After the meeting and my workshops near Stockholm finished up, I was back to Arlanda airport on Monday morning where I met up with Louise in the departure lounge. We were both headed up to the town of Luleå where Stina (person responsible for this entire trip happening in the first place) was waiting to pick us up and drive us 50 km to her town of Piteå. Stina had already warned me that we would be stopping for lunch at the world's ONLY "Palticeria". Good thing I had abandoned gluten free for this trip, because I was about to chow down on two giant dumplings of potato, wheat and barley flour, smothered in butter and lingonberry jam. I do like to try new things when I travel (however I draw the line at red meat because it makes me feel pretty awful, so I never eat it) and this was a dish I enjoyed, but wouldn't eat on a regular basis! Stina assured me that not many people do.
The typical Palt is a ball filled with ham/bacon. They specially made two veggie ones for me, but still served the ham on the side ; ) and yes, that yellow triangle is BUTTER!
I survived the Palt!
On the way to the cabin, Stina took us through the historic Öjebyn village adjacent to the oldest church in northern Sweden. She explained that in the 1800's attendance at church was compulsory, so farming families would travel great distances weekly for services and stay in these small houses around the church.
The low, afternoon winter sun made for some dramatic shadows. We are at the 65th northern parallel here.
Apparently it wasn't all faith and purity...Stina also showed us the 'secret' carvings in some of the shutters that indicated a house where someone might find some extra warm company for the evening. Nudge, nudge, wink,wink. These days the houses are summer cottages for people and many will be decorated for winter celebrations.
Everything is rather crooked. The homes are all wood-frame construction and balanced on boulders to keep them up off the frozen ground.
A view into the church graveyard.
After a brief visit to Stina's beautiful home (where she has a gorgeous upstairs quilting studio!), we picked up a few things at the shop and headed out to the cabin that would be our home for the next four days, along with another friend Marica. I loved that they organized a mini-retreat just for my workshop! The cabin is on the shores of the Pite Alve (the Pitea river), only 6 km from town. Through various conversations during my visit, it became obvious to me that Swedes are totally into cabin life - some families have a cabin for summer relaxing, another for winter skiing and a third for hunting! The owners of this cabin bicycle to work in town during the summer months. How idyllic. I seriously felt like I was living in an IKEA catalogue.
In front of the cabin sits this charming greenhouse, complete with dining table, heater and comfy reading chairs. Here you can see one of the 4 outbuildings also on the property - extra sleeping cabins for guests and a sauna on the beach.
Here's the plank pathway from the sauna into the icy waters of the river. Across the river you can just make out a ski resort. At night we could see the lights of a windfarm on the hills there.
Our first dinner by candlelight - a delicious curry prepared by Stina,on the right. Marica and Louise sit on the left. The cabin is just for summer use, so there isn't much need for electric lighting (it is light 20 hours/day in the height of summer). I loved the candlelight we enjoyed each evening.
After our meal we exchanged gifts with one another because this was such a special, long-anticipated meeting. I was overwhelmed when the girls presented me with a QUILT! No one (except my mom) has ever made a quilt for me. It is so beautiful and I adore everything about it.
Look at this sweet quilt!! Marica, Louise and Stina hold the Plus Friends quilt that they made for me. Stina quilted the Pite Alve into the straight line quilting and added some extra special pieces of fabric, just for me. I have show and telled my quilt at all of my guilds and it hangs proudly in my home. I love it so much.
These gals are all members of the Scandi-bee and had previously exchanged larger sized plus blocks. Stina put her quilt top together and brought it to share with us all:
The women who attended my class gifted me the unique braided pewter and caribou leather wrap bracelet. This is a traditional Sami handcraft from Lapland which you can read about here. The gorgeous bling bracelets are from Louise - they are made by the company "SNO of Sweden" that has a factory in Louise's town.
Stina had been very busy making projects from Make It, Take It (I gifted all of them with scissor keepers from the book, hoping that Stina hadn't already made them!!). Here she is (below) modelling her new down parka and matching Ultimate Equipment Tote and large Patchwork Tote. Stina is not shy about her favourite colour. If you'd like to see the special thank you gift I made for Stina, you can read her post here.
I'll leave you with a couple more photos from the cabin. I've only got one last post to write, and that is about my workshops and the amazing quilts that were made! Almost there....