Sunday, February 19, 2012

Abstinence from the Needle

Many of you would not like the idea of interrupting their needlework for months. I did, because I needed a change. I needed to paint. And I don't know where to put all the stuff I produce! I give away some of it, but some things just don't seem to find a new owner. And when projects take too long, they start boring me beyond all bearing. Sometimes, the cure is to hide a piece from myself, then, after years, dig it out again and see it as a new project. You might remember my Josef Albers project. The next one will be a free variation on his motif, but more variegated in color. They might remind of Mondrian's Victory Boogie Woogie. There is no plan or sketch -- I just let it grow. This is a risk for the composition of the finished thing, but I cannot work in a different way. The colors will tell me where they would like to sit and in what company. Stitching is quite fast, I work with both hands. I never make sketches. My inner commander seems to think that a sketch does the task, so once it is done, no more work is needed.

Update shows the colors I picked for the project.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Ice is Melting

A sudden jump in temperatures to balmic 7° C/ 45° F has stopped the ice fun. You can see how mighty the ice layer was -- up to 10" during the coldest days! Last weekend, almost a million people walked on the ice of the Alster, an artificial lake in the middle of our town. Everyone seemed to be crazy about a walk on ice, you can see them here. 300 people had to get medical treatment after falling on the slippery surface. 60 shops offered hot wine, gloves and burgers. We abstained from this folly.
The birds seem to be hopeful, their voices sound different. Did you notice that they change their songs, when spring comes nearer?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

My Etsy Shop is Back!

For a long time, I did not have any items on my Etsy shop. It did not seem to be very rewarding, and after all, it is real money you spend for showing items. Recently, I heard words of encouragement to display paintings, so now my shop is back. It displays 10 items, one is an embroidery, the rest are paintings, most of them on a black background. They are gouache paintings of approximately letter format (A4). Now you find the shop, too, on the right column of my blog.
Or please click here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Pouch

For ages, I haven't shown you anything related to our lovely craft activities, and I know that these were the reason why you follow my blog. So I will pick up things I did some time ago like this pouch. The carnation motif was inspired by old German linen embroidery, but also by Turkish embroidery which often shows flowers in lines, then changing direction in the next row. Many years ago, I saw an exhibition of Turkish embroidery in the Altona Museum, Hamburg. Such things can hardly be found today, maybe because people think it is not "modern". The only craft I saw being done in Turkey 20 years ago was bead crocheting for head scarves. But there are cute things being done -- still done or again? Google "türk elişi".
In the case of my pouch, I took elements from Turkish, but also from Estonian style -- Google "eesti käsitöö". I used sock wool, split in 2 plies. I found the color changes very helpful to create irregularities and coincidence patterns. This design followed a necessity: I did not find embroidery wool at that time; and it is an easy calculation to find out that small skeins of new crewel wool are way too expensive. So I thought if I buy a 50g ball of 4-ply wool, I have a real lot for little money. And variegated yarn, if the cuts are not too short, means to have a wide range of colors from just one ball. The only thing that adds more work is to unwind the snippets and to split them into 2 plies.
 In the end, I added a few sequins, one on top of each flower, as the Estonians used to like it.

I added some advice against the cold.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


  About 20° F sounds mild to me, but that's —7° C.

Temperatures have reached extraordinary levels during the past weeks, down to —4° F in some places, and on our balcony, the lowest degree was 10.4° F.
Today, temperatures rose above freezing point, well, not much;  I took a walk through my hometown, wearing a velvet cap and fur shawl. So, I was quite comfortable. Keeping one's head warm is essential, but so many people in Germany don't wear caps, even in the freezing cold. The ladies don't like to ruin their hairstyle. The very view almost kills me.

After coming home, I made myself a winter yummy, Russian pasta pouches called Pelmeni, filled with minced turkey meat (ready bought!), slightly fried in butter and served with a spoonful of yoghurt, together with sauerkraut and mushrooms. My favourite! The cold weather makes calories a vital necessity, sorry. I took a picture, but my husband said: "Ooh, that looks awful, hope you didn't show it to anybody."