Saturday, April 28, 2007

Third weaving project

My third weaving project is finished!

I so underestimated the time and the amount of work that had to be put into making this!... I started last Wednesday evening with warping the loom (not to count measuring and cutting all the threads, but I really cannot remember now how much time it took...), then on Friday me, Robert and Anna prepared the right tension of the warp (it took us about 4 hours...), then I kept weaving several hours a day (the threads were so fuzzy that they kept catching on one another with every move of the heddle, so I had to separate them with my fingers all the time).

Overall I'm happy with the result, this piece of fabric is for Robert - he's going to make a Viking jacket out of it, and I'm eager to start another weaving project soon. ^^

loom: Ashford Rigid Heddle loom, 80 cm wide
heddle: 40 threads per 10 cm
yarn: 100% wool, the tangle, three colours for the warp, fourth colour for the weft
fabric: 77 cm wide x 322 cm long (warp was about 400 cm long)
weaving time: about 24 hours

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Busy (cooking) bee

I've been stuck behind the loom for the last few days, because weaving the blue-green fabric turned out much more difficult and time consuming than my previous project. The yarn seems to be more fuzzy and the threads catch each other all the time and don't want to be lifted or lowered with a heddle easily, so I have to separate them with my fingers all the time. Whew... But I hope to finish it today, so photos tomorrow.

In the meantime, let me share with you something
Straight From The Cauldron
of the Green Minded Witch
(yes, because it's a frugal cooking recipe! ^^).
Have you ever got rid of the bananas because they got too ripe to eat? Here is the solution:

Banana Bread

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar (can easily reduce to 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup of flour

No need for a mixer for this recipe. Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last, mix. Pour mixture into a buttered 4x8 inch loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool on a rack. Remove from pan and slice to serve.

I found the recipe here, and I used two small loaf pans instead of one. I also used three fresh bananas and one froze one (I defrosted it before adding to the mixture, it's a great idea to freeze bananas for later if you know you won't be able to eat them and they might go stale, and then use them in puddings or a banana bread!)

I like it very much and next time I'm going to experiment a bit and substitute the white sugar with the brown one and add some more spices. *^v^*

Another great dish is my favourite Spring vegetable:

Young Cabbage with Dill

1 Spring cabbage, shredded
1 bunch of dill, finely chopped
2 cups of water
salt (about 1 tsp)

Pour the water into the pan, add salt and a shredded cabbage. Bring it to boil, then simmer on a very low heat for about 1 hour stirring occasionally.
At the end, when the cabbage is soft, add dill and some salt to your taste if necessary.
Serve with cooked young potatoes and pork chops or roasted chicken.

Smacznego! ^^

Friday, April 20, 2007

There is a tree in my bedroom!...

This is the fully warped loom (80 cm wide, 320 threads). I really cannot wait to see the pattern I'm going to get, because I'll be weaving this fabric using a totally different colour of yarn - a dark emerald shade of green. Tonight Anna is coming, we are going to make pizzas, drink red wine and start weaving, yikes! ^^

There is a tree in my bedroom!...

Robert brought me a tree last night, when he was coming home from the tube station around midnight. *^v^*
It's freshly cut, extremely heavy (although it's not very big), has a beautiful green smell (yes, I often name scents with colour names), pretty greyish-greenish bark, and I have no idea what I'm going to do with it!
But it's here and it feels like it's been here forever. I know that the last thing I need in my cluttered flat is the tree (in fact, this may be the last thing anybody in a 5-bedroom house would need!...), but I feel reluctant to get rid of it, even put it on my balcony... We'll see about that, for now it stays next to my growing tomato plants, peeking outside. ^^

More botanical news - my pink hoya (Hoya carnosa) is in bloom again (well, it is in bloom several times a year, irrespective of the season ^^), and again there is a weird problem with it - its flowers apparently have a special scent, which I cannot smell at all (and I am very sensitive to different smells), but Robert can smell it and he cannot stand it!... And the same was at my parents' house - my mother couldn't smell this scent but my father was walking around the house saying that hoya stinks again... It's very mysterious to me, did you have any similar experience with this plant?

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I've tried a new craft yesterday! *^v^*

Together with my friends Anna and Kate from the medieval reenactment group we tried sprang, which is a kind of weaving, in which you twist the warp (no weft needed) and the result is a very elastic, lacy fabric.
It can be used to make stockings, hairnets or bags - anything that needs to be elastic.
Here is my loom with linen thread - on this thread you place the warp - up and down, up and down, ect.
And some examples of the work in progress and the finished piece of fabric (it's surprisingly elastic in every direction! ^^).

My views on sprang - I definitely must practice more of this technique, because I've only tried it once (and I had to start five times when I finally grasped the idea of how to do it properly!... Okay, I was learning from a description, so at first it wasn't that easy to get the idea, what to do with which thread.)
I'm fascinated with the degree of elasticity this technique gives and I'm already thinking about making a pair of Viking stockings - the anklet in naalbinding and the rest above the ankle in sprang.
As always, I'm happy I have tried a new craft and I'm going to practice it more.

Helene, have you got any experience with sprang? What's your opinion? Or anybody else, please? ^^

Anyway, my blue and green tangled wool supply arrived couple of days ago and (apart from the fact that I have a box full of 4 kilos of yarn in the middle of our bedroom...) I've almost finished warping the loom to make the fabric for Robert, so expect the first pictured soon (maybe even on Saturday, yikes! ^^). On Friday evening we are going to meet my friend Anna and the three of us are going to finish warping (at least three people are necessary to set a proper tension on the loom), and I cannot wait to start weaving! ^^

One more thing, Lana, I sent you your goodies two days ago, please let me know when you get it so I know it's not lost somewhere on the way... ^^

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


This is the man I married - my friend, my soulmate, my lover, my helper, my other half. ^^
We've been together for 12 years before we got married, high school sweethearts! ^^ Our relationship had its ups and downs, but we survived and carry on. We share a lot of interests together and we always have something to talk about.
And I'm writing it today, because today is Robert's name day! *^v^*

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Saturday outside

Beware! There is a monster at the end of this post! ^^

We started our Saturday at the car wash, and then we went to my parents' allotment to help with some gardening. The weather was really beautiful yesterday and we even caught some sun (I'm not so pale anymore, yikes! *^v^*).

My parents wanted to sow the grass but they forgot to take the boxes with the seeds with them... so we just weeded the plots and then had a nice barbecue! ^^
Some flowers were in full bloom and some just started to wake up after Winter (like roses).

Green Minded Witch
On Friday we did something very important to our financial situation - we went to the bank and took a three year credit.
And it wouldn't be anything unusual because people do it every day, but this wasn't just a whim to buy something - the purpose of this credit is to pay off our credit cards. Where is the catch?
We had three credit cards, used full up (because for the last three years we had spendings connected with our wedding, and then with opening our business), and the monthly installment was huge. In fact we could only afford to pay the smallest amount required and even then we had to use the cards again during the month, so it was a vicious circle.
But then my wise husband did some math and decided that it would be better to take one big credit with smaller interest rate (14%) instead of three credit cards at 19% or more, which allowed us to cut the monthly installment to half of the amount we had to pay before. The other half is going to stay in our pocket so we won't have to use credit card again during the month (in fact we are going to give up two of them and keep one of them just in case anything happens and we'll need some extra money, but hidden deep down the drawer and not in the wallet with an easy access to it!).
If you are in a similar financial situation think about this solution - the benefits are great: the interest rates and the monthly installments are smaller so more money stays in your pocket for food and bills, ergo you don't need the credit cards anymore! This really makes me happy because I can see the real date of getting rid of this debt (even if it's in 2010... ^^), and with the credit cards it was a never ending story.

I started the Muslim knee-high sock on Friday and stopped at the the point you see in the picture because I need my friend to try it on and check whether I I should or shouldn't add six more stitches at this very point (that's the best point, on the white lines, just before I'll start another pattern). It's the beginning - the top part just below the knee (the original was knitted toe-up but I didn't feel confident enough to try it like that with such a complicated pattern so I'm following direction from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks), and I decided to knit both socks simultaneously, because there is nothing worse than the second sock to start from the beginning when the first one is finished, brrr....

And here is the promised creature found under the water tank, beautiful! *^v^*

Thursday, April 12, 2007

And the winner is...

Okay, so the winner of my One-Year-And-A-Month-Blogging-Anniversary is... Lana!!!
Darling, please email me with your address [brahdelt (at) draconia (dot) pl] and I'll send you your goodies asap! *^v^*
Thank you all for participating in my giveaway, I actually enjoyed it a lot and I may organize another one soon, who knows. ^^

One more news : I think I found the pattern for my Kid Silk Haze from Ambermoggie - a Scarf for Ally. I must say that it's my first experience with Kid Silk Haze and it's very strange to knit with a sewing thread... *^v^*
Okay, I'm kidding, but the yarn really is very very thin and at this stage I cannot really see the emerging pattern, but I hope it'll block nicely. It'll be my Beltane Shawl.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Finished and started

Rho, that's true that there is nothing to beat some good old horseradish, especially with a homemade pate (pasztet) or smoked ham (my father made some himself this year). And the cheesecake is a must - the very traditional version, a thin layer of a shortcake topped with cheese with raisins, yummy (not the raisins, I don't like them and I always leave them out! ^^).

Over the weekend I finished the "Burgundian Dance" tapestry and I'm sending it to Helene tomorrow. ^^
The pattern comes from an old issue of "Anna" craft magazine, the technique is a cross stitch, I used cotton mouline on cotton fabric and the size of the finished picture is 37 cm x 62 cm (plus some fabric for mounting).

What's next? The anklets from the leftover yarn I used for my Opal socks - they are almost ready, I've knitted past the heel on one sock and I'll knit the heel on the other today, and then there will be several rows above the heel to fish them. I decided that in order to avoid the 'second sock syndrome' it's easier for me to work on both socks almost simultaneously, and not knit one completely and then start another one. ^^

And I'll be starting soon a very serious commission - my friend asked me to knit for him a pair of knee-high socks based on the medieval Muslim socks. It will be a challenge for me because I once started to knit these for myself (I have the pattern in Nancy Bush's Folk Socks), but I didn't get much far past the heel in the first sock - the size was too small for my ankles, so I frogged some of it, felted it and turned it into a nice cellphone cozy! *^v^*
But this time I'm going to approach this pattern again and it'll be a real challenge because my friend is a man with big feet and wide calves, so I'll have some serious stitches calculating to do. I'm buying yarn tomorrow. ^^

Green Minded Witch
Inspired by many wonderful blogs about eco-friendly, frugal living I decided to keep adding some "green" tips, ideas and links from time to time in the posts under the label of the Green Minded Witch. (Living in a big city, I'm not very eco-friendly, but I'm trying to be.) I don't intend to preach but to give some hints from my own experience which can be useful to some of you, as they turned out useful for me. ^^
I'm going to start today with something simple and obvious, or is it really?
Laundry detergent.
I used to buy bottles of it and use it in "splash" quantities. By this I mean I just opened my washing machine, splashed some of the washing liquid into one drawer, splashed some of the softener into the other drawer, closed it and turned it on.
Of course in this way I used much too much of it, especially when I had those concentrated detergents, and I had to buy more of them quickly.
Then one day I applied the famous RTFM rule* - I turned the bottle and checked the amount of the liquid that was suggested for a 5 kilo washing - and it was a surprisingly small amount! Much smaller than my "splash"! Now I know what the caps on those bottles are for - these are the measuring devices! ^^ (okay, I knew it before, but just didn't pay attention to them...)
It's really worth to overcome our laziness and have a look at the manufacturer's dosage suggestions, because:
- you use exactly the amount needed for a single washing, so the bottle lasts longer,
- the bottle lasts longer so you buy another one only when you really need it,
- you save money, because you spend it less often
- in general you use less detergent (less of it goes down the pipes and into the environment)
Isn't it a nice result? *^v^*

And some green minded links for you:
Stop the Ride by Stephanie, very inspiring blog about frugal life
Sew Green, a blog by several green-minded artists,
Another Woman's Treasure by Celeste
10 Commandments for a Simpler Way of life

BTW, if you want to take part in my bloggiversary giveaway there is still time to leave the comment on the giveaway post - I'll be drawing the winner on 12th April and the prize pool grew from just a cross-stiched sheep to some additional surprises! *^v^*

* RTFM - Read The F(ascinating) Manual, as my hubby says! *^v^*

Monday, April 09, 2007

Look at its smiling face!

It's all mine, mine, mine! *^v^*
(Okay, it's ours, mine and Robert's.^^)

As of Friday evening we own this beauty! And it wouldn't be anything unusual, because people sell and buy cars every day, but this one is special - because it's a Volvo.
As long as I remember (since I was a teenager, I think) I always wanted to have a Volvo. I wasn't impressed with any other cars (till the moment I found out about the Dodge Ram, yummy!...), I didn't like sport models, I didn't like big luxurious cars, I didn't care for small eco town cars, I knew that my destiny was to drive a Volvo one day. And that day arrived! ^^
I always portrayed myself in a 700 something or 900 something model, but we finally bought the 850 (which was also acceptable, anything below or above those three models could not exist for me). I wanted this beautiful rectangular lines, I wanted the spaciousness of the interior, I wanted the safety of travelling it could give me. We found it via the on-line auction of a car dealer and went to have a look at it on Friday evening.
When we were approaching the dealer's gate and he was coming towards us from the back garden in this car I just knew it was our car. Then we checked the car in and out, went to the garage to make different tests (which turned out very good), and all the time I was asking it "tell me, show me, what you feel about our relationship, let me know that you are a good choice for us", and all the time I had a really positive response, it's hard to explain but it felt okay. ^^
So, this and the fact that the car was in a very good condition both mechanically and visually decided on the final purchase. Of course it's not a new car so some flaws can surface sooner or later, but I'm really happy with the value we got for the money asked for it. For now I've been enjoying the comfort of driving similar to the one we experienced some years ago when we had a Ford Scorpio (but this time it's even better - it has an automatic gear box and heated seats!). All we need now are the new Swedish and Norwegian moose stickers on the rear window ^^ (the ones we had from the previous visits to Scandinavia went down with Mazda).
And, it's a Volvo! *^v^*

From the crafts front: Helene, I finished your "Burgundian Dance" tapestry, I'm waiting for your address! I've been also doing some knitting and embroidery, but not much as we were visiting our families and eating like crazy (Easter in Poland is mostly about eating, you know...), so I was too lazy to do any serious crafting this weekend.
I'm also a bit stuck with weaving - I didn't have enough yarn to start the blue-green fabric (I'm waiting for the new supply which should arrive later this week), so I started to prepare the warp for the brown-reddish fabric and it turned out that I didn't have enough yarn either (grrrr....) . So, unfortunately weaving is on hold till I get the new tangle supply.

Other news: I got a Summer Collection catalogue of Gudrun Sjoden's fashion (I know, about two weeks after I got her Spring catalogue, strange...) and - surprise, surprise - I don't like the clothes like... at all... Maybe one or two models did catch my attention, but it's not like the Spring clothes - "give me every piece you've got!". I don't know, maybe she prepared those two collections together and burnt out with the Spring one? Some models are really very similar in cut to the ones from last year, well... I'm very disappointed, but since I wasn't going to buy anything, just to draw some inspiration, I'll just keep looking through the previous catalogues. ^^

Thursday, April 05, 2007

And there was much rejoicing!

So, last night we organised an Oriental evening at my place - we had belly dance music, ate Arabic food (hommos, raheb, halva, nuts, ayran and rose lemonade) and drank lots of wine. *^v^*

Anna and Kate just before we started the evening.

We even had our own Arabic waiter. ^^

And the view on the city centre (both sketches made by Anna).

Next time we are planning to have an African evening (Kate's boyfriend is from Cameroon). *^v^*

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

People in Poland do not worship God,

they worship Food.
I've just come back from the grocery shopping and I'm exhausted... I've been trying to maneuver among millions of people running around the shop with crazy eyes, stuffing their carts with more and more packets, bottles, cans, bags, ect ect, and then I had to stay in a 40 minute queue to pay for my shopping, and it's only Wednesday!... What will be happening in the shops on Friday and Saturday, just before the Easter holidays?!...
I won't know because I'm not coming back there until next week!

I completely changed my naalbinded shawl I've been making. It's not shawl anymore! *^v^*

I thought that now when I can weave myself a proper shawl, I won't be finishing this one. And let's be honest, the naalbinded one wasn't a success - I couldn't keep the number of the stitches even in every row so starting with 80 stitches it was shrinking in width, then I tried to add the stitches but it didn't look good.

As you may remember, I even cut off part of the shawl and made a pouch out of it (look, I have a designer set! *^v^*), but last night I turned what was left of it into a bag - I stitched the sides, naalbinded the long handle and added a string and a wooden button to fasten it. The bag went into the washing machine and I fulled it in 90 degrees. Even after felting it's very roomy and I can stuff many things in there! ^^
(it seems that naalbinding doesn't shrink much while fulled because, unlike knitting, the separate stitches are rather close to each other and tight from the beginning, so there isn't much room for more shrinking)

I'm going to use this bag as my craft bag for medieval events (to keep the needle case, the tablets or the heddle, the lucet and whatever project I'll have with me at the Viking markets).

This evening we are having a girls-only Oriental evening at my place (me and my friends Anna and Kate), so now I'm off to prepare some food and clean the place. If I remember, I'll take some photos and I'll show you tomorrow our Oriental feast. *^v^*

Monday, April 02, 2007

Look, look!

Two posts in one day? But I have to show it to you!...
Look what I found in my mailbox, when I went out shopping this afternoon!
The envelope from Ambermoggie!

And in this envelope I found this beautiful postcard and a skein of Rowan Kid Silk Haze!!!

Thank you so very much!!! *^v^*

The colour is fantastic, it's a dark coral (shade 596), the thread is incredibly thin, I keep touching it and pressing it against my face because it's soooo soft, it's 30% silk and I've never tried knitting with silk before, and I started to think what I could knit with it.
Maybe this Airy Scarf from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts"? ^^
Any other suggestions? Please, advise!

I'm famous and that's final!

I've been recognized on the bus! *^v^*
Yesterday we were coming home from the Sunday dinner at Robert's farther's (by bus and then by subway, because we have no car right now), and on the bus I was approached by a girl who said that she knew my blog and came to say 'hi'! *^v^*
It was a total surprise, but a very nice one! Paula is also a crafty person, although she doesn't write about her crafts (yet, I hope! ^^), she has a cute dog and she lives in my residential district. Paula, if I seemed a bit nervous it's because I am in fact a very shy person, but I'm really glad that we met and maybe it is a chance to have a Stitch'n'Bitch meetings in Warsaw from time to time. Keep in touch with me, please! *^v^*

Thank you for your kind comments on my woven shawl, Paula asked me yesterday about my favourite craft (but it was already my subway stop and I had to leave the train and didn't answer properly), and I would say right now, that it's knitting and weaving interchangeably. I am really very fascinated by weaving at the moment (well, I managed to actually make a piece of proper even cloth, so anybody would be happy in this situation! ^^), so I keep occupying myself with weaving activities nowadays. ^^

And I even learnt something while making the red shawl that I had no idea about before - you need a lot of thread for the warp but you need surprisingly small mount of a thread for the weft! There are probably very sophisticated ways to measure it before you even start weaving but I discovered this fact in the process. ^^ It's good to know because I can plan the weft yarn now.

I wrote on Saturday that I was warping the loom again (and before you ask - yes, I am a big fan of all the Star Trek series! ^^ Warping, warping all the way!...) - and it was partly true. I started to warp the thinner heddle I bought (40 threads per 4 inches) but it turned out that first I should prepare all the 320 warping threads (8 m long each, because I want to make a 4 m piece of cloth, 80 cms wide), count them and see if I have enough.

Remember, I work with the tangle, which means that I have different colours of wool in different lengths, from 10 cm to 30 m, all tangled up of course. So, if you ask about the photos - these are the warping threads, each one in a separate ball, waiting to be warped when I have enough of them. The fabric will be in blue and green shades.

Some replies to your comments:
Rho, I have just started to use the fish sauce in my cooking and I don't know yet if I find it useful or I'll just stick to good old salt ^^ I agree that the smell of it from the bottle is very strong... ^^
Lobstah, I cannot fit my loom anywhere either... My flat has 42 square metres and is packed with stuff!... And I'm planning to buy an inkle loom and a spinning wheel one day. (I know, I'm crazy, don't pay attention. *^w^*)
Heather, I'm not Jungian. I have very, very colourful and busy dreams, every night I dream a different story and you could make some really weird movies out of every one of them, so I'm just interested in the meaning of our dreams and I started to read this book (together with another one - "Dream as a Roadsign. Jungian dream analysis" - the original title is "Träume als Wegweiser" and it is a collection of analysis of several reoccurring motives from our dreams, done by the Jungian analysts).

Okay, now I'm off to more warp measuring and cutting, and counting.
Have a nice Monday! *^v^*