Last weekend I spent a day with a friend at a yearly wool market at Österbybruk, about 100 km from where I live in Stockholm. It is a market full of wool and people who care about wool.
My goal for the visit was to meet new and old wooly friends and get samples of wool that were new to me. And I did find some of both! I was so busy talking to people and looking for pretty wool that I completely forgot to take photos. Really. Not a single photo. But I do have pictures of the fluff I bought and I will share some fond memories from the market.
The wool people
Eventhough I am an introvert and get exhausted by events like this, I do love being in a wooly atmosphere and meeting people with room for wool in their hearts. There are lots of local farmers and initiatives to promote Swedish wool. It warms my heart to see all this love and initiative for wool.
The Swedish wool agency
Fia Söderberg runs a small-scale organic farm with Gotland and Jämtland sheep. She also used to have Roslag sheep (named after the area where the market was situated). She had brought the last wool from her Roslag sheep and I got my hands on some of it.
Fia has started Ullförmedlingen, the Swedish wool agency. The agency works to promote Swedish wool, knowledge of Swedish wool and connection within the Swedish wool business. She has also developed a digital market place for Swedish wool, where buyers and sellers can connect. In addition to that, Pia hosts Ullpodden, a wool podcast that aims to increase knowledge about Swedish wool as a sustainable resource. Fia is a true wool superhero!
I met Camilla, a shepherdess who has a small flock of Klövsjö sheep. The breed is a Swedish conservation breed. In 2018 there were about 460 Klövsjö ewes in Sweden. I got some pretty lamb locks. Most of them were pitch black, but I also laid my hands on a handful of rippled candy staples. Long, soft and silky. Camilla had put the locks in individual bags with the lambs’ names on them. I got Alma and some of her brothers and sisters.
I have no idea how to make them justice, though. I want to make all the colours shine.
I also got some adult Klövsjö. Normally I prefer light wool because it is easier to show on camera. I also find dark wool very hard to spin because I can’t see it properly. But when there are only black staples of a rare breed I will get the black staples.
I met Ulla Alm who is the chair of Kulturlandskaparna, an association working for biologic diversity. They have a flock of sheep at Överjärva gård just outside Stockholm. It is my go-to sheep farm and where I first learned to spin. They had many bags full of wool, all labeled with the sheep’s names.
I met Marianne Fröberg, chair of Ullvilja, an association aiming to promote Swedish wool. They also host the annual Swedish fleece and spinning championships. I have just submitted my yarns for the 2019 championships. I will tell you all about it later.
Ullvilja had a few fleeces on display for people to fondle. I was amazed by a wonderful Värmland lamb fleece with the prettiest lamb locks I have ever seen. Usually you see the lamb locks on the outer coat, but this one had soft lamb locks on the under coat too.
When I sat on the bus home my brain had turned to goo and my heart was singing. I was also strengthened by the sweet memory of all these forces to promote Swedish wool.
You can read more about these wool promoting forces in a blog post by American knitter, teacher and writer Sara Wolf, a k a A knit Wizard. She is also writing a knitter’s travel book: Knit Sweden!. She contacted me a while ago and asked if I wanted to contribute to her book. And I did! I will spin samples from the breeds I bought at the wool market (plus other breeds) and send to her so that she can knit swatches for her book. Yay!
And oh, I got recognized! Two spinners came up to me and introduced themselves. They were followers and/or students in my online courses. A few other people knew exactly who I was and what I did. It was a very mixed feeling. I was both immensely proud and childishly excited about the fact that people knew who I was and at the same time a bit embarrassed about the attention. But it made me really happy that people came to me and introduced themselves, it was very sweet and warmed my heart. Again.
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