Monday 24 May 2010

Further Progress

When I came home for the weekend I had a parcel waiting for me. It contained the head kerchief, klut, for my folk costume. This kind of coloured cotton kerchief was worn for minor dress-up occasions, like ordinary church service and such, by married and single women alike. For great holidays and events, like Easter, Christmas, weddings, etc. a huge, starched, white embroidered linen headdress would have been worn by married women, and ribbon headdresses by unmarried girls.

This one was hand woven by a woman who sells materials for folk costumes from my area, and gives classes on how to make them. I have ordered my patterns from her. I will have to hem the kerchief, and then it’s ready to be worn. A description and pictures of how I do that will come some other time.

I have knitted 6” on the spedetröja, with a patterned border at the bottom and at the sides. Not much else to say about that.

I started sewing the skirt on Saturday, using waxed unbleached linen thread. I also began sewing a new 14th century veil – you can never have too many veils and kerchiefs.

Saturday 22 May 2010

Registered Nurse

I believe most of you know that I’m a registered nurse. In two weeks it will be a year since I graduated from the university, and started working as a nurse; a few weeks after that I got my license. There are a few things that feel very special for a new nurse (or at least did so to me): the first is graduating, and receiving your brooch. Every nursing school in Sweden has its own brooch, and by looking at it you can tell where the nurse was educated. In the past the brooch was used as proof that you were an educated (today we’d add registered) nurse and it had to be handed back to the school when the nurse died. It was worn at the collar of the work dress, and the brooch and the cap were symbols of the nurses’ professional status. Today most registered nurses wear their brooches on the pocket protector, still as a proud sign of their professional status. We do have to provide a copy of our registration document when we apply for a job though – the brooch alone no longer suffices as authorization, and in most cases our families get to keep it after we die. This is mine:

The other thing is the name badge: Sjuksköterska is the Swedish word for Nurse, and means a registered nurse. It is by law a title only to be used by those who actually are registered nurses. You can however call yourself sjuksköterska if you have one semester left at nursing school (but you’re then working under restrictions) or before your application with the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare have been approved. You can not, however, have Leg. (short for legitimerad – authorized) on your name badge until you have had your license from the SNBoHaW. The day I got to use my name badge with the title Leg. Sjuksköterska on it for the first time was also special to me – and it was a thing noticed by the other nurses at work – I was now a real RN.

I know pride is not a good thing, but I think I may be a little proud of myself for holding on to my goal and getting through university, when I’m not really an academic person. That I have returned to school to specialize in paediatrics is still a surprise to me at times, but it will be worth it – working with children and families is what I want to do. And no matter what happens, and what I do in the future, I will always be a Nurse at heart – it is forever part of my identity.

Monday 17 May 2010

Still Alive...

...but working like mad. I really like my clinical, problem is, I don't have access to a computer with internet where I live. A more interesting post will come on Saturday or so, when I go home for a couple of days. Let me just say - there seams to be a possibility for me to finish my folk costume in time for the event in Finland!

Sunday 9 May 2010

Folk Costume Progress

I've started my clinical this week, and so far so good. I'm dead tired when I get home, but it's fun - this really is what I want to work with. It's hard sometimes, hurting children so that they will get well in the end. How do you explain that to a crying baby? Also, I'd like to know more languages, so that I can talk to the children and their parents in a language they understand - we have a quite high rate of immigrants in Sweden, and many don't know Swedish very well (or at all).

In spite of all the schoolwork I’ve had lately, I’ve managed to make some progress on the folk costume: I got the blouse, opplöt, finished yesterday. It’s made from fine, bleached linen, and the collar is made from very fine cotton. It’s hand sewn with waxed linen (cotton for the collar) thread.

The sleeves and collar are hemstitched.

Silly pictures not ending up where I wanted them....

The collar was gathered by overstitching a narrow rolled hem, and pulling the thread tight, the
fabric gathered. Each gather was sewn to the neck opening, which is narrowly hemmed with the hem on the outside of the garment, hidden by the collar.

The opplöt is rather short, cut without shoulder seams, and have a seam in front, like many extant examples, which in the past was the result of cutting it so as to use the fabric to the max. The sleeves are straight, with four tucks on the shoulders, sewn down with a seam going across them. They have gussets sewn in under the arm. In my area, they where often left without cuffs, since they would be worn under the spedetröja a lot of the time.

My initials are embroidered in red cotton yarn at the bottom right corner of the front, using a design found in the area the costume is from.

The opplöt would have been the second piece of clothing to be put on (perhaps except for stockings), after the hanksaärk.

And speaking of the spedetröja – I finished the second sleeve the other day! I have started the body, but it’ll take a while to get that one finished. It’s knitted in the round, like the sleeves, but since it has short slits in each side I have to knit the front and back separately for the fist couple of inches. For the bottom of the spedetröja I don’t use the relief pattern that where included with the instructions, but rather a double seed stitch I’ve seen on extant examples. When I start knitting in the round there will be another pattern along the sides, while the rest will be plain. Pictures of that will be posted some other time, I'm to lazy to upload any more now.

Also, I ordered fabric for the skirt the other week, a heavily fulled, homespun woollen fabric called vadmal in Swedish. It’s a nice, dark blue colour, which I haven’t managed to catch with the camera. And it’s really heavy – the skirt will weigh about 2 kg (just over 4 lbs). Imagine wearing that in summer – which will usually be the case.

I now have some pressure to get it finished – I’m going to a church YSA activity in Finland this summer, and one of the evenings the dance is themed “folk summer: represent your ethnic background. Find your national clothes or wear a nice summer dress/clothes”. It will be fun (especially since people use to come from all over Europe, and sometimes other places as well – hopefully some of them in costume), and I would really like to be able to wear mine, but the fabrics for the apron and head scarf are really expensive, as are the silver to be worn with the costume. I’m not sure I’ll be able to have it finished in time, so I might have to make a nice summery dress for the occasion in stead.

Sunday 2 May 2010


There, the final dreadful nothing-but studying school week is over! I was in a panic the other night, not being able to finish an assignment in time, but when I e-mailed my teacher she told me not to worry and to mind my health – I could hand it in later, during the summer or so. My, was I grateful to her, and to the Lord for answering my desperate prayers in a way I’d never have counted on!

On Monday my five week clinical starts, on a smallish hospital paediatric ward. I’m looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time… the fact that we have to do a survey while there doesn’t help. And, up until yesterday I didn’t even know where I was going to stay, it being in another town. That seems to have solved itself, though. The whole thing about working with children and adolescents when I am still such a new nurse also frightens me quite a bit.

A bunny I made for my sister one of the times she was in for surgery many years ago.

Another thing that has solved itself much better than I’d ever imagine is a home for my cat. Since I’ve been away so much, my parents have taken him in, more out of love for me than love of cats. My Mum likes cats, but she don’t like the work involved. My Dad never was a cat-person. My siblings love him, though. And now, when it turns out he’s a very good mice hunter, even my Dad can look at him with something else than indifference, he even pets him and praises his skills. W-o-w……

And right now it seems that the situation with my friend is going to be all right. I’m very grateful for your thoughts and prayers for this friend, and for me. I too am doing better.

Hopefully I’ll have something fun and sewing-related to tell you about next time.