" feeling to them and I find them beautiful.