Thursday, September 28, 2006

Serious thinking, serious knitting

Long time no see! ^^
I haven't updated my blog for several days, because I was busy with many things - first of all, my husband got ill and I had to take care of him and you know how demanding men with a cold can be!... ^-^
Then, I've been doing different preparations for projects, not very interesting for blogging about (like, I got a pack of 3 kilos of tangled woollen bits and I had to wind them into separate colour balls).

I've naalbinded a pair of socks for my husband - these are different from the first pair - the heel has been added after I've made the ankle part (I've been making half of the ankle row not attached to anything, and then I've been picking up the stitches for the heel in the round). The ankle part has an open front.


I've been also making a swatches for the shawl I'm going to naalbind, here are two of them:

Finnish stitch

Russian stitch

It seems that you can easily naalbind flat objects, I'll just have to be careful and make sure I have the same number of stitches in each row (I thought about marking the first/last stitch with something, and move the marker as I'll go to the following rows).
Anyway, I'm starting the shawl this weekend, when I'm home alone (my husband is going to a historic event and I've decided to stay for many reasons). So, I'm going to put all my wool skeins on the living room table and start naalbinding this stripey colourful shawl! ^^

I've been also knitting these past few days - I've done half of the Emelia choker in black cotton(which is a birthday present for my best friend Anna, I already gave her the Allete wings by Jen, so it seems like she's getting the designer's line of accessories! *^v^*) .
And I started to knit a Christmas gift for my Mother-in-Law I (I have two of them, although only one husband, and I like both of them a lot! ^^) - the Liesel shawl by Yummy Yarn. I call it a shawl not a scarf, because I'm making it 5 repeats of the pattern wide, not two.
Photos as soon as there is anything to show you! ^^

My Manifesto

I've had a very serious conversation with my husband about my arts and crafts "career", because I felt that I got stuck in the dead point and didn't know what to do with it, which direction to choose, and desperately needed a small psychology session about it (he's not a psychologist but a very good listener and can draw inteligent conclusions from the facts given) . He asked me several basic questions about the things I like to do, the media I like to use, the subjects of my general interests, and put all the answers on paper (in fact, on the computer screen, but you know, we had them in front of our eyes ^^).
It turned out that nowhere in the first three answers appeared jewellery. I don't want to design/make jewelery as a professional, metal is not my choice of a medium to work with, it was fun to create some jewelery in the past but I cannot see my future in this field.
So, he asked me gently but firmly: "What are you doing at the second year of the jewelery making course, darling?..."
And frankly speaking I had no idea what to answer...
I know that I enlisted for this course last year to check whether I like it, am I good at it, could I be the jewelery designer if I know the technique?
The answers to the questions are the following:
- yes, I like it;
- yes, I am quite good at it - I can operate all the machinery, quickly learnt the techniques, I have some design ideas.
But the last question brings the following answer: making jewelery doesn't bring me any satisfaction, it is nothing compared to the state I am in when I lay my hands on the bag of wool or some new fabrics, I can spend hours in the fabric or yarn shop, touching everything, smelling the sheep smell of the skeins, planning what I would do with this or that cotton or jacquard, admiring the colours and textures...
And apart from that I couldn't afford my own workshop full of even basic tools and machinery so all the skills are nothing without practice.

So, I decided to give up the jewelery course. It's a waste of time and money at this stage (although I'm glad that I have some knowledge and skills in this field), and I'm going to look for the seamstress course instead, because I need to polish my sewing skills.

My mission is: to fully concentrate on fabric and yarns to find my own way of expressing my ideas with the use of fiber.

Sometimes it's good to just sit and talk about your problems with somebody, see it from a different perspective, hear the advice, and the sun is shining again! ^^

Friday, September 22, 2006

Knitting must wait

(Probably) to Helene's dissappointment (>^-^<) I'm not going to present you my naalbinded shawl yet, but a very small project - a pocket for my medieval scissors.

They are very sharp and I couldn't have them on me because I kept hurting myself, but now I'll be able to carry them tied to my belt all the time! ^^
I'm also making a pair of naalbinded socks for my husband.

Today I received my swap postcard from Anna - cute! ^^

Thank you, Anna!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Naalbinding all the way

I've just finished another naalbinded project (remember my first weird looking socks?...) - a pair of mittens for myself! ^^
They are definitely nicer than the socks, they are warm and fit perfectly. I want to naalbind another pair but from thicker wool (for winter medieval events) and finish them off with fur.

Close up on the texture (I love it!)

It's very difficult to take a photo of one's own hand!...

(This is the view from my balcony. Just after this small hill the fairytale ends - there is a busy road there...)

I'm waiting right now for the new supply of wool and I'm going to start a naalbinded shawl - I still haven't determined whether the Viking women wore such shawls, but I think some sources can be interpreted in this way (like the women figures on the Oseberg tapestry) and the technique is capable of producing a big flat piece of fabric, so why shouldn't I give it a try? ^^

Not much knitting lately, I mean, I'm slowly finishing second OPAL sock, Mameluke socks are on hold, and I encountered some real knitting/fulling disaster...
What happened?
Superwash wool doesn't felt.

Yes, I know that you all knew about it and wrote about it in your blogs, and I read it millions of times, and then, what I did? I went and bought a superwash wool yarn for the felted bag!...
Stupid! Stupid!
Not only bought it, I cut some yarn and tried to felt it in hot water and soap (I decided that it looks like it's felting...), I knitted a whole huge bag with it, washed it in 40 degrees (nothing happened), washed it in 90 degrees (black yarn stained the white areas of the pattern and two light colour towels I put into the washer with the bag...), and now I'm going to frog it and knit something with this black yarn (which I have a lot, because I bought 4 big skeins).
And I'm angry because I really wanted this bag, oh well... I'll just have to knit it one more time, right?

Fit and Knit

Today I'm starting my bellydancing classes again! ^^

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Symbols in my life

I know that my placemat arrived at Anna's yesterday, so I can finally show it to you.

Making this placemat turned my thoughts to the symbols that reappeared in my life and my art. Two main motives prevailed.
One was the mountain.
A huge two-peak mountain, one sligthly higher than the other. I've been drawing it in many techniques and sizes (I even made an A1 size picture of it for my friend, using crayons - I pinned the huge piece of paper onto the wallpaper in my room... ^^).
Here is the page from my diary, when I was 16, and here is the mountain in colour:

And here is a few years later creation in pencil:

And then after some time it just disappeared.

And I started to draw a tree. In fact, I drew trees before, along with the mountain, but then the tree took over completely.
Tree in pencil:

Tree in colour:

Maybe I was growing and wanted to grow my roots? Who knows? Some psychologist could analyse this probably. ^^

And I was also buying the tree motives, like this piece of pottery I bought last December:

So, I'm not surprised at all that this year the tree came back to me and went on my quilted objects - placemat and the cushion covers I'm making (pictures soon).

Monday, September 18, 2006

Feast photo story

As I mentioned before, I am a medieval reenactor and we role-play a small medieval feudal society - Draconia Principality. We have our Prince, the nobles and the servants, we fight wars for land with similar groups, re-create different arts and crafts and celebrate.
So, we had an annual medieval feast last weekend. See for yourselves how fun it was! ^^

It all started with the greeting of our Prince Wszebor.
(from the left: Treasurer Lothar of Kozlow, Prince Wszebor, Prince's Swordsman Orel, my husband Daeris Ostaris)

My husband Daeris, who is the Chancellor, the Esquire and the Standard Bearer, read our Laws to remind the Draconians of their duties and rights.

And we listened to his words:
(from the right - the nobility: Voivode and Prince's Cup Bearer Michal of Brochow, his wife Janna of Brochow, Prince's fiance Sylwia, me, Treasurer's wife Marzena of Kozlow and the servants.)

Then we went to the table and Prince shared with us the sacred pie as a sign of the unity of the ruler and all his subjects - the nobles and the servants.

Then we sat down and enjoyed the food (and the list was veeeeery long, we started eating at noon and finished at midnight, with three warm dishes and several cold apetizers, and fruit, and sweets, and wines, and meads... ^^).

There was some singing and poetry during the day,

as well as in the evening.

Here is me in my two medieval Russian outfits:
(I changed into the second one in the evening, when I needed the warmer woollen dress instead of the light silk one I was wearing during the day.)

And with my girls:

And with my Hubby at the table:

My two servants, Osk (my best friend Anna) and Jarogniewa:

Osk giving a fire show with poies:

And there was much rejoicing! ^^

What does it have to do with the crafts blog?
All the items of clothing were hand made by the people who wore them, using only natural materials: wool, silk, cotton and linnen. ^^

Happy Monday, everyone! *^-^*

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Helene, you can be proud of me! ^^

Helene, I have finished my very first naalbinded item - a pair of socks! ^^

Okay, they do not look as neat as the knitted ones, but I think as for the first item made in this technique they are quite all right, ne? ^^ In the next pair I think I'll try another way to add a heel, but this one works perfectly.
It's a gift for our friend and will be given during the feast this weekend - I hope they will fit!...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I'm in love!

Couple of days ago I've watched "Lucky Number Slevin" with Bruce Willis and Lucy Liu (one of my favourite actresses! ^^), and I've fallen in love!...
To be exact, the object of my affection (and I mean, 'the object") is the coral sweater Lucy is wearing:

This is the only shot of the sweater I could find in the Web, but it's big, has a wide reversible collar, patches on the elbows (cute!!!), and is the perfect colour! Who knows, one day I may even knit myself such a beauty!...
(Yes, I know, all my previous sweater knitting efforts were abbandoned at some stage, but maybe, just maybe I've been waiting for the PERFECT design to be my first knitted sweater? The design just like the above?... *^-^*)

New Knitty!
Im always very excited about each new issue of Knitty (not that I've made many items from its patterns, but still... ^^), and here are my favourites from the Fall issue:

Ivy - could I knit the whole sweater?!... It may be possible because the instructions are written in the way I can understand and follow!

Lizard ridge - beautiful, although I cannot imagine buying so much expensive yarn just to knit an afghan...

Sugar on Snow - I'll be knitting some hats and capelets for three girls for Christmas (3,4 and 5 year olds), and this is an interesting pattern (it can even be a neckwarmer, wow!)

Tamarah - that's an interesting wrap!

Okay, so not so many as in the Summer issue, but this gives me the chance to knit them all! ^^
(excluding afghan, of course... ^^)

Placemat Swap

Just a teaser... ^^

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Kokoshnik finished!

It's my entry for the September Whiplash competition at Whip Up - category (since the design is not mine, because it's over a thousand years old classic, and I didn't prepare a tutorial): skill.

Maybe you remember my on-going medieval project - the kokoshnik!
It started like this:

Kokoshnik is a medieval Russian headdress, worn by the noble ladies at the festive events (which is exactly what I'm going to do next weekend, I mean, I'm going to be at the festive event - I am the medieval reenactor and we are having an annual feast! ^^).

My kokoshnik is made totally by hand, and of natural materials:
- red wool for the outside,
- white cotton for the inside embroidery pattern,
- red silk for the lining,
- two layers of hemp glued together with flour glue, for the interfacing and sturdiness,
- embroidered using silk and cotton threads with glass and mother-of-pearl beads.

And here it is on my faithful assistant:

close-up of the beaded rim

The most difficult part was embroidery, because I couldn't draw the pattern on wool, so I ironed the transfer pencil pattern onto a piece of white cotton fabric, pinned it on the backside of wool and kept on embroiderying, flipping it from one side to the other, trying to keep the track of the design!
When the front and the back was ready, I stitched them together at the top rim, then turned the kokoshnik inside out, pinned and stitched the back lining, then pinned and stitched the front lining, leaving the part that goes over the forehead unsewn. Then I turned the kokoshnik inside out one more time, slipped the sturdy half-a-circle into its place behind the front panel and stitched the opening.
I finished it off with some beading along the top rim.
Voila! ^^