Monday, July 31, 2006


Last Friday I thought that I need some knitting for a drive to Ciechanow (2 hrs), so I finally decided to start the socks from a mysterious OPAL yarn (mysterious for me, of course, because I've never tried it! ^^). I took my 2,5 mm needles and cast on - I'm knitting them toes up, because I have no idea how much yarn I need for the over-the-ankle socks and I don't want to be left without the yarn to finish the second sock... So, when I reach half the yarn ball, 'll start the other sock. ^^
Here is the Monday morning stage of a sock #1:

It'll probably be the sole part, because the pattern changes are visible in the middle of the instep.

Today I've been to several second-hand stores and found some great colourful clothing! ^^ Just look at the vibrant shades of purple and orange, how they fit together - very inspiring for me!

It's all cotton and linnen in various forms.

And I decided to take a 4 month pledge not to buy any new clothing but just make them with my own hands (see: Wardrobe Refashion). Starting date is 1st August. ^^

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Sunday planning

So, I'm back from the XIII c event in Ciechanow. It was fun, the place is very nice and worth visiting next year. Here are some pictures:

My husband Robert, Igor and Marcin. Igor's tent in the background.

Robert, Marcin, Igor and Piotr, and my tent in the background (and Ciechanow castle, of course! ^^)

Marcin, Igor and me.

And me in maroon dress (I'm secretly planning to embroider it with some XIII c pattern... ^^).

Planned for last week:
- finish sewing the XIII c dress - finished and worn last weekend! ^^
- make a XIII c snood for my hair - well, didn't do it... I will in the future, some time in September because we will attend another XIII c event at the end of Sept.
- Lithuanian Amber Socks - I swatched with bigger needles for my size and decided to add several stitches rather than using bigger needles,
- new lace shawl - I've been checking different patterns, still haven't decided though,

Plans for the coming week:
- quilted pillow cases for Sew? I knit assignment - prepare the pattern, choose fabrics
- buy yarn for the August Bag Me KAL project - Knitting Tote
- buy yarn for the blue bag for Darla
- continue with Opal socks
- embroidered bands for Robert's kaftan - continue and maybe finish?
- embroidered bands for my rubakha - finish, sew onto the rubakha
- kokoshnik - finish the front, design the pattern for the back
- veil for the medieval Russian outfit - design and start embroidery

As you can see, I'll be concentrating on finishing early medieval pieces of outfit because on 19 th August we are having a very important event in our reenactors group - the Annual Feast, so me and my husband want to be fully prepared in new clothes. ^v^

Friday, July 28, 2006

Log cabin pillowcases

Have you ever been in a situation, when you smelled some funny smell and thought "Somebody's dinner is burning..." Yeah, we always think it's somebody else's dinner we are talking about... It happened to me a moment ago, while I was in my bedroom reading craft blogs... But fortunately I came to the rescue just in time to add some water and cream to my pork chops! ^^

I've been thinking about log cabin pillows for a while and I decided that I'm going to make three for the Sew?I knit August project (because I have three pillows without the cases).
And suddenly millions of questions came to my mind...
Are there any rules about making of log cabin pillows? How do I match the fabrics? By colours? By patterns? Can I mix the colours? Or patterns? Or both? Should I use lighter and darker shades of similar colours (I've read somewhere about it)? Should I use rectangular strips of fabric or can I make other shapes as well? Can I freely use my imagination and still call it a log cabin pillow?...

Well, a big inspiration are the creations of this amazing artist, Lisa Congdon. I love reading her blog, I love her modbirds and of course, the pillows she makes!

I have some ideas of what I'd like to sew, it may not be a typical log cabin pillow but definitely quilted and definitely a pillowcase! ^^

EDIT: Okay, I looked through my stash and decided to try two colour schemes (they need a lot of ironing, sorry...)

I may add or remove some other pieces, but I'll be working with those fabrics.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I warned you...

... it's going to be plain and boring!...
My XIII c dress:

Why did I ever decide to deal with XIII c in the first place?... I don't know...
But luckily I take part in other projects as well - early medieval Scandinavia and Russia, and Iron Age Poland, so there are many beautiful colourful decorative clothing to reconstruct from those periods! ^^

I also finished the Allete wings and given them to Anna - sorry, Jen, no photos for your gallery but I promise I'll take a picture of the next wings I'll be making for myself. ^^ These ones came out rather light and lacy because of the thin yarn.

And one more thing, introduction.
Have you ever seen this very creative girl's dolls? (her name is Stephanie Sykes)
For example:
and others.
No? Then you have to do it right now, I'll wait!
And what's your opinion?
I think they are absolutely stunningly gorgeous!!! If only I could afford one... Well, maybe one day! ^^

BTW, thank you very much for all your pumpkin recipes suggestions, I'll be trying them out because I really want to get rid of that pumpkin from my freezer and make some space for something new! ^^

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pumpkin problems...

Some time ago Bonnie and Allison decided to flash their freezers stash and found some interesting items there! ^^ . That reminded me of what I have in my freezer.
Apart from some frozen meat added recently, several plastic containers with lunches I make for my husband to take with him to work every day, ice-cubes, packets with fruit, a packet full of Swedish kotbullars (best surprize! ^^), a bag with only several French fries in it (worst surprise - I thought I have a whole pack ready to be used for dinner tonight...), I have something scarry... (and this is I believe the oldest item in my freezer)

It's been there since last year's Samhain.
Because of some funny reason (sudden loss of consciousness at the vegatable stall maybe...^^) we decided that 8 kg pumpkin would be just perfect for a Samhain lantern...
After the celebrations, because I don't like any food to be wasted, I cut it into pieces and carefully cut out all the pumpkin flesh part from the tough skin, packed it all in 0,5 kg plastic bags and put it in my freezer to use later in various dishes. But how many dishes can you make out of pumpkin?!...
We've been eating it with chicken breasts, with pork, mashed and fried like potato pies, I haven't tried a soup yet because we don't like sweet soups, but... what else can you make out of a pumpkin?!... Please, help me, anyone?... I still have about three kilos of this stuff and my freezer is not that big, so I have very little space for anything else!...

On to the crafty part! ^^
Last night I finished sewing the outer side of my XIII c dress (all by hand, my fingers are really sore because the fabric is not so soft...). Now, I'm going to sew the lining and put them together. Don't expect any embelishments like I always add to my medieval dresses, because this is the boring and plain XIII century, when people suddenly lost their sense of beauty and wore only plain one colour clothing!... (which makes the reconstructions easier and quicker, but still...). Photos somewhere in the middle of the week and definitely next week after the medieval event, where I'll be wearing this dress. ^^
It will look a bit like this:

(from Maciejowski Bible)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Sunday planning

Thoughts totally unrelated to crafts (or maybe?)
I recently discovered that I just love love love two things (out of many more, of course! ^^).
First, the bread dough rising. I bake my own bread and I like watching it grow, diferent types behave differently, and the smell of yeast is just lovely! (yes, I can eat baking yeast like cheese, the normal ones, of course, not the instant ones! ^^).
Second, I love the feeling when you cut out the pieces of a pattern out of the fabric to sew something, and first you have a big rectangle, then you draw the fragments of a pattern onto it and cut, one by one, and throw away the small bits that cannot be used for anything, but you carefully fold and keep the bigger bits that can go into a quilt or a purse. And then suddenly you have fragments that will soon be a piece of clothing - from a fabric to a usable product of your hands. Lovely! ^^

Planned for last week:
- kokoshnik - this project must wait till August because I must prepare for XIII c event before the end of July,
- Lithuanian Amber Socks - finished! ^^,
- Allete wings - almost finished, I'll be working on them tonight,
- think about the quilted project for Sew? I knit assignment - so I decided upon the quilted pillow cases, because I have three totally naked pillows waiting for some nice covers,
- think about the new lace shawl... - I had other things on my mind, but new shawl will start growing soon! ^^
- finish and show you my surprise - yes, these were my dollies ^^

Plans for the comming week:
- finish sewing the XIII c dress - yes, I started this project on Friday last week because we suddenly decided to go to the medieval event on 28th July, and whereas I have lots of clothing for the X-XII c Viking period, I have only two chemises and one dress for the XIII th project,
- make a XIII c snood for my hair
- Lithuanian Amber Socks - swatch with the bigger needles for my size with the same yarn,
- think about the new lace shawl - despite the temperature I feel I need next lace shawl on my needles! ^^

Saturday, July 22, 2006

I want you to meet...


Klara was born almost two years ago, when we opened a gothic shop in Warsaw. She's been our good spirit since then. She has embroidered eyes and painted lips, I made for her a velvet skirt with satin red ribbon, lace blouse and a velvet choker with a rose. She even has a pair of long white Victorian knickers with lace underneath that skirt! ^^


The idea to create her was inspired by the crocheted dress and a hat I found in a thrift store for 50 cents. Amelia is a very romantic girl, always day-dreaming, you can meet her in the park with a book of Byron's poems in her hand... ^^

I'm also making one more doll right now, namely Lenore - a character from "Lenore: the Little Cute Dead Girl" , spooky but funny flashtoon.


If you want to have your own doll like that, here is the pattern for the body (print it out and enlarge if necessary, my dolls fit the size of A4 page):

Cut two doll shapes out of the cotton or linnen fabric. If you want to embroider the eyes and lips, now is the time (if you're going to paint them, you can do it later).

Sew them together right sides facing each other, but remember to leave a small hole to turn the doll inside out! (I leave it at the hip area).

Turn the doll inside out and stuff it with a cotton-wool, helping yourself with a pencil or a chopstick to make sure the stuffing gets to the ends of the hands and feet.

Whip stitch the opening


The base doll is ready! ^^

Now, onto the hair: you can use several methods, I used two of them to make my dolls.

Either, cut the pieces of linnen fabric, pull out some loose threads and leave about 5mm of fabric to sew it onto the doll's head. (here is Lenore in the making - I still need to add one more layer of hair onto her head, but you can see the technique I used)

Or, thread the needle with some yarn and sew it one by one onto the doll's head, cutting the thread each time and tieing the knots to secure it.

And this was my surprise from the last Sunday planning post! *^-^*

Friday, July 21, 2006

Project Spectrum July and finished socks!

Last night I finished my second Lithuanian sock from the book by Nancy Bush. July's KAL objective accomplished! ^^ This is also partly the tribute to July's Project Spectrum colour choice - purple.
Of course, I frogged. I frogged half if the instep of the second sock, because the pattern started to be funny on one needle and I had to go back to the end of the heel to repeat this and knit correctly this time. But overall, it was a very pleasant and quick project (as socks usually are! ^^), and I'll be knitting this pattern again in different colours.

(the heel looks strange because the plastic leg is smaller that the size of the sock)

I also finished the first Allete wing and started the second one, pictures soon.

And I'm currently working on something totally different from knitting - I'm sewing (by hand) the XIII th century dress for the medieval event we are going to attend next weekend (we started this XIII c project last year and I already have two chemises and one dress, but I still need another one for the two days event). I've been cutting out all the pieces this morning and afternoon, and I'll start pinning it together and sewing this evening. The fabric is the purple wool from underneath my Lithuanian socks above. ^^

And finally, some cat pictures. ^^
My kitty on a sheepskin on our balcony, behind her you can see my weaving frame, my husband's Viking shield and the blue foil that covers our old broken tv (this one should really go!...).


"Do you want anything from me?"

"Not really? I thought so..."

"I'm soooo tired... And so cute! ^^"

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tote exchange

Look, look, a blue-and-green bag! ^^

This morning I brought it from the post office.
I love the colours - light green is my first choice and recently I've started to tend towards blues more and more! ^^, I also receive a home made soap (how did she know I love everything with goat's milk in it?!... ^v^) and the bag postcard.
In fact, it's not the bag Darla knitted for me, but because she has some problems with her right hand and cannot knit right now she didn't want to leave me without a bag in the swap, so she sent me the bag she received from her pal (great job, btw, I love the lining that matches the outside colours!). How generous! ^^
And I've immediately decided to knit a bag for her because the girl cannot be without her bag, right? *^v^*
So, Darla, expect a bag from me some time in August and thank you one more time for your parcel! ^v^

Monday, July 17, 2006

Ella finished!

Oh my, oh my... I love this pattern sooooo much! ^v^
I finished my Ella last night and blocked ut this morning (don't you just love the moment when the shawl opens up under the steam comming from the iron!...). While knitting it I thought it's going to be rather small, but now I can see its real size - and it's just perfectly big enough for me!

(I'll take a better photo outside when my husband has a moment to help me.)

Pattern notes:
Design: by Wendy Wonnacott (
Started: 4th June
Finished: 16th July
Yarn: 230 g of green 828 Opus Tiftik (Turkish yarn), 270 m/100g, 5% mohair, 95% acrylic
Needles: US 6 / 6 mm
Notes: I believe I can knit it faster, the great obstacle was the terribly hot weather for two weeks, when I just couldn't keep a mohair shawl in my hands... I want to knit Ella for my Mom for Christmas gift and I want to try the laceweight green acrylic I have in my stash on needles 4mm or 5 mm.

I made one change to the design, or rather not change but addition, because I added two strands of yarn in the middle, where the shawl splits into "wings", and crocheted this short section to make it more durable (I was afraid that one thin thread can easily break).

I'll definitely be knitting more Ellas, thank you very much, Alice, for showing me this wonderful pattern I omitted while browsing! (make sure you check Alice's beautiful Ellas here, here and here.)

I also made progress on Lithuanian Amber socks (which are not very Amber in my case... ^^), I want to swatch with the same yarn on bigger needles for my size.

And here is the start for Allete wings, which are going to be the present for my best friend Anna for her name's day (26th July). Pattern is by Jen and it's very easy to memorise and comfortable to knit (it just "knits itself" while you're watching tv, for example ^^).

(it's difficult to take a good photo of a black patterned fabric, so I enlightened it a bit)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday planning

What I planned for last week:
- French Holidays Bag, Striped Bag, Run About Bag, Twice As Nice Bag - all finished! ^^
- kokoshnik - started the embroidery,
- Ella shawl - finished! ^^ photos tomorrow,
- Wristwarmers of Chaos - no, no time or will to make any progress...
- Norwegian Gloves (Jap. book) - swatched, need new yarn, postponed till August,
- anything else - I started the Lithuanian Amber socks from the book by Nancy Bush and Allete wings from Knitty by Jen (these are the present for my best friend Anna).

Plans for the comming week:
- kokoshnik - continue embroidery, design the pattern for the back,
- Lithuanian Amber Socks - finish the second one and swatch with the bigger needles for my size with the same yarn,
- Allete wings - finish, block, pack and prepare to be given to Anna on 26th July, ^^
- think about the quilted project for Sew? I knit assignment,
- think about the new lace shawl... *^v^*
- finish and show you my surprise (I cannot write here what it is, since it is a surprise, right? ^^)

Knit on, everybody! ^^

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


I finally started making my kokoshnik! ^^
For those of you, who have no idea what I'm talking about here is a quick explanation:
kokoshnik is a medieval Russian headdress, richly embroidered with pearl, precious gems, golden thread, ect. Here is the example.

I need this headdress because I am a medieval reenactor, reconstructing the X-XII centuries clothing from Scandinavia and Russia.

So, first I drew the right shape of the front part, designed the embroidery pattern and drew it on a tracing paper with a blue tracing pencil (the one you can iron on the natural fabric).

Then, I ironed the pattern onto the cotton fabric (this will be the backside of the front, if you know what I mean ^^), pinned this fabric to a red woollen fabric (front part), and traced the outer shape with a contrasting thread - I'll remove this thread while finishing the shape but for now I need it to see on the right side where I have the borderlines for my embroidery.

And today, after some 8 hours of beading I have part of the pattern ready! ^^

I know it's not very inspiring, but it's just the beginning. And I also know that it's not a very even beading, but it's REALLY hard to embroider with beads especially when you have the pattern drawn on the wrong side of the fabric, and you have to achieve the pattern on the right side...
Of course, I'm using only natural materials: glass and mother-of-pearl beads, 100% wool and cotton fabric, cotton threads, I'll also add felt and copper wire for sturdiness.

One Month - One Pair of Socks KAL

Welcome to my own private Nancy Bush's One Month - One Pair of Socks KAL! ^^

You can join if you like at any time with any pattern from Nancy Bush's books. (just leave the comment to this post or e-mail me with the photos of your socks and link to your blog).

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Month of Lithuanian Amber Socks (page 104).

My pair (July 2006):

Progress can be found here, here and here.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* *~*~*~*~
Month of Mameluke socks (page 76).

May and June 2007 (no, it was too difficult for me to finish these in one month).
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* *~*~*~*~

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

When 90 degrees is too much...

Well, it is my first felted failure...
Something very mysterious happened - my bag felted to itself, I mean, the backside fulled together with the front side and they became practically inseparable... I believe 90 degrees just turned out to be too much for this lovely delicate wool, which I'll remember in the future!
Anyway, my Twice As Nice Bag ended up as a felted something, a plate mat probably.

On the other hand, here are the results of the successful felted bags! ^^
Run About Bag:

I changed the flowers on the flap a bit, and they decided to have the life on their own in the washing machine, because three of the six petals just let go the flap on one side and they felted as independent pieces. But the other three stayed in place so it gave an interesting result after all.

French Holidays Bag:

My own desing - pattern for you here.
I like the final shape and size, but now I'm yearning for 2mm needles and laceweight yarn! 44m/100 g is a really thick yarn and rather hard to work with.

Striped Bag:

It got small after felting but it's still a reasonable size for a few belongings, I like the colour match.

On to next knitting projects! ^^
Ella has grown a bit, but it's still too hot to keep a mohair shawl in my lap (they say it's going to get cooler on Friday), but think I'll finish and block her till the end of the week. (Yeah, steam blocking, I can't wait to do it to Ella! ^v^)

I've swatched for the Norwegian gloves from the Japanese book I have, and unfortunately my yarn is too thick. So, I need to go a buy some thinner wool, and in the meantime I started knitting socks from the wonderful book by Nancy Bush.

So, regard my own private Nancy Bush's One Month - One Pair of Socks KAL officially open! ^^

You can join if you like, there are 18 patterns in this book, and July is the Month of Lithuanian Amber Socks (page 104).

My colours choice is different because I had the yarn for the Norwegian gloves in maroon and cream, so they look together like that:

What I have to say about this design is that it's very easy to follow, not so easy for the beginner-in-multi-colour-knitting (like me) to keep the yarn tension stable, but the result is a pair of really cute socks! I'm knitting mine not for myself (because they are too small for my feet in this gauge), but I'll keep them for some occasion and give them as a birthday or Christmas gift to a friend with smaller feet. But I'm already thinking about another pair on bigger needles for me. ^^

Sunday, July 09, 2006

I'm back!

Yes, after five days of wonderful holidays in our summer cottage we are back to Warsaw, not that we are at all happy about that...

I've been doing a lot of knitting during those five days (it was too hot to go out and play in the sun until 7 pm every day!...).
I have finished one side of Ella shawl and working on the other one.

I've knitted Run About bag and just need to add the flowers and felt it:

Unfortunately it turned out that I chose a very bulky yarn (44 m/100 g) and I used all four skeins for the main body of the bag and the handle (nothing left for the two inside pockets part...). Well, next time I'll choose the yarn wiser and knit the bag according to the pattern. ^^

I also knitted the smaller version of the Twice As Nice Bag using my award wool from Wendy, but... the result is different from what I expected!

Either there is something wrong with the pattern or I cannot read it properly, but I thought the bag should get more and more narrow towards the top and mine didn't. Anyway, I still like it and the best things is that I still have a lot of the beautiful wool left for other bag projects! *^v^*

There was a surprise waiting for me in the mailbox, namely the corsets pattern I bought from Laughing Moon Mercantile . I strongly recommend their products and the payment and shipping are secure and reliable. Some time ago I bought this set of corset patterns:
Ladies' Victorian Underwear
and this time I bought their latest product:
1894-1909 Victorian and Edwardian Ribbon Corset, Corset Girdle and Man's Corset

I've just found out about the summer Knitty issue! ^^ There are lots of nice patterns (as always) , these are the ones that caught my attention:
Fetching - beautiful cabled mittens
Carpathia - elegant lacy gloves
Perdita - three lacy bracelets
Lickety Split - interesting tabi socks
Manresa - amazing legwarmers
The Good, the Gilded & the Goth - lillies

Planned for last week:
- French Holidays Bag - almost finished, waiting to be felted,
- Striped Bag - felting will take place on Monday,
- Run About bag - almost finished, waiting to be felted,
- kokoshnik - haven't touched, starting next week
- Ella shawl - finished right wing, not much left to knit on the left wing,
- Wristwarmers of Chaos - didn't have time this week,
- pattern for a poncho - done!

Plans for this week:
- French Holidays Bag, Striped Bag, Run About Bag, Twice As Nice Bag - finish the details and felt,
- kokoshnik - start the embroidery
- Ella shawl - finish the left wing,
- Wristwarmers of Chaos - finally make some progress!
- Norwegian Gloves (Jap. book) - start
- and we'll see what else! ^^

One more thing... Last night we were heading off to our friend's birthday party and my husband helped me to put the keys into my bag (because I had a big birthday cake in my hands), so he opened my bag, looked inside and said: "Oh, you didn't take your knitting with you?..."
Does this mean that he sees me with knitting in my hands too often?... ^v^