An Art That Stops Time.

There are some arts that have continued on throughout the centuries. The tools and the techniques have adapted to incorporate modern technology and materials, but the process, ingenuity, imagination, and quality have remained the same.

There are not many items today that haven’t been machine made and computer programed. Even the art that adorns our homes has likely been mass produced and bares no uniqueness.

In the 17th century Louis XIV set up a special place for the art of tapestry weaving to be preserved and the education of this inspiring talent to be continued. Today in Paris, this institute still exists in the same place, and is know as the Gobelins Manufactory.

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In the video that will be shared below, these words struck deeply. How often can we say that we take the “time to do things with humanity and soul”?

As you watch the processes that it takes to create a woven tapestry, you will be amazed that this still happens. Great care is taken to the designing of the art, hand dyeing yarn, storing the weft, setting up the warp, and in the weaving process. A single tapestry takes many years to be completed. The weaver is involved in every aspect of the making of a tapestry, and when finished, it is a celebrated work of art.

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The talent that the weaving artist has is amazing. Not only to be able to complete the work and processes required, but in being able to interpret the drawing into a woven work of art.

Take the time to watch this video and witness the crafting of the ancient art of tapestry making and the skill of the artists.

 

Be a Butterfly

Heidi

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No Wrong Way To Make a Mitten

I had a goal to finish 7 pairs of mittens by the end of November. There is nothing wrong with admitting that I may fall short of that aspiration, because I feel accomplished in that I was able to complete four pairs of mittens and there is also a pair of finger-less gloves in the works. And, I just might get one more pair done in the next few weeks.

This week at the library I picked up a couple of pattern books to help spur my interest in continuing the mitten goal. I really want to make at least one pair in a traditional folk technique. This book has some amazing patterns to be daring with:

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The opening paragraph in the introduction of this book connects me to the author in our view of fiber arts as being a practical and necessary skill. She writes:

Kitting has always been, to its very roots, a practical art, with craftsmanship grounded in inventiveness, utility, and common sense. For centuries, harsh climates around the world inspired the knitting of wool garments that provided an unrivaled defense from the elements. Yet handknitted garments were created for more than winter protection. They were knit to express care for the wearer, to identify homeland and family, to fulfill traditions of courtship and marriage, to follow fashion, to increase family income, or simply for the sheer pleasure of giving expression to creative talents. All this and more can be seen in the humble mitten.

After reading that how can you not want to try your skill at knitting up a pair of folk mittens? I will admit, some give me knitter’s anxiety, but others are just challenging enough to spark my desire to give it a try.

Here are the non-folk mittens mostly created from my own “inventiveness” that have been off the needles for awhile: (these are in addition to the ones shared in my first post on knitting seven pairs of mittens.)

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This little pair is for my toddler son. The pattern for these just came as I created them. the finger portion was made from a  wool sweater and is double in thickness. Then stitches were picked up with some squishy wool yarn and knit in the round. Because I was making it up as I went the thumbs are a little different on each-but that’s okay, he loves them anyway!

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This set was created using the free mitten pattern I designed. It knit up quickly in this bulky acrylic blend yarn that was laying around in my stash. I love how the striping of colors ended up different on each mitten. This yarn was so soft and easy to knit up that this pair had to have a hat to match!

**I must insert an apology here concerning the free mitten pattern. When I was knitting up this last pair I realized that the directions to knit up the after-thought thumb were left out of the pattern! I will be updating this mistake ASAP!**

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Here is another repurposed sweater mash-up. These are some finger-less gloves I began for myself. The glove portion is from the sleeve and cuffs of a cotton sweater and the crochet cuff that is being created is from a lovely cotton. I wanted this pair to be easily washable as they are likely to be worn daily around the house. And yes, this knitter does also enjoy the use of a crochet needle from time to time!

The first folk-style mitten that I intend to try is the “Fana Mittens”. It is worked with only two colors and uses a similar technique that I have tried before in adding tufts of raw wool as you knit to create a soft cozy inside. I have known it as “thrumbing” but it is mentioned in this book as “tufting” but I believe it to be the same. The pattern is worked in blue and white with a checkerboard edge. The author tells us that this design “became a symbol for peace during World War I” in Norway.

Thanks for being a friend!

Heidi

Free Mitten Pattern!!!

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I did it! The mitten pattern I have been  writing of the past couple of weeks is finally written down and published on Ravelry.

To be honest, it is my very first self-published pattern. It is exciting! I tested it and the second mitten turned out just like the first so hopefully when others try it out they too will have success.

You can find the FREE PATTERN for Easy Custom Fit Mittens right here under the “free patterns” page.   *as of 1/18/17 the pattern has been updated to correct the missing thumb directions!

You can also find it on Ravelry to save in your library or que and it will link you directly to the above page.

Feel free to share this awesome new Free Mitten Pattern with your friends!

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To schedule a Skill Development Workshop and learn how to make these mittens with one-on-one instruction send me an email: knittyheidi@gmail.com or a Facebook Message!

Thanks for being a friend!

Heid

Seven Pairs of Mittens

She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. (Proverbs 31:21)

If you are a Christian woman, it is likely that you are familiar with the description of a virtuous woman in Proverbs 31.

I used to read that chapter of scripture and be in awe. This woman that is described was very much a fictional character in my mind. How could she do so much?

Now I know different. I no longer see unreachable goals when I read those versus. There are tangible and obtainable activities in the list of virtues. But only after my heart and mind was enlightened by the Holy Ghost. Showing me that homemaking is a high calling given to us from God.

I might see the virtues as attainable now, but that doesn’t mean I think it is an easy task or that it is simple for me to do.  I have to take baby steps.

Last winter I made some lovely little thrummed mittens for my daughter. They are knit with regular acrylic yarn, but the thrums are wool roving. I hadn’t ever really thought of knitting mittens before.

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A pattern for this and an article all about what “thrums” are will likely emerge sometime this winter. Be sure to let me know you are interested in the comments and that will give me motivation to do it!

These cozy gloves kept my little girls hands so warm! It was amazing! The kids would go outside to play and her fingers would be the only ones that the cold had not gotten to yet. And remember- they were not knit with pure wool. Lanolized wool would have been water resistant and even warmer!

This year I have a tangible goal: To knit all of my  kids a pair of mittens-and hopefully myself.

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This photo is already out-dated…how does that happen?!? The baby is now almost 2 and my oldest is 15!

There are seven children. Counting the ones I made last year (even though they don’t meet my new standards of wool they still keep fingers warm!), I have two pairs finished and one that needs pieced together still. So that is almost 3 completed pairs of mittens. I think I can do this! Then as the Proverb at the top of this article stated,  I won’t need to be afraid of the snow for my household. It also combats this virtue in the 27th verse:

She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

My hand will surely be busy these next couple of months!

And like the multi-tasker that I am, this goal has had duel purpose. I get to teach a Mitten Workshop beginning next week. For this I have been working up a fabulous pattern that I will share here as soon as I finish testing it out.

Here is a sneak peek:

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Thanks for being a friend!

Heidi

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Knitting for Tiny Humans: interview with an expectant mother

I love that the Internet connects me to information and to people. With this tool I have been able to make friends and learn from others in limitless locations.

Several months ago, I was invited by a friend to join a knitting group on Facebook. It has been fun to celebrate others and the projects they are working on. It is also enjoyable to witness the support given to a member when they have a yarn dilemma.

The talent and skill that is posted amazes me.

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Star doll knitted by Amanda, see links later on in the post for patterns. (p.s. I want one! Guess I better cast it on…)

One example is my new friend Amanda. This week she just welcomed her fourth baby into the world.

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Adorbs!

While awaiting his arrival, Amanda kept her knitting needles busy. She could not resist the numberless patterns available and squishy soft natural fiber yarns that would compliment a sweet newborn and then chubby cheeked babe that would be filling her life with even greater joy and purpose than she already had.

Creating an all “Mama-made” wardrobe for her little bundle of joy became a thrill-filled obsessive goal that often kept her up at night. I can hear her thoughts now “…must finish this last (yawn) leg…”. (not because I have ever knit well into the night….not me..)

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I (heart) over-alls! Even more adorable on the baby, keep reading to see!

An interview about Amanda’s  journey and other thoughts on knitting follows:

How long have you been knitter and how did you learn?

I have only been knitting for a little over a year (since October of 2014). There was a ministry offered at the church where I was attending where a few of the older ladies got together twice a month to knit hats and scarves for the homeless in our city. I went to check it out, as I had always wanted to learn to knit. They taught me how to cast on, knit and purl stitches…the rest is all youtube! I have made a whole file on youtube videos for each of the stitches and methods I’ve used in projects along the way.

Did you find the skill of knitting to come easily, or was it something you had to work at?

I had tried to learn how to knit and crochet before and it was always so frustrating and I never seemed to get good at it. This time though, it to ally clicked, and I haven’t been able to stop!

What was it about this time around that made it “click”, was it that you were being mentored by the ladies at church or something else?

Honestly I’m not really sure…maybe my patience level has gone up since I had tried before? This time I didn’t seem to get as lost with patterns, and I think having access to youtube with video tutorials really has helped me to figure out more complicated stitches/instructions.

How did you decide that you wanted to make a wardrobe for baby #4? What was your first project?

My very first project was a pair of longies, after that, I fell in love with the idea of minimizing “normal” purchased clothes, (we only have a few shirts and sleepers for this baby). I really loved the idea of an almost entirely mama-made wardrobe, that was custom designed just for him. I want to take each outfit and make sure it was made lovingly, and really want him to enjoy seeing pictures later of all the things that were made just to make him special (even though 4th babies get many hand-me-downs). It has really been a labor of love and a skill which is a passion…borderline addiction!

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Dontcha just wanna touch that little foot?! I can see the love in those stitches.

What does your family and friends think of your knitting “addiction”? Have they been supportive in your quest to provide a “mama-made wardrobe”?

My family probably thinks I’m a little insane, but they love seeing all the new things I make. My friends are very supportive, and after I make things, many of them request stuff for their little ones too.

Where have you gotten most of your inspirations for projects, and how do you choose the pattern to use?

All of my patterns come from Ravelry...I’m a bit addicted to looking through their patterns..you click on one thing, then three more things I NEED to make pop up….then I click on some more…then its 2am and I have a list of 25 projects. I also love to ask the moms in our knitting group which patterns have worked for them and what they love, it makes it a lot easier to do a pattern when someone else has already tried it an had it work for them.

What is your favorite part of the craft: the challenge of a new pattern, the knitting process, or the completion of a project?

Hmmmm that’s a really tough one…I think I have two favorite parts…I really really love picking out the yarn for a project. I love looking though all my color-ways and sold trim colors and trying to picture how it will look with any of the colors. My yarn stash is almost 100% hand dyed worsted wight wool at this point, and the epic collection makes me happy. Then I’d say my second favorite part is seeing the project finished. Seeing how all of the patterned stitches go together and create something out of a ball of string. Its kinda cool I think. The process of knitting does has its own place in my heart too though: it’s been a huge stress-reliever for me, and I used to have major anxiety attacks.

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A question I get often is “how do you find the time?!” So, as a mom of soon to be four little humans, how do you find the time?

How do I find the time…whats time again??? Oh, I don’t sleep. Thats pretty  much the whole answer for that one Hahaha.

How has learning to knit enriched your life?

Oh wow….that’s a tough one, knitting has totally changed my life. The biggest part being the de-stressing. Living without anxiety attacks is fabulous. It has also given me something to share with my 9yo daughter. She is my oldest and only girl, so it’s fun to have something special to do with her. She loves to knit and go to yarn stores with me. I also love been able to make handmade gifts. It truly is a dying art, so its something that I feel needs to be preserved and sure with my family and friends.

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On Amanda’s Ravelry page and her finished products you can see which are her friends favorites to request. Booties and the Star doll at the top of the post are among the favorites.

I am so happy to hear that you are knitting with your daughter! It is sad when we take time to really ponder on how knitting used to be a  skill-set in every home and how far we have veered from that. In only a short amount of time following the industrial revolution, this skill dwindled. It became a hobby of grandmothers. In recent years there has been  surge of interest in knit and crochet hobbies. As wonderful as it is that the craft is returning, I still fear that it is viewed as an entertaining past-time instead of the lifeskill that it should be. I myself, have only recently broke out of my  “hobby-bubble” and am trying to learn important techniques such as–knitting socks and mittens. What are your thoughts on knitting as a hobby versus putting it to good us?

I’m a minimalist when it comes to “most” things. We have a very small house, and soon to be six people to accommodate. I do have a pretty large collection of yarn, but limit myself to that one storage rack that I sent you a picture of.12900124_545099945660130_1296570750_n.jpg

That being said, I think its super important to be practical with what I knit and make sure its useful, while knitting is most definitely my favorite hobby., I try and do my best to make it some that is very practical for my whole family,and always useful. I make hats, mittens, sweaters, cowls..those kinds of things, to keep the kids warm during our awesome Chicago winters.

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This little romper set looks oh so cozy!

So, you have worked hard at providing a mama-made wardrobe for this new little bundle…what will you be casting on next?

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These last questions were answered while in the labor room. And these shorties were completed there as well. Truly a “labor of love”.

I’m never really sure what I’m going to make next. I have a list of 10-15 different patterns I hope to make at some point, and I usually look through my yarn stash and see what strikes my fancy and which pattern it would work best with. While in labor, I’ve been knitting a pair of shorties for this little dude  for the summer. We are pretty set on cold weather gear until next year for all the kiddos.

Staying true to her addiction…Amanda has already casted-on her next project: a sleeper bag:

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Thanks for sharing with us Amanda, enjoy that sweet little human!

I love the fact that Amanda found knitting to be a portal to connect with her unborn child. That while her body worked hard creating a tiny human on the inside, her hands diligently stitched the clothes that would protect him from outside elements after entering the world.

There is something about getting ready for a baby. It’s a natural instinct that connects us with the women of our heritage. Even more so when we adopt the age-old slower way of life and handmake a layette for a new young life.

My last baby is almost two! The knit projects are growing in size,

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Like Amanda, my list of saved projects is always growing. (here is my Ravelry link, although, you won’t find any pictures of my completed projects…somehow I have only recently discoverd the vast pattern wonderland of Ravelry).
I am working hard at creating some youtube videos to join the ranks of other knitters with a passion to teach like those that Amanda mentioned are in her playlist. My channel has a few videos up and I would love for you to like, share and subscribe so that we can save this important traditional skill.

Happy Day!

*This interview was simply for fun. We have never met in person and neither of us is getting compensation for the information shared. My thoughts were to  share the talent that I witnessed and hope to inspire others to learn to knit and bring back a lost art.  I am also in agreement wiith Amanda that  knitting can help comfort us through a depression and other illness, to read more about what it has done for me and my health challenges, click here.

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