Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Embroidered banners

I had to drop in today at the building of the Wiener Wirtschaftskammer - the Vienna Chamber of Commerce. To my great delight, the building has several cases holding embroidered banners. I would guess that the ones I saw were 19th century. They were done in silk shading and goldwork, in a style that I associate with church embroidery. (These, of course, are secular pieces.) Jerry was in a semi-legal parking space waiting for me, and only one of the three I looked at was well lit, so I can't say much more about them, except that I shall have to make an opportunity to go back with more time, and perhaps a light. Then I will go through the building and check out each floor. (I saw two on the 4th floor, so I hope there are more on the floors in between.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Knitting Sampler

Yes, you read that right. It all started when we went to Iceland in June. I really ought to write about everything needle-related that I saw in Iceland...

But of course one of the things you can get in Iceland is really great wool. I bought wool. I bought the thick wool everyone associates with Iceland, and the same thing that runs twice that far for the weight, and the same thing that runs twice as far as that one. And some yarn that isn't really yarn because it isn't spun. Of course the woman at the yarn store said she had experimented with crocheting it, and found it not suitable at all. (She aslo said her colleagues require her to bring in a finished item before they let her buy more yarn now, because her stash is so big, but that is another story.)

That was at the Hand knitters' Association shop. There was also a great needlework shop with embroidery things. I bought woollen embroidery thread (not Icelandic) and black woolen evenweave to use the Icelandic cross stitch patterns I also bought with. That store also had the most beautiful knitting needles I have ever seen. The combination of lovely tools and lovely materials was too much. It didn't hurt either that the book stores in Rekjavik carry many books in English, and I was able to get a good book on knitting.

This is not the first time that I have tried to learn how to knit, but so far the most successful. I have more of the needles on order, and have bought more books of knitting stitches. I am trying to work my way through the books one or two patterns a day. 2 X 250 means that this should take me some time, although I don't promise to do all of them. I am working in a strip of 30 stitches, with garter stitch separating the different stitch samples. I figure that once it gets longer than 1.5 meters, I'll take another wool and start a new strip. Eventually if I really get several strips I can sew them together to make an afghan.

So far I've learned that some of these stitches are really slow going. One I have tried slips every other stich in one row, and the others in the next row. Since you are constantly moving the yarn from front to back to front, and only really knitting each stich every other row, it grows very slowly. Looks lovely though, if you have the patience for it!