Saturday, November 11, 2006

Saturday morning and lots of time...

It is very winterly Saturday morning. The landscape is pure and white and peaceful - we just had more snow and the shoveling is done for today. Another busy week is behind and none of us has to go anywhere today and we decided all to have a pyjama day. The sun gets up around nine in the morning and sets around three in the afternoon which is good for the pyjama mood. (One of my daughters is dancing in a Ballet Production - I believe the site is still under construction - and the premiere night is on the 28th which means that she has not had very many lazy days during the past months.) I have time to sit here for a longer while and share some bits of my fiber journey.

But first and foremost I want to thank you all again for your comments and the nice things you said about Katariina. Thank you to you also who are coming to read.

When did I start to embroider?
Again as in so many times before, it was my Mother who gave me my first canvas - maybe at the age of 6 or something. I have been embroidering ever since occasionally but never concentrating on it only. My parents were very busy when I was a child but Mother always had time to take me to the local LYS whenever I wanted to and Father never was too busy to point out beauty whether in nature or designing or art. He made me to look at the stars in the black sky or feel for the softness of a finished wood. Later on I was lucky to to be an exchange student in the US in the late 70's and there got an opportunity to watch and learn from a master embroiderer and a dear friend Chris. It was fascinating to follow her work and see pictures come to life on canvas with the help of floss and needles.
(Embroidery and applique on linen on a wrist band.)
I have a history in quilting and there especially highlighting applique with embroidery. First by machine but later on more and more by hand. I love needles with eyes (have a big collection!) and I guess the need to hold a delicate needle brought embroidery over to knitting. While embroidering I have a feeling of drawing as well.

(While I remember:
Katariina was knit with 3 mm needles throughout without switching needle size for the background of embroidery.

How does Katariina feel when worn? Hmmm... She is very thick. And the wool is a bit scratchy so she needs something underneath. But otherwise she is fine. At the moment I'm a bit tired of her and probably am not going to wear her that much - yet. When I knit my previous twined sweater, it was a few years ago, I sort of exhausted myself there as well, but I have used her this winter and truly and honestly enjoy her now. So I'm sure Katariina will have her journeys one day but maybe not this winter. - I really like the idea of a sweater taking on a journey. When you look at the old pieces in museums or in your own wardrobe, just think about the stories they could tell.
I could not bring myself to making a companion for Katariina (hat or leggings) just now, I feel that I'm done with red and orange for a while.)

Why twined knitting?
I'm not sure if I have ever explained why I'm so drawn to this technique. But all comes together for me in this.

First.
It is knitting - this meditating and calming way of breathing.

Second.

one UFO - she is missing her mate...

The fabric produced is so sturdy it is easy to embroider on.

Third.

polwart/silk singles

The availability of z-plied yarn on the market is limited at the moment. Mostly all commercial wools are s-plied. There is a need to spin. I need the kind of yarn that I can not buy. You can buy some wool and I have found some cotton as well but if I want wool/silk or some other special wool like BFL or pure merino or mohair or any other I'm there on my own. And spinning makes sense to me.

Fourth.
Nina's natural colors, not mine, I have just begun...

I have not (yet) found a good source for dyed wool in Europe. I have a good source for Merino and Merino blends that come in beautiful colors and Finnwool as well but other good wool tops I have come across come in natural colors only. Here I have an adventure with dyes waiting.

Fifth.
There aren't many patterns for twined knitting. I get to wander along my own paths without too many distractions and make my own.

Casino on 3,5 mm needles

I was talking on the phone with my dear friend the other day and she asked what was I knitting at the moment. I replied that I have a feeling that I will never ever knit another stitch in my entire life again. Maybe Katariina is my very last knit because frankly I do not feel like knitting...

I have bought both of Anne's beautiful lace patterns, Casino and Moth. And one of my daughters wants to have a shawl. We chose the yarn Silvia (silk/wool) from Wetterhoff, I chose the needles and watched myself cast on again. I have had no problems, I have been able to put my brain on the auto pilot on Anne's instructions which are very clear and easy to follow. Just what I need.

And guess what? The joy of knitting is back.
I hope you find your joy on whatever you are up to today!

21 comments:

  1. I always have a downturn after a project, especially after a bigger one. I need to recharge, do something else (read a book!) and let myself be inspired again.

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  2. Ihailen tuota sinun kaveria kaipaavaa UFOasi. Miten siistiä työtä!

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  3. I like the blue and gold, it looks very rich.

    Thank you for the very kind things you say about mom's embroidery. She loved to use her needle and thread.

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  4. Beautiful embroidery, and Casino is going to look beautiful in that yarn and color. I hope you enjoy your pajama day!

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  5. I love learning things about you, Lene, that little peek into your childhood, lovely.
    I thought my heart might stop when I read that you were maybe done with the knitting, ahhh, I'm so glad the joy is back.
    Pyjama days are some of the very best.
    Nina's colours are so beautiful!

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  6. So do I! Actually I would have wanted my shawl lasts longer...

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  7. i'm knitting the casino shawl as well - i agree that the pattern is fantastic, very clear & well written & so nice to knit!! also it's good that the rows get shorter the more you knit on it - very satifying :)

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  8. You do such beautiful work. You're very lucky to have had parents teach you the many riches of creativity. They sound like wonderful people! I'm in my PJs too. (Just to be lazy) Have a nice weekend!

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  9. ah! (can you hear my hands clap together!) what a surprise at the end. i posted a picture very much like it when i began casino, back in those hot days of august.i love the color you chose lene.
    and then, that gorgeouse yarn you hve on your spinning wheel—wow! it's really beautiful.
    i've hd the same experience of knitting a beautiful complex sweater, and then being maybe a bit "mad" or annoyed at it afterward, so it goes away for a while, only to be rediscovered later and worn to death.

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  10. So glad you got your knitting mojo back, Lene. I love the story of your childhood and the embroidery. I also love that you had a host parent on your exchange that inspired you with your love of embroidery. Katrinna will be worn lots I am sure, but just now you both need a break from each other!

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  11. I find immense joy in reading your beautifully written thoughts and seeing your stunningly beautiful handwork. Your talent,artistry and skill leave me breathless. It is an honour to learn more about you. To get a glimpse of your life and creative soul.
    Thank you.

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  12. I knit Anne's moth and love it. Mine was in mohair and very warm, but I have seen it now in everything from silk to shetland and it never fails to delight. enjoy.

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  13. I know that feeling very well, Lene, that one doesn't want to knit again, ever, and each time it frightens me a little. But I've learned to let it go for a few days - it never takes longer than that for the urge to return! And now that you've mentioned quilting - there are several new babies of friends (babyfriends?) who need warm flannel quilts for the winter... Something else to do. And it has been a day for indoors here too.
    Love
    Jo
    Celtic Memory Yarns

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  14. My dear Lene, thank you for this beautiful post. We must be about the same age. And I'm glad (selfishly) that your knitting mojo is back!

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  15. I'm so inspired. I've never explored twined knitting, but it's now on my list. I'm dreaming of a beautiful pair of mittens, with some embroidery of course.

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  16. Your beautiful work brings me back again and again.. what a wonderful gift you have.

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  17. Anonymous15:09

    http://www.winghamwoolwork.co.uk/ has combed top in 105 colors (I think) for spinning, as well as some yarn.. The top is great, but I haven't used their yarn.

    Ellen

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  18. M. Gail20:32

    The cuff is beautiful. Glad I'm not the only one who works for months to knit a lovely sweater and then puts it in the closet for a year before she wants to wear it! By the time an intricate sweater is done I'm so familiar with every stitch I'm tired of looking at it. It's always a joy to "discover" it the next time the appropriate season rolls around.

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  19. Those natural-dyed yarns are a feast for the eyes! Lovely, lovely. I feel inspired just looking at them!

    All you needed was a little time to recover... and some lace. :-) I'm glad you have your inspiration back!

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  20. The twined and embroidered cuff is beautiful and will be very warm. I took a twined knitting class from Nancy Bush last year and made a cuff that I never finished. Spinning your own wool is a good idea. Casino will be fabulous in black.

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  21. I love what you said about taking a sweater on a journey....
    I have recently begun my own twined sweater (my first twined project, a hybrid pattern of a Lopi design with modifications, using yarn available to me in Canada - not z-plied, wish me luck), as a present to myself to wear on a (somewhat foolish) trip I am planning to Norway in May. It is a trip I have wished for for 20 years, and, like the sweater, I am heading off into uncharted territory with my head held high.

    I hope my sweater turns out even half as nicely as Katariina has! Thank you for the inspiring post.

    -Eden (Toronto, Canada)

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