onsdag 25 juni 2014

Roses in embroidery, crochet and knitting in Dala-Floda - part 5 (A visit to Nås)

The arts and crafts association in Nås, Dalarna
We made a visit to Nås, situated about 23 kilometres west of Dala-Floda. Our first stop was at the arts and crafts association situated in very idyllic settings.
Karin Sivertsson
We were greeted and shown around by Karin Sivertsson. She told us about the arts and crafts association, they still meet on Wednesdays and make handicrafts to sell in their shop. Nås is known for their skill in crochet and we saw many crocheted items such as shawls (Hjärtevärmare), hats, bands, mittens etc.
Crocheted shawl
Crocheted woman´s hat, twined knitted mittens and a braided band
Crocheted mittens
Gunnel Lindholm with one of her woven bands
We also met Gunnel Lindholm. She has crocheted many of the shawls that we saw in Nås. She also weaves bands in traditional patterns. She was a quiet person but her handicraft was very impressive.
Gunnel also makes "oroar". They are hanging decorations, made originally of bits of wall-paper and straw. Nowadays wall-paper has been replaced by other sorts of paper. They are rather impressive and I wouldn´t mind owning one, but they proved to hard to handle during travel.
Sleeve in twined knitting with traditional pattern from Nås
Twined knitting is a strong tradition in Nås. They have very interesting and, compared to Dala-Floda and Gagnef, different patterns on their sleeves. Truly beautiful. Red and black are the traditional colours.
The shop
We also visited their shop, where a lot of handicraft was for sale. We bought a pattern for a crocheted shawl. I don´t know if I ever will attempt to make it, but I want to keep the opportunity open.
Before returning to Dala-Floda we saw a performance of "Ingmarsspelen". This play is performed outdoors. It is tradition and it has been performed since 1959. The play is based on the novel "Jerusalem" by Selma Lagerlöf. It is a famous story about 37 people from Nås who decided to sell their homes and farms in Nås and emigrate to Jerusalem. They were all influenced by a charismatic preacher named Hellgum. The story is centred on conflicts between the people whom in God´s name and forcefully urged by Hellgum sell their homes which have belonged to their families for generations, and their relatives and friends that find their behaviour hard to understand and a crime against the will of God to take care of and honour their land. The story is based on real events in Nås in the late 1890´s.

All actors wear traditional costumes. The costumes are the real thing, many of them a hundred years old and very beautiful. Some of the jackets that we saw at the arts and crafts association´s house had been used in the play until very recently but were now stored because they risked being damaged.


måndag 23 juni 2014

Roses in embroidery, crochet and knitting in Dala-Floda - part 4 (Åklän)

This course was not about weaving but when Anna-Karin asked if we were interested in seeing part of her collection of "åklän" we all said YES! ("Åklän" is a woven blanket used for warmth when travelling with horse and wagon, hung on walls or placed on benches). We did not regret that.
I know that I go on and on about the stunning colours in the traditional textiles from Dala-Floda and I know that I should be used to them by now - but WOW! you should have been there to see all of this, feel the material and look at the back of the fabric where the colours are even brighter.
I am not a weaver, so I can´t give you details about the various techniques used in the blankets in the pictures below. All of them are woven, some of them have additional embroidery. They are a feast for the eye - Enjoy!

söndag 22 juni 2014

Roses in embroidery, crochet and knitting in Dala-Floda - part 3 (Crochet)

Various crocheted items
In Dala-Floda crochet was not as common as knitting or weaving but it had its place in costume parts such as crocheted bands placed at the hem of skirts as well as crocheted belts and garters. The traditional crochet is tapestry crochet in many colours. It is not uncommon to see four or five colours carried in one row.
Crocheted bands
The colour red is the most common in the old items, it was seen as the most beautiful colour. In nearby Nås crochet had a more prominent role. Nås is famous for "Hjärtevärmare" - tapestry crocheted shawls in beautiful patterns. They were wrapped tight and fastened with bands. They were beautiful, but they must have taken ages to crochet.
Crocheted shawl
Seeing these old items changed my view about crochet. The work is so dense that the fabric does not feel as I am used to. The many coloured tapestry technique that requires many yarns to be carried at the same time in a row (you carry the ones not used "inside" the crochet and form the stitches around them) makes the fabric even thicker and denser.
Crocheted shawl from Nås
Craftsmanship and technique was impressing and flawless. These old items are excellent pieces to be inspired by, in so many ways.
Garters and bands in crochet

lördag 21 juni 2014

Roses in embroidery, crochet and knitting in Dala-Floda - part 2 (Påsöm)

Embroidered jackets and wrist-warmers, Dala-Floda
Day two was all about the local embroidery tradition, in Swedish it is called "Påsöm". Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg (born in Dala-Floda) was our teacher and her skill and enthusiasm made the classes an real joy.
Embroidery on woman´s jacket, Dala-Floda
Embroidery was not just a part of the local traditional costumes, but also a way for women to earn a living. Especially in the second half of the nineteenth century when the floral motives became very popular in all of Sweden. The women of Dala-Floda where known for their embroidery skills and their products where bought and sold in Stockholm and many other cities in Sweden.
Embroidery on woman´s jacket, Dala-Floda
The techniques were passed on from generation to generation and Anna-Karin is in that aspect a link in an unbroken chain. She had prepared a sampler that we were all to copy, and her instructions were systematic and progressive - even I could follow, although I am not comfortable with needle and thread.
But I enjoyed working with all the bright colours and found the day both inspiring and enjoyable.
Man´s wrist-warmer, Dala-Floda
We also saw samples of  men`s wrist-warmers. These wrist-warmers (shown in my photos) pre-date the floral motives seen on the jackets in the pictures above. Their characteristics are more geometrical motives, flowers were not used.  Wrist-warmers were only worn by men at that time. They are very ornamented and often feature many and very bright colours. Wrist-warmers for women came later and they were then crocheted and decorated with pearls.
Man´s wrist-warmer, Dala-Floda

fredag 20 juni 2014

Roses in embroidery, crochet and knitting in Dala-Floda - part 1 (Twined knitting)

Dala-Floda Inn
Passing through the gates to Dala-Floda Inn for a second course in less than a month is a real privilege. The car ride from Stockholm went well and we arrived in time for some evening tea just before bedtime.
Entrance to the annex
Our room was in an annex to the Dala-Floda Inn. We had hoped for it to be available - and we were happy to stay there.
Karin Kahnlund
The next day was the first day of the course and Karin Kahnlund was an inspiring teacher. We concentrated on the twined knitting traditions of Dala-Floda and Gagnef and as usual we saw and studied many impressing things.
Sleeve on a man´s jacket, Dala-Floda
A man`s jacket from Dala-Floda with twined knitted sleeves decorated with flowers in black on a red background. Sleeves like these were knitted in natural white and black yarn and then dyed red after they were finished. The knitting is awesome. Perfectly even and very tight. Decorations with flower and star motives were called "roses", hence the title of this post.
Jacket from Dala-Floda
This is a jacket from Gagnef. Gagnef is just a couple of kilometres from Dala-Floda, but they have totally different patterns on their sleeves, smaller motives and evenly spaced, no "ladders" to separate them.
Old half-mittens from Dala-Floda
These are old half-mittens from Dala-Floda, with complex patterns. I show this picture because I find it very interesting that they did not bother about the pattern-"jog" that is the result of the pattern report not corresponding to the circumference of the mittens. This is not unusual in old knitted items here in Sweden. Nowadays we seem to be much more disturbed by this ... I wonder why ...
Dala-Floda Inn

söndag 15 juni 2014

Tapestry crochet bag

I am usually not a man of many colours, but the days spent in Dala-Floda a couple of weeks ago were so full of multi-coloured crafts that I could not avoid being influenced. The result is a bag worked in tapestry crochet. Bags like this were, in parts of Finland, often used as gifts between couples about to marry or between friends. They were used for carrying tobacco, money and small items. Parts of Sweden and Finland  (among other countries) have a tradition of tapestry crochet. Often used for making bags, belts, shawls, caps and garters in bright colour combinations.
I have also seen Tapestry crochet called "many-coloured crochet", "dense crochet" and "fair-isle crochet".
For this bag I used a crochet hook Boye 2 and z-plied yarn from Wålstedts in Dala-Floda.

tisdag 10 juni 2014

Striped mittens in twined knitting

Basic mittens in twined knitting. Using two colours to get stripes. In the cast-on I used one red  and two blue strands of yarn.
The yarn is from Wålstedts, 2-ply, z-plied. I often use needles 2,50 mm for this yarn but this time I wanted very thick and warm mittens so I used 2,00 mm.
I got a very dense fabric and I am sure these will be used often next winter. Sometimes it is nice to go back to knitting "no fuss" plain mittens.

söndag 8 juni 2014


The beginning of May was rather cold this year. Walking to my train in the mornings required something warm on my head, but not as warm as a twined knitted hat. So I knitted beanies. The one in light grey to the left in the photo above is a design by Jane Ellison called "Raymond". I knitted one a couple of years ago, but lost it so I decided to knit one more.
Jane Ellison - Raymond
I am not sure what I think about the decreases. I find them a bit messy, but the hat is nice to wear and has a good fit.
My basic beanie - sock yarn
This one is a small beanie knitted with sock yarn and has a snug fit. It takes no place at all and fits easily in a pocket. Practical for the month of May.
My basic beanie - 3-ply wool
This is a much sturdier beanie knitted with 3-ply yarn (wool) from Filtmakeriet.