My father came from Finland to visit me this weekend. He brought me my grandmother’s carders as I had mentioned I’d like to have a pair.
My grandmother, a farmer’s daughter, was born in 1900, when Finland was still a Grand Duchy of Russia (Finland became independent in 1917). When she married my grandfather, they settled in the town of Mikkeli, in the Savo area, Eastern Finland. My grandmother did not work outside the home, but as a mother of seven she nevertheless had plenty of work to do at home. The house had a big garden, so she grow vegetables, kept some chickens and even a few sheep.
My father says that when he was a little boy, he often watched his mother carding the homegrown wool and then spinning it, before knitting it into socks and mittens. One of my aunts still has the spinning wheel – I’d love to have a go one day. Although my father never spun wool himself, he says he’s watched it being done so often that he probably could figure out how to use the wheel. Apparently spinning produced a really soothing noise, so it created a lovely homely atmosphere.
I have never carded wool, but I have a rough idea of how it is done. There are a several farmers who keep sheep a few minutes from my house, so I am hoping I’ll be able to get hold of some wool to practise with. I’m looking forward to being able to get my grandmother’s carders back into use again!