Sunday, May 17, 2015

Syttende Mai and a bit of Norwegian history

Last evening's Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor talking about Syttende Mai (and singing some traditional Norwegian songs) prompted me to do some research on this holiday...and brush up on some essential Norwegian history...

Today is the 17th of May, a national holiday in Norway.  It is Nasjonaldagen (National Day) or Grunnlovsdagen (Constitution Day). In 1814 on this day Norway declared itself an independent kingdom to avoid being given to Sweden by Denmark after Denmark-Norway's defeat in the Napoleanic Wars.   (The Norwegian provinces of Iceland, Greenland and the Faroes remained with Denmark).  There was terrible poverty and mass starvation as a result of this defeat. 

 In of course the expected political ironies, Norway actually WAS given to Sweden.  but the opportunity presented itself for the country to attempt to declare a level of independence.  Norway kept its liberal constitution and institutions with exception of the foreign service. Because of the Napoleonic Wars, economic development in Norway was slow until around 1830..(making immigration to the US in the 19th century very tempting). Because of the lack of independence, there was a rise in Norwegian romantic nationalism. 

Norway's true independence  did not actually happen until June 7, 1905, when Prince Carl of Denmark was named King of Norway and called himself Haakon VII. 

Coincidentally, WWII ended 9 days before Syttende Mai in 1945, adding more meaning to independence at this time of May! (As we know, Norway was occupied by the Nazi's during WWII).   As the website for the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah Iowa suggests, it is a great day to celebrate freedom all around!

Here is an old photo taken by Paul Stang in the early 1900's of a Syttende Mai celebration in Stongfjorden

Mom and I visited Norway and a few other places  around Scandinavia in 2002 

Here's a postcard that I picked up of a little one and her castle wheel, dated 1904, the distaff suggests that she is spinning, or pretending to spin... flax

We went to the Norsk Folkemuseum, the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History at Bygdøy in Oslo, and saw dancers in traditional costumes, some of which people wore today!

The women are wearing Bunad, here's a definition from Wikipedia

"Bunad (Norwegian plural: bunader) is a Norwegian umbrella term encompassing, in its broadest sense, a range of both traditional rural clothes (mostly dating to the 19th and 18th centuries) as well as modern 20th-century folk costumes. In its narrow sense the word bunad refers only to clothes designed in the early 20th century that are loosely based on traditional costumes. The word bunad in itself is a 20th-century invention.
The bunad movement has its root in 19th-century national romanticism, which included an interest for traditional folk costumes not only in Norway, but also in neighbouring countries such as Denmark and notably Germany. However, in Norway national romanticist ideas had a more lasting impact, as seen in the use of folk inspired costumes"

Finally, we took a boat down Sognefjord, here I am at Kvikne's resort

King Harald and Queen Sonja just happened to be visiting that day, here you see Harald me!  He is the Grandson of Haakon VII.

 And here I am outside of Bergen at the tomb of Edvard Grieg and his wife, I am wearing a Dale sweater purchased in Norway...

(Thanks as usual to wikipedia...yes, I send them a donation yearly!)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Blazing Dyeing

So... I knew that my local fiber guild, Fiber Guild of the Savannahs, was sponsoring a warp dyeing workshop. Now, I am not a weaver at the present time but I know what a warp is.  I went to the guild meeting on Saturday last. The workshop presenter, Kathrin from Blazing Shuttles, from the Asheville area, gave a talk. Kathrin dyes and sells warps in different color ways!

Turns out, the next day, she was doing a dyeing workshop that would include skein dyeing for knitters. Any other plans for Sunday left my head!  

We used ProChemical & Dye kits that Kathrin assembled to manipulate most colors of the rainbow and variations in between!  The dyes were for cellulose based fibers...cotton and types of rayon which  include bamboo and tensel (lyocell). The fibers are created by processing cellulose fibers from different plants (e.g. bamboo) and "extruding" them in a single filament, hence the slipperiness and shininess. While the source is "natural" the fibers are highly processed.  However...these dyes worked well on the silk caps that I brought....

 I am in Kathrin's camp of enjoying intense colors or hues. Apparently "colorfulness" "saturation" and "chroma" are slightly different ways of expressing the intensity of a color.  (I don't understand these nuances but I think that they are important...)

Here are photos...the first two are warps that were dyed by Kathrin on some of our guild's looms

Here is an assortment of undyed and dyed warps

Here are my finished fibers, first, a silk cap from stash, ironically, I had not spun hankies or caps till after this workshop! But now I'm off and running, more on this in an upcoming post...

Tencel roving, dip dyed. I bought the roving from Jennifer in Savannah some time ago

Mercerized cotton in my stash for 20 years probably, haha, the yarn had been used prior in this

Purchased from Kathrin, a rayon chenille skein

More of the tensel, only this was spun quickly the night before

My advice to you: go buy a skein or warp from Kathrin's website or go to a workshop as soon as you can!