Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Le Clapotis est finis

Yes, I finally finished, washed and blocked Clapotis, so here it is on my little helper model ^^

It's 42 cm wide and quite long - 160 cm long! ^^ And it's already around my neck, because the weather is awful today, cold and windy outside, and the central heating in my block of flats is already off so it's chilly inside, too.

Off to new projects! ^^

As you maybe remember I joined

The current project is the top, and I'm going to sew a sleeveless top inspired by the fashion of Gudrun Sjoden's, here are the photo and a sketch of the original design:

I'm going to adapt a pattern from an old Burda, 3/2004 issue, pattern 118, to be exact:

And here are the fabric choices: the flowery cotton for the front panel, the white cotton/linnen blend for the rest.

But this is the story for next week, today I'll be finishing bags - I checked my finances and it's no fun and games, I tell you.., so I'm going to finish and put on sale several bags to repair the home budget.
I'll be also knitting another bag to be felted, I want to try out another design I have in mind. ^^
Happy creating, everyone!

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Project Spectrum Postcard Swap - May

Look what I found in my mailbox today! ^^

I received the postcard from my PS pal Jenn (hi, Jenn! ^^)
These are things she likes and she took photos of them for me, and she created this very professional looking postcard! On the other side there are a few words from Jenn and a history of each item on the pictures.
Thank you very much, it really made my day this morning, when I rushed out of the house late for my beautician's appointment... ^-^
I hope you get my postcard soon, I did a bit of flower painting in a XV c style. ^^

I was late, because I washed and blocked Clapotis this morning ^-^ , it's now almost dry so photos - as promised - tomorrow.
I also put out in the sun the felted bag for my Tote Exchange pal - this evening I'm going to knit some decorations for this (probably a flower) and felt it, and today I've bought some goodies to accompany the bag on the long way abroad (you know, I don't want it to get lonely in a cardbox while travelling for such a distance!...) (*^-^*) So, I bought a pack of our traditional Polish milk candies and a beautiful candle, and I still have some things in mind.
Swaps are sooooo fun! ^^

Monday, May 29, 2006

What I've been doing last weekend

Yes, I've been doing quite a lot, and let me show you here:
As you know, we've been to our cottage about 80 kms from Warsaw, where we have a small plot of land with a nice house, and woods and a river close to it. Unfortunately the weather was awful, so I could sit and knit most of the time! ^^

1. I almost finished Clapotis! ^-^
I still need several rows to finish, then I'll wash it and block tomorrow, so expect pictures on Wednesday.
2. I knitted a bag for my Tote Exchange pal! ^-^
First I tried ready pattern from the Web, but something was wrong with it and the bag didn't look nice, so I decided to knit the bag according to my own pattern. It's felting right now as I write, so pictures and the pattern soon!
3. I finished the Bowling Bag for the Bag Me KAL! ^-^

I changed the idea of the handles - I decided to make a cord using a very simple circular tool (used even in the medieval times! ^^), which resulted in a three-coloured twisted cord that I put through the holes in the sides of the bag and sewn together with red yarn. (If anyone's interested in the cord making, I'll post the tutorial soon). I also knitted and felted the flower which I sewn on the front bottom of the bag, and I also embelished it with some glass beads.
This bag is finished, and I'm anxious to see the assignment for the June bag! (*^-^*)

Let me leave you with some nature shots from my cottage garden:

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Bagaholics, skirtoholics

Yes, it finally happened...
"My name is Joanna and I am a bagaholic..."

I've just joined Bagaholics Anonymous (hosted by Kimberly and Linda) - I expect to meet people like me - addicted to bags, to admire their wonderful creations and be inspired to create even more bags!

I also joined Sew? I Knit - I am sad that I missed the first two projects because these were: a skirt and a bag - two ofmy favourite things to sew!..., but anyway, in the first two weeks of June we are making tops, so it'll be a chance for me to get kicked in the backside with a deadline and sew the blouse inspired by Gudrun Sjoden's fashion I planned. ^^

I started sewing the skirts for my friend Sylwia yesterday, but only managed to barely finish the first one, when my friend called with the urgent request for three caligraphed diplomas for the people from his group of medieval reenactors that will be promoted this Saturday... They always suprise me with this at the last moment!... So, I put everything away and spent about five hours writing and drawing and painting on the rough hand-made paper (it's not so easy to work with, I tell you!...). The result is okay, but I can feel I would like to make it better, more decorative - but I didn't have time to do that! They will collect the diplomas today.

Last night I had my bellydancing class and we realised that we have only three classes left this semester!... It's sad, and there are no classes during the summer holidays, so I'll be left alone with my home practice and steps I've learned (next semester starts somewhere in Octber, and I'll be attending "Bronze" group). And on the last class on 22nd June we are going to have an exam!... ^^ We are supposed to prepare 30 sec show to a chosen piece of music, and our teacher will be the judge and she'll give us points. I couldn't sleep last night because I chose the tune and started to create the sets of steps... ^^

Today is the Mother's Day in Poland, so I visited my mom with flowers and chocolates, and had diner with her. She only mentioned a child once... I believe it means she stopped pushing me so hard, well...

This evening me and my husband are going away for a weekend to our cottage about 1,5 hour drive from Warsaw. I'm taking my Tote Exchange bag in progress, two different socks in progress, one very long embroidered band in progress, so I'm not going to get bored when the weather is not nice (and we are having thunderstorms with short sunny intervals these days, and heavy wind all the time...).
Photos of what I have finished on Monday.
Have a great weekend! ^^

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Was creating till I dropped...

Yes, exactly! I didn't go anywhere, because I felt too ill to decide on spending three days and two nights in a tent. And I was partly right, because my friends reported they had beautiful sun on Saturday, but: rain on Friday, rain during the nights, heavy wind all the time, fairly nice weather on Sunday.
And I spent those days at home, doing lots of things but not leaving at all- and we had huge thunderstorms on Friday and Saturday evenings.
Well, since I promised you the pictures of what I've been doing recently, here they are:

First, there is a povoinik - the medieval Russian cap, embroidered at the front:

Here is a veil worn over the povoinik - it's a 2-metre long and 50 cm wide piece of light cotton, embroidered at the end (this end is worn in such a way that it stays on the shoulder to show the embroidery). It should be wrapped around the head and neck to hide the hair.
(close-up on the pattern)

Here is the last piece of this puzzle - ubrus, that is a triangular piece of fabric that is pinned to a cap. It should be heavily embroidered (it will be!) but I only managed to hem it with red linnen thread before last week's event.

Then, I finished a three-panel skirt called panova, each panel is made of wool, lined with linnen, and embroidered. It should be worn as a second layer over the chemise called rubacha.

There is also my husband's caftan, I still have to make the embroidered band for the lower hem and the cords to fasten it at the front.

Kimberly wanted to see why I bought the leather - here you are: two pairs of leather shoes sewn by my husband, the black ones are mine (pattern after the shoes from XI c. found in Staraja Ladoga in Russia),

the dark brown ones are his (pattern after the X c. shoes found in Hedeby in Germany):

I also knitted, of course! ^^
My Clapotis is growing, I finished some socks (nothing fancy, very simple stockinette for our medieval events - orange is Robert's, red is mine):

And I started the bag for Tote Exchange KAL:
Beautiful colour, ne? ^^

I am still in a haze of making things, so more photos soon, especially because I bought some wool that I believe is a self-striping one (the seller probably had no idea what she was selling...), so I expect to knit nice socks with it! ^^
Happy knitting!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Creating till I drop

Frankly speaking, that's what I've been doing since last week... All for the medieval event we are going to this Thursday. And I'm not happy about it, because:
1. I got cold yesterday and feel awful...
2. I checked the weather forecast and it's supposed to rain on Friday, and be cloudy and windy on Saturday and Sunday, well...

But that's what I have finished (or almost finished, but it can be worn):
- embroidered bands for my husband's caftan - I still need to make the longest one for the bottom, but I'll do it later
For myself:
- embroidered Rus cap called povoinik
- emboidered Rus veil, worn over the povoinik
- another embroidered Rus veil called ubrus, worn over the first veil (okay, it will be richly embroidered when I get back, I didn't find time to do it before this event, I only hemmed it with a red thread)
- embroidered Rus three-panel skirt called panova

Photos on Monday, after we get back home.

I looked through the Japanese knitting book many times and I have some favourite paterns in mind (and in the line after others...), I think I'll start with the beautiful five-fingered gloves many bloggers already have knitted. But it will happen some time next week. ^^

I also got a bit angry today, because my husband talked to his boss about the raise and he heard that he is "the most precious employee, everybody's extremely happy about his job and how he deals with new tasks, but... there is no chance for a raise, not yet, nobody knows when it would be possible..." So, that's how you motivate your best workers?... It's not even about the money, it's about the recognition of his skills and his dedication to this job, and it seems they don't give a damn about good workers!... Oh, bugger!...

Monday, May 15, 2006


First, some thoughts after the Saturday visit to my mom's party (I gave her a beautiful decorative and rather expensive candle, she asked "what is it?", "a candle" I said, "what for?" she asked, "well, to light it and put it on the table, or something, it's decorative..." I answered hesitantly, "I don't use candles." answered my mom in a dull voice. I know, she got MEXX blouse and a bottle of perfumes form my cousin, it's far more useful than a decorative candle in her favourite green colour...), where I met some aunts and what happened after that...

I am 31, married for two years and have no children. I don't feel I would like to have one. I don't like children, never wanted to work in a nursery school, I don't pee in my pants when my friends visit with a cute baby. No offence, but for me, babies aren't cute. Cats are cute. I love children of my friends' and I am a wonderful aunt, but I just don't want to have my own baby. At least right now. It's not the right moment in my life (and not the right extremely small and stuffed apartment, an huge loans to pay off...).
I always thought it is a matter of my choice.

But in fact, it's not like that. Because whenever I visit my mom and meet my aunts, I am attacked with millions of questions about the baby... It was like that on Saturday, when my mom invited two of my cousins (Magda, 29, son 10, pregnant again; Pauline, 30, daughter 4 months) , and the whole carousell started again... And I even had a small row with one aunt, which shut her for a while, but then the other one started!... Can I use a sticky tape to stop them from asking me questions about the baby?
And do you know what their main argument is? I should have the baby because my mother is bored!!!... What?!... I should have the baby to keep my mom entertained?!... As if I had the child and gave it away to my mom to play with!!!... No way!

Next time they start I swear I'm going to tell them that "it's a painful topic for me because we try and cannot conceive"... Or maybe I should just say "it's none of your business" in a rather rude way? Children are not toys, are not solutions to anything (like marital problems, but my cousin Magda doesn't seem to understand it...), aren't one-day entertainment. It's responsibility, change of priorities, financial stability is necessary - and I'm not ready for this yet, I want to fully enjoy motherhood when I consciously make this decision.

Enough of this.


Can you guess what this is? ^^

My japanese knitting book arrived today! (*^-^*)

I looked through it and the charts really do look clear, so I believe even without knowing a single kanji sign I'll be able to knit with it!

I'm making lists of things to do everyday, and it seems to work - I cross out the things I've done and follow the plan! I've been very busy all weekend sewing and embroiderying, all for the event we are going next weekend, and I'll post the pictures after we get back.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Things that drag me down

There are things that drag me down. I can feel them like a stone tied to my leg or a fist crushing my solar plexus and making my breathing difficult.
What are those things?
First, these are many, many, many items that I keep for ever and ever around me. I just cannot throw things away, I collect. Old newspapers, various print-outs, old calendars, scraps, notes, magazine cuttings, you name it... And you should see my fabric stash!... Every small item thrown away feels like I'm loosing a piece of me - but on the other hand I know that these are the invisible anchors and I should get rid of this stuff. And sometimes I do, but there is still lots more to go!
Second, there are my procrastinated projects: skirts, bags, corsets - in plans or even cut out of the fabric - they can stay that way for months, years even... And I feel I want to go on with other projects but I SHOULD finish the previous ones, but I don't really feel like finishing them right this moment, so I start something new, and then I feel quilty about the projects that I put away, so I don't work on the current one, yet I don't finish the old ones, and very quickly the current one becomes the old one, and I am like the wild animal in the cage going from side to side and the vicious circle closes!...
I've started to do something about this situation - I'm making lists of things and make myself to finish them one by one - I've just started the One-Day-One-Bag program to finish my planned bags, I also took out all my old medieval projects and want to finish them this season. But it is really difficult for me, because I am the kind of person who sees some new interesting opportunity and goes for it, leaving the things I started in pieces with the hope of coming back to them one day. Well...

Funny thing, though... I tend to finish my knitting projects one by one and keep track of what's going on in my knitting bag! ^^ (I know, there is the checkered scarf untouched for some time, but it was from the beginning The-Next-Winter-Project so I'm way ahead with it, in fact! ^^)

I'm sorry for this non-knitting content, but I felt that I had to put it all down and throw it off my chest, maybe it'll help me overcome my problem with stashing and procrastinating.


Imagine a bed - 160 cm per 200 cm, big bed, lots of space comparing to one rather small cat, right? And on that bed there is one freshly felted Bowling Bag, still without the handles, laying somewhere close to the right lower corner of the bed (this enormous bed, remember?). And then I leave the room for just a second, and when I come back, what can I see?...
Bag on a bed, cat on a bag directly!!!
No, she couldn't have chosen any other place on this spacious bed but my brand new felted creation!...
Yes, while we talk about knitting, cats help a lot !... ^^

News from the belly dancing front: we started to practice a choreographed dance last week and continued yesterday, and I'm practicing it at home (although it's difficult because I don't have much space and no big mirror to see if I'm making the right moves and gestures, but still I memorize the steps.) But there is one move that is difficult for me and it seems I just cannot graps the idea of how to make this move - I'm talking about the hip shimmy. You are supposed to alternate your knees so quickly that your hips shimmer, but I can't do this!... I can do it slowly, but when I look at the teacher (and some of the girls) - I wonder about their speed!
I also noticed that my level of fitness grew, I can do more exercises than two months ago, my shoulders and thighs are stronger. Only the good sides! ^^

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Shrinking and other stuff

Okay, so my first words after I took my bag out from the washing machine were:
"OMG, it got sooooo tiny!... "

Of course, it didn't get soooo tiny, It just shrunk, which is normal. ^^

Now I know that if I wanted to have the felteg bag of the previous size, I would have to knit an enormous one, wow! It has a funny texture, like it had a very very short perm, just like this animal I don't remember the name, but women sometimes wear fur coats made of their furs - it's got very short curly hair (it's probably the result of the garter stitch, stockinette would have felted differently, am I right?).
It's still wet so I won't be attaching handles and finishing it today, moreover I've got some ideas of how to adorn it, so expect photos of the finished bag a bit later.

Change of subject:
I've been doing lots of embroidery this week. As you know we (my husband and I, and our friends) are historical reenactors (Viking and Rus, X-XII c.), and we sew our medieval clothing and spend some weekens at the events like Medieval Markets both in Poland and abroad (we've been doing it for almost 14 years now, wow! ^^). In two weeks time we are going for a first such event this season and we are preparing new sets of clothing.
My husband sewn himself a caftan (Rus jacket) and I'm making the embroidered bands for this caftan - I finished cuffs and working on the rest (4 more metres to make!...).
Here is the design I created based on the medieval Russian patterns:

And here that's how it looks like on the finished garment:

I chose the shade of maroon a bit darker than the linnen background and I think it looks nice when only just peeking out of the lighter base, when the white gives a strong statement.

And I'm sewing a new dress for myself out of maroon linnen, and I'm making the bands for it on a coral linnen with the following desing:

I've done the first cuff band:

Yesterday I also knitted a sock - we need socks for our medieval outfits, and the only technique we can be sure the people used at that time was naalbinding - it's something between crocheting and knitting, when you use long pieces of yarn and a thick sewing needle, and you tie the knots that cannot be frogged when the needle is removed (not like in crocheting or knitting). For me this technique is rather complicated - my husband said he will sit and learn it properly, but until then we need socks of simple desing and plain stitches, so I used Arachne's Sock Calculator and created the pattern for a short sock for my foot measurements (it's not perfect so I had to make adjustments on the way, but at least I had a base fo the pattern), and I knitted it last night using only stockinette stitches. Of course it curls at the top... But on the other hand it's very short (reaching my ankle) so it doesn't matter so much, and when I put a shoe on it won't be noticeable at all. I'm going to try and knit another sock, this time longer, starting with several rows of garter stitches, and starting with less st to make it a bit tighter, so I'll show you both socks later.

I've been doing on-line shopping last week and my orders arrived! ^^
First, on Monday I recieved a parcel full of books (including two Haruki Murakami's novels, I love his writing!) and I got this:
It's 220 Aran patterns! ^^
The sample page looks like this:

And it goes on and on, from very simple cables to very complicated sets of patterns, I love it and I hope I'll find time to try it out soon!

More shopping came today:

Finally I am fully equipped! I have the knitter's gauge, marking pins, plastic markers for smaller and biggers sizes of needles and two point protectors. And they also sent me a sample of the Altin Basak MIYA yarn (Turkish) - very soft cotton, I believe, but if they send out samples, they should pick the amount I could swatch with, I think...

Happy knitting! ^^

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I'm felting!

Literaly, as we speak, I'm felting my Bowling Bag for Bag Me KAL!!!...

I mean, I'm not doing this myself, my washing machine is! ^^
Look forward to the result (as I do!).

Saturday, May 06, 2006


I'll tell you a secret...
I can't knit!


No, seriously!
When I was taught by my mother how to use knitting needles, she showed me what she knew. And she never knitted the stitches, she knitted through the back loop. And because it was my first known routine I sticked to it, practised it on many scarves and now I just cannot change into knitting the correct way. Whenever there are only "k" in the pattern I always "k tbl" throughout the whole project...

Here is the progress on my bowling bag so far:

I wasn't sure about using two circular needles, so I did it the following way: I knitted first side with straight needles (three triangles), then I switched to one circular needle for the connecting band, then I knitted the first orange triangle using one straight needle and the circular (the other end of the circular just keeps the rest of the stitches), now I will begin the second triangle (yellow) and I'll knit this with two straight needles, and the last triangle will be knitted again with one straight and the other end of the circular.
(I hope I made myself clear ^^).

I also got holes and yellow lines on WS while connecting two triangles, but as I read girls' posts on Bag Me KAL it should felt nicely (I hope! I'm using quite a thick yarn).

As far as picking up stitches for the connecting band, I helped myself with a crocheting hook, picking one stitch at a time with a contrasting yarn (colour B - yellow in my case) and placing it on the needle, removing the hook, picking up another stitch, an so on. As if I was crocheting the chain.

My overall view on the pattern:After the initial confusion, ("cast on 39 st" - obvious, but then "R1: k3, turn" - what do you mean 'turn'?... what about the rest of the stitches?...), I grasped the idea rather quickly and I really like this funny way of knitting.I can't wait to felt it!
And I still haven't decided on handles, I'll give it some thourough thinking tomorrow.
Happy knitting, everyone! ^^

Friday, May 05, 2006

Yarn shopping!

Today I've been yarn shopping (and fabric shopping, and leather shopping, but that's another story... ^^).

This is the sunny yellow and orange for the Felted Bowling Bag (May project for Bag Me KAL), Italian yarn, 100% Merino wool, 50 m/50 g, I bought 1 kg (half of yellow, half of orange) for $ 35 (wholesaler).
I've already swatched and I'm satisfied with needles 7 (I should be knitting with 8 according to the pattern, but I don't have the 8s), I'm starting tomorrow so expect more pictures soon.

I also bought this moss green yarn for the Swan Neck sweater - it's a Turkish yarn, 95% acrylic, 5 % mohair, very soft, 270 m/100 g. I've already started to knit the sweater and I like the result. ^^

And here a pack of white cotton floss - for an embroidered bands for my husband's medieval caftan (I'll show you the pattern tomorrow, when I'll have finished one piece in two colours), and circulars 2,5.

There were so many wonderful yarns around me that I wanted to buy them all! ^^ But I couldn't, and moreover it was a wholesaler, so I had to pick up 0,5 kg packs, not single skeins, so I had to carefully count the money!... But I'm definitely going back there soon! ^^

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Thank you all for complementing my Snow White shawl (*^-^*). I'm already thinking about the next lacy project, it's addictive!

So, we had a wonderful weather yesterday and we went for a picnic! ^^
First, there was like million people on the bus - because it was the first sunny free day, and all Warsaw inhabitants (those that didn't leave the town for a prolonged weekend) decided to go to Powsin Park and spend the day outside... So after some time in a crowd, with old ladies moaning and standing in a big traffic jam we decided it would be faster to leave on the next stop and go on foot for the rest of the way (which was a good idea, because we passed the bus that was left in a traffic jam...).

It's me, Anna and Gabriel. And here it's Caroline and me again! ^^

We found ourselves a nice piece of a lawn, had lunch outdoors - Chinese honey-and-soya ribs (ribs - how convenient for a knitter to eat! ^^I wonder whether they were 1x1 ribs, or maybe 2x2 ribs, because each of us got two of them...), a salad, hard-boiled eggs, cucumbers, and some biscuits (and because it was a public place - pretending it was a blackberry juice, not the red wine we were having...^^), and then we played petanque (my team lost twice...)! ^^ And then we had some ice-cream.

Playing petanque:
Peter, Anna, Caroline and my husband Robert. Me, Peter and Robert.

We came home strolling through the forest and it was a really nice day. In the evening our friends came over and we made spaghetti Bolognese for dinner and played Scrabble.
Late night I was soooo tired with the fresh air, games and wine ^^, that I was sound asleep when I barely put a cheek on the pillow!

Who can guess what this is?

It's my Clapotis! ^^
(Yes, I found some time to knit, of course! ^^)

And tomorrow it's a yarn trip!