Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

As I already announced, I spun some Halloween yarns from all the nice things I bought on my trip to the US. I know it is pretty late, since today I finally could shoot the photos and it actually is Halloween. Well, but I don't want to keep them from you, and I think I might not be the only one who can just barely make the holidays in time. I will try to be more punctually with the winter yarns, which are my most favourite things to make every year.

The first I spun is the "Witching Hour", from black and violet merino, plyed with sewing thread and some glittering thread, including violet sparkly pompons, mutlifaceted sequins, faceted glass beads, black lace ribbon, some more sequins in the shape of bats and pieces of a black "Trick or Treat" ribbon.

The next is "Eerie Glow"from black and green extrafine merino, containing green and black sparkly pompons, green sequins, black spider sequins and green glass beads, spun a bit wavy or coily.

Then I spun a mixed-up yarn,"Halloween Overkill", mostly orange and black but with some hints of violet and green fiber, with black and green eyelash yarn, green, orange, violet and black pompons, green and orange sequins, big pumpkin sequins, orange organza ribbon and sari silk, a few glow-in-the-dark glass beads and some more of the spider sequins.

Last but not least is the "Orange Pumpkinness", frim black and orange extrafine merino, plyed with an orange sewing thread and some orange tulle strips. There are pumkpin sequins in two sizes, and some of the small are reflecting, usual orange sequins and orange plastic stars, glass beads and sparkly pompons. It also contains pieces of orange "Trick or Treat" ribbon.

There is also this cute little scarf I made a while ago. I was never wearing it because it turned out to be a bit small, rather a children's scarf. It is made from handspun yarn in black, violet, green and orange, plyed with a white thread, knitted up to a soft, snuggly, stripy scarf, a bit airy with some yo's. Measures ca. 11 x 170 cm / 4.3 x 67 inch. Exactly the right thing to keep your little ones warm in the cold autumn nights.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A short Excursion to the Land of Plenty

I am already back for almost two weeks, but I just had to write a little report about my journey to the USA. I went there for my dear friend Kat's wedding (long live the happy couple! It was a wonderful wedding!) and next to hitting some second hand book shops, indulging in Waffle House, getting the best pizza ever at a place which also does trivia games, going to bookshops on sunday evenings and hanging out watching football and baseball, my friends were so nice and endured going to some craft- yarn- and fabric shops with me. And it really was a-ma-zing! If I was living there, all the worries and sorrows from where to get the right supplies for crazy art yarn were totally gone! No annoying search for the sparse number of shops in Switzerland, vast selections, no annoying custom fees because there are also loads of internet shopping possibilities in the same country, sales wherever you go even in the season. It is really interesting to see what the US "competition" could do, what possibilities one could have. But then, maybe, choosing from all this offers and stopping oneself from buying too much stuff might be hard as well. I got some loot, including some nice Halloween items which I already started to spin in (though I am late), here is a quick and unorganized shot of it:

I also saw lots of nice quilts and I got a starter-kit for cutting fabric pieces and a small selection of fabrics and a "Jelly Roll", which is a pre-cut sortiment of fabric stripes, rolled up.

Some of the fabrics I can also use for spinning them in but most of it I plan to use for quilting, which I would like to start. As soon as I get the time. Next to weaving. And more knitting. And some other things.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hills of Wales

Snowberry & Lime is living in Wales and visited me in April. And as a gift she brought me a beautiful mixture of green lamb, baby camel and organic linen reminding me of the hills of Wales. I will go to her place in November and hopefully finally lay my eyes on these beauties myself :).

But here a little taster. It really hurts me to give it away but unfortunately this green is soooo not my colour. Otherwise I would be running around with a new green hat. Oh, that reminds me, I have to make a hat....

Now in our shop!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The monster finished

I did it! After 4 days of mega knitting I finished my friend's scarf. With cables. 100 % merino. So warm I warmed myself with it while it grew on my needles (no kidding). If that's not warm enough I recommend a family relocation to Maui for my friend.
It was that long that I could not get in on my camera in total :(. But I managed to get the pattern on the picture.
Next: buying a new camera...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A truly huge pink ribbon!

A while ago I knitted a pinkish square for the Swiss league against cancer. It was supposed to become a part of a huge big solidarity ribbon which would be revealed in October. People were asked to send in also photos of their work in progress which can be seen here. Obviously they received so many squares (almost 20 000!), that it was not just enough for the ribbon, but also a bunch of blankets which will go to relief organizations.
The ribbon is 12 m high and was presented on October 1st on a public square in Bern. Here on their website you can see lots of photos of that event. Looks like a damn big pink ribbon!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Norway Part 3: crafts, museums and lots of spinning whorls

After telling you about the Norwegian landscape here and there, now I come to the more crafty side, because I was really curious to see what is and was going on in fiber and folk arts.

First, there are the omnipresent wool sweaters, hats and mittens with 2 colored patterns like stars (I really love those! And I just learned, that they are in fact resembling roses), reindeer, snowflakes and other patterns, which you can get everywhere in souvenir shops.
But there is so much more than that. The Norwegians really seem to be much into knitting. I saw yarn and needles even in a little village in a souvenir shop.
In the bigger cities there is a chain of craft shops called "Husfliden" with a big offer in yarns and knitting supplies (also knitting kits, and I decided to rather knit my own mittens than buying touristic ones, so I bought a kit of Norwegian wool with a nice pattern), but also tools for spinning (fiber, handspindles, the one and the other wheel), weaving (cards and rigid heddles for band weaving, weaving yarns and in the old location of the Husfliden in Oslo there was supposed to be a big loom on display, but they moved into a fancy shopping center and there was no loom anymore). There are also all accessories and things you need for making your own folk dress, called "bunad". These are worn for special occasions like the national holiday, weddings and so on. The folk museum in Oslo hat a big display of them. They are reallyreally pretty, many I saw were red and white with a black apron. All have very beautiful embroidery, and I was considering to get a small one of the sew/embroider kits they sell, but I am not much into embroidery and I did not want it to lie around in the boxes until I may or may not come around to do it. Some of them would surely be able to be converted it to a knitting or a weaving chart.
Because the band weaving really it something I want to continue. I already did some card weaving a while ago, and discarded rigid heddles or tape looms as just less complicated and more limited, but that is not entirely true. I found the Yarn Jungle blog, featuring the most beautiful handwoven bands, which are exactly my taste (again, stars, snoflakes...). Ok, it is surely not trivial, but I really want to try. In the museums I also saw nice bands from the Sami people in Northern Scandinavia.

And in the Viking Ship Museum there were remains of tablet woven bands from the Oseberg find, and it was very amazing to see a around 1000 year old band from a craft I could do. Here is a good article on the textiles they found in the ship.
Rigid heddles are often beautifully embellished and in Bergen they had a small heddle from bone, in a special exhibition on bones and objects made thereof, which was small but oh so beautiful:

Another ancient craft is nalbinding. I also tried that some time ago, and found it interesting, but made just one piece and never continued. But seeing it in cultural context was really cool and that beforementioned bone exhibition featured some nålbinding needles. And they also had replicas which they sold, so I did not hesitate to get my own bone needle :)

We saw another archaeological museum in Oslo which was free to visit. It had many many many spinning whorls. Amazingly many. But again, before spinning wheels were invented, handspindles were the only means to make yarn and stone the material of choice. It would be too great to own a very old whorl. In the same museum they have a special exhibition on runes and there was - guess what - a spinning whorl with runic inscriptions. It says something like "Gunnhildr made this spinning whorl". In the museum they had also a display of plant dyed yarns. I just have to figure out from the name of the plants they showed what they used. And indigo and madder are most certainly dye stuff I am eager to try out.

I also saw some spinning wheels, they were all "castle wheels", and often there were also yarn winders and at the Viking Ship Museum there were pieces of a niddy noddy. Very amazing!

Oh and Hardanger embroidery is also very nice! We made a cushion cover at school, but the lace I saw is much more sophisticated with very fine threads..

Now I just need the time to do all this knitting, spinning, dyeing, weaving and nålbinding! And to decide what to start with.