This blog post could have been about a five-day course in wool knowledge at Sätergläntan craft education center. However, the course was canceled. I was very sad about this, but I did keep the days off from my day job. Suddenly I found myself in a week of creativity.
A whole week to myself in the brightest and most thriving part of the year. I had some things planned but also lots of time to explore and create unplanned.
A park bench
Dan’s birthday was coming up and I had planned to build him a park bench. Recently Erik Eje Almqvist published a book called Hammare och spik (Hammer and nail) that builds on Enzo Mari’s idea of functional furniture with right angles that anyone can build. The book contains descriptions of stools, chairs, benches, tables, shelves and more that are based on standard Swedish timber measurements. I got the timber sawed up on Monday at the timber store and help from my father bringing the stuff home.
I spent a large part of Tuesday building the bench. It was a very hot day, but nice and cool in the basement where we have our storage room. The construction was simple, functional and very sturdy. It could even endure the wonkiness of a beginner’s mistakes.
Wednesday I created what I call crafting graffiti – an embroidered message of love for Dan. I drew the motif on the bench and drilled holes along the drawn lines and sanded down the roughness from the drilling. I wanted to make a root stitch, but the root (or in this case a split ivy stem) kept breaking so I abandoned that idea. Instead I went closer to home – I embroidered with a chain stitch along the holes with my handspun yarn.
Along with the timber for the bench I bought timber for two stools. Our teenagers spent Thursday building one stool each and by evening we had a whole set of furniture for Dan’s birthday on Friday. We prepared breakfast in the morning on the balcony. As the rain poured down on the sunshade above us we had the loveliest breakfast together all four of us (which is unusual these days since we get up at very different times).
Summer of flax
As I mentioned in a previous post I ended my very long flax spinning procrastination phase and started spinning some of my flax. I don’t have much practice spinning flax, so I was enjoying experimenting, listening to the flax and learning from my mistakes. To practice for my homegrown flax I used store-bought from Växbo lin.
As I preach with wool, the preparation is key. I learned how to best arrange the flax for dressing the distaff and how to move the distaff as the spinning progressed. You can see more of how I dress my distaff in this blog post and video. I built a MacGyver style distaff stand with the help of a parasol stand and some willow sticks. It works surprisingly well.
I have spent quite a few afternoons on the balcony with my flax. This is the time of day when there is shade on the balcony and I thrive away from the sun as it has been around 30 °C this week.
Spindle and shorter lengths
Before I have dressed my distaff I have brushed the flax with my flax brush. It has removed the shorter bits. Still, as I have reached the end of the flax bundle on the distaff only short bits have been left. Through my spinning I have saved both the brushed away lengths and the inner shorter lengths on the distaff and dressed them on a hand distaff for spindle spinning. I have an in-hand style spindle with a counter-clockwise spiral groove that works wonderfully for this.
The last craft of this week of creativity is making grass crowns. It is a lovely craft you can do a large part of the year depending on what plants you have nearby. I have used grass of course, but also lavender, onions (!) and field flowers. Eventhough grass crown making is a perishable craft, most of the crowns age with dignity.
I have had a lovely week of creativity. On Monday I get back to work again, but only for a week and a half. After that I have six weeks of vacation with lots of room for more creativity. But first I will make another grass crown as a gift to my parents.
My week of creativity has not ended yet. More grass is waiting to become crowns, more flax is waiting to be explored. How was your week?
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