hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
2015 continues to be the best year of my life (so far). All my hard work at the beginning of the year paid off; I got the coolest, most me job ever, and the mental health benefits I get from not being a student have left me with more energy and inspiration to Do Stuff than I've ever had before. (And I've impressed a lot of people at work, so I'm half expecting a permanent job offer so I don't have to go back to school. Or at least maybe the possibility of getting to work there again next summer.)

This post will be photo free because I really don't enjoy the photographing, editing, and other faff that goes into illustrated posts. Some of the things I'm going to write about have been badly photographed and posted to Instagram (petra_4_8) but the things I've made are invariably far prettier in real life than in pictures, so.

Knitting: Finished a purple laceweight alpaca cardigan that was going to be waist-length but fortunately ended up hip-length by complete accident. Currently working on a two-colour fair isle baby vest in a cotton/bamboo/merino blend that will be a display item in mum's brand new yarn shop that opened about three weeks ago. I unfortunately hate the yarn -- there's no give in it, which hurts my hands a lot! But it's very pretty and soft so it should be a great choice for anyone who knows they like to work with cotton.

Spinning: Hardly anything. Finished a Navajo-plied reddish alpaca and started a (hopefully) laceweight merino/silk blend on the wheel. Spun a tiny hank of laceweight angora on a drop spindle at the Renaissance market a few weeks ago. I hadn't tried to spin angora since last summer, and it was quite a revelation to see how much better my spinning is! I also think angora is very well suited for a super light spindle, because it gives you the time to draft it.

Historical sewing: I did finish a forehead cloth with rolled hems, a coif, and an apron. They are super duper awesome, and the apron especially makes the outfit come together. I've bought some linen fabric at fleamarkets, which I think may be appropriate for a dress/kirtle type thing, but I haven't had the time to think much about it, and I still don't know where to start!

Modern sewing: I bought a sewing machine in May! So far I've made a pleated skirt out of an Ikea fabric that has blue flowers on white, and a jersey dress with blue Dala horses on cream. The jersey dress has a circle skirt (the hem is 6 metres!), the bodice pattern was made using a tank top, and I drafted sleeves (!!) using an online tutorial. It's almost perfect in terms of fit (thanks to being in a stretchy material?!), and I learned so much about sewing jersey that the final seam (at the neckband) is really kind of perfect. Before I started sewing this summer, my entire sewing experience was a skirt in 2008 and a whole lot of mending the thighs of jeans, so I'm very happy with my adventurousness and progress.

(My work is related to education, and I sure do get a stab of envy every time I come across someone who is studying at one of the well-known textiles/tailoring/design schools. I have to keep telling myself that the hobby level is enough for me!)
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
I'm struggling to motivate myself to get through the last quarter of this semester's schoolwork, partly because I'm discovering the exciting world of historical reenactment. I was at an event last weekend that really made me want to learn to sew so I can make my own garb*, as well as relearning tablet weaving, blackwork embroidery, bobbin lace, etc. which I've dabbled in before but quit because I had nothing to use the products for.

I'm super lost when it comes to dressmaking (and so far too shy to ask for help from the reenactment guild I've joined) but I think I could figure out enough to make a decent coif and apron before our big market-at-the-castle event at the end of July, preferably with some blackwork and bobbin lace details. To that end I've started a small bit of blackwork on a cotton not-quite-evenweave using cotton embroidery thread (unwaxed! Wax is #1 on my tool wishlist) for practice.

Blackwork embroidery in progress

I was surprised to find that it's so much more fun than I remembered, and so much more fun than cross-stitching. It's something about the thought required to not miss any stitches and not get caught in corners without a "way out".

I've also discovered the research about 15th century spinning and am working on developing my own technique with it. I didn't have a distaff at the event last weekend, but I brought spindles and carded wool and spent most of the Saturday drop spinning. I filled two spindles with singles and Andean plied them (first one, then the other). Mighty pleased that they came out at about 30m each (haven't weighed them) and perfectly balanced; my first properly good spindle spun yarns!

Two skeins of spindle spun yarn

Another item on my tool wishlist is a pair of combs. I only have carders at the moment which means any fibre I prepare myself now makes for very fuzzy yarn, which isn't great for any of the things I want to do. I think the fleece I've got would be great for combing, too, but I don't know enough about combs to decide which ones would be suitable for me.

Now, if only I could get as excited about my paper in microeconomics, I'd be all set.

* I've borrowed garb from the guild so I'm good for a few events at least. But the coif I borrowed doesn't fit me very well, and they had no aprons to lend, so those are the things that would make the biggest difference right now.
hyperbole: Mr Happy from "Mr Men and Little Miss" in a cross-stitch design made by me. (Mr Happy)
1. School: Once we only had a few short weeks left until deadline on our humongous group project, I was able to face reducing my personal life to just eating and sleeping for a while in favour of FINISHING. And we did. The coming four days include: one exam, a few hours to proofread our thesis, two days to produce a presentation of our thesis and a critique/opposition type thing on another thesis (don't know what it's called in English?!), the start of our next module and the thesis defence. Today I sit around, revise for tomorrow's exam (it's a novel feeling to have had zero hours left over to care about it until literally the day before; usually I revise a little here and a little there but it has just not been POSSIBLE this time?! Fortunately my brain is awesome and I'm a pro at exam taking), take a walk, and maybe wind yarn (ON MY SHINY NEW NIDDY-NODDY) or start a pair of awesome feminist mittens or something. Whatever I feel like. I'm also NOT going to talk to anybody because I've been around people most of my waking hours every.single.day for like three weeks. Did I mention we FINISHED our thesis though? (Also I expect there will be a price to pay for having over-exerted myself, along the lines of not doing a lot in April, but it feels worth it because I know I have the resources to cope.)

2. Awesomeness: Last weekend I took a much-anticipated trip to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival with one of my dearest friends. It was awesome. I bought a niddy-noddy, a drop spindle, and tatting shuttles; also 800 g of yarn for a pair of mittens and a CABLED ALPACA SWEATER; and 700 g of fibre from various species and breeds and of various shades. I haven't been home enough in the last week to unpack it properly so it's all still lying in a pile on my floor next to my bed where I dumped it because I needed to fill my backpack with a laptop and textbooks instead. (I'm still impressed that I could fit 1.5 kg of fibre things into my hand luggage.) I also got to spend time with friends and new people, "meet" knitting world celebrities, and visit some of my favourite places in Edinburgh.

3. Personal progress: I'm working hard to conquer some of my deepest fears. And I'm actually making really good progress, in spite of how stressful school has been for the past ten weeks. I feel like I've joined the Renaissance Guild "properly" now, and I'm on my way to making knitting groups at least a semi-regular thing in my life. I've applied for summer jobs. These are all things I've been unable to even try to do in the past because I've had so many more urgent issues to work on, but after several years of sorting through all that other stuff I'm finally here and it's super hard but also kind of glorious. (I didn't realise until recently that I didn't even know what not being depressed for long stretches of time in one go looked like before. For me it's all about not automatically going "can I really be bothered to [do a thing]? Nope, sigh" all the damn time. I go on walks just because I love going for walks, and I do four loads of laundry in one go. I haven't found a way to keep on top of the dishes yet but other than that I'm keeping my flat reasonably clean in a sustainable way. It's not about constant rainbows and unicorns and sparkle, but less thick black mud to fight against.)


Feb. 21st, 2015 11:30 am
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Glass of Water)
So, it's been ages! A small selection of what's going on in my life:

* I bought a Kromski Sonata! I went to the Swedish retailer and had a go and it was just so lovely. I've spun nearly every day since then (three months! yikes) and I have yet to find a feature that I don't like. I've started with quite big projects so I'm only nearly done with my second yarn now.

* I joined the local Renaissance reenactment group. Originally just their dance class (so exciting, I haven't danced much before but this kind of dancing I just get) but I'm also trying to get comfortable going to their craft evenings and dreaming of sewing a dress.

* I'm working on my social anxiety with a therapist. It's hard but needful.

* School is stressful and I'm not handling it too well.

* Mum and I started a craft blog! I don't want to link it directly, but googling "maskor och stygn" and finding the Wordpress blog should work. It's in Swedish but there are pictures of my yarn and a cardigan I just finished knitting (wait no, I haven't written that post yet, whoops), as well as mum's multitude of socks and baby cardigans and various other projects.
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
(My spinning wheel isn't cured of its bug problem yet. However, I have been spinning on it anyway, and I'm going to try a new thing today. The 12kg of fleece have been sorted and washed, mostly by my wonderful mother, and I have carded and spun some of it already. I Have Learned To Make Rolags!!! V. exciting. There are photos so maybe there'll be a blog post too.)

But today's topic: remember this fibre? It's yarn now.

Six photos )

I am probably making a hat from it. Or mittens. But most likely a hat. :D
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
The good, exciting, lovely news is this:

which is 12kg of goth sheep wool (they're actually called Gute sheep, I know, but calling them goth sheepses is funner) on my parents' porch. They're visiting me this weekend and bringing this yumminess as well as materials for a drying rack thing and stuff. I'm very excited to learn more about wool. Wool wool wool. :D

The bad, discouraging, sad news is that I soaked my wheel in that solvent twice last week and then got too busy to tend to it until today. And they're still there. The bugs. I haven't moved on from my gut reaction yet, so at the moment I feel like I might as well get rid of it right now because I'll never get it bug free. I will wait for a bit of distance and a second opinion to come this weekend.
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
In the last hour I've had to realise just how many similarities my spinning wheel has to a Swiss cheese.

A couple of days ago, as I was wiping bird droppings* off it, I noticed tiny white bugs and completely panicked. Dad reassured me that it wasn't that big an issue and that there was a fairly easy way to treat it. So today I went and bought a kind of solvent, covered my balcony in newspaper, and brushed solvent over every inch of my wheel, taking particular care to get the stuff in all the insect holes. And there were so many. /o\

I don't know when I'll be able to spin again, or even how I'll know if the beasts are gone. However, the silver lining? I no longer need to feel like I shouldn't be dreaming of and looking for a more modern wheel. I definitely don't want to be wheel-less and I definitely love spinning enough.


* Funny story: a great tit has fallen in love with my flat. It's come in through my ever-so-slightly open window REALLY early in the morning TWICE. (The window in question is now closed until I construct a net thingy.) The first time it woke me up by flying repeatedly into the glass on my balcony door, and having a perch on my spinning wheel in between; the second it was doing something noisy on my kitchen table when I woke up (I thought it was pecking at something at the time but I wasn't really awake). The first time it got very stressed by my getting out of bed to open the door; the second time it just went and sat calmly on the wheel while I was stumbling over to the door. A few days before that second time it came and perched on my laptop screen when I was sitting out on the balcony, and I saw it just now flying dangerously close to my open balcony door, clearly on its way in until it noticed me. Of course I can't know it's the same bird but I really think it is. And while it's kind of cute and funny, it's also annoying because if I wanted bird droppings all over my flat I'd get a budgie or something. But I don't! Especially not on my wheel.
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
I've been meaning to post lots about spinning but as usual I'm way more into the Doing than the Documenting. I also take crap photos, and never as many as or exactly the ones I want. So instead of giving you Margaretha in Pictures, here's a recap of all the yarns I have spun to date, with a few more wheel details.

Lots of photos and text! )

My spinning wheel now has its own corner in my flat. I'm a little busy welcoming new students to Sweden at the moment, but once that settles down I'm very much looking forward to an autumn full of fibre!
hyperbole: A blue rabbit. (Bunny)
She's a bit of a fixer-upper...

At Easter I found a proper, lovely Scanian bobbin lace pillow at a fleamarket. This weekend I found an amazing spinning wheel! Never been as fond of fleamarkets as I am right now. :D

I think her name is going to be Margaretha.

Three more wheel pics plus a cute surprise )

So yesterday I ordered 800g of sheep's wool, from a few different breeds, as well as pinkish red dye. I also went digging for the lots of angora wool I sheared off the one we had in about 2003-2007. I knew we'd had to throw away a lot of it because of moths a few years ago, and there had been a bit more of that since then, but I've got three good bags of it in the freezer now! Such a luxury to be able to spin such fibres as a beginner.
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
I finally started spinning the purple merino/silk blend I got from the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. It's lush!

9 pictures of fibre, from unspun to knitted )

I am also nearly done with the cabled cowl (it is so much fun OMG), and accidentally went to my LYS when they were having a sale and came out with 2000m of purple laceweight alpaca/merino for another Featherweight cardigan. It wasn't completely unplanned, and this is a more colourful and even cheaper alternative than what I had been eyeing. (Purple is my favourite colour, and this is a gorgeous shade. But I am wary of putting that much work into something that colourful because I know me. But then, £1 per 100m of yarn this luscious is *amazing* and would make for a whole lot of shawls if I decide it's too risky. */justifications*)
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
It's less than two weeks until I graduate and move back to my homecountry, which means that I'm very busily not packing and not taking care of admin type things to do with not living here anymore. Much of what I do instead is fibre things.

Knitting: Nennir cowl, 1 photo )

Spinning: The grey is practically done! 4 photos )

Estimated yardage is somewhat more than 160m, and I forgot to weigh it before soaking but I think I had around 30g of fibre. I'm very surprised by the sheer amount of wool that came out of that little fluffy piece I started with!

I'm excited to see what it's like when it's dry, too: right now it's completely unsquishy and very scratchy, but it looks like the soak has really relaxed the twist. I'm thinking of knitting a couple of basketweave potholders, though they may need to be doubled up since the wool is so thin... Hmm!

In exciting and related news, in about a month I'm going to take a course in bobbin lace making! Yaaaay! I have attended this course before, but it was two years ago and I've been too busy to keep working on those skills since then, so it'll be very awesome to meet a bunch of old ladies and get some hands-on teaching. Last time I tried on my own, I messed up the width to length ratio in such a way that what were supposed to be symmetrical rhombuses looked more like...carrots, really.
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
Yesterday I got to unpin my newly finished cardigan and go get some photos in the sun and wear it to KnitSoc all in one go. It's very warm even though it's so light (I've been told that alpaca is seven times warmer than standard sheep) and I love it so much! I've got some more details on the Ravelry project page.

But photos! )

I might ask my grandmother to buy me a shawl pin as a graduation gift, because I love the look of the rolled collar when I pinch the sides together at my waist. Yay variety!

I've started spinning again, and it's great fun but very slow. I expect to have finished spinning the fibre I'm working on right now into singles by the end of the year... I've also cast on the Nennir cowl to use up my last 2.5 balls of alpaca. It's high on complicatedness and thinking but sooo pretty, so maybe a good complement to non-thinky spinning?
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Default)
I'm having a lot of thoughts about community and putting myself out there and FEAR and stuff, which is part of the reason why I haven't posted here since my March spinning glee. The other part being: finishing my degree! AKA getting through lots of exams, including stressful orals. That is all done now and I want to post and so I will post.

I haven't actually been spinning, but I have been knitting. I finished the second sleeve of the Featherweight cardigan (with improvised lace cuffs) last night.

Photo! )

And, inspired by my awesome creative inspiring daring flatmate (who will only be my flatmate for another month, sadface), I sewed a skirt in an afternoon last week, and then wore it to the cinema about three minutes after finishing.

Another photo! )

Next up in crafting is to continue spinning (a month of exams left little energy for new and exciting things, so knitting to cope was the way to go), and to keep thinking about maybe making the Carnaby skirt. (I would make it longer, and wider. But then it'd get very heavy and I'd not want to wear it, so maybe I'm better off looking at pretty shawl patterns for my leftover BEIGE alpaca instead.)
hyperbole: An IKEA-like glass of water with a flower in it. (Glass of Water)
(I haven't really posted here before! Hi! My name is Petra and I am excited to start a new hobby (or a new branch of an established hobby) and this seemed like a good place to share my excitement while it also makes for a shiny first post.)

Today the Edinburgh Yarn Festival is taking place just down the road from where I live. Being avid knitters, of course my flatmate and I had to go! And we're glad we did, because it was fantastically awesome. I have never been to anything similar, so the feeling of being in a crowd of people who share that passion was novel -- and lovely. Not to mention all the amazing things to look at -- and to try.

I guess it was inevitable. I have wanted to learn how to spin for years (ever since I started seeing the angora bunny owners doing it at rabbit shows back in my early teens), and lately I've been looking for actual opportunities. So when I saw the Natural Born Dyers stall with their Spurtzleur spinning sticks it was ... perfect. A glorious moment.

Three photos )

This is a whole new world for me! I know next to nothing about fibres, or about making them into yarn. But I'm very excited to learn! (After I get started on my LAST essay for my degree.)
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