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Spinning in Scandinavia with Silja Devine

by The SpinArtiste on January 26, 2014

Publisher’s Notes:  Some of my favorite posts over the past few years have been the posts that Woolwench, aka Suzy Brown, wrote covering the spinning scene in Europe.  Those posts are on hold at the moment as Suzy is pretty busy creating fibery goodness over at www.fiberygoodness.com.  Luckily, the very creative and talented Silja Devine from Norway has graciously agreed to provide us with regular posts on what is happening in her part of Europe.  I know you will enjoy Silja’s posts as much as I will!  Take it away, Silja!!
SD-Silja DevineSilja:  When Arlene asked if I could write some posts for SpinArtiste I was thrilled! I actually get to share with you what is happening in the fiber scene here in Norway, and the rest of Scandinavia too.   My only problem was where to start? There is so much I would like  to share and tell you about. Here in Norway we have a saying that is
”Det enkle er ofte det beste” and it means ” The simplest is often  the best” and I figured that would be a good starting place for my first post here.
In Norway there is currently two knitting and spinning video casts and two brand new audio podcasts focused on knitting and spinning.  Last year the two video casts called “Yarnia”and “”Daisy Knitsalots” podcast collaborated on a round robin spinning project. Geographically Norway is a small country, but it still is time consuming and very expensive to travel in Norway. This project started out as the idea of doing something creative together even if
we lived far apart from each other, so the decision was made to let the projects do the travel. norwayWe were 5 participants, located from all over Norway from Bjarkøy way up north in Harstad, Bodø, Trondheim and Drammen to Fredrikstad in the east. There were two groups of three where one would dye fiber, the second would spin the yarn and the third make something with it.  That way all the participants would do all three things and get a finished product back made from the fiber they dyed. We were allowed to let the creativity and inspiration guide us and that we could do whatever we wanted along the way without restrictions on how and why. The next person had to figure out how they would work with what they were given.
The first challenge of dying was to dye the fiber:  selecting the fiber, colors and technique used.   We had Falkland, Polwarth, Mohair, Superwash BFL and Merino dyed up. Some used acid dyes and some used Kool-Aid. The results were very different, batts, tops and rovings in all kinds of colors!  When it was time for the yarn to be spun, there were lots of options that had to be considerated. The Mohair top was spun and plied with a white Alpaca adding twists into the yarn, and some of the yarn was plied with a silk single.  The Falkland was chain plied, and so was the Superwash BFL.  The Merino was chain plied and beads was added in the plying.  The Polwarths were spun into two plies and one was also added nunofelted flowers.
Then it was time for the last part of the project, making something with the yarn. I think we all had some trouble finding projects to make that was ”worthy” of the lovely handspun hat was dyed and spun by the others. Selecting projects that would work well with the yarn and that we also think the dyer would like. This stage of the project resulted in beautiful cowls, a fun hat and a couple of shawls.
After the project was all done, we decided that this had to be done again. Working with others from all over Norway in this project was a lot of fun, and it was a great way for us to work together even if  we live far apart from each other!
Many Norwegian spinners does not belong to a spinning group or have someone to spin with, they sit at home by themselves and spin. Thankfully we now have some podcasts/video casts, a big (300+ members) Facebook group and a forum dedicated to the art of spinning yarn by hand here in Norway. By taking part in these arenas we inspire and learn from each other and have a place where we can meet without traveling miles and miles.
Thank you so much, Silja!  I love the collaborative shared project. I am very inspired by the way this group has found such a meaningful way to connect across the miles.  We certainly look forward to your next post in February to learn more about the fiber-related happenings in your part of the world.
brown2I blogged over at www.fiberygoodness.com this week and confessed my true feelings about the color brown.  Here is the link in case you missed that post.  And, we’re getting ready pretty to soon to open up the next round of enrollments in The Journey to the Golden Fleece…if you’ve been wondering whether you might like it or not, the course information page now contains some testimonials and the gallery page is filling up with pictures of yarns of the participants from the first and second modules of the course. 
Last but certainly, not least, there are a couple of really fun events happening this spring that I’m going to be attending that are really helping me to look past the fact that we are having a very harsh winter in my patch of the world this year. woolwench Suzy Brown aka Woolwench, my amazingly talented partner, is coming for the first time to the US in April.  First we will be going up to Pam Blasko’s Dream Come True Farm for a one day event on April 19th and then the next weekend, heading to the SWAY Guild Art Yarn Festival in Sarasota, Florida where Suzy will be teaching a two day workshop.  Unfortunately, Suzy will be heading back to Holland, but right after she leaves, Heather Lightbody aka Girl With a Hook will be coming out East to teach a one day spinning and crochet class on May 2nd at my studio in Glenville, PA the day before Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  Can’t wait!!! 

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