kareina: (Default)
This weekend is Spelmansstämman, northern Sweden's larges folk music gathering. We started with the concert, which was very nice. When the Finnish trio Ilmoi walked in to perform at the concert tonight I took one look at the lovely lady's hair hanging past her knees and commented to David "I think I am in love", and then she started singing, and suddenly I was certain. They do really amazing music.

Then I danced for 2.5 hours before it was my turn to flip hamburgers, and now I need to do my yoga and get to sleep so that I can get up on time to attend the singing workshop that the singer from Ilmoi is running in the morning. Then we have our folk dance performance (provided no one else gets sick or injured--we are already down two dancers, one of whom is in the hospital).
kareina: (fresh baked rolls)
I have mentioned before that we are making svartvinbärsylt(black currant jam) by boiling berries with an apple, but no sugar, and how much I love it as a condiment on foods (much like Americans use ketchup). Recently [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's parents moved house, and when they did they gave us one of their freezers, and with it a few bags of lingonberries. Swedes tend to put lingonberry jam on pretty much all food types, but I don't care for it, because store bought jam has so much sugar in it. However, lingonberries are much tarter than black currants, so we decided to try mixing the two berries 50-50. Today's jam consisted of 1 yoghurt bucket of black currants, 1 yogurt bucket of lingonberries, and one small green apple (and no sugar, of course), which I covered with water and boiled till it had condensed down small enough that it fits into two 3/4 L glass jars, with a bit of room to spare in each.

While it was cooking I took last night's rotmos(mashed potatoes + other root vegetables, like turnip, parsnip, rutabaga, and carrot) and turned it into perogies and baked some bread rolls. I just tried some of the perogies with the lingon-svartvinbärsylt on it, and yum! The jam is just tart enough to bite back when eaten on its own, but blends very well with savory foods.

The reason I managed to do all of this is that this morning I will need to work in the afternoon. The department is having a party during which various labs have been asked to do a short presentation of what they do, and I was specifically asked to do a talk on the new laser ablation ICP-MS lab. Since the party starts at 15:30, I am not going to go in till just a bit before then.

This weekend's Spelmansstamän was, as always, ever so much fun. Our dance performance went well, his nyckleharpa group performance sounded great, there were many other wonderful performers, and, as always, the evening dancing was fabulous. Groups of musicians take turns playing for the dancers all evening both Friday and Saturday nights. This was my fifth Spelmansstamän, and I am pleased to report that these days I don't even need to think about what kind of music they are playing, my body just does the correct type of Swedish folk dance to the music.

Then C arrived for a visit yesterday, and it is so wonderful to have her here again. It is looking like either she will come north (usually) or we will head south to see her at least once a month for the rest of the year.


Jun. 18th, 2014 08:10 am
kareina: (me)

Ok, it isn't me flying in this photo, but he can, and has done this with me, too. However, our dance teacher wanted the smallest girl in the group for this, since it is prettier the higher she spins, and since I am several inches taller my feet wind up closer to the ground. Just linking to the photo here because I made an attempt to describe this in my post the other day, and this is so much better than a verbal description.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Last weekend was one of those "full-on" weekends that keep one too busy to even look at a computer, let alone check in with the world.

Friday, walking home from work with [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, he asked me what I planned to wear the next day at our Folk Dance performance. This is when I realized that I really should have made arrangements to borrow a skirt. Oops. However, this performance wasn't one of the major performances of our group, where we all wear the same matching costume with the skirt of hand-woven fabric patterned after one from the Luleå area in the 1800's (as seen in this costume I borrowed for last year's performances). Therefore, rather than doing last minute scrambling we looked into our fabric stash to see what we had that might work.

Some of the other ladies in the folk dance guild have plain grey wool skirts (in addition to, or instead of, the striped skirt in the above link). Therefore, of all of the wool we had in the house, the one that seemed best suited to making such a skirt was the heavy grey wool twill we picked up at Double Wars (which we had thought would make either some nice Viking trousers or perhaps a heavy tunic).

Friday night was also a visit from [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar's eldest brother, his wife, and three young daughters. They have come up from southern Sweden for a visit to their parents in Piteå (about 45 minutes south of here), and since they were this close then had to come see us, too. So before we looked at fabric, and before the guests arrived, we mixed up a banana-nut bread and got it into the oven, and then started some cookie dough. (However, since the bread took a full hour to bake, we ran out of time, and just put the cookie dough into the fridge to bake later.)

We had a fun time visiting with his family that evening, and they didn't think it at all odd that after enjoying the banana-nut bread with them I got out fabric and started pleating it to a waist band. I made a couple of attempts at folding the fabric into even sized pleats using the twill stripes of the fabric as a guide, but soon gave up at trying to figure out which number of stripes would reduce two full widths of fabric to the size of my waist. Instead I took a sturdy linen thread, ran it through the edge of the fabric, and pulled to draw it in to the size of the waist band.

Once it was the correct length I pinned the waistband into place, and [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar stitched it down (this was just after his brother and company went back to their parent's house for the night). After the first side of the waist band was sewn down we realized that I had pinned it on such that if he sewed the second side with a machine it would show through to the outside, so I started sewing the second side of the waist band by hand, and he did the first pass of attaching a narrow woven band to the hem of the skirt. That band was then folded to the inside, and the far side of it hand-stitched down to keep the raw edge of the wool sealed, but not do a full rolled hem in fabric that thick.

The hand sewing on the waist took as long to do as the machine sewing of the hem, plus about 1/4 of the hand sewing of the hem. Once I got the waist done I joined him on the hand sewing of the hem, and we managed to finish the job by midnight. There is a photo of it over here

Saturday we got up nice and early, and went down to Piteå, where we spent all day at a fair. We did a few dance demos for the public, hung out near the Folk Federation's booth (and costume display), and even wandered a bit to see some of the other displays. Toward's the end of the day [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar finally got out his violin, which he had been carrying all day, and joined his fellow musicians in playing some tunes. When one of the other musicians took a break from playing I talked him into dancing with me, which was quite fun.

From there we went over to his parent's house (about a 5 minute drive from the fair grounds) to join the family for dinner. In addition to the eldest brother and his family visiting from down south, the youngest brother (who lives only another hour south of their parents) and his wife were there, so it was quite the party. It is probably a good thing that I didn't discover that the strawberries in the garden were ripe until after dinner. It would have been a shame to have missed out on all that good food just because I was too full of strawberries to eat any more. Ok, I admit it, even though I was quite full of berries already, when they brought out the cake covered with whipped cream and more strawberries, I did take a small piece. Yum!

Sunday morning we got up bright and early to drive down to Umeå (another 2.5 hours south of Piteå), where we helped our friend L with some of her packing, and loaded up our car with parts of her collection of fabric, yarn, scrap leather, and fur. The deal is that we will store it for her while she is in France for her PhD, and she can have back later whatever we don't use in the mean time. We are also borrowing/storing her bicycle. (This is a good thing--his last bike was stolen some time before I met him, and he has been doing without. But now that his work has moved to a new office only a 15 minute walk from home, it is good to have a bike to ride to work.)

In addition to helping her pack we also got to meet her mother, who was up visiting from Southern Sweden to help with packing and to take some of her other stuff home to store for her there. The four of us went for a long walk in the forest near her house, and ate wild blueberries. Yum!

We had so much fun visiting that we didn't get in the car for the drive home till 23:00, which meant we didn't get home till about 03:00. Gee, Monday morning sure felt early when that alarm went off. Despite the tired start to the work week, I have still managed to accomplish a fair bit, and it is only Wednesday. One task I have completed, a full week before the deadline to turn it in, is a talk about my research, to be presented at the Department's "Kick-off Retreat" later this month.

So, that was this past weekend's travel. Next weekend, on the other hand, is not going to have the travel we had expected. Due to delays in getting the paperwork we needed a group of us from work will not be going to Russia next week after all. However, [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar will be traveling. His work has been talking of sending him away to a training session "somewhere" in Europe the last week of August. However, at the last minute, they decided this week that instead of the last week in August it should be next week. Therefore he is flying to Scotland on Sunday and will return the following Friday. With luck he will get to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] sismith42 and [livejournal.com profile] loupblanc while he is there. He may also get to see [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t. If he does he will pick up the cloak I started for [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t years ago--a heavy blue wool that doesn't fray, to which I was tablet weaving on a very thin (two cards, two threads each) border. It would be nice to get that project back and finish it up. Not that I will touch it till I finish up my my own sexy cloak in progress.

(I don't recall if I have posted about that cloak here yet. The main fabric is a blue/grey wool twill, lightly felted. It is fully lined with a much lighter black wool twill, and the tablet woven band is bein attached such thar it shows on both sides, with the raw edges of the fabric turn to the inside. There will be a couple more rows of blue running stitch along the edge to hold it all together. Once I get the edge finished (I am getting there--two of the four sides are done, and the trim is attached to the blue on the other two sides, so only the black and the running embroidery stitching left to do) I will applique decoration to the central bit, and then I will be able to take out the basting stitches that hold the fabric together.

(Note: I found out the hard way that one really does have to baste the fabric together and sew each fabric layer to the trim one at a time (not counting the first seam--that one can be stitched through all three layers at once, inside out). If one tries to sew the whole thing inside out the two layers of fabric don't stretch the same amount, and when one turns them right side out again they don't lay smoothly. Learn from my mistakes!)

Since I am not going anywhere this weekend, I said yes to a couch surfing request. I couldn't resist, actually, the couple is from Slovakia and they are musicians traveling around Scandinavia playing music on street corners.


Jun. 23rd, 2012 09:03 pm
kareina: (Default)
Today we went out to the lovely summer house of our folk dance teacher, and while there helped her upload to FB the photos from her camera from our dance performance at Spelmansstämma the weekend before Midsummer. My favourite is the one of me (and some of the other girls "flying":

I don't really have anything else to add just now, but some of you had asked to see photos of the dancing...


Jun. 22nd, 2012 11:55 pm
kareina: (me)
This morning we left the house a bit before 10:00 and went to the old school house in Gammelstad where our folk music and dance group gathers. There were around 50 to 60 of us, mostly in costume, getting set up and ready for the day. After everything was ready to go we sat down to a nice lunch of too much good food, and then went over to the folk museum and commenced the official Midsummer celebration. While our musicians played Swedish folk music on the stage the rest of us got the huge pole (which, sadly, looks like a cross, but at least it has a couple of leaf-covered hoola-hoops dangling from it, to give it a festive air) stood up.

Then it was time to dance around it. Because it was a lovely sunny day the crowd was huge and densely packed. This meant that only four of us from the folk dance group danced--me and the three little girls (around 12 years old), in a tiny ring around the pole. Around us was a slightly larger ring of little children and their parents who were dancing, and tightly packed around them was an audience. We danced a series of traditional songs while others from our group stood on stage and sung the songs into a microphone and a large percentage of the audience sang the songs, too. I sang, too, even though I don't really know the songs like the others do--I have always been able to sing along to songs I don't know by reading lips, a skill that comes in handy on occasions like this one.

After the set of traditional dances around the pole for children our folk dance group put on a performance on the stage, and as soon as we were done we all returned to the cars and drove into Luleå city center, where we repeated the whole thing, setting up a new leaf & flower covered pole and dancing around it, and then doing a few more dance performances. It was much fun.

After our last dance performance I had to change out of costume to return the skirt (which is a special, hard to obtain pattern of woolen stripes) to the lady I had borrowed it from (she didn't need it this year, because we don't have enough men in our dance group, so she dressed in a man's costume and danced as a guy). After I changed I glanced at my phone to discover that I had missed a call. This was a bit of a surprise, no one ever calls me, save for [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar, who was busy all day running sound for the musicians at the second park.

The call had been from one of the students in the choir we sing in--the boy from Finland. I returned the call and he explained that he was back in town for the weekend and out at the Midsummer festival in Gammelstad, and were we by any chance there? I explained that we weren't, but would be there soon as we needed to bring back the sound equipment. So we agreed to meet up when we got there.

This turned out to be a very luck thing for him. In addition to putting away the sound equipment the small group of us that were still around had an additional duty: eat left overs from lunch. So the Finnish boy and his mother joined us for the meal, and really enjoyed it. He said that he has been craving new potatoes, but there weren't any in the stores that he has checked. Therefore he was really delighted to join us for a meal that featured plenty of new potatoes. Not many tourists visiting a town's mid summer celebration get to join the meal for the behind the scenes workers.

By the time dinner was over and we finally headed home it was already 19:30, and we were quite content to come home and relax a bit in a quiet environment.

We have nothing particularly special planned this weekend, which sounds nice after so many weeks in a row with stuff on. We did hear of a garage sale being held by one of the older couples in our dance group, so we will probably stop by there--it may be a good chance to get a glass button, which is the sort that is appropriate for my folk dance underdress.

Later next week we will probably pop over to Norway to enjoy mountains, but we haven't done anything as rash as make a plan of where to go, what to do, or where to sleep while we are there...


kareina: (Default)

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