Late last year I received an invite from Ann Myhre (pinneguri) to join her for a few days on the island of Gotland, just off the coast of Sweden. When Ann emailed she pointed out that the flag of Gotland has a sheep on it and is home to the Gotland breed – I was sold!
We travelled from London via Stockholm to the port of Nynäshamn, where we took a ferry across the dead calm sea to the island, arriving just as the golden Scandinavian evening was setting. Ann was waiting for us at the port to take us to the loveliest house in the woods that would be our home for the next few days.
We fell in love with the place pretty much straight away.
The main house has a smaller cabin where we slept and a few outbuildings were dotted around, in amongst the fruit trees and bushes where all the summer fruits have been happily ripening in the sunshine.
We picked plums, gooseberries (both green and the sweeter red dessert variety), jostaberries (a cross between a gooseberry and a blackcurrant) and made them into a summer crumble, whilst admiring the red and blackcurrants, crab apples, rosehips and almost ripe blackberries and wishing we had brought Mr K’s jam making equipment!
A rabbit, which Ann named Rupert, would join us daily on the lawn as a reminder that this was actually ‘his’ home and we were ‘just’ visitors. I have dear Belinda to thank for my insight into ‘the way of the rabbit’.
And I spent far too much time watching the bees getting giddy on the pollen of the Hollyhocks…seriously, they were so drunk they could barely navigate their way around!
The main town on Gotland is Visby; a beautifully preserved medieval walled city which now has World Heritage Site status. We pottered around the cobbled streets taking in the sights and sounds and hunting for yarn shops and we weren’t disappointed, but I’ll tell you more about the wool and knitwear we found later in the week as it is deserving of it’s own space.
As you travel around the island you can’t help but be charmed by the verges and fields which are strewn with the prettiest wild flowers in so many wonderful colours.
A day trip to the island of Fårö, once home to film director Ingmar Bergman, meant another (albeit very short) ferry journey. It was lovely to be by the water and take in views across the rocky coastline and out to sea whilst daydreaming about building a house.
As we left the lighthouse we spotted a man carrying a punnet of blueberries and Ann jumped out of the car and headed straight into the woods where the floor was carpeted with wild blueberry bushes all ready for picking. I’ve never seen wild blueberries and they were nestled alongside wild cranberries, both of which are much smaller and sweeter than their American cousins. We picked to our hearts content, treading lightly across the springy woodland floor which was one of the most magical places I think I have ever been.
We grew up next to a wood that was our playground for most of our childhood and I had forgotten what wonderfully calming places they are. If I could have dug out a little home for myself I think I could have happily moved in and lived off the land with just a few sheep for company and maybe a few books from the local lending library…
Such truly golden days, sadly not long enough, but it was wonderful to see these beautiful islands and experience a little bit of Scandinavian summer. Our heartfelt thanks to Ann and her husband for inviting us and for their charming company. When I became involved in the knitting and crochet world I never imagined the places it would take me, or the truly inspiring people I would meet along the way and who I am so honoured to call ‘my friends’.
We left Gotland with heavy hearts, wishing we could stay for longer but we took so much inspiration away with us and a longing to return again next year.