As yinz know, I’m something of a hockey fan. Since my wonderful, thoughtful, amazing DH gave me Center Ice for Valentine’s Day, I have been watching NHL games every evening, usually from 7 pm EST until the last west coast game ends somewhere between midnight and 2 am. I am really enjoying seeing the Western Conference teams. I normally see them only during the Stanley Cup playoffs, so I’m grateful for this opportunity to become more familiar with the players in the West.
Watching so many games, I am gobsmacked by the number of players in the NHL who hail from Finland. Oh, everyone knows Teemu Salanne, who plays for the Anaheim Ducks. He’s a superstar player who has been in the league forever and at 40 shows no sign of slowing down. But are you aware of how many starting netminders are Finns? Miika Kiprusoff of the Flames; Pekka Rinne of the Preds; Tuuka Rask, aka The Romulan, who plays for the Bruins; Antii Niemi, who won a Cup with the Blackhawks and who now plays for the Sharks; Kari Lehtonen of the Stars; Niklas Backstrom of the Wild (not to be confused with the Swede of the same name who plays forward for the Caps). There are brothers Saku and Mikko Koivu, who play for the Ducks and the Wild, respectively, and Olli Jokinen of the Jets and Jussi Jokinen of the Canes, who are not related. Forwards Valtteri Filppula (Red Wings), Lauri Korpikoski (Coyotes), Antii Miettinen (Jets, who came back from an injury, only to get injured again), and Sean Bergenheim (Panthers), and defensemen Sami Salo (Lightning), Kimmo Timonen (F^%ers), Joni Pitkanen (Canes), and Toni Lydman (Ducks) round things out. And there are a couple of Finnish players who are out for the season because of injuries, like Ville Leino of the Sabres. (Disclaimer: This list is for entertainment purposes only and is not necessarily exhaustive but it is accurate to the best of my knowledge.)
But hockey players are not the only great thing North America has imported from Finland. Finnsheep have also been imported, and from Finnsheep, we get Finn wool. When I first started spinning, I bought a 4-oz braid of Finn wool from The Cloistered Lamb. I wanted to try different breeds of wool, and I had read good things about Finn wool. The fiber rested in my stash for months until last week, when I decided it was time to give it a spin. (Get it? Give it a spin? LOL)
The first thing I noticed about the Finn wool was that it is very soft. It has a nice staple length and a lot of crimp, similar to Corriedale, but there is something that really sets the Finn wool apart from any of the fibers I have spun so far. It has a wonderful luster that continues to show through even after the wool is spun.
When I started spinning the Finn wool on my Ladybug, I learned very quickly that it wanted to be spun thicker than I normally spin. I generally spin singles that are very fine, in the neighborhood of cobweb to laceweight. But the Finn just wouldn’t hold together when I spun it that thin. So I spun the singles a bit thicker–fingering weight–and two-plied the yarn. I ended up with approximately 200 yards of worsted weight yarn, and I think it’s the best yarn I’ve done to date.
I haven’t decided what this yarn will be when it grows up, but I’m thinking a cowl would be nice because the yarn is definitely next-to-the-skin soft.