Learning Hedebo: a heirloom lace-making technique

Today I felt my ancestors smile.

It has been established that my family tree was grafted from many places, so it is likely that there is someone Danish in my genealogical history. I am pretty certain I had a few ancestors looking over my shoulder today as I learned this heirloom needlework stitch. There was some sort of deep satisfaction that bloomed within my soul as I completed the first scallop row of the Hedebo lace edging on the pocket of my knit vest.

While we can’t all knit or sew our clothing ourselves, we can work on altering our clothing with the art of our own hands. It is satisfying to create something unique even from a mass produced garment. The point is to work with what you have.

This impromptu project today started with this book from the library and this recycled cotton yarn that came from a sweater:

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“Vanishing American Needle Arts” by Denise Longhurst

There is a treasure trove of heirloom needlework techniques in this book that I have been itching to try out since a brought it home a few weeks ago. And this book for sure is going to be in my “wishlist” on Amazon.

Today, I decided to open it up and give one of the stitches a try and then share it with you. At first I had no clue what I would stitch on. The thought that first came was to add a pretty border to a kitchen towel that my daughter had embroidered. But, with it being a first attempt, I was hesitant to try it, and then ruin her hard work with my messy beginner stitches. At some point, I looked down and put my hands in the pocket of my knit vest, and the light bulb went off. I have been wanting to add something to this plain garment for awhile. It is has been a favorite thing to throw on this winter over a long sleeve shirt when I just need to get rid of a bit of chill.

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My first idea was to make a Hedebo lace edging all the way around the bottom. And then reality once again entered my brain that for a first time project I should really choose something smaller. So, I decided just making a pretty trim edge along the pocket would be a better idea.

Interestingly, there is not a lot of information on the web about the Hedebo stitch. It popped up here and there in some articles, but there were no tutorials on Youtube at all. The author learned this stitch from her grandfather passing on their Danish traditions in lacemaking. She give a basic explanation of how it is created:

“Hedebo is Danish needle point lace that is worked right on the edge of the fabric it is being used to decorate much like a crocheted edging, but a darning needle is used in the construction. it is one of the sturdies of lace trims. “

Following the instructions and the diagrams in the book I started the set up row which included stitching from the left to the right with a button hole stitch. It is similar to a blanket stitch. Because I am working with a bulky knit garment I used a plastic darning needle, for other types of fabric a regular sharp point one would be needed.

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The needle goes in at the back and out the front.

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Keep a bit of a loop, don’t pull it tight.

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Slip the needle through the loop from back to front.

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After pulling tight it will create a little knot at the top.

The diagrams in this book in conjunction with the written instruction does a pretty good job at explaining how to complete each step of this heirloom stitch. I started to try and explain it all here, along with photos, but I think it will really be best explained with a video. After some more practice I will attempt to make one and share it.

Here are a few more photos of my handwork using the Hedebo stitch.

 

 

 

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You can see that my first scallop is a lot bigger than the others. Hopefully with practice I will improve at the sizing them.

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Working the second set of scallops and almost meeting the first on the second row.

There was a rhythm that my fingers picked up as I stitched and it became easier. It was hard to stop, but I knew if I didn’t this post would not get typed up. Keep a look out on my Facebook page for the finished photo and hopefully a future video tutorial.

The Hedebo lace stitch is something worth learning. How wonderful it is that our Danish ancestors kept their hands busy as they came to the Americas, and then continued to teach it to their posterity. I am excited to have an alternative method from crochet edging to dress up the edges of a project.

We make our hardworking ancestors smile in the heavens when we discover these heirloom arts and put to them to use in our modern environments. There is so much more worth and satisfaction in practicing an art like this than playing “Candy Crush” or taking silly quizzes on Facebook.

Make your ancestors smile.

Be a Butterfly.

Heidi

The Treasure of Handmade

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For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also..” Matthew 6:21

Before I truly begin this posting I need to insert the link to this fabulous article written by Camille Curtis Anderson in a 1996 issue of a magazine that is published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints that I am a member of, called the Ensign. I cam across this article just now as I was researching some quotes and scripture to add words to my feelings on the topic I wanted to discuss today. This article said exactly what has been on my heart, I could literally post this link and be finished with writing for today. No doubt, I will be quoting Camille a few time throughout this posting.

The idea of this website is not just to share historical tidbits of days past, but also to teach how to implement them for ourselves in our modern society and truly  create a home that we love, and to treasure the work of our own hands. You can read the article by Camille here.

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Reading the other articles on this site you will notice that most of my learning has come from books. The internet adds to the variety and modernism of this knowledge, while the books tend to be more of historical content.

Some of the skills such as basic sewing, crochet, and even a bit of weaving were witnessed during my childhood while spending time with crafty grandmothers and aunts. My mother was also a very creative individual. She has always been very skilled at “making do”, and using the materials available to create the things needed. I know for certain that these women in my life played an important role in the development of my talents. It is clear in many of my projects how the talents of these women has influenced the way that I create.

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The above picture shows a hand/dish towel I made this past week. It has a bit of a story to it. The blue cotton yarn that makes up the edging came from a sweater I deconstructed (unraveled) to recycle yarn. It was my first fully successful frogged sweater! The body of the towel did not begin with the intent that it would be such. Actually, I had started it thinking that this weeks topic was going to be a tutorial on how to combine needle arts with sewing to make cute curtains. This cotton yarn did not balance well with the fabric I intended to use, so like-mother-like-daughter, I did  not let my efforts go to waste but transformed it into a useful item after all. Just this afternoon it was put to work sopping up spilled peach juice from my son’s lap.

In speaking about pioneer ancestors and the hard labors they endured, Camille wrote:

These domestic labors were their way of weaving discernible threads of accomplishment throughout the unrelenting elements of their world. The austere surroundings of many women moved them to create beauty with simple objects.

Creating “beauty with simple objects”, does provide a respite from the mundane. It was much more enjoyable to clean up a spill with a handmade towel. I was able to think “something I made is useful” instead of : ” <sigh> more laundry to do…”.

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My oldest daughter (15) is currently helping to bless our home with handmade items by embroidering flour sack towels. We made a goal, after our fire and the kitchen remodel, that our kitchen would be strongly influenced by the handmade arts. She has completed 3 of 13 by working on it a little here, a little there. They are beautiful and know we will treasure the completed set.

When women have something tangible to show for their labor, it reinforces feelings of worth. -Camille

I would argue that the same should be considered for men as well. All people feel accomplished when their labors count for something.

My husband helped me with this peg loom.

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I wrote about it a little last week and the rug that I made and then gave to him for his side of the bed. He is reminded daily of both of our efforts to create more and buy less. And I think it would be safe to assume that he “treasures” that rug.

This week I experimented again with the peg loom. The goal was to create something small and useful. Potholders have a high importance in the kitchen and I have wanted to begin replacing the store-bought ones we have with handmade. I remember using the little plastic looms and stretchy loops as a kid to weave potholders-in fact my girls now have one of those kits, it was time for me advance my potholder weaving skills.

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Honestly, my first attempt at a potholder was not as satisfactory as the rug. But as I set it up for photographs to share, I realized that satisfactory to my standards or not, it is still a useful tool in our kitchen.

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Just how the crocheted towel came to be and all of the other projects that have been completed to beautify our life:

There is joy that comes….to make one’s home shine. As my hands shape the environment of my family, I love even more that place in which I labor. -Camille

Creating a home we love to live in doesn’t have to be difficult. It is most often the simplest of items that tend to the feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

Add some handmade to your home. A little here, a little there. Made by you, someone you care about, a purchase from an artisan on Etsy or even a thrifted handmade item . It will make a difference in the atmosphere that influences your family daily, and make the day to day chores like dishes, cooking and laundry a little more enjoyable.

Be a Butterfly.

Heidi

p.s.

There are some free patterns on this site for knitted dishcloths. More patterns will be added so make sure to subscribe so the pattern announcements will make it to your inbox or Facebook feed.

To subscribe by email click the button on the side bar.

To stay connected via Facebook go here and like the page.

Who Made That?

How do we get from Fiber to Fabric?

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I can tell you, that what I have learned about the fiber arts these last couple of years has blown. my. mind. When I was just a consumer-crafter that bought yarn at the store and then put it on some needles, the only thought about the handmade process was that something was created from yarn or fabric using various tools and the skill of the crafter.

It goes way, way, waaaay further back than that, before the crafter designs, before the materials are bought, before it resembles anything that is useful. The process that brings the fiber to the point of a yarn or fabric is filled with many steps. The vocabulary alone while learning about the fiber arts is astounding:

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This is not a complete list! Many of the tools, techniques, and materials have their own set of vocabulary and processes.

Just so that you can get a glimpse at each general step in bringing raw fiber from its natural state on the animal (or in the field) to a fabric that you wear or use in other ways, I have chosen a few videos that showcase part of the process.Words can only explain so much and too much technical stuff can be boring, so I have tried to keep them short. Keep in mind there are zillions (maybe not that many-but a lot!) of ways to harvest fibers, process them, and produce textiles. What is outlined here is just a few possibilities out of many:

Natalie from Namaste Farms can shear an Alpaca all by herself!

 

 

Even when shearing our goats, we like to have a helping hand.

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(I should mention, that first you have to catch the animal and that can be a challenge in itself! Natalie has a good video showing her technique for that as well. We have yet to master it….)

Once animal fiber has been harvested it needs to go through a process called skirting where you remove the edges of the fleece that gets the most icky and bleached by the sun. The skirt is not desirable for garments or other things that should be soft, but it is great for rug making and other crafts! During this process vegetable matter (vm-hay, grass, sticks etc.) is also picked out as much as possible.

A lot of raw fibers are sold at this stage to the spinner or crafter. When they receive it, the next step is to wash it:

This video from Blue Mountain Handcrafts is one of my favorites because she washes several different types and I enjoy learning from Beth, she is great.

After the washing step is when some decisions are made on how to prep it for spinning or other crafting. Some, may blend it with other fibers, use a drum carder, use hand cards, or just hand pick it until it is fluffy and ready for use.

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close up of hand carders and alpaca fiber

Last year I wrote an article on our sister-site: Twisted & Plied, that overviewed how I process Alpaca fiber from washing to hand cards to spinning. Read it, or just continue on with the video presentation-the next videos share some of the same info as in this article:

From Wool to Wear: a look at processing Alpaca

If you only take time to watch one of these videos in this post I suggest it is this next one. Lois is a hoot! She teaches us all about traditional spinning from different countries and dresses in period costume for the videos. After this one if you have the time, watch some of her other videos, she has very interesting history to share!

Once the fiber is processed and prepped it can be handspun or machine spun. I stumbled upon this short video of a Tibetan woman spinning with a support spindle. She tells her interviewer that it is so simple there is nothing to explain. But then he explained to her that:

we have forgotton this ancient art of hand spinning wool as we do other chores.

After that she was willing to share. There are lots of other spinning techniques and tools that will have to be looked at in another post sometime, so for now enjoy this “ancient art of handspinning wool” as one example:

Here is a picture of my spinning wheel:

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To bring things to a close, we will end with this talented Fastest Knitter in North America. Speed knitting is a real competition! Not one that I will probably ever strive for, but wow-those who do have got some real talent!

(Yes! She is knitting her husband a sweater out of their dogs fur! Some really interesting things get spun up in the fiber art realm!)

To get yarn transformed into a fabric it can be knitted,crocheted, or woven on a loom. These processes and others can happen with hand or machine or a combination. Most of what we wear now is done by machine, but handicraft artist are making a come back. Many handmade items are now easily found and purchased online.

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every time I see these booties I knit for my last baby (who is two now), I want to cast-on and make some more! They are so cute!

There was a lot to take in as far as information and videos to watch in this article. The goal was to bring an awareness at just how much work goes into that handmade item you bought or was given as a gift as it transformed from fiber to fabric. Or, even if you were the crafter, hopefully it gave you insight into the effort that comes from others to prep your fiber of choice before you work your own magic.

 

If this were a book I could have easily delved into the raising of the animals, the growing of the plants and how they are processed. But it’s not-yet. We did not even discuss the behind the scenes designers who dye fibers, make blends, and write patterns.

Thanks for being a friend!

And thank you to all the shepherds, farmers, ranchers, shearers, pickers, blenders, spinners, designers, knitters, crocheters, weavers-fiber artists every where for sharing your talents with us!

Heidi

I built a support spindle from stuff around the house! Click here for the tutorial!

2017 Winter Lesson Schedule

If you are new to being a DSW follower let me give a short intro to what this site is about:

You will notice that the tagline for this site is ” Traditional skills in a Modern World”, this is a one line sum up of what the goal of this site is. The intent is to explore traditional lost arts or skills that can still benefit us today. Some of them are accomplished differently then they were long ago. Such as, today we have modern tools that make it easy to bake bread with electricity and already ground wheat.

There is a special connection we can find with our heritage as we explore skills that modern productions have replaced. Those who are seeking a simpler, greener, more holistic way to live will benefit from learning these lost arts. Others who are just curious will learn that it is possible to do more for ourselves. We might even discover hidden talents and desires!

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That is what has happened to me. Two years ago if someone had mentioned a “spinning wheel” the only thing that would have come to my mind is the fairytale stories of Sleeping Beauty and Rumpelstiltskin. Now, my wheel is one of my cherished possessions and something that I feel is an important tool. The first spool of yarn that I had hand spun wasn’t pretty, but it made me feel as if something I had lost had been found. It seemed as if spinning was something I had done before.

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Try enriching your life a little by learning some new skills. You can do it on your own or follow along here to see what interest you.

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Local workshops are still available and the calendar is waiting to be filled! This year is bringing with it additional workshops to the knitting ones that have already been available. Check out the drop menu on the top of the page to find a list of new workshop topics! These are offered in the Boise/Treasure Valley area of Idaho. Email to ask questions or set up a workshop: knittyheidi@gmail.com

Thanks for being a friend!

Heidi

To read more about when I discovered a love for spinning yarn visit the sister-site and read “I Heart Spinning”

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Building a Life Journal (part 3)

Part 1 of this series had us take another look at the importance of words on a page and how our personal histories are import to record. Part 2 was a compilation of different ways to keep a journal, attesting to the fact that even if you don’t enjoy writing there are many ways to be inspired to keep a record of your life. It is okay to “Journal Your Way“.

 

The start of a new year is such an exciting time! Everyone is filled with new hopes, goals, and dreams for what will come. Starting a new journal is a great way to illustrate those aspirations on paper and to see that this year hasn’t been written yet. There are many blank pages waiting to be filled!

As promised, this article is to focus on the way that I have been keeping what I call a Life Journal. Life journaling is keeping a notebook that is essentially for everything that happens day to day. It isn’t just a diary that is kept on the nightstand. It is a book that is carried to the kitchen and to town. It is a place to record not only to-do lists, but thoughts and inspirations as they come. In my life journal, there are two main sections: “Daily Life” and “Scripture Study”. Each section has one page in the beginning dedicated as the index page. This is the best tool that I have ever added to my journaling!

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The dollar store is great place to find fun labels, sticky notes, and tabs to add in.

The “Daily Life” half of the notebook is designated to general list making, weekly plans, notes, quotes, and the like. It is really an “everything goes” section. As I have a need, the page is created and then I can give it some sort of title in order to list it in the index. For example: I am studying some books from the library about eating with the seasons. So on a page of notes for that, it is simply titled: “seasonal eating” and put down in the index. The next time I want to reference something I remembered writing down or I need to refresh my memory, I can look at my index to see what pages those notes are on. It is also likely that between the note pages on “seasonal eating” there will be a grocery list, a thought entry, or even a drawing from one of my kiddos.

Before using an index as a tool in journaling, I  might have saved several pages together to go back and take notes under the same topic-and then one of two things would happen: a) there would be lots of riveting information to record,and not enough pages reserved. Or b)  I was uninspired never again returning to those set aside pages resulting in wasted paper. The creation of an index page solves this problem. Try it!

Something worth expounding on is that I let my children draw in my journal. What a blessing this is! They are constantly  making me pictures that are hung on the refrigerator or walls and eventually trampled under foot finishing their journey in the trash. How nice it is to be able to preserve their innocence in a place like my journal. Because I always have it with me, it is the easiest thing to hand to a child who needs entertained. Here is a picture of a fun art game I did with one of them in church one day:

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I folded the page in half and drew half of the picture. Then instructed the child to complete my drawing. This is a favorite exercise they enjoy.

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Every once in awhile there is one of those special gift drawings that are not already in the journal. In this case, I might tape it in. Such as this paper Angel one daughter made for me at Christmas. It now has a home on the inside front cover of my notebook. Always reminding me that I am loved-both by seen and unseen Angels.

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As discussed in Part 2 of this series there is a multiple of ways to keep your journal and types of notebooks. The one I am liking best right now for my everyday Life Journal is a spiral notebook (made by Mead) found at my local grocery store. The spiral binding allows for me to fold it open which makes it easy to take notes during a study session. The front and back cover is made of a strong cardboard material that seems to hold up well with kitchen duty and being thrown in my purse. The other feature I like is that it is already divided in half. In the center of the notebook is a sturdy page with pockets on either side. This pocket is great for holding loose items I need to keep with me-such as a letter to mail or a check to cash.

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The second half of my life journal is reserved for my personal devotional studies. Where I reflect on scriptures and other inspirational resources. This has truly blessed my life the most. I have before kept a separate notebook devoted to religious studies, and it was wonderful as well, but putting it in a place that I almost always have with me has greatly increased the ability to listen to the council given in Jude chapter one verse twenty one:

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

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(By the way, the above verse did not just pop into my head. I wanted to reference a scripture or quote that described how I feel. So I opened up one of the journals I have stacked on the desk as I am typing this post, and on the front page of one of them this verse is written out. I don’t even remember writing it down or why I did-but it fit perfectly to what I needed today!)

With this notebook always within reach, it allows for constant referral to the things that God has inspired  me to write down and learn from. In this way I can be reminded of the most important goals in my life, be uplifted when feeling low, and also share inspiration with others at the ease of opening a journal. For me, this is the best reason of all to keep a notebook with you always. Such blessing come when you are prepared to record the messages that God has for you.

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(this quote is from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, you can read the article or listen to it here. Such inspiring words!)

Hopefully this series has renewed your goal to keep a journal, has refreshed your mind with the reasons behind it, and encouraged you that it doesn’t matter how you do it-just that you do.

Thanks for being a friend!

Heidi

For more ideas and reasons to journal check out this article from Familysearch.org:

Define Your Dash: Start Writing Your Personal History with the #52Stories Project

To schedule a local Life Journaling Workshop send me an email: knittyheidi@gmail.com or FB message.

Set some goals to learn or progress a traditional skill this year! If you are a local, you can have one-on-one or group instruction from me in: knitting, crocheting, bread baking, journaling or even an intro into natural fibers! Send me a message (links above) and we will get your workshop on the calendar!

Don’t forget to also check in at the sister-site www.twistednplied.com where I keep the farmstead blog, and offer raw fibers, handspun yarn, and custom handmade items for your needs.

Christmas Traditions: Pajama Pants

A quick break from the Journal Series...to share how for the first time ever I have sewn our Christmas pjs myself.

There was a black Friday sale that I just could not resist at my local fabric store this year. Flannel was 70% off, so I decided to dive into a long time goal of someday sewing pajamas myself. If I remember correctly I actually saved $98 on this fabric! If not for the sale, I would have had thrift some flannel sheets in order to afford this grand project!

This tradition was brought into our family via my husband. For Christmas Eve his family always has opened one gift-that is always pajamas. We have kept this alive and our children love it!

Check out the results:

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Count them up- 9 pairs in total!

The pattern I used was so terrifically easy that it only took me about 3 days of afternoon sewing. You still have time to get some done for your family!

Check out this easy method at http://mycottoncreations.blogspot.com

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All of the girls got pretty little lace along the cuffs.

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The boys got a cargo pocket on one leg. Love this print!

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My 7 year old made chain drawstrings with cotton yarn with her fingers. She had a good time “helping” mom. Of course, she was not present when I was sewing up hers.

**The pattern called for using elastic in the waist band, but I prefer quick drawstrings. All I did was use my button hole setting on my machine to make two holes where the from of the waist band would be before it was hemmed closed.

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Some of the pants received a drawstring made with the same trim as on the cuffs.

This method was so simple and quick I plan on recycling some clothes into leggings for the girls…and perhaps some more p.j.’s in the future!

In case you missed it go to http://mycottoncreations.blogspot.com for this free easy pajama pant pattern! All you need is fabric, sewing machine, basic sewing supplies, and a pair of pants that fit the individual.

Merry Christmas!

Thanks for being a friend!

Heidi

p.s. The third part to the journaling series will come soon as promised! I am excited to share more plus share a new one I was inspired to make after my last article.