swap received: pincushion squirrel!

pincushion squirrel knittedpincushion squirrel knittedpincushion squirrel knitted
Wonderfully crafted. All knit!

I’m meant to prop up his tail and then sew him into his green cushion. That’s where the pins go, because the maker knew I didn’t want to stick pins in an animal or human figure.
So thoughtful and absolutely lovely 🙂

Made by a lovely woman, who got married just last week! Where did she find the time and the calmness to craft so delicately? She’s a superwoman indeed.

It’s Jannetta from StitchFiddle.com, the free online program to make knit- and embroidery charts.

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swap send for the pincushion swap!

I told you about the secret swap for little pincushions and how much I adore small pincushions. My house is sprinkled with little pincushions and I use all of them. And I need more of them!

Luckily there was this swap. As I always make a dummy for a swap to try out the project I end up with a little project for myself too. I was so stoked to make a pincushion for my swappee and me, had all kinds of plans and inspiration too.

So trust me to get the one person in the swap who is way happier with a needle book than with a pin cushion!

A needle book it is! I made a trial and then I made the real thing and this is what I send:

 pic by Pippi

In her specific colours, with a cat because she adores cats and with cocktails because she has a holiday coming up soon. It’s a needle book for Pippi Spectre! Pictures above are by her.

You know Spectre, she loves cat tea mugs and she loves cat Suus and also these colours:

She too has a wardrobe in her own palette and she too can choose anything to wear and it will match whatever else she’s wearing. It’s a very relaxed way of dressing, we both recommend it.

Where my clothes are all a little subdued, like the surface of a mountain, Spectre’s clothes all have things to make her smile. Every individual thing is remarkable! Be it the print or the texture or the handmade details or the buttons. Everywhere you look there’s something remarkable and happy making. When I see her we spend the first 15 minutes with me squealing and touching her clothes and pointing out all the lovely details.

So I put extra effort in getting the colours right and getting a little party going on. The fabric at the front I made myself, with a new to me technique on my new sewing machine: scrap quilting, for which I found an awesome tutorial at 15minutesplay.com.

This is the dummy I made for me, to try out the technique. In the self dyed Indigo linen because I am mountain:

As you see I had to learn a lot:

Spectre’s needle book is way better than this one. Especially the edge binding and the choice of batting and the closing of the needle case. It’s good I did a trial run.

Unfortunately this fabric making has now smitten me with the quilting virus …

In other news:

yesterday I finally relaxed at the cabin. I am now calm again. It took 4 days for me to wind down. Hm.

I enjoy being outside, it smells so wonderful and the little robins are singing 🙂

In the evening me and Lillepoes sit on the couch knitting:

I even made a drawing, a few sumi-é cats, one of which I send to Spectre:

sumi-e cats brushwork painting black white

 

 

a new swap: mini pin-cushions!

A new swap is starting in the Dutch Karma Swap Group.

A little handmade pincushion.
I LOVE pincushions, especially handmade ones and especially small ones!

BeFunky Collagepincushion
These are some elaborate examples from the photo pool of the Ravelry Handmade Pincushion Swap Group I participated in gladly a few years back. It was a lovely and generous group and they fortified me so much as I was still very ill back then. The group is no longer active as times have changed.

Here is my pinterest board with pincushions I either made or received, in that group or in the Dutch Karma Group:
BeFunky Collage my pincushions
So many techniques…. So much inspiration! I would gladly make any of these again for this new swap.

I have a few rules for my pincushions:
– I love small.
– it must function as a pincushion. I actually use all my pincushions!
– I won’t stick pins in an animal figure. I solve this by having all animal pincushions keep something in their paws and I stick the pins in that. The cat above holds a felted ball and the squirrel got a felted acorn to hold.
– If I make one for a swap I’ll make two: one for me and one for my swappee. This way I get to try out my idea before I make it for real AND I have a pincushion for myself at the end too 🙂

Oooh, I’m already gearing up for this swap! I would love to try a new one for this swap too. Either new in shape or a new technique. Isn’t this one marvelous?
knitting tuffet loaded by tesseresa
I think it is this pattern: Pin Cushion or Knitting Doo-dads Cushion by Carol Ann Dubrow. The pattern is no longer online but she found it in a webarchive. (Would have to improvise the embellishments myself.)

There are many more possibilities. Here’s a Ravelry database search for “pincushion”.

Do I want to knit? To crochet? Felt, embroider, sew, quilt? So many nice and diverse examples!
Pinnies :) pic by Maria Johnson

Ooooh, now I’m thinking of having a little get together in September, where we can craft on our pincushions together!
mushroom pincushion pic by LoRi

That will be nice. 🙂

A better armhole and nice things on the walls.

This is the new armhole:

Much better!

It may still look a bit large but in my experience it shapes up when you pick up stitches (3 for every 4 rows) and start the sleeve. Tubes always feel more narrow.

I kept the increases at the neckline the same because I will attach a shawl collar to it. It feels a bit weird, having fronts that do not close and a neckline that even runs over the apex of the bust. But my Grey Pumpkin Ale has the same neckline and wears very nicely with its shawl collar. (And this yarn is soft enough to wear next to the skin.)

Oooh, what’s that behind me, in the hallway? Is that an embroidered cat?

It is!
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
This is a vintage embroidery I found at the thrift store many years ago. Somebody put lots of love and effort in this! It came with the frame too.
I often stand before it and have a little pause, appreciating it.

It hangs over my birthday calendar, right between the front door and the hooks where we keep our keys. Under it hangs a small ceramic cat hanger, bought at the x-mas market in Muenster. There used to be some glass x-mas baubles there too, all year round. A happy little hippo and a cat, but they broke in the course of time.

The first few years we had the cabin I’d go to the church thrift store in the village here. This was before thrifting gained a main interest. It was just old farmers bringing their stuff and trying to raise some money for (the roof of) the church. It was an empty building with local ladies volunteering and a table with a coffeepot and a tin with cookies for people to have a sit and chat.

I’d look for old handmades with a friendly vibe to put on the wall of the cabin. My foot treadle sewing machine is from there too. And my kitchen scales. Most of the crockery. Some hand tools.

In later years having friendly decorations became more important as I had fallen ill by then and was staying at the cabin permanently. I’d lie on the couch most of the day, not able to move or think, and it was vital to have friendly things in sight, wherever my gaze fell. This is the wall opposite my couch:
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
The embroidered cats came from the thrift store, the rest are gifts from Ravelers (=people from Ravelry). All from people who understood I had to be approached softly but not tepidly. Most of them I hadn’t met in real life when they send me things. There are hummingbirds under the lamp 🙂

Over the years family and ravelers send cards and handmades and I stuck them on my walls and they encouraged me when I felt down:
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
The birdy paperclips were a birthday present.

Above my sewing machine these two hang:
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
That pincushion is a handmade taking hours of love, also a present from a Raveler 🙂 Someone I’ve met maybe twice in the past 8 years! Talked to her online four times total. You don’t need to be an active presence in my life to contribute significantly to my wellbeing 🙂

The wren I painted myself, sometime in the last century. The frame is all oak, from the church thrift store.

And this is the window sill next to my sewing machine, right over the chair Lillepoes loves to sleep on. It’s also opposite my couch so I’ve seen these cards every day all day long for the last 8 years 🙂
cabin cosy decoration cat window sill cat embroidery
Cards from Ravelers, handmade pincushions, cats and fairytales. These are the four subjects my happiness revolved around for all the time I’ve been ill 🙂 I’d simply enjoy the colours and the sentiments if I was very brainfogged. I’d explore compositions and alternative storylines if I had two braincells to rub together.

I no longer live at the cabin. I’m a city girl now.
Times have changed here too. The thrift store has moved into a real store and is now a professional venue. They still have coffee but it’s a machine now: drink up while you shop.
The old farmers have all gone and their (grand)children have sold all their stuff online, cashing in on “vintage”.

We visit the cabin for short stays now. A weekend here, a midweek there. I slide right back into the old habits of friendliness and peace. But it is not sustaining me anymore if I stay here for longer periods. If I stay here longer than 5 days by myself, I get antsy and sad. I feel society’s progress closing in. There’s always more traffic, more people, more stuff being build around here. Time is running through my fingers.

It’s still a safe haven but it’s edges are defined now.
I wonder where the next decade will see us. Me and the cabin.

By the way, I recognize this antsy-ness, the feeling of being restrained. It’s the sign of one door closing and not yet seeing which window opened. It’s the sign of new opportunities. Ones you can forge yourself, should you desire to.

It’s an uneasiness I know from points in my careers, studies, relationships, internet groups, society as a whole, you name it. So I’m not unsettled by the uneasiness itself. After all, it’s the breeding ground that brings forth the most innovative things.

It’s the possibility to determine and forge a new direction that hinders me. It feels like an obligation. Be smart. Act.

But I’m not ready to bring the cabin to a new era. I’m still very much attached to old ways, old nature and old embroidered cats on the walls.

Or other beasts:
cabin kitchen wall decoration embroidery bird gaai
(that’s the wall above my stove:)
cabin kitchen wall decoration embroidery bird gaai