Laura Ricketts Designs

"She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands..."

Laura Ricketts Designs is a personal and business website for Laura Ricketts, hand-knitwear designer, author, teacher, crafter, mother and wife.

Jokkmokk and away!

*this blog post is about a trip I did last month.* 

On Wednesday morning, Eeva and I got up early, took the train to Arlanda, and flew to Luleå, Sweden in the northmost county of Norrbotten.   

 catching the train to Arlanda

catching the train to Arlanda

Luleå is a beautiful city.  The main part of the city is on an island situated in the mouth of the Lule river on the topmost corner of the Bay of Bothnia. It was the traditional home of the Lule Sámi. This visit, I got a rental car and quickly drove up to Jokkmokk, but, I will write more about Luleå upon my return. 

Rural Sweden is beautiful with rolling hills, red houses and many rivers and lakes. 

About halfway to Jokkmokk, we passed the Arctic Circle. 

 As you can see, my feet are just beyond the signpost, so I am in the Arctic circle!

As you can see, my feet are just beyond the signpost, so I am in the Arctic circle!

On the sign, the blue map is Norrbotten County, and the yellow dash line indicates the Arctic Circle.  The Arctic circle is imaginary line of latitude above which the midnight sun can be seen during summer solstice.  Alternatively, above this line the sun never rises in mid-winter, but one could see the Northern Lights. 

Before too long we were in Jokkmokk and at the Ajtte Sami museum. 

 a bad picture of a good museum

a bad picture of a good museum

Jokkmokk is well known for its (outdoor) Winter Market, the second weekend of February.  It has been an institution for 400 years.  Seriously.  Many people come from all around to sell handcrafts.

As for the museum, I highly recommend it.  Very well laid out.  Wonderful information.  Beautiful, huge pictures by Laila Duran in the lobby...  There is a lovely area displaying all the regional Sámi costumes, including reconstructed mittens.

I quickly hustled to a conference room, where I met with the curator Sunna Kuoljok and an expert mitten knitter, teacher and collector, Erika Nordvall Falck. We looked and looked at mittens, talked a mile a minute and, of course, I took many photos. 

Erika is teaching this week about Swedish Sámi mittens at a mitten symposium in Tromsø, Norway. Go if you can! 

 the walkway on the mainstreet of Jokkmokk

the walkway on the mainstreet of Jokkmokk

After my meeting at the museum, Eeva and I walked up and down the main street, visiting the hemslöjd, stopping to buy walking shoes, since my checked bag never arrived, eating reindeer pizza with lingonberry sauce, and trying to find a legendary mitten display.  Never found that one.  Sigh. 

We slept that night in my first of many hostels/stues.  The next morning we went for a long walk around a beautiful lake just to the Northwest.  Then, it was off for a day's drive to Inari, Finland.

 me and my reindeer pizza leftovers, and its cousin, Blitzen

me and my reindeer pizza leftovers, and its cousin, Blitzen