Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December - Day 20

The sun rose at 1111 and set at 1318. The length of the day was 2 hours and 7 minutes.

On our daily walk we keep seeing the same flock of reindeer, there are 11 altogether and one of them has a bell under the chin - I love to hear the sound. Tina is used to them and just looks at what they are up to, but Ruusu would LOVE to chase them a bit. She will go as far as her leash will allow and usually when she makes the dash through the snow, she will set the flock on foot and she just loves this powerful feeling. Other than reindeer we very seldom see anything else but cars driving by.

(All the pictures here are from the book: Rahwaan puku Folk Costume. An Overview of the Folk Costume Collection of the National Museum of Finland. Ildikó Lehtinen, Pirkko Sihvo. Museovirasto, Helsinki 2005. These are pictures of everyday clothing, not pictures of national costumes, but national costumes are based on these folk costumes.)

I never really cared for national costumes when I was young and I did not think that I would love to have one, although I have always known that special skills are needed for the making. Then I got the loom and started to pay attention to the woollen skirts and their striping and thought that I would need to learn to weave those fabrics. Since then I have studied more and more the clever construction of the various vests and jackets. I am not sure where I would wear a national costume as a whole, but I would love to wear various parts as every day clothing. And most of all, I would love to have the skills to be able to make one.

In some of the costumes the pants (or knickerbockers) men are wearing can be made with leather, I tried to find a translation to this type of soft leather, we call it "säämiskä" and I believe it is Sämich in German and Chamois in French. I could not find a dress for Kangasniemi, but Jyväskylä is fairly close and their dress looks like this.

I just love these fabrics in these two pictures. 

For the whole day I have been thinking that it is Monday, and that there are many days left... and then I looked at the date and started counting, if today is 20th it cannot be Monday... Oh my, Wednesday tomorrow already!!

Wool with you,


  1. Wonderful that you see reindeer on your walks!

    Thanks so much for sharing the photos from that book! Definitely not something I'd see here in the US, but very interesting, especially to weavers!!

    It's almost the solstice!!


  2. Anonymous23:21

    I had to smile at your comment that other than reindeer you only see cars. I would be astounded and joyful to see one reindeer on my walks. I did see a bald eagle once. That was fun, as I knew he was looking at me too. I guess he decided I was too big for lunch.
    Beautiful costumes, Lene. I can't imagine going about my daily chores wearing one though. I am also sure that you would be quite able to construct one. See how much faith I have in your skills? :)
    The sun is soon on its way back.
    Oh, and I think the English for that type of leather is 'suede', as in "Blue Suede Shoes"!

  3. I like the Sääksmäki dress. I once made the blouse for a little girl. I think it is chamois leather in English.

  4. Ellen in Conn01:05

    Chamois is a particular kind of animal. My Dad always used chamois when washing the car. I looked it up just now and found "cod tanned lambskin chamois" for sale!

    Who put the bell on the reindeer?

  5. Leslie (Phoebesnow)01:14

    Is tomorrow your shortest day? Then the days begin to grow longer?

  6. annie05:44

    I am so enjoying your December daily posts. All of the topics are wonderful, and I like to have a little insight into life at the Arctic Circle! Yesterday when I looked at the costumes, I wondered if you could weave those fabrics. They are beautiful and you must!

    Thank you for this beauty, and Merry Christmas dear Lene.

  7. Anonymous09:31

    Isn't it comforting to see that as of today the sun is no longer setting earlier in the days, though the sun will continue to be lazy about getting up in the morning until sometime after the New Year.

    What beautiful fabrics! Is fine wool yarns traditional for warp and weft?

    I know a man who tans deer hides in the old fashioned way, it's so light and soft with fabulous drape. His wife makes leather clothes that the whole family wears.

  8. Dear Lene,
    I don't know "Sämich" in German; is it maybe a sort of "mokkanakha"(I googled that, I don't know Finnish)?

  9. Anonymous18:39

    My great-aunt and -uncle dance with a Finnish-American group here in the US. They have the folk costumes for their dances and other "Finn-fest" activities. The ladies' jackets are cut the same way as most European and North American ladies' jackets from the mid 18th century. I re-enact that time period, so they are familiar to me. I guess wearing this sort of clothing still runs in the family. :) Thanks for sharing. __Karen

  10. Thank you for the wonderful link on Finnish costume. My friend Bill makes his own breeches and I sent on the wonderful detail shot from the site. There is much to explore in the world and your posts are a wonderful starting point.

  11. Dear Lene,

    yet another Claudia from Germany ;-)

    Yes, it's Sämisch-Leder in German, referring to leather tanned with fish oil or whale oil, usually used for traditional costumes now - and for clothes to clean windshields and windows...


  12. Marjaana17:08

    Vähän tulee kommentti jälkijunassa kun löysin blogisi vasta nyt. :-)
    Suede on mokkanahka, josta kansallispukujen housuja ei tehdä, säämiskän nimi on chamois myös englanniksi, tai shammy, shammy leather, joskus jopa wash leather.
    The leather used in the trousers is shammy leather, not suede.
    Greetings from Ireland!