Sarah Jane Humke

The life of a traveling, reading, writing, spining and knitting shepherdess.

Last week I was in Finland.

This was a slightly postponed birthday trip (it seems that my birthday trips keep getting later in the year, if I keep it up at this rate, I’ll be taking my birthday trip in June when I’m 80!) as my birthday is at the end of January.  However, I thought that it was perfect to spend Valentine’s Day in Finland as they celebrate it more as a “friends day” rather than breaking out the fuzzy love cuffs.

So, for most of the time that I was in Finland, it was cold, even by Finnish standards.  Here’s proof from the thermometer in the car driving us around one day on our massive yarn crawl.

However, I did get to see a lot of stuff.  Malin and I went to the massive castle in Turku for several hours.  They have a self-guided audio tour that you can take that you can download to your own iPod or whatever.  I had it on my phone, and it was most educational (not to mention handy!).

In the medieval parts of the castle there were a lot of paintings on the walls as well as quite old carved wooden statues that have survived the centuries.  All of the old wood (and later textiles) that have survived amazed me (coming from a climate here in England that tends to rot wood and textiles).

We went to various places in Turku, including the heated street (which I didn’t get a picture of for some reason).  It is an entire pedestrian street that has, essentially, in-floor heating underneath it.  This keeps it free from snow and ice so that it is nice to walk on even in the winter!

Malin and I then stopped in Tampere for an afternoon on our way up to Vaasa.  In Tampere we went to 2 yarn shops and a bead shop where I (apparently) also didn’t take any photos.  I did, however, get lots of yarn and oodles of beads.

I also spent some time tooling around Vaasa with Malin.  We went to the longest bridge in Finland for lunch.


This was called the "Bridge Burger" Yes that is a fried egg on top of it with a slice of melted cheese on top. Yes, I was in heaven.


And then we went to the Vaasa museum for a couple of hours.  There were lots of knitted, crocheted, nal-bound and woven garments all through the museum.

There were lots of knitted, crocheted and woven garments all through the museum.

There were also 2 spinning wheels and a ton of distaffs and spinning accessories that were made out of wood and quite often painted gaily!


I just thought that these metal whole-leg sock blockers were fun. Very much like some that you can get brand-new today!



I spent a few days with Barbro at her house just outside of Vora (it’s not spelled correctly as I couldn’t get the proper scripts to show up. If I had wanted it in Chinese, I would have been set!).  There I got my first ski lesson of my life (cross-country, not downhill!) and spent a lot of time admiring the beauty of the Finnish countryside from inside a toasty house!




Barbro took this picture for me. Proof that I actually strapped two sticks to my feet:-)


Then the three of us (Malin, Barbro and I [Kasper the dog was invited but declined politely]) went on our yarn crawl.  I didn’t take many photos except for these of the BIG yarn store that we visited in the middle of nowhere and the road there, which was pretty much one entire icy patch.  It was like I imagine being on a luge course would be like!

This store was fun in the way that it would have 100% acrylic right next to cashmere.  It didn’t take itself too seriously and was obviously in the business of selling lots and lots of yarn, whatever kind you might be looking for!

You should go check out Malin’s Blog and Barbro’s Blog to see what they say about the trip!  I however, got LOTS of yarn and not a lot of photographs (I only took my phone on this trip, thus please forgive the quality of the photos!).

So, this will give you an idea of how much I brought back with me:

I have a small collection of these baggage tags from all over the world.  It’s pretty easy to do with this big suitcase.  Generally it’s not a matter of, “will it all fit?” it’s more, “will it weigh too much?”.  However, this bag was pretty well stuffed to the gills this time.


This is the yarn that I brought home...



Some fun seed beads that I picked-up in Tampere

These heart beads were on sale since it was Valentine's Day

These buttons were part of my "goodie bag" from Barbro

This is a knitted band to hold your fiber when you are spindle spinning it! Another part of Barbro's Goodie Bag



A Mumin towel and some herbal salve also from Barbro's Goodie bag (there was also lots of Chocolate and some Jams in there, but, erm... they are already mostly gone!)

Some little sheep that I got at a crafty type shop

So yeah, I bought toilet paper and tissues... But they have LAMBS on them! And the lambs are embossed INTO the toilet paper!

Nearly everyone in Finland has some sort of reflector attached to their coats so that it is easier for drivers to see them. Very smart I think!

I know, I know! Clothes rollers?!? But I'm telling you, these ROCK! And they have the super intelligent cover on them!

These are some wooden sheep that I found on clearance!!!! (God, I love that word!)

These were a joint project between Malin and her honey Mika. They are for wrapping your hand spun lace weight around so that it doesn't get damaged.


The whole trip was amazingly relaxing, with lots of laughter and lots and lots of good food from all directions.

I got home last night to some ecstatic dogs and cats and a very clean house.  The hubby had even invested in a system to clean our very, very tall windows!  However, the wonder hubby wasn’t here, as he had left for Dubai the day before (don’t worry, the dogs and diabetic cat were in the kennel!).

Today I went over to the neighbors to take them a little thank you gift of reindeer soup and cloudberry jam and they had a little surprise for me from Africa (you were wondering where that came in, weren’t you???).  The month prior to my trip they had been in Zimbabwe, which is where they are from originally.  They brought for me this amazing basket with a lid that fits perfectly.

And a bag that looks like it has been made out of a couple of different types of twine and hand carved buttons:

And this wire hook with a beaded spider on it.  It is a spider and not a bug as it has 8 legs…  I’m quite sure that you were worried about that!

It was fun to travel, but it is good to be home again!

3 thoughts on “Finland (and a tiny bit of Africa)

  1. tini says:

    WOW, what a loot! now you can happily knit socks for a loooong time 🙂 And thanks for posting the lifesaver thingy. I have been looking for a link where to find them 🙂

    1. hortihoney says:

      The Reflector thingy came from the Taito Shop in Vaasa. Here is their info: Raastuvankatu 28
      65100 Vaasa
      p. +358 (0)6 3185300
      f. +358 (0)6 3185340

      (They were also 40% off while we were there!)

  2. stashmuffin says:

    What gorgeous pictures! i love, love, love them. Thanks for posting!

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