Sunday, June 15, 2008

Proud to be Norwegian

Well, I’m only one-quarter Norwegian, but ………………..

My grandmother (on my mother’s side), Nana, was born in Norway so I feel more Norwegian because of her and her culture and cooking.

But this Sons of Norway convention was fun in that we saw lots and lots of Norwegian cultural things. Vikings and “Oofta” things and rosemalling and lefsa and hardanger!

We set up on Thursday morning at a large civic center in Mankato and opened to the public and to the delegates for the convention at noon. I didn’t take many pictures because I was busy learning THINGS and meeting people.


Setting up shop

Ole Oleson, my dear adversary, was there. We have known each other for over ten years; every time we are together, we bicker and fight. Don’t know why – it’s been that way since the beginning. When we both worked for Historic Murphy’s Landing, we were not allowed to sit close to each other at meetings because we couldn’t stop picking on each other.


Ole teaches Norwegian Immigration

I met Carolyn who is a musician and has wanted to learn to weave for over forty years. She purchased a rigid heddle loom without knowing what to do with it. I showed her my weavings to show her what she could make, then sent her over to the other side of the arena to talk to a vender / weaver who had a rigid heddle loom there to show her HOW to weave.


I met the Hardanger twins! Yes, these girls are really and truly twins. One of them (please don’t ask me which) has done hardanger for over thirty years and she taught her sister sometime recently. They gave me a kit and I struggled (yes, really, really struggled) for over two days – but I finally am NEARLY finished. I will take a picture of the piece when I’m done. Hardanger is a skill that I have wanted to learn for a long time!


Hardanger is pretty much solidly Norwegian in background and has been around for at least four hundred years (sorry, I’m too tired / lazy to look up the details). It’s normally done white on white but can be done in color – which, by the way, became more popular when the Norwegians came over to America. I was using tan on white so I could see my mistakes (thousands of them) and pull them out to try again and again more easily than if it was white.




There were reindeer! Really live ones! The reindeer, of course, come from northern Norway. These are raised near Mankato and are taken around for educational demonstrations, especially at Christmas time. The reindeer “farmers” have about fifty animals; they use the antlers for jewelry, key chains, chandeliers, etc. In fact they sell so many pieces that they have had to purchase antlers from other “farmers” around the country. The bulls lose their antlers before the cows, but both lose them once a year. The ones that came this year are yearling cows and were so funny – they liked to play with the water bucket and would knock it over so often that the owners finally only allowed them drinks once or twice a day because they were constantly refilling and mopping up.


There was a Viking encampment (sorry, no pictures – got so busy talking) and there was a gal with them that is a “Vőlva” – a stav carrier that is a traveling teacher, healer, midwife, and magic worker using stavs, runes, and herbs. She brought her stav over and sang a song in time with my spinning. She is AWESOME and I hope to get to know her better – we have read some of the same books and agree on the fiber history, as it is known. Go visit her at her

home to see some of the ideas that she teaches.

Kari brought over a cd that she had made and traded for a spoon of Norm’s.

Norm sold some spoons, a scoop and a leather bag. I sold a linen runner (to Carolyn) and sold some yarn – pretty exciting. I was going to buy a doll but decided to get Norm a new hat for Father’s Day, instead.




Ole is eating some of my flat bread - everyone liked it~

We stayed in a dorm at the college each night – pretty cheap but pretty good sleeping. Then packed up on Saturday evening, had “Old Country Buffet” for supper (Norm’s favorite place) and headed home.

Between Wayne and Jody, Peanut had been taken care of but I found that perhaps I could have taken her – one of the Vikings had her dog along. But it would have been difficult to have her in the dorm. If she wanted an early morning run, we couldn’t have gotten out of the dorm (or back in).

Now we are home and unpacking and reorganizing. Next weekend we will go to the cities for Eric’s graduation.

It’s a beautiful day today – you have a beautiful day!


Kati said...

OMGosh Connie!!!! I could spend a year (ok, maybe a week!) walking around and looking at and learning from folks doing all the crafty stuff and historical stuff y'all show and do. How much fun!!!!! The hardanger pieces you posted pics of are beautiful! And I'm totally wishing you'd gotten pictures of the Viking encampment. *grin* (I don't whine, though, because you didn't. *wink* But, I did a BIG long report about the vikings in HS and they've always rather piqued my interest.)

Thanks for sharing all the lovely pics with us!!!! And please do show off your hardanger piece, now that you've finished it! *grin*

Cris said...

That's so interesting!!! hey, you could show more of their cooking with recipes... :-)