Tuesday, February 13, 2007

This is how it was

Remember how it got very cold around here few weeks ago and how I was taking all the bedclothes outside… Because wool cleans itself in fresh air I had a big fresh-air-snow-laundry-day and started to take out some old dusty stuff from the closets. I brought out these wall hangings to lie on fresh and clean snow. When the temperature is way down, the snow is dry and does not wet the clothing so this is what I do with my carpets as well.

My Mom made the grey ryijy rug in the early 60’s; it was designed by Kirsti Rantanen and is called Lapin Jäkälä (lichen). The other wall hanging, called raanu, has striping that is quite typical for this area; these were originally used as blankets. Mom doesn’t remember anymore who made this and from whom she bought it. I love the striping and although the striping might seem a bit bright at first sight, on a clean and white snow it looks perfect and in a different time and place where colours were unusual it must have looked beautiful. Imagine a grey old log house and picture it there.

Then I took a trip up north to visit my good friend, who happens to be a good weaver. Her home is packed with all kinds of beautiful woven works of art, from baskets to towels to carpets to wall hangings. I admired and enjoyed them all greatly.

I read Stephanie’s (Yarn Harlot’s) great blog and if she puts a link into her page I will surely check it out. There was a link to WeaveCast that had an interwiev with Anita Luvera Mayers, a weaver and a wise woman. I downloaded the episode and listened to it on a bus up north. Then after I came home I downloaded another episode and then another and… If you are not familiar with WeaveCast I highly recommend it.

There was no escape. “Go weave!” was written all over. And then I found myself putting up a loom. And a few days later I was warping it.

(It sounds like there weren’t any problems while doing this. There were plenty and one sleepless night was spent when I lay there in the darkness going over in my mind what ought to be done and what had been done and why still my warp did not go on the loom the way I wanted…)

The warp is for a simple plain weave scarf (a wide one) with knitting yarns from my stash. (Having woven now it for about one yard I’m finding many things that I should have done differently.)

All the free time I have I sit here behind the loom that was given to me by my mother years ago. I feel like a queen of my world. I’m alone in my small studio. I press the treadles and watch the shafts to go up and down. I throw the shuttle and gently beat the weft. I occasionally stop and caress the cloth on the breast beam before it disappears from my sight on its way to cloth beam or glance out of the window where the spring sun is dancing on the snow. When I look at the snow I think that once this snow is gone, I’ll be a lot wiser with the loom. Hopefully I have completed some projects and hopefully not all of them are bad. And when all of this snow is gone, I might be able to call myself a weaver.


  1. granny purple13:45

    The hangings you show are so beautiful. I, too, weave when I can tear myself away from the knitting needles--and since my studio is glass on three sides, the view is always inspiring. Weaving with knitting yarn can be a problem, especially in the warp. The best yarn for both that I have found so far (and believe me, I have tried knitting with just about everything I weave with) is the Jaggerspun Zephyr. I have made hundreds of scarves with it, but only tried knitting in the last year or so(Stephanie's snowdrop shawl). Happy weaving, Lene.

  2. It sounds like a wonderful way to while away the last of the winter. Everything you turn your hand to comes up beautiful Lene.

  3. Ellen in Conn14:06

    Oh,to weave again. New England has such beautiful antique fabrics. I copied a few of them years ago, and they are the best things I made - I am not so great as a designer, but very good at adapting existing designs to my own purposes.

    If it ever snows here again, I will put my woolens out in it. Thank you for the information.

  4. I love the idea of the fresh air laundry. Everything you turn your hand to is beautiful, Lene.

  5. Beautiful colors on your loom. I would love to weave but I'm concentrating on spinning with my new wheel. Maybe one day I will have a loom as well!

  6. Those items are so beautiful! I have always been fascinated with weaving and beading (on a small beading loom) but my goodness, where is the time for all these wonderful things! We need to figure out a way to do without sleep.

  7. I wish I had the time and space to take up weaving! My grandmother had an enormous loom in her attic, and I was always fascinated by it.

    Yippee for snow laundry! I took all of my bed covers, pillows and blankets out in the snow a week ago (I'm also in Finland). Nothing beats the scent of fresh air and pure snow!

  8. It seems weaving is undergoing a new resurgence. At our last fiber guild meeting, almost everyone there were weavers. Your scarf will be beautiful - I can't wait to see it grow! I wish I had room for a loom!

  9. Weaving - the sound of it is so soothing. I watched a lady weave this summer and thought about where I could put a loom in my small space! However, the sound of the knitting needles still soothes my soul, so a loom is still in my dream world, along with a spinning wheel!
    I will watch your weaving process well, Lene, and what a wonderful way to use up your stash quickly.

  10. mfitch19:24

    Lene: I receive the same soothing effects reading your blog and seeing your photos as you do when weaving and looking out your window. You take us with you!
    There are some wonderful passages in the book "Farmer Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder about the Mother weaving. Equally soothing.
    Thank you!

  11. Elizabeth D20:42

    Lene, there is a loom, in pieces, in my attic. It was given to me almost 9 years ago, and I think about it often. It may be time to progress beyond thinking -- but it gets so very hot in the attic in the summer (our outdoor temperatures approach 37 Celsius often, so imagine the attic!) and there's no room anywhere else. Hmmm. . . thinking of how to do this will be a very absorbing project. I'll be watching you for continued inspiration.

  12. Scotlynn23:18

    I am quite certain you could call yourself extraordinary right this minute!

  13. Anonymous23:45

    The weaving is beautiful. The contrast with the snow definitely brought a smile to my face this cold winter day!


  14. I've been coming to lurk for a long time, and am finally speaking.
    You inspire me, but what happened to the lace?

  15. Thank you again for your wonderful depictions of your life in the far north. Here in the far south (Melbourne, Australia) we don't have snow, but I love the idea of the snow laundry. Brilliant!
    Thank you, too, for the link to the Weavecast. It may become compulsory listening for me, too, even though I haven't woven for many years.
    You are a very calming and inspiring wonder, and it has certainly calmed me this month to see what you are up to.

  16. Gorgeous wall hangings and rugs, and I love the picture you gave us of the loom.

  17. marjorie04:21

    I always enjoy reading your blog because you so often show us an new and unusual perspective on ordinary activities, such as housecleaning. Your wallhangings in the snow are lovely. I will now look more often for beauty in simple chores and everyday events. Thank you!

  18. I had forgotten about snow laundry. I do have some woollens that could use a good "snowing". I'll wait until after this storm, though.

  19. what a love set up - cannot wait to see the scarf.
    Some of my best weaving outcomes were born of mistakes in the warp - makes no sense, but it's true.

  20. Marilyn07:08

    What a wonderful, wonderful voice you have!

  21. I suppose it's the equivalent of putting a garment or fibre in the freezer if it's been attacked by moths.

    The extreme cold kills off the bugs and stops eggs from hatching.

    Lucky you don't have to worry about your dinner getting fluff all over it :)

    Happy weaving!

  22. Angeluna09:48

    I am simply enchanted with the idea of snow laundry. My adult years have been reasonably far from significant snow (except to ski, where there is no energy left to do laundry). I spent a lot of time as a child in our mountain house, but no one did snow laundry. I want to know more about it. Does any dirt get so cold it shrinks and hardens, lets go and falls off the fiber? And what is the smell?

    In my storage, I have a collection of weaving tools from some unknown ancestress generations back. There should be some genetic tradition, but I know nothing about it. So I have great admiration for you. And faith that you will take a second look at this last creation and find some beauty in it. It may not be what you expected, but that does not necessarily make it ugly. Put it away, then take it out and look again when some time has passed.

    I dream of spinning.

  23. Just a shout hello from new Hampshire, USA. I LOVE your photos of your life, your weavings, knittings and Finland. I have longed to travel in Finland, but, as the birthdays mount up, wonder if I'll ever make it. Thanks so much for this blog.


  24. Oh what beautiful wall hangings!
    Isn't the fresh smell of wool cleansed by the very cold air wonderful? I take things outside too to refresh in the below zero snow too!