In reading for our upcoming "sister's trip" to Gottland, Estonia & St. Petersburg I keep coming across little tidbits of historical information that are not really useful to anyone but they are kind of fun and interesting, so I thought I'd pass a few along....for whatever value or insight they might have for you!
In the 1950s the Haapsalu shawl knitters were required to deliver a MONTHLY quota of either 9 scarves or 12 shawls to fill the enormous Soviet demand for their product.... it rather shames me that I'm still working on the same 6 projects I started last month!
In the early 1800s, the women of Gottland, who used to go around the island collecting handknit sweaters and mittens to take to Sweden to sell, called themselves "sweaterhags". I guess it was common for them to knit as many as 100 sweaters a year themselves...again, I feel just a little embarrased at how little I accomplish by comparison!
This next bit of historical insight I read in Wild Fibers magazine (which if you haven't seen or read this magazine, you need to check it out)....
The Vikings used Gute wool (Gute is a type of sheep from the island of Gotland...but it is not the same as the Gotland sheep) to make their sails. Some Swedish historian, interested in recreating a true Viking ship, wove some sails in the traditional manner using first Gotland wool, and then when that failed, true Gute wool. The Gute wool, which would have been the sheep breed around at the time of the Vikings, failed as well. Both wools failed because as soon as the sails got wet, they were useless. But then (because the third time is always a charm!) he wove the sails using wool that had been rood, not sheared. "Rooing" is the process by which ancient sheep "shed" their fleece naturally in the spring...it is not cut from them. When "rood" wool was used, when the sail got wet, it did not absorb the water and maintained it's functionability. That's because when fleece is "rood" both ends of the lock are sealed whereas when fleece is shorn off the sheep, of course 1 end of the wool is cut and the water was able to get into the lock and the sail lost its' functionality.
The photo has nothing to do with these little curiousities.....I'm just so happy it's spring and the garden is actually full of blooms already I had to share.....crocus, scilla, bloodroot, daffodils, miniature iris, and these....not sure whether they are blue gowns or wind flowers.... does anyone know?