This and that

Last weekend I made a hard leather case for my EKA Super Swede folding knife.

super swede case-1 (Small)

I had three small scrap pieces of leather that I use to make knife sheaths and had to sew them together to make enough leather.  It was dark when I made this so the stitching isn’t so good quality.

super swede case-2 (Small)

I have bought another car and I hoping this one will be problem free (for a while at least).  Its a Subaru Legacy, 4 wheel drive.

subaru legacy

and finally a couple of pictures of a Siberian Jay that I took today.

siberian jay-1 (Small)

siberian jay-2 (Small)

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Nattavaara Birch bark containers

As part of my new job, I have to make items to sell to tourists here in Nattavaara.  Just now I am busy working on the first of those items; Nattavaara Birch Bark containers.

I have used sinew to sew the containers and have burned “Nattavaara” into the bark.

While making a container I cut my finger.  I did not have any plasters so I took a piece of scrap birch bark and cut a slit into it

Then I wrapped the bark around my finger and pushed the narrow end of the bark through the slit to hold it in place.

An early Christmas present

Christmas came early for me when Teres bought me a pair of Reindeer skin trousers, something I have wanted for many years.

They are made to my specification by a friend of ours who designs and makes both traditional and modern Sámi clothing.

They are very warm and comfortable but one problem I have found is that keys in my pocket have stretched and discoloured the Reindeer skin, so Teres came up with the idea to make a special leather pouch for my keys which I have now made.

When I do not need my keys, I pull a leather cord which draws the keys up inside the pouch

The pouch is easy to make.  You cut out two bell shaped pieces of leather which are joined together at the top.  Sew both sides together

and make a small hole in the leather at the top, through which you put a leather cord (I used a four-strand round plat to make my leather cord).  Attach the end of the cord inside the pouch to your keys and make a knot or attach a metal ring to the opposite end and the pouch is completed.

The Mystery Braid

The Mystery Braid is so called because the leather is braided, but the ends of the braid have not been cut or separated – it’s a mystery how the braid is made without loose ends.

Many times I have tried to do a Mystery Braid, but failed every time.  I was at a craft fair in Lulea last weekend where a man was demonstrating and teaching how to do the Mystery Braid.

You begin with a piece of leather that has been cut two times to give three even strips (connected at each end)

Then you begin to braid, ensuring the braids are tight.

You can see in the above picture that as you braid, the opposite end of the leather also braids up and this must be undone by twisting the tab through the  slits

Continue braiding and then un-braiding the opposite end

When you have braided as much as you can, thread the tab through again to “lock” the braid and loosen the braids to even them out along the length of the piece of leather.

Here are some bracelets I have made using this method

There are other methods of making the Mystery Braid via instruction on YouTube and the internet, so do some searching.

Here’s the best YouTube clip I have found;

Tin thread armbands

Chaffinch started arriving back here yesterday after migrating south in early November.

Many people here wear tin thread armbands traditionally made by the Saami people from Reindeer leather, Reindeer horn and a silver and tin alloy thread.  Here is the first one I made

I began making the bracelet by doing a three strand braid with six strands of tin thread and three strands of cotton thread.

Once completed I stitched the braid to a piece of leather.

I stitched the edges of the leather together to form a tube, incorporating a leather loop and reindeer horn button as fasteners for the bracelet.


I cut small slits at either end of another piece of leather and inserted the leather tube through the slits, so that the loop and button protruded from the ends.

I stitched the edges of the leather together to form another tube.

Here is the completed armband

I have also made one for Emma using black leather and six strands of tin thread.

Woolen birds

I’m planning to spend some time at my cabin this week so this will be my last post until I return.

Teres is now a full-time day mum here in Nattavaara, looking after children while their parents are working.  We are testing activities for the children to do and here is the first one…….woolen birds.

Here are the items you require

You need three different colours of wool to work with.  Take a piece of card and wrap the wool around 50 times

doing the same with all three colours (for my bird black is the back colour, red the breast colour and white the wing colour)

Now cut through the wool and remove from the card

Lay the wool for the wings over the wool for the back  and then fold it around,

then do the same with the back wool and tie a piece a wool around to hold it in place

Next, place the wool for the breast on top and secure with another piece of wool

and then fold the breast wool in half (but not around the other pieces of wool)

Twist the wing wool a few times and then fold down to create the wings

Finally tie a piece of wool two-thirds of the way down and clip off the long strands of wool to make them even…and you are finished!

Here are some we have made