Wednesday, June 29, 2016


We went to visit friends in Connecticut last weekend.
They took us across Long Island Sound in their lovely boat, to the little village of Northport. Very quaint. We poked around in the little shops, and I came across this:

 I had to have it - it was only a couple of dollars. I'm sure it is a 20th century piece, but there they were - linen stitch and loop stitch, just like I had learned from Barbeta!
I can't wait to get back to work on my own piece.

And here are a few more photos from the weekend: 

Mike even let Rich have a turn driving the boat.


It's a trip we won't soon forget.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

I can't believe it has been so long since I've written a post. Today is Fathers Day, and we went to Thacher Park for the day.


We couldn't have asked for a better day.

Since the last time I posted, I did make the Dalarna stitch hat, and a pair of matching gloves:

I'm very pleased with how they turned out. The gloves have a 9-row cuff of Dalarna, then I switched to Oslo, with an F2 connection. I added a row of buttonhole stitch at the end, because I decided they needed a pop of color as a finishing touch.

I've also been spending a lot of time prepping for the classes I'll be teaching at Pennsic this year: Nalbinding for Lefties, Nalbinding Rings & Spots, and 16th Century Embroidery Pattern Books. I did a dry run of that class at our recent event, War of the Roses, and it went quite well. I was nervous because it is a new topic for me, and I am not an expert. But I think I was successful in spreading my enthusiasm, and it resulted in a good discussion, which is what I was hoping for.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

I was kissed by a llama!

Last weekend was the Washington County Fiber Tour. The first farm we visited was the Quarry Ridge Alpaca Farm.
 I got a very happy welcome from this beauty. She came right up to check me out.
Besides a few llamas, the farm has many alpaca. 
They are much more shy than the llama, but when you stand very still they will come up to you.

They are so cute, but they have really funny feet. Made for climbing around in the Andes, I suppose.

At the other farms we saw BFL sheep,
angora goats

and cashmere goats

 While the sheep and angora goats are sheared, the cashmere goats just have their undercoat combed out, so they always look this beautiful.

We also had time to visit a carding and spinning mill. I didn't know we had a local mill anymore.

Yes, I came home with quite a bit of yarn and roving. Altogether, it was a very fine day.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Dalarna Stitch

I learned a new nalbinding stitch yesterday. I really like it:

Dalarna Stitch

It is quick to make - as quick as Oslo stitch, but it is denser than Oslo stitch, so I think it will be very warm. And I love how it looks almost woven. I will definitely make a hat with this stitch, and perhaps a pair of matching mittens.

The stitch is easy: start like Oslo, with one loop on the back of your thumb, and one loop on your thumb. Take the loop from the back of your thumb, then pick up the thumb loop. Turn and go under the working thread. Use the F2 connection. The twist gives it little loops on the inside, like Russian stitch has.

That's it - I'm off to stitch!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Playing with color

As anyone who reads this blog is sure to know, I usually have more than one project going at a time. So, while I was working on the laurel cloak, I was also having fun playing with nalbinding. It is the creative part of SCA that I enjoy most. Exploring medieval ideas and seeing what can be done within that context. With that in mind, I've been looking at extant medieval nalbinding and designing my own pieces, playing with the structure of stitches (how does the result differ if a different stitch is used, for example). Here are the things I've been making:

Two-color mitts, and the start of three-color socks.
Spots and rings:

First I played with what happens depending on the number of stitches used for the second color, and then I played with the stitches. The sample on the left is Mammen stitch; the one on the right is Finnish stitch.

Then I made some mittens. The brown mitten is Finnish stitch. The green mitten is Mammen stitch.

Then, if one can make horizontal stripes, it is also possible to make vertical stripes:

I have never seen any artifacts with vertical stripes, but they are no more difficult to make than spots, so why not? The mitten is Russian stitch; the hat is Oslo stitch.

And finally, using the Coptic stitch, I played with colorwork:

The red water bottle cover has my badge - a wool comb. The little bag is to hold my phone.

Monday, March 14, 2016

My secret embroidery project

 I've been quiet for the past month or so, because I was very busy making a laurel cloak for my friend, (now Mistress) Vibeke.

All of her friends embroidered a set of leaves and mailed them to me. It felt like Christmas every time I opened an envelope. Every leaf is a treasure. I spun the gold thread for the couching and stems and assembled it all together. These are my leaves:
They are based on the designs of Neolithic and Iron Age spindle whorls.

Vibeke was very surprised.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Necessity is the mother of invention

We drove to Virginia this past weekend. Eight hours in the car each way. I can't do nothing for that many hours, so on the way out the door I grabbed some needles and a ball of yarn. I decided to make socks. It needed to be a simple design, because I didn't have a pattern to follow. I cast on and started the cuff. I quickly decided that it couldn't be too simple of a pattern, or I would get bored. I could have chosen to just do a rib pattern for the whole thing, but I'd done that before and I wanted to try something different.

I decided to run a simple cable down the center of the sock. The only problem was, I didn't have my cable needle with me. I thought the yarn might be stiff enough, or the stitches big enough (size 2 needles) to just take two stitches off the needle and let them sit there while I knit the next two stitches, but that didn't work well for me. So, here was my solution:

 When I reached the point where I needed to twist the stitches, I used the previous needle to hold them, then knit two, placed the held stitches back on the left needle, and knit them. The second cable was slightly easier because it came at the beginning of the needle. I did both cables by holding the stitches to the front, but it would be equally easy to do a cable with the stitches held to the back.
It worked like a charm.

Here is the completed sock (a long sock for a long trip):

I liked this method so much, I may never use my cable needle again. I doubt I was the first person to do this, but it was a new idea for me. Maybe you will like this trick, too.