What happened in June?

I have absolutely no idea where June went. All of a sudden it’s July and I realize I wasn’t aware that summer has really begun. Somewhere between working too much, stress attacks and knitting as if my life depended on it, summer arrived, June came and Went and here I sit on July 1st wondering what happened. Sure, there is finished Great Lace (more about that in a later post) but then what? I still have a ton to do at work and I feel like I might miss this summer completely even though I now that’s not true. I was aware that yesterday was June 30 but that July 1 comes right after had completely escaped my mind.

So what happened to June? Or more importantly, what happened in June? I know I was on some kind of vacation to let my poor mind rest but I was perhaps a little too worked up because I don’t remember much of it. That’s a stressful mind for you (and yes, I’m less stressed out after vacation that before so it did the trick even if things are not entirely back to normal yet). Luckily I have my blog (even though it looks like I completely forgot about that one too in June) which means I try to take as many pictures as I can to show on the blog. So how about a little reminder? What actually happened on vacation?

wpid-20150620_011452.jpg

Well, we went North. North is a good place to rest, it’s comfortable (as long as you don’t stay in a tent, which I don’t), it’s without Internet Connection and there is lots of tea. What more could you ask for? I had decided not to bring the Great Lace, partly because it’s a mess to move and partly because I needed to feel completely free. All I wanted was to puzzle and that I did. I made two puzzles of 1000 pieces each in three and a half days. Then the puzzle obsession ceased. For now.

wpid-20150620_011609.jpg

I remember drinking lots of tea and never ending days and walking through the Midsummer night. I remember talking a million pictures of muskoxen and possibly finding a new favorit animal (next to elephants).

wpid-20150620_124117.jpg

wpid-20150620_124126.jpg

wpid-20150620_124834.jpg

wpid-20150620_130500.jpg

Muskoxen knows what’s important in life, feminism and wool and I don’t see how you cannot love that. Quivit is now on top of my yarn wish list. That’s the worlds warmest wool and I think it’s my knitterly duty to honor them and do my best to protect the muskoxen.

wpid-20150621_141747.jpg

I remember walking up on the mountain with Julle, fighting off mosquitos (the thing in the upper left corner in the picture is not an airplane, it’s a mosquito) and hiding from the rain (and stumbling on the way down and get broken tights and broken skin but that’s okay because that happens during summer).

wpid-20150621_142321.jpg

Our vacations usually involves me, Julle and a (or several) huge cameras. This one was no exception.

wpid-20150621_134611.jpg

wpid-20150621_135303.jpg

wpid-20150621_140455.jpg

Julle taking pictures of the landscape and me taking pictures of Julle taking pictures.

wpid-20150622_154203.jpg

I remember have tea at a yarn shop where I didn’t purchase any yarn, but two pattern magazines and tea and cake.

wpid-20150622_154220.jpg

I love a yarn store that takes its’ tea seriously.

wpid-20150622_165354.jpg

I remember having fake potato cake which was surprisingly delicious. I usually don’t like sponge cake nor buttercream but I do like almond paste and together all these Three Components where delicious.

Now, the big question is, what does a knitter, who has been knitting on an never ending white lace for a year, do when she’s finally allowed to cast on something new?

wpid-20150622_121632.jpg

Another white lace of course!

 

 

 

TUCT-14 – Vättern Edition. Day #5

image

We are back home again after an eventless drive home (even though we were on our way to Göteborg for five kilometers and we also did get to see Enköping which wasn’t reallt the plan).

image

We did visit the chocolate factory in Askersund before we left too. We got chocolate and some luxury chocolate balls before heading home. And we might have gotten a Christmas tablecloth embroidery too, but not at the chocolate factory obviously (that would have been some chocolate factory, don’t you think?).

TUCT-14 – Vättern Edition. Day #4

Yesterday I promised garden, tablecloth and waffles and that’s exactly what happened today. We started by going to the Chinese Garden where Ulrika works.

wpid-dsc_4988.jpg

She had taken the morning off to be able to guide us through the garden. I must say that despite the fact that there has been some gardening posts lately, I find gardening quite boring. It’s a science that I know very little about and I have never been interested enough to learn more. I think this dislike for biology and herbage came in fifth grade when we were supposed to draw seedcases. Brown seedcases in grey leads, not my colours, not my task since I’ve never been good at drawing, simply not my cup of tea and I think somewhere among those seedcases a lifelong reluctance for anything vegetation-y started to sprout (pun intended).

wpid-dsc_4985.jpg

When Ulrika talked about the plants though, it was interesting. It was the perfect mix of knowledge, talent, fun and details that made it really interesting. Also, gardens has of course, like everything else, different trends and ideals and history, something I’ve never thought about before. How something can look random and dishevelled and how that randomness is really, really well-planned, otherwise it wouldn’t as random (I know, it’s a bit contradictive but it’s true). I knew a little about it, I do work in an English park after all (and by that I mean that my work place is situated in an English park, not that I work in the actual park with the part, so to speak), but now I understand it much better.

wpid-dsc_4991.jpg

I also like the idea with contrasts and harmony, water and rocks and buildings, soft against hard. It is more inviting than the regular (at least in Europe) castle gardens with straight paths and well-mowed lawns, that you cannot under no circumstances walk on (unless perhaps you are lawn mower or something but probably not even then), and hedges. After all, a garden should be a place to sit down and rest and not just study from the window of the second floor of the castle.

wpid-dsc_4986.jpg

Even Catherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice must have like this kinds of gardens better, why else would she ask Elizabeth out for a walk on the wild side (of the lawn). “Miss Bennet, there seemed to be a prettyish kind of a little wilderness on one side of your lawn. I should be glad to take a turn in it, if you will favour me with your company” (chapter 56). It seems she got at least some things right, the noble lady.

wpid-dsc_4974.jpg

My favourite tree in the garden is this, the Cercidiphyllum. I love how it puts the leaves in one long lane like that.

wpid-dsc_4982.jpg

There were waterlilies!

wpid-dsc_4989.jpg

Even red waterlilies which is a bit unusual. These ones come from a nearby lake where red waterlilies first were discovered. It might also be that Claude Monet got a seed from that pond to his waterlily pond in Giverny, but that is a very weak maybe. Anyway, a garden with self-respect should have waterlilies in my opinion.

wpid-dsc_4980.jpg

 

Julle made a new friend.

wpid-dsc_4975.jpg

This seed looked like a jester’s hat.

wpid-dsc_4979.jpg

I really like the idea with the bridges, that they are not straight but in sharp corners to prevent the spirits to follow you since the spirits aren’t very good at turning. It also gives you a chance to see things from another perspective, what’s behind you and what things looks like from another angle. Personally, I’m going to start trying this technique when it comes to headaches, if I make sharp enough turns, maybe the headache will get lost.

wpid-dsc_4996.jpg

After the garden we did indeed go to the weaving mill that we visited last year. It resulted in a red tablecloth to use at Christmas and considering how much I fell in love with another tablecloth, in green, we will probably be back another year.

wpid-dsc_5000.jpg

 

Then we went to Övralid, like we did last year, and I was right last year, it was much easier to get there by car.

wpid-dsc_4999.jpg

We had waffles and tea and other goodies before it was time to look through the museum.

wpid-dsc_5008.jpg

Last year we arrived to Övralid, sweaty and with a swarm of flies around us. We thought we might be too dirty to visit the museum and also our main concern was food. That was the famous day when Julle uttered the words “I want real food, otherwise I will get crabby”, to which I didn’t respond the obvious, that he already was crabby. He was so sulky that the staff at the place were we had lunch became so worried about him that we got coffee and tea for free. Well, that was earlier in the day before we got to Övralid, and we thought it best not to push it anymore that day so we decided to have waffles first and then we didn’t think that a day on the bike had made us suitable museum visitors and we decided to do that another year instead. We did by a kitchen magnet though, one that showed Verner von Heidenstam’s fridge, which they have made into a kitchen magnet that we, in our turn, has put on our fridge. I like the meta in that.

This year we got to see the actual fridge! And it was still working.

wpid-dsc_5015.jpg

Verner von Heidenstam‘s study. He was a writer and Nobel laureate who built this nice house with a great view of Vättern. I’m pretty sure I’ve at least read some of his poems but I can’t remember much besides the usual.

wpid-dsc_5019.jpg

His library was the nicest room in the house. He had wall fixed book cases, something that we really want too, and he had colour coded his books. The red ones were by the window where you could see the red cottage where we had waffles.

wpid-dsc_5018.jpg

The blue ones were by the window closest to lake Vättern.

wpid-dsc_5017.jpg

The golden ones were on the opposite side from the windows so that the setting sun shone on them. Very clever, I must say.

wpid-dsc_5023.jpg

Outside the museum I sat down to knit a few rows while Julle took pictures of the great view. I haven’t knit at all for a few days and that’s very unusual, but we have had a pretty full schedule on this, our little vacation.

wpid-dsc_5029.jpg

Tomorrow though, we’ll go back home together with a lamp, tablecloth, laces patterns and many, many memories (and even more pictures!).

 

TUCT-14 – Vättern Edition. Day #3

This day was spent on and by the lake. We did what we never had the chance to really do last year, cross the lake. It all started innocently enough, we took the car to Olshammar, on the Western side of the lake.

wpid-dsc_4890.jpg

There lives my cousin Ulrika and her husband. We met them, not by chance obviously, this was well planned, at the harbour and soon we were out on the lake in there boat Big Boat.

wpid-dsc_4912.jpg

A summer day should definitely be spent on a lake in a boat, it’s just the right thing to do. The sun is warm and the water glitters.

wpid-dsc_4907.jpg

There are sailboats and the view is just lovely.

wpid-dsc_4920.jpg

The destination for our boat trip was Stjernsund slott, a castle on the Eastern side of the lake, built in the 19th century by Prince Gustaf (obviously not him personally, but he took the initiative. He was perhaps better at composing songs than building castles and he is also called the Singing Prince since he did compose a lot of still famous songs. He was also the Duke of my province and he studied at my university and has become a statue outside the university library).

wpid-dsc_4937.jpg

Anyways, he had this castle built and it’s now a museum and very pretty. There is something very romantic about castles but I’m not sure it would actually be fun to live in one even if you didn’t have to think about money. Especially an old one, I would constantly be afraid of breaking something and you can’t live like that in your own home. But it sure is nice to watch and they new how to decorate things back then.

wpid-dsc_4935.jpg

They also had a sense of drama and knew what would be the most spectacular. Like this entrance for example, to this castle you’d do best to arrive by boat. The castle is situated on a cape so it has water on both the South side and the North side and the main entrance is from the South side, up this very stair.

wpid-dsc_4949.jpg

After lunch and a castle tour and a visit in the very nice museum shop we took the boat back to Olshammar and waved goodbye to Ulrika and Nicklas. It was the perfect summer outing, boat, food, castle and great views.

wpid-dsc_4954.jpg

Dinner was spent at Idas brygga in Karlsborg, where we also had dinner last year. So far we’ve only had dinner at places were we also ate last year and to be honest I don’t know why we went back to the previous ones but Idas brygga is a hit. The food is lovely, the view is great if you like boats which we happen to do and the tea is neat. I can fully recommend Idas brygga to anyone hungry. And to those who isn’t hungry too, they could always drink the tea.

Tomorrow, we are off to some gardens, table cloths and waffles. Good night!

TUCT-14 – Vättern Edition. Day #2. Lace-cation

This has been a lacey day. I figure if people have vacations and stay-cations, we have had a lace-cation. We went to Vadstena which is sort of the bobbin lace center in Sweden. We visited Svenska spetsar, Swedish Laces, and looked through their shop.

wpid-dsc_4802.jpg

They didn’t only have patterns and such but also bobbins, thread and lots of other things. We had a nice conversation with Britt-Inger who took care of us and helped us find what we were looking for.

wpid-dsc_4804.jpg

I got a lot of thread in many different colours. There is something about making lace in colours rather than just white, even though the white ones are very nice too.

wpid-dsc_4809.jpg

We continued on a found the store Elsa Pettersons Spetsaffär Eftr. In there we met Gunnel.

wpid-dsc_4822.jpgGunnel is 92 years old and has taken care of the shop for 44 years. Her mother, Elsa Petterson, had the store for 50 years and had 400 lace makers making laces for her to sell in the shop. These days Gunnel mostly sells pattern but you could still find a lot of nice laces from that time.

wpid-dsc_4814.jpg

Small laces.

wpid-dsc_4815.jpg

Huge laces.

wpid-dsc_4805.jpg

 

Laces in the making.

wpid-dsc_4820.jpg

Laces under the counter. Gunnel told us that there were no information on the patterns her mother left her, just the cardboard with lines and holes for the needles, no information about what size thread to use, how many bobbins, where to start, which turns to make, nothing, and she has spent many years trying to figure out the patterns so she can sell them on. Her store was a little museum in its own.

wpid-dsc_4832.jpg

Outside the lace world Vadstena is mostly known for its Birgitta convent, the convent that Saint Birgitta founded, so we took time to visit the convent museum as well.

wpid-dsc_4831.jpg

Some things were really interesting but I can’t say it was cooler than all the laces we had seen earlier. We are people who judge a museum by its’ museum shop and its’ café and this one had a pretty boring shop and a non-existing café. It might also be that we found the museum a bit boorish because by the time we went there we were really in the mood for coffee (tea!), our feet were a little tired and yeah, some coffee was of need and there were none. We probably weren’t fair to the museum but coffee or not, the lady at the counter was not as nice as the lace ladies we had already met that day.

wpid-dsc_4808.jpg

After the museum we went to a coffee shop, a polka dotted coffee shop, Jenny would have loved it, and had some well deserved sandwiches and tea. The blood sugar was a bit too low at that time but once the tea and sandwiches kicked in we were happy as clams again and could continue with our day.

wpid-dsc_4824.jpg

Even the pedestrian crossings in Vadstena are about laces, isn’t this just the prettiest thing ever? The lace is called Viggen and you can by the pattern at Svenska spetsar. Another thing about Vadstena is that it seems to be populated (or visited?) by only two categories of people – one is Norwegian ladies in the 40’s and the other is older ladies who has trouble walking due to either injuries or old age. It seems like, the Norwegian ladies aside, Vadstena is a place where senior citizens go on group tours. But then again, bobbin lace is  perhaps not the first thing you connect with youth so it only makes sense the average age was a bit… higher.

wpid-dsc_4847.jpg

After the coffee shop we were walking towards our car when a cat came meowing at us. It meowed and meowed and it looked like it really wanted something, and snuggled against our legs. Julle was bothered and thought the cat might be injured or something and when it rose on its’ hind legs and stretched its’ front legs at me, Julle decided we should walk away. The cat followed us for a bit and than say down, continuing meowing (none of us know anything about cats and we had no idea what this one wanted) and we walked on, in a completely different direction from our car but that was a good thing because we happen to run into the Lace museum! (Please compare the above to my little lavender stalk, I think it might be the same technique.)

GunBritt-1

In there we found Gun-Britt, who in 1976 was pictured on a stamp, making lace.

GunBritt-2

Meeting Gun-Britt was really nice and the stamp itself was cool and it almost felt like we had met a celebrity. Can you imagine being pictured on a stamp? That only happens to royalty and flowers and people making cool sports goals and such, and apparently in 1976, to a young lace maker in Vadstena.

wpid-dsc_4851.jpg

There were some really cool stuff. I mean, don’t you find it absolutely necessary to match your chair with your bobbin lace pillow, after you’ve seen this picture?

wpid-dsc_4854.jpg

Yep, it’s a hat. And it’s lace.

wpid-dsc_4857.jpg

Different kinds of bobbin lace pillows.

wpid-dsc_4848.jpg

A somewhat bigger lace.

wpid-dsc_4862.jpg

Julle making his first go at bobbin lace. Well done!

wpid-dsc_4871.jpg

After all this lace we did something completely different. We went to Borenshult and watched some locks before it was time for dinner.

wpid-dsc_4864.jpg

 

You can tell we’ve done this before. We took it easy, bought ice-cream and sat down to wait for the boats to come.

wpid-dsc_4868.jpg

They came and let me tell you,

wpid-dsc_4870.jpg

it’s just as fun to watch locks this summer as it was last summer.

wpid-dsc_4888.jpg

Then it was six o’clock and the locks were closed for the day. One day we will do this by boat.

wpid-dsc_4889.jpg

We find it a bit dark in our hotel room so we bought a lamp to lighten things up a bit. Yep. Or rather, we did find a lamp, one that we have been looking for for two years, and since we are not on a bike this year, we got it. But we didn’t want it in the car for the rest of our trip so we brought it into our hotel room. It sure looked a bit fun when Julle came walking through the reception carrying a lamp.

Tomorrow we’ll actually be on Vättern instead of just beside it. See you then!

 

 

 

TUCT-14 – Vättern Edition. Day #1

Do you remember TUBT-13? The Ultimate Bike Trip we did last year. Well, we figured there were so many pretty things we missed because our only focus was food and to avoid roads with lorries, that we decided to go back, but this time by car. Hence, TUCT – The Ultimate Car Trip, starting today.

wpid-dsc_4789.jpgWe have arrived in Askersund, at the very top of the lake Vättern. Today we have only walked around and thought of last year’s trip and pointed at things we remembered from that year.

wpid-dsc_4787.jpg

We even had dinner at the same place (and, knowing our habits, I’m pretty sure we even ordered the same kind of meal as last year). I must admit though that one we were sitting down and had ordered none of us remembered why we thought we’d go back to this place, the ambiance is really weird and today we also met the local player (and we know way too much about his life from the phone call he made to someone), but the food is good even though the fries could do with some more salt and it’s beautifully situated by the water.

wpid-dsc_4788.jpg

Just like the last time we were here, it has rained earlier in the day and the air was a bit chilly, but the sun came out it was all very pretty.

Tomorrow we’ll continue our reminiscence further down the lake and also visit some new places. Till then, I bid thee good night!

 

Travelog

wpid-DSC_1521.jpg

I’ve rested a little and are now more fit to tell you more about my little trip north. Many, many miles equal many hours in a car which makes for good knitting time. I did drive some of the way too, the part where to road was so up and down and turned frequently so it was impossible to knit without getting motion sickness anyway.

Most importantly…
wpid-DSC_1538.jpg
I did sit on the bench under the fir tree and knit. Not for long, I admit that, but I did knit.

wpid-DSC_1533.jpg
We hiked up the mountain, Ränningsvålen, mum and I. The fir tree is about half an hour walk uphill.

wpid-DSC_1585.jpg
The last part we were escorted by a herd of rein-deers. I’m pretty sure they were a little tired of us because they kept walking in circles around us almost all the way down and then also later in the afternoon when we took a little walk. I’m sure they said to each other “Look, those two again, can’t they just stay put!”.

wpid-DSC_1590.jpg
I also knit up on the mountain, 932 meters above sea. It was windy and I had to hold on tight to my needles.

wpid-DSC_1659.jpg
As I said before we also went to Norway and Röros.

wpid-DSC_1621.jpg
Röros is an old copper mine village and so pretty. I’ve never been to Norway before so that was great fun.

wpid-DSC_1622.jpg
Isn’t this the prettiest police department building you’ve ever seen?

wpid-DSC_1624.jpg
This was fun too, the sign says bookstore but they only sell men’s clothes. Instead the real “Amnéus Boghandel” was located somewhere else, not far away from the yarn store where I got my Norwegian yarn.

wpid-DSC_1750.jpg
Sorry about the crappy picture but I assure you the knitted products made by this will be beautiful.

wpid-DSC_1625.jpg
Aparently there has been a wool factory in Röros but now unfortunately it’s a hostel.

wpid-DSC_1655.jpg
We also stopped at a rein-deer butcher to get some sausages. Tasty!

wpid-DSC_1669.jpg
My knitting is now becoming well-travelled.

wpid-DSC_1675.jpg
I like how this rein-deer respects the traffic regulations, remembering the right-hand traffic.

wpid-DSC_1682.jpg
The same evening we got some less well-behaved visitors in the garden.

wpid-DSC_1696.jpg
And not just the garden, the entire village got called upon.

wpid-DSC_1698.jpg
The last two pictures are taken from the kitchen window. There were about 20 rein-deers visiting. They left in a hurry though.

wpid-DSC_1710.jpg
The last day before we left we made a stop in Tännäs and bought bread.

wpid-DSC_1711.jpg
Tännäs has Sweden’s highest located church, 648 meters above sea.

wpid-DSC_1707.jpg
It’s really beautiful. All that light and the colors. Lovely!

I’ve already told you about the Bikini Club in Lillhärdal but it’s worth mention again.

wpid-DSC_1731.jpg
The ladies look so comfortable up there on the roof. Our star reported wrote a great piece about the exhibition.

wpid-DSC_1738.jpg
Besides the ladies on the roof Veronika Psotková also showed us the piece Sauna, about seven men in a very confined space, a sauna. It’s interesting, the contrast in how the women in the Bikini Club are free and can take up space while the men in Sauna are stuck in a narrow little room.

wpid-DSC_1513.jpg
On our way home we stopped at a big yarn store. I love their sign.

wpid-DSC_1752.jpg
The visit resulted in some additions to my stash.

wpid-DSC_1745.jpg
Good bye Härjedalen, till we meet again!