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Archive for October, 2009

Asle stitch mittens

I have made solid progress on my first mitten, as you can see from the photo below. I have been working on it for a bit most mornings and before or during hockey games and practices. The other hockey parents think I’m strange, but so it goes. Since they realized I do almost no work when the puck is in play, they have decided I am almost one of them.  This weekend, I will start the thumb.

The Asle stitch was a bit tricky to get started, but is really easy to work now I have the hang of it. I really like the thickness of the resulting fabric, and the complex look of the stitch.

mitten

 

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Naalbindinding socks

Naalbindinding socks

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I have almost finished my socks. They are a bit too long, and rather lumpy, but they are warm. I ran out of wool so got sidetracked with spinning. I have figured out most of the wrinkles with my spinning wheel, but haven’t mastered the art of working the treadle with shoes on. For some reason, it works best when I curl my bare toes over the edge of the treadle to help pull it up again. My spinning is improving; I can usually produce fairly significant lengths of thread that are all the same thickness and slub-free. I still have a problem with overtwisting, but that is usually when the thread gets tangled around the spindle when I’m not watching closely. I also discovered I had a niddy noddy in my basement, so unwinding skeins and leaving them to set is now easier.

I could have finished the sock last night or this morning, but got sidetracked reading Odd Norland’s book on single needle knitting, then pulling out Margarethe Hald’s naalbinding diagrams to figure out what stitch to try next. This morning, I tackled the Asle mitten stitch. I did only one row, but think I have it figured out. It makes a really thick cloth! A pair of mittens like those from Oslo be my next portable project for carrying to places like hockey practice.

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I took delivery of a book called Les Vikings this week. It’s the museum catalogue that accompanied a major exhibit in Paris in 1994. It has a few pictures I haven’t seen elsewhere, including a lovely stone weight for a fishing net. It is made of a beach rock, incised with lines where rope or fishing line would be tied around it to hold the rock in place at the bottom of the net. We don’t have such rounded rocks around here, so I’ll need to check with a friend who lives near Lake Ontario to see if she can get me some. If that fails, I’ll be contacting a cousin who has a trailer near Lake Huron, in an area I know has perfect beach rocks. This is a project that won’t even get started until next summer.  I still need to calculate how big my net needs to be, and then how many floats and weights will be required to keep it in place in the water. I had hoped to make the net out of nettle twine I spun myself, but that is over-ambitious. I couldn’t even find any stinging nettles this year, let alone enough to process them, spin twine and make a large fishing net. I will try to acquire some hemp twine instead. Both were used for this purpose.

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I have been using some of my finest handspun to make cords for drawstring bags. It’s a good way to get rid of wool I don’t know what else to do with. Lucet work is slower than fingerloop braiding but more relaxing and easier to put down when I need to leave it. I noticed still more wool in the basement so may practice a few fingerloop braids as well.

My socks are coming along slowly. I now have one heel attached and am working toward the ankle cuff area.

I haven’t been working much on projects as I am preparing for another major home renovation. As part of the clean-up in preparation for the renovators, I moved some fabric around and found still more… I stopped looking after the discovery of a huge piece of brocade suitable for an Italian Ren dress and just enough greeny-grey linen for still another apron dress.  I wanted another sleeveless Italian dress but don’t need one. Maybe I’ll turn the fabric into dresses for some of the little girls, the daughters of my apprentices and friends. I suspect there may have been more at the bottom of the trunk but didn’t dare dig further.

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I finally got a picture of ShuLing in her cotehardie. It is deliberately quite loose, as she likes to play and would find a really fitted dress confining. Also, she is still growing. However, I may take it in a bit if I have time.

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I finally got her measured for her Merovingian coat. I’m keen to start it as I found some nice burgundy fabric in a trunk in the basement that I think will make a good lining for the grey wool. I had planned to use some red flannel, but I wasn’t sure I had quite enough. It didn’t particularly appeal, so I will be happy to throw it out.

Friends came over this afternoon to browse through my books. It was an extremely peaceful afternoon and I took advantage to spin up a bit more wool for my naalbinding projects. I’m not totally happy with my wheel spinning yet, but I am making progress. I used a drop spindle to ply the wool, so I also plied the bit of wool I had on it – this is wool I took from raw fleece, washed, carded and spun with the drop spindle. I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out.

A bit of spinning done but a lot more to go

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