Swim cap

I made me a swim cap! Perhaps not the kind you would expect when you read the words swim cap. This swim cap is made from my spindle spun yarn, nalbound, waulked and embroidered, all to keep me warm during my daily baths through the winter.

When my wool traveling club and I decided to take a course in the påsöm embroidery technique for our 2022 wool journey I started planning projects on which I could play with påsöm. I wanted to try the embroidery on different wool structures. At the same time I longed for another nalbinding project and knew a nalbinding hat would be the perfect candidate. I decided to make the hat a swim cap for my daily cold baths.

I made me the loveliest swim cap for cold baths. It’s not that cold yet, though, 11°C in both air and water this week when I took the picture.

Back and forth

I used wool from Elsa the Gestrike sheep for this yarn. While I wanted to make the hat I also wanted the process to be sweet and grounding. I decided to card, spin and ply one spindleful at a time and nalbind that little ball of yarn until I had to spin another ball. It became sort of an explorative process where I also got the chance to test the quality of the spun yarn in my nalbinding and get instant feedback that I could loop back into the spinning of the next ball of yarn. The approach thus became a dynamic dance back and forth in the steps of the process, an empirical exploration of a new course of action and an evaluation of the yarn. The method was quite satisfying!

Sweet rolags make the foundation of my woolen spun yarn.

You can read more about this method in a previous post about the making of the hat and a pair of mittens, and also in a blog post about the making of my Moroccan snow shoveling pants that were made with the same approach.

Safety hat

During the spring we slowly went back to working at the office after the pandemic. I thrived when working full time from home and was quite stressed about having to go back, even if I would still be able to work fifty percent from home. When going back to the office I knew I needed a coffee break project to breathe myself through the noise and crowdedness at the office.

Nalbinding was the perfect safety blanket project, or rather safety hat. With nalbinding I always feel very safe – I think it has something to do with the grip of the project. I spun a ball at home and nalbound at work through late winter and spring.

The nalbinding has also been with me on the train to Austria and in the car to my aunt’s funeral. I have bound lots of memories and experiences into this hat.

A hat guide

I tried a new to me stitch for this project, the Oulu stitch. It’s a stitch in the Russian stitch family and quite like the Dalby stitch which I have used for several projects. They both create a structure with yarn in different directions, making the fabric dense and warm.

As I have never nalbound a hat before I used the hat guide Mervi Pasanen’s lovely book With one needle to help me with the shape and size.

From the book I also learned a new way to end a project. Nalbinding is usually done in a spiral. I started at the tip of the hat and increased in a certain pattern until I reached the finished size. Usually I try to make the stitches smaller and smaller, thus creating an even-ish edge. But the suggestion in the book was to continue the spiral on the back of the project, creating the tiniest wrap. I am really pleased with this neat solution.

Waulking

While nalbinding in its criss-cross nature is very hard-wearing and wind proof, these characteristics will get a boost from waulking. The material gets denser, warmer and more protecting against the wind and the cold.

Also, any management of a yarn with kemp in it will little by little push the quirky fibers out, making the resulting yarn or fabric warmer (since the escaped kemp fibers leave air pockets) and softer. I saved the kemp fibers that worked their way out of the hat in the waulking and got quite an impressive little ball of kemp. In the before and after pictures above there is a difference in the shade of the grey, which may partly have to do with the difference in kemp.

Waulking a project is always an adventure. I know by now that nalbinding shrinks mainly widthwise and very little lengthwise. So whenever I nalbind I make the proportions to fit that rule of thumb – a pair of mittens will be a lot wider than my hands but not very much longer. Still, waulking a project takes lots of testing and fine-tuning. I had imagined a steeper tapering of the tip, but I still like the resulting shape of it.

Påsöm embroidery

I planned the flower composition on my påsöm embroidery wool journey earlier this autumn. The most important thing really was to find a way to transfer the flower pattern to the very fuzzy waulked surface. I found a pen that worked okay, but still way better than anything I had tried before.

It was quite interesting to work the pattern in the three dimensional canvas that a hat is. I have always been biased to bias in hats – a biased brim, pattern or shape, just because why not. I decided to go for that with the hat too, in both the placement of the pattern, the direction of the stem and the asymmetry of the hat (or rather the tip hanging to one side).

The flower arrangement starts with a center dahlia (with the center on the right side of my head) from which one stem winds out to either side, ending on the left side with a green leaf. Another stem winds upwards and spirals around the tip of the hat with smaller flowers.

A sweet swim cap

Even if it’s not particularly cold in either air or water yet, I have of course tried using my sweet swim cap in my dips in the lake. The hat is very warm and cozy and the tassel keeps dangling just above the water surface. I am really looking forward to colder days with some ice. I think the hat will do an excellent work even at -18°C like we had a couple of times last winter.

A hat may be finished, but as always it’s so much more than a hat. It’s a part of a sweet dance, a safety blanket, an explo(ra)tion in colour and design and the result of many hours of just hanging out with wool.

Resources

As I posted a sneak preview of today’s post yesterday a couple of people mentioned having started to learn to nalbind bot never got much further. While this post doesn’t give you much of guidance to nalbinding I have put together a list of nalbinding resources for you.

Happy spinning!


You can find me in several social media:

  • This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. Subscribe or make an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
  • My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to missanything!
  • I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow me there.
  • I run an online spinning school, welcome to join a course! You can also check out my course page for courses in Sweden.
  • On Patreon you can get early access to new videos and other Patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patrons is an important way to cover the costs, time and energy I put into the videos and blog posts I create. Shooting and editing a 3 minute video takes about 5 hours. Writing a blog post around 3. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
  • You are also welcome to make one-off donations on my Ko-fi page.
  • Follow me on Instagram.  I announce new blog posts, share images from behind the scenes and post lots of woolliness.
  • Read the new book Knit (spin) Sweden! by Sara Wolf. I am a co-author and write in the fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.
  • In all the social media I offer, you are more than welcome to contact me. Interacting with you helps me make better content. My private Facebook page, however, will remain private.
  • I support Centro de textiles tradicionales del Cusco, a group of talented textile artists in Cusco, Peru who dedicate their work to the empowerment of weavers through the revitalization and sustainable practice of Peruvian ancestral textiles in the Cusco region. Please consider supporting their work by donating to their causes.

Pretty påsöm pocket

On my recent wool journey I started three påsöm projects. Since then I have been working for many hours on the first project, a pretty påsöm pocket. None of this is my handspun.

If you have read my blog posts during the past year you may have seen my growing interest in tie-on pockets. A very old accessory – necessity – to give women the freedom of bringing things with them just like men have, only men’s clothes have been equipped with built-in pockets for specific items. A tie-on pocket can be placed hidden or visible and contain anything the wearer’s heart desires. My previous pockets were made of two kitchen towels and an evening purse.

Pattern outline

On my wool traveling club’s recent påsöm embroidery wool journey we first learned how to sketch the bouquet of påsöm flowers on the surface (broad cloth in this case), play with templates and stencils and transferring the shapes onto the sketch. When we were happy with the design we filled in both inner and outer borders with a permanent marker.

Once I’m happy with the design, I fill in all outer and inner borders with a permanent marker.

I chose a dahlia (at least I think that’s what it is) for the main attraction, flanked with roses and rose buds. All surrounded with greenery. I’m actually not a very flowery person, but the abundance of this technique and tradition appeals to me.

Colours

The colour palette is usually very bright, with especially reds and pinks among shades of green for the leaves. An occasional spectrum of blues or oranges can make a visit every now and then, with accent details in white and yellow.

Planning the bouquet

Just like planning a regular bouquet, you need to plan for the påsöm bouquet too. What is the centerpiece and where do the stalks go. I started with the giant dahlia and went on with the smaller flowers and the three flowers on top of the back piece of the pocket. Then I added the greenery, just according to my sketch.

Filling and blinging

Once the main pattern is in place it’s time to fill out the empty spaces with some more greenery and an occasional bud or smaller flower. The key word is abundance. I really enjoyed this part. I needed to watch every angle, see where the stalks went and fill in the gaps in a way that seemed logical in relation to the bouquet.

Once there was no more room to fill out I started the blinging process – extra sparkle to fill out the smallest spaces.

To fill out and add bling I watched the photos from the course carefully, as well as the book I had bought earlier, Påsöm, by Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg (who was the teacher of our wool journey påsöm course). In the book as well as in the course there were lots of examples of old påsöm items to get inspiration from, as well as Anna-Karin’s new ones. From extra greenery incorporated in the flowers to bright stamens, pistils and unidentified leafy things to create depth and abundance.

Making a pocket

Once I felt finished with the filling and blinging it was time to make a pocket out of the embroidered broadcloth. I used a wild strawberry vintage cotton fabric for lining and inner pocket. A mora band (common in the traditional costume from the town of Mora) made a lovely edge of the pocket opening.

I joined the front plus lining with the back piece by hand with a backstitch, using a waxed linen thread. I like having the inner pocket for my mobile phone in the pocket. It keeps it steady and away from any accidents involving too close encounters with keys.

After I had finished the lining I steam pressed the embroidery. The result was quite astonishing, the stitches landed sweetly together in the flowers and leaves.

Close to the tradition

With the front and back neatly joined and the Mora band for the pocket opening I was getting closer to a finished pocket. But I wasn’t sure how to do the edging and the band. Anna-Karin’s påsöm pockets from Dala-Floda and the examples from the digital museum all had a buckle at the top to fasten in a belt or apron tie. The pockets were most commonly edged with velvet. I didn’t want either buckle or velvet, but I still wanted to stay within some reasonable closeness to the tradition.

I asked Anna-Karin for advice and she showed me pockets where mora bands had been sewn onto reindeer leather for the ties. She also showed me other items where reindeer leather had been used as edging and outer back piece.

I really liked the idea with soft reindeer leather for both edging, outer back piece and ties. So I ordered some reindeer leather while I finished the filling and blinging.

Reindeers and tongs

While the reindeer leather was indeed soft and flexible, it was still hard to work through with the needle. My solution was to use tongs to pull the needle through for a sweet waxed linen thread running stitch seam. Using the tongs worked very well, but it also took a lot of time to grab and let go of the tongs for every stitch. Still, in the end very much worth the effort.

It took a while to sew the 180 cm band back and forth. Edging the pocket was less complicated than I thought. The friction between the broad cloth and the suede side of the reindeer leather prevented the materials to slide from their position.

Even if the pocket is a mix between traditions from different villages in and around Dala-Floda it still looks reasonably traditional. At least in my beginner’s eyes.

Parting

As with any finished project, I felt a little sad when our journey together was over. Perhaps that is why I am such a project hoarder – I can’t seem to want to let them go. The process is such a sweet time to learn and dig deeper, to be in my hands and in the material. Even if the end product turns out beautifully and shows me a map of what I have learned, I do cherish the time I have spent together with the material, the crafting choreography and the mental process. Lucky me I have more pocket ideas in store.

A pretty påsöm pocket, ready to house sweet treasures.

Happy spinning!


You can find me in several social media:

  • This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. Subscribe or make an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
  • My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to missanything!
  • I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow me there.
  • I run an online spinning school, welcome to join a course! You can also check out my course page for courses in Sweden.
  • On Patreon you can get early access to new videos and other Patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patrons is an important way to cover the costs, time and energy I put into the videos and blog posts I create. Shooting and editing a 3 minute video takes about 5 hours. Writing a blog post around 3. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
  • You are also welcome to make one-off donations on my Ko-fi page.
  • Follow me on Instagram.  I announce new blog posts, share images from behind the scenes and post lots of woolliness.
  • Read the new book Knit (spin) Sweden! by Sara Wolf. I am a co-author and write in the fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.
  • In all the social media I offer, you are more than welcome to contact me. Interacting with you helps me make better content. My private Facebook page, however, will remain private.
  • I support Centro de textiles tradicionales del Cusco, a group of talented textile artists in Cusco, Peru who dedicate their work to the empowerment of weavers through the revitalization and sustainable practice of Peruvian ancestral textiles in the Cusco region. Please consider supporting their work by donating to their causes.

Påsöm embroidery wool journey

This weekend I enjoyed the 2022 wool journey with my wool traveling club. The five members traveled from near and far to the small village of Dala-Floda where the påsöm embroidery technique has its origin and bloom. Have a peak at the påsöm embroidery wool journey!

The wool traveling club started in 2014 and had its first journey in 2015 to Shetland for Shetland wool week. Since then we find locations we can reach without flying. This was the first time all five of us could make it.

The påsöm tradition

Dala-Floda (or Floda which is the local name) is widely known for its traditional costumes and, especially for the very rich embroidery technique called påsöm. “På” means on or on top of and “söm” means seam, so a seam on top of something. The something has traditionally been broadcloth and two-end knitted items.

Our teacher for the course, Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg has a master craftsman’s diploma in embroidery. She is also very knowledgeable when it comes to the costume and textile traditions in the area. Her day job is as operation manager and antiquarian at the Dalarna museum. She also teaches påsöm embroidery, costume traditions and other textile techniques in her own business, Flodaros.

The påsöm technique is relatively modern, it came with the zephyr yarns and synthetic dyes in the mid-19th century. Embroidery was common in the area before that, but the yarns and the dyes marks a significant change in the expression of the technique. During the national romantic area women were hired as påsöm embroideresses.

A sewing hook works perfectly as a resistance to pull the stitches against.

Traditionally påsöm has not been practiced with embroidery hoops. Instead the material has simply been pinned onto the skirt of the embroideress. When I got home from the course I dug out my sewing hook that worked very nicely with the broadcloth material.

The wool traveling club took a short field trip to the Dala-Floda costume parts second hand shop. It was the sweetest shed-sized store filled to the roof with cuffs, hats, suspenders, skirt hems, baby slings, tie- on pockets, jackets and watch pockets – all parts of the traditional Dala-Floda costume.

The påsöm yarn and the stitch

The yarn typically used for påsöm is a very loosely spun 4-ply merino yarn in rich and vibrant colours. The stitch with the blooming yarn is supposed to fill out the motif and create a bulky, almost three dimensional look. As I was afraid to ruin the expression of the embroidery and as I am not a reliable dyer, I stayed away from trying to spin and dye my own påsöm yarn. I use the Flodarosyarn that Anna-Karin has dyed.

Nearly all the stitches for flowers and leaves are made in double satin stitches while the stalks and occasional borders are made in stem stitches. The surface underneath the satin stitch areas doesn’t show.

Her royal Mossiness, queen of the conifer forest.

Sewing the airy 4-ply yarn with the double satin stitch results in a spongy, cushiony surface, like a patch of moss on a spruce stump in a newly rained conifer forest. I want to stop and gently soak my hands in it, greet and smell its royal mossiness, just like I do when I do get to the forest and find that sweet mossy spruce stump.

Transferring the pattern

There is a set of flowers and leaves that have traditionally been used for påsöm embroideries. Anna-Karin had made both templates and stencils for us to play with and find a composition that worked with the påsöm expression and the embroidered item.

Anna-Karin shows us a way to sketch the winding stalks and the position of the flowers. Then she plays with templates of different flowers to build the bouquet.

A wool surface can be very fuzzy in the world of a pen and difficult to stick to. Anna-Karin showed us how to first make a sketch on the surface and refine it with an erasable pen. Once we felt happy with the composition and placement we could mark the final pattern and inside lines with a permanent pen.

The påsöm nitty-gritty

Påsöm has its foundation in a winding flower stalk. All the leaves, buds and flowers have a relation to that stalk, making the impression of a bouquet of flowers. The flowers – like dahlias, roses, pansies and lilies of the valley – usually have several colours. Sometimes a tinting technique is used to create the transition between darker and lighter.

A main flower and winding stems make out the motif of my tie-on pocket. I will probably push in more leaves to create even more abundance in the bouquet.

The motif fills out as much as possible of the surface (usually broadcloth) to create an abundance. Lots of reds and pinks together with the leafy greens, but sometimes also blues and purples and perhaps accentuating yellows and whites.

The projects

I had several ideas for påsöm embroidery. The one I picked for the course was a broadcloth tie-on pocket. If you look at the pictures of the inspiration Anna-Karin brought to the class you can see several tie-on pockets with abundant påsöm embroidery. I used these as an inspiration for my own pocket. I also brought a handspun nalbinding hat that I had waulked, to get inspiration for pattern transferring and design.

Upcoming projects that I have arranged the tempalates on are a nalbound and walked hat and a piece of needle felt punch.

My very first påsöm project that I did a couple of years ago was a yoga mat in needle punch felt. A difficulty then was that I couldn’t get a marker to stick to the fabric, so I had to free-form the flowers on the material. I brought a piece of needle punch felt to the course to find a way to transfer the pattern to it without having to improvise it.

Ellinor decided to embroider a broadcloth sample patch. She had her three month old baby with her and didn’t have the opportunity to embroider as much as the rest of us. We didn’t mind taking the baby every now and then, though.

Boel and Anna started on broadcloth bags of different sizes and Kristin had knit and felted a sweater that she embroidered on.

The setting

The Dala-Floda inn is a pearl in the Dalecarlia landscape. A garden not much different from a botanical garden – plants of all shapes, sizes and foliages form sweet rooms to discover. Carefully tended with skilled hands and hearts. Organic and locally grown food cooked with love is on the menu. The interior equally sweetly and thoughtfully planned. All about the inn breathes sincerity and warmth.

I practiced my early morning yoga at 6.30 am in the garden, filling my lungs and my whole system with the cool September air and the sweet garden view.

The company

One of the best parts of going on a wool journey with the wool traveling club is of course the company. Some of us don’t see each other at all during the rest of the year, so when we meet there is a lot to catch up on. For a couple of days we bathe in each other’s relationships, children work and play. Crafting helps bring the conversation deeper and despite the short time we spend together we manage to find truly meaningful and deep conversations. We are sisters in craft. I always go home with a mixed feeling of sheer joy of the company and desperately missing them.

The wool traveling club in the inn garden – Ellinor with baby D, Kristin, Boel, me and Anna.

Thank you sweet sisters in craft, I learn so much from you. We are already planning our 2023 and 2024 wool journeys and I can’t wait for them.

Pending påsöm projects

I’m back home now, embroidering away on my tie-on pocket. I hope to get the hat ready before winter. I also want to try some påsöm on two-end knitted material. Påsöm embroidery has been common on especially mittens. You can check out some lovely church going mittens in my blog post about an earlier wool journey. I have finished spinning a two-end knitting yarn for mittens, but I need to spin some more before I can start knitting and embroidering.

I also have a pair of unfinished two-end knitted jacket sleeves that I would love to decorate with påsöm embroidery.

Regarding the needle punch felt material I have plans to make a sweet… no, wait, that’s a secret.

If you are a patron (or decide to become one) there is a video postcard from the wool journey available.

Happy spinning!

You can find me in several social media:

  • This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. Subscribe or make an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
  • My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to missanything!
  • I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow me there.
  • I run an online spinning school, welcome to join a course! You can also check out my course page for courses in Sweden.
  • On Patreon you can get early access to new videos and other Patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patrons is an important way to cover the costs, time and energy I put into the videos and blog posts I create. Shooting and editing a 3 minute video takes about 5 hours. Writing a blog post around 3. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
  • You are also welcome to make one-off donations on my Ko-fi page.
  • Follow me on Instagram.  I announce new blog posts, share images from behind the scenes and post lots of woolliness.
  • Read the new book Knit (spin) Sweden! by Sara Wolf. I am a co-author and write in the fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.
  • In all the social media I offer, you are more than welcome to contact me. Interacting with you helps me make better content. My private Facebook page, however, will remain private.
  • I support Centro de textiles tradicionales del Cusco, a group of talented textile artists in Cusco, Peru who dedicate their work to the empowerment of weavers through the revitalization and sustainable practice of Peruvian ancestral textiles in the Cusco region. Please consider supporting their work by donating to their causes.

Mending hems

The other day I got a pair of third hand jeans. They fit me perfectly, but parts of the hems had been worn out, so I wanted to mend them. I threw out a question on Instagram and asked for advice on how to mend the hems. I got lots of really useful replies, some of which I decided to use and some of which to save for later. This post is all about mending hems.

When I was teaching at Sätergläntan craft education center this summer I met a woman who had the most beautifully visually mended pair of jeans. There were colourful embroideries all over the legs and they were just a joy to see. She had had them for 20+ years and mended them as soon as she had seen a hole, wear or tear.

One of my worn-out jeans leg hems.

With the mended pair of jeans as an inspiration I decided to take care of my own pair and mend them visibly as soon as I needed to, starting with the sad hems.

Decisions, decisions

Among the replies to my Instagram question, some were leaning towards blanket stitching around the hem, others towards embroidery and some towards a bias band. One suggested weaving straight onto the hem. I decided to embroider on a bias band on one leg and sew a tight blanket stitch on the other. The weaving I will save for later. I feared that it might get too bulky on a pant leg hem.

Blanket stitch

Both leg hems were worn, one a bit more and wider than the other. I chose the blanket stitch for the less worn leg. I have a box full of thrift shop embroidery yarn in wool, silk and linen. But for a pair of jeans I would need cotton. The only cotton yarn I had was a melange pink pearl cotton one, which was perfect for visibly mending hems.

I think I will keep my eyes open for more melange pearl cotton for future mending emergencies, I really liked this one.

Bias tape and sashiko

I wanted to use sashiko as the main mending technique for the more worn leg. I had bought a bundle of 26 beautiful Chinese handwoven vintage cotton patches from the 1960’s from Indigoloom that I wanted to use. They are all great candidates for both a bias tape and other mending techniques. Since I wanted to make my own bias tape out of the Chinese patch – another great tip from my Instagram question – I had ordered a bias tape maker.

The loveliest bundle of cotton patches, hand woven in China in the 1960’s.

In the Ultimate Sashiko sourcebook by Susan Briscoe that I had in my book shelf I found sweet patterns based on chequered fabrics. There were a lot of those in the bundle and I chose one of them. I figured that as a beginner it would be a good idea to use a chequered fabric pattern as a guide when I did the stitches.

The world isn’t square!

As I meticulously measured the cutting angle and width of the bias tape-to-be I realized that something was wrong. Only I couldn’t figure out what. I saw that I had measured the angle and the width correctly, but still the checks didn’t add up. Measuring again and again I scratched my head until it dawned on me: There was a weaving error!

A bias tape to be from a vintage Chinese hand woven cotton fabric with, as it turned out, sweet irregularities.

I had made the mistake of counting on the squares to be square. But that’s the thing – the world isn’t square! It’s full of wonderful irregularities and differences. Therefore, so is my bias tape.

The making of a bias tape

Making the bias tape was quite entertaining. Once I had cut the fabric on the bias I eagerly waited for the bias tape maker to arrive. Once it did it took me five minutes to grab the iron and ironing board and make the tape.

The bias tape maker is just a metal guide where you stick the flat strip of bias fabric into one end and end up with a folded tape in the other. As soon as the folded end appears you just iron it and there you have it!

My very first bias tape, made from a vintage hand woven Chinese cotton fabric.

I cut the frays on the pant leg edges and stitched the tape by hand on the inside of the leg with a backstitch. I stitched the top of the tape onto the front of the leg with a whipstitch.

Sashiko pattern

I used a komezashi variation for the sashiko part, that took advantage of the chequered fabric pattern. This meant that I didn’t have to create a grid for my stitches since it was already there. I did want to continue the pattern above the tape, though, so I did my best to follow the lines from the tape onto the denim.

When mending my hems I allowed the sashiko stitches to run over the denim as well as the tape.

Since the bias tape was longer than I needed I could easily have cut out the weaving error. I chose not to, though, but instead to embrace the perfectly flawed irregularity and work with it as it was. It will serve as a tribute to the weaver who reminded me that the world isn’t square.

It was interesting to use the sashiko technique for mending. I haven’t tried it just for the sake of sashiko yet, but I have plans to make little sashiko project pouches. Perhaps to keep my sashiko kit in.

Mending with love

I love my old new pair of jeans. Every time I mend them, which will be a treat and an act of love in itself, I will get that feeling that a new piece of clothing can give. A new start, a fresh breath. But with a smaller ecological footprint and hopefully with the inspiration for others to mend their own clothes with love.

A pair of mended hems.

As I plan to keep mending my jeans I also ordered a book on visible mending by Arounna Khounnoraj . It’s supposed to come next week. I’m secretly looking forward to more wear on my jeans. There is so much to explore! Thank you all who contributed to my cry for hem mending help.

Happy mending!


You can find me in several social media:

  • This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. Subscribe or make an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
  • My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to missanything!
  • I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow me there.
  • I run an online spinning school, welcome to join a course! You can also check out my course page for courses in Sweden.
  • On Patreon you can get early access to new videos and other Patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patrons is an important way to cover the costs, time and energy I put into the videos and blog posts I create. Shooting and editing a 3 minute video takes about 5 hours. Writing a blog post around 3. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
  • You are also welcome to make one-off donations on my Ko-fi page.
  • Follow me on Instagram.  I announce new blog posts, share images from behind the scenes and post lots of woolliness.
  • Read the new book Knit (spin) Sweden! by Sara Wolf. I am a co-author and write in the fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.
  • In all the social media I offer, you are more than welcome to contact me. Interacting with you helps me make better content. My private Facebook page, however, will remain private.
  • I support Centro de textiles tradicionales del Cusco, a group of talented textile artists in Cusco, Peru who dedicate their work to the empowerment of weavers through the revitalization and sustainable practice of Peruvian ancestral textiles in the Cusco region. Please consider supporting their work by donating to their causes.

Linen shirt

A hand sewn linen shirt from antique linen fabric is the theme of today’s post. I dive into seams, details and techniques and find it surprisingly peaceful and rewarding. Spoiler alert: None of this is my handspun.

A two year project is finally finished: A linen shirt. Photo by Isak Waltin.

A couple of years ago, just in the beginning of the pandemic, I took a weekend class in hand sewing a linen shirt. The course took place at Historical textiles‘ studio (just a bike ride from home) and was taught by Magdalena Fick, museum assistant at the costume collection at Skansen open air museum. She is also a reenactor and creates lots of historical garments.

We got to use fancy tools in the class – a bone folder for folding seams and hems and a sewing hook for for keeping the fabric taut when sewing.

We were four students in the class, sitting in separate corners of a giant table. A couple of the other students took the class for reenactment purposes and one to add to her regional costume. I just wanted to hand sew a linen shirt for the sake of a hand sewn linen shirt.

Fabric

We got to sew small samples of different seams and techniques, which was quite fun. A wedge here, a hemstitch there, a sleeve gusset and some smocking in between. We also got to buy fabric, plan our shirts and cut out the pieces.

I wanted a 100 per cent linen fabric and I wanted it to be handwoven. At the studio I found an antique linen fabric to die for. It was at least 120 years old. A bit scary as a beginner to take on such a treasure, but I figured it would be my only chance to handle fabric like that.

Antique handwoven linen fabric to die for.

The width of the antique fabric I got my hands on was only 40 centimeters, though, so I had some planning to do. As it turned out, 40 centimeters was a bit on the tight side over my shoulders and bust. As I continued sewing at home after the course had finished I realized that I had to choose between wearing the shirt and breathing. I of course chose the best option: Procrastinating.

Sewing (or not) at home

When I picked the shirt up again I turned to my friend Cecilia who knows everything about anything that is important. Like shirt alterations. She guided me by telephone in making wedges at the sides and at the back. It was difficult and the fit still wasn’t ideal over the bust. I procrastinated some more.

A couple of months ago I got some new hand sewing mojo and picked up the shirt again. I had gone down a couple of sizes since I started sewing the shirt, so the shirt fit very well over the bust, but was quite roomy over the waist. I decided to leave the fit as it was, I didn’t want to risk the beautiful fabric by altering the side seams again.

Slow and reflective

Sewing by hand is slow. Which, to me, is a superpower. It gives me time to reflect over what I am doing and to better plan ahead. And there is something very grounding in holding a fabric made of natural fibers and stitch by stitch transform a flat surface into a three dimensional garment that fits my body.

When I am sewing a seam I don’t think about the length of it, I just get into the rhythm or the stitching and breathe in the sewing moment. So simple, yet so complex. All textile work is true engineering and I am so fascinated over the intricate techniques that have stood the test of time and developed since time began.

Seam anatomy

I know you are all dying to see the wrong side of the shirt. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? The wrong side of a garment tells a lot about the making. Well, I will not let you down. Here are some wrong side wedges for you.

It’s funny, I have sewn a lot of garments for myself in my life. At least up until around 20 years ago. And still I have never known the anatomy of a hand sewn garment.

One of the last things I made was a wedding dress for my best friend. I was reasonably confident in fitting and altering, but I had asked her not to get pregnant, that was an alteration I wouldn’t know how to make. On the day she was coming to collect the dress she whispered in my ear “I’m pregnant!”. I smiled and whispered back to her “So am I!”. I did sew some totally misshapen baby clothes after that, but once my child was born I didn’t want to risk having pins on the floor, so I stopped sewing altogether.

This was machine sewing, though. Hand sewing gives so many more opportunities to sew neat and strong seams. And that has been necessary since there was no such thing as a consumer society and clothes had to be kept in good condition to be worn and handed down over the generations. Clothes were sturdily sewn, patched, mended and altered until there was nothing left to put a needle in. We could use some of that knowledge and awareness these days too.

My friend got married and the dress fit her, despite her 12 week pregnancy. We both had sons who are now 19.

Neckline

As I had finished all the major seams of my linen shirt the most scary part was left: The neckline. I had just made a T-shaped cut at the top, large enough to fit my head. Now I had to plan, cut and sew the whole shape of the neckline.

This is how I constructed my linen shirt. Rectangles, squares, triangles, a hole for the neck and voilá! A linen shirt.

There is a freedom in making the pattern as you go along. One of the appealing parts of making a linen shirt in historical techniques is the simplicity of the pattern – rectangles for sleeves and body. A couple of squares for sleeve gussets and a handfull of triangles for wedges. A hole at the top for the head.

At the same time it is truly scary to take on the responsibility for the whole fit with just a handful of geometric shapes. That in combination with the antique fabric and my beginner’s mind scared me. At the same time I knew I needed to make something beautiful of the fabric. I had adopted it and it was my responsibility to make it work and make it beautiful.

A simple neckline. Photo by Isak Waltin.

So I tried the shirt on, placed a couple of pins, drew a couple of curves and cut out a neckline. And it looked beautiful! Just the right width and depth of the hole and a fitting slit at the front.

Lace

When Magdalena showed us samples of neckline lace seams on the course I knew I wanted to make one. Just a small lace triangle at the bottom of the neckline slit. Simple, yet elegant. So once I had hemmed the neckline I started to reinforce the edges of the neckline slit with a tight blanket stitch and a blanket stitch bridge at the top.

Laces stitch extravaganza in a booklet about seams. I chose number 108.

At the course we had used a lovely (discontinued) booklet about stitches. I managed to find one on Swedish eBay, though. After having oohed and aahed through the pages I chose one of the lace stitches and sewed a triangle inside my blanket stitch border. I managed to finish it and it was evidently a tiny lace triangle. But not very pretty. I tossed and turned in bed that night, knowing I could do better.

The next day I carefully and determinedly ripped the lace stitch and tried again. I realized that I hadn’t pulled the stitches tightly enough. My second try was miles away from the first one. A real lace triangle, and pretty too!

Hemstitching

Isn’t hemstitching the sweetest thing? Just pulling out a couple of weft threads and bundling up the warp threads in pretty patterns. Again, simple, yet elegant. And very time consuming. One sleeve took me one hour. But it was definitely worth it. Such a sweet stitch and such a lovely rhythm.

The rhythm of hemstitching is the sweetest!

I found myself looking for more places to sneak some hemstitching in, but I managed to control myself. Less is more. So I closed the hemstitching chapter by hemming the sleeve ends against the hemstitch seam.

Smocking

Can I have a smock too? Just a tiny one? I did have to do something with the sleeve ends, they were too wide and unpractical. And smocking would be smashing! So I made one, with four threads. It solved two problems: The width of the sleeves and my urge to sew smocking.

I love the result. Just on the right side of flamboyant. And sometimes that’s just what we need, right?

Monogram

The last detail of the shirt was a monogram. I have so many anonymous monograms in our linen cabinet from all the flea market sheets we have bought over the years. Small traces of people who once lived, loved and dedicated time and skill into beautifully embroidered monograms, but whose lives I would never know anything about. Except from those personal, yet anonymous letters. This would be my own monogram, a testament of my love and dedication sewn into that linen shirt.

I wanted it small but bold, so I chose a flea market bright red linen yarn for the embroidery and my upper arm for the placement and cross-stitched my little heart out. And, as it turned out, the bright red dye. It bled. Just by passing the thread past the neckline as I made the stitches, the neckline changed into a misty pink.

My very own monogram. Photo by Isak Waltin.

I texted Cecilia again. She said that the dye probably wouldn’t go out of the white linen and that it was a part of the cultural heritage. I replied that I had decided to sulk for a while before I would be ready to embrace the cultural heritage. I am over the sulking part for now, I’ll get back to you for a sulkiness update after the first wash.

A finished linen shirt! Photo by Isak Waltin.

I’m very happy with my linen shirt. I got a unique opportunity to dive into hand sewing and I learned some pretty groovy techniques, not to mention the thread waxing skills. I’m glad I managed to control myself and stick to those four details – the lace, the hemstitching, the smocking and the monogram. I would love to sew a fitted bodice to match the shirt.

Happy spinning!

You can find me in several social media:

  • This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. Subscribe or make an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
  • My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to missanything!
  • I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow me there.
  • I run an online spinning school, welcome to join a course! You can also check out my course page for courses in Sweden.
  • On Patreon you can get early access to new videos and other Patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patrons is an important way to cover the costs, time and energy I put into the videos and blog posts I create. Shooting and editing a 3 minute video takes about 5 hours. Writing a blog post around 3. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
  • You are also welcome to make one-off donations on my Ko-fi page.
  • Follow me on Instagram.  I announce new blog posts, share images from behind the scenes and post lots of woolliness.
  • Read the new book Knit (spin) Sweden! by Sara Wolf. I am a co-author and write in the fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.fleece section about how I spin yarn from Swedish sheep breeds.
  • In all the social media I offer, you are more than welcome to contact me. Interacting with you helps me make better content. My private Facebook page, however, will remain private.
  • I support Centro de textiles tradicionales del Cusco, a group of talented textile artists in Cusco, Peru who dedicate their work to the empowerment of weavers through the revitalization and sustainable practice of Peruvian ancestral textiles in the Cusco region. Please consider supporting their work by donating to their causes.

Påsöm embroidery

For a long time I have been fascinated by påsöm. This embroidery technique involves abundant flowery motifs in rich, saturated colours. For my first påsöm embroidery project I decided to make a yoga mat and honour the yoga practice with soft, wooly stitches.

A woolen mat for yummy yoga practise.
A woolen mat for yummy yoga practise.

About påsöm embroidery

Påsöm is a composition of the words På (on top of) and Söm (seam or stitch), so a reasonable translation could with some imagination be surface stitch. The embroidery technique originates from the small village of Dala-Floda in county Dalarna in Sweden. The technique started being used in the mid 1800’s and is especially used in various parts of the traditional folk costume from the village. The yarns were imported and dyed with synthetic dyes. A bride usually made her betrothed mittens or suspenders with the påsöm technique. Many women in the early 20th century earned a living stitching påsöm embroideries on mittens and household textiles to sell.

At the last wool journey I made with my wool traveling club I got to fondle some truly remarkable finds of påsöm embroidered mittens in Karin Kahnlund’s massive collection of knitted items.

Materials

The foundation

Påsöm is embroidered on both two-end knitted items and wadmal or broadcloth. Both two-end knitting and broadcloth are perfect for this embroidery technique. The material is dense and inelastic, which allows for the stitches to be made very close to each other. This creates the rich and abundant, almost 3D texture in the motifs.

The material I had in mind for my embroidery was different, though. The scouring mill Ullkontoret sells a needle punch felt by the meter, made with Swedish wool. I usually make spindle cases from the felt, but someone came up with the idea to use it for a yoga mat, so I wanted to try that. After having cut out the yoga mat shape I needed I made a blanket stitch around the edges for protection. This yarn was my handspun (the only spinning related thing about this post).

The needle punch felt is looser and thicker than two-end knitting and broadcloth. The thickness requires more yarn and the looseness makes it a challenge to get the stitches as close to each other as I want. But I am the boss of my embroidery and I say my way works just fine in this context.

Yarn

The embroidery yarn I used for the motifs is a commercial yarn. To create the rich and billowy texture the yarn needs to be at least 4-ply and loosely plied. I didn’t want to sacrifice the påsöm look so I bought the yarn this time instead of trying to spin it myself. Perhaps I will have a go at spinning my own påsöm yarn one day, who knows. There are few yarns suitable for påsöm embroideries. One of the available yarns is the British Appleton tapestry wool, that worked really well.

Påsöm requires lots of colour and especially lots of green leaves. I went for reds, blues and greens in different shades and some white and yellow for details.

Motifs

Apart from the colours and the soft and airy yarn, the motifs and the composition of the motifs are important in påsöm embroidery. An abundance of flowers, bound together by rich greens is what you will be looking for.

I started with the center rose, added the pink flowers flanking it and then the pansies just below the front corners. After that I simply needed to add as many garlands, leaves and decorative flowers as possible and let them create a mass of flower extravaganza. And I did. For every part I added I took a step back and tried to find what and where my next move would be.

My favourite part to stitch were the little green heart-shaped leaves, especially the double ones just beneath the pansies. And I’m childishly charmed by the pink flowers on both sides of the center rose. And who wouldn’t be?

Templateless

I used the booklet Påsöm by Anna-Karin Jobs Arnberg to learn the stitches and motifs. The book suggests using transparent sheets to copy the shapes and a needle and Gellyroll pen to transfer the motif to the cloth. With a material like broadcloth or two-end knitting transferring templates would have been fairly easy. But the needle punch felt was way too fuzzy and the markings wouldn’t stick at all. Instead I tried to the best of my ability to draw the shapes directly onto the felt and accepted the wobbly shapes with an open heart.

For some of the more precise motifs I managed to draw something that resembled a contour with the gellyroll pen on the fuzzy felt surface.
For some of the more precise motifs I managed to draw something that resembled a contour with the gellyroll pen on the fuzzy felt surface.

Therapy stitches

I have chronic migraines and peaceful that usually last for several days. It is what it is. Crafting helps me stay sane during many of these episodes. I get very sound sensitive, especially to kitchen clatter and rustling paper bags. But wool is blissfully gentle and quiet.

This could actually be what migraine looks like from within.
When I turn the yoga mat upside down I realize that this could actually be what migraine looks like from within.

For the last couple of weeks I have turned to my påsöm embroidery numerous times for some soft and quiet migraine therapy. The repetitive motions, the slow process and, of course, the feeling of chunky wool in my hands give me some peace of mind. I didn’t keep track of the time I spent on this embroidery, but I don’t think I would be totally wrong if I estimated it to 20 hours.

Quiet yoga

The yoga mat is now finished with a lovely påsöm flower garland at the top and I’m very pleased with the result. The mat is slippery, though. It slips on the floor (which can be helped with a sticky mat underneath it) and my hands and feet slip on the surface in asana practice. For this reason I wouldn’t recommend the material for a moving practice. I would say this mat is more suitable for meditation, sitting postures, restorative yoga and yoga nidra. After all, these are the types of yoga I can practice when migraine hits me. What wouldn’t be more suitable then than a yoga mat stitched as migraine therapy.

Slow embroidery for slow and mindful practice.
Slow embroidery for slow and mindful practice.

Neither embroidery nor yoga help in migraine episodes. However, they do give me the peace of mind I need and lots of wooly comfort. And that is worth a lot.

Happy spinning!


You can find me in several social media:

  • This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. Subscribe or make an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
  • My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to miss anything!
  • I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow me there.
  • I run an online spinning school, welcome to join a course! You can also check out my course page for courses in Sweden.
  • On Patreon you can get early access to new videos and other Patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patrons is an important way to cover the costs, time and energy I put into the videos and blog posts I create. Shooting and editing a 3 minute video takes about 5 hours. Writing a blog post around 3. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
  • Follow me on Instagram.  I announce new blog posts, share images from behind the scenes and post lots of woolliness.
  • In all the social media I offer, you are more than welcome to contact me. Interacting with you helps me make better content. My private Facebook page, however, will remain private.
  • I support Centro de textiles tradicionales del Cusco, a group of talented textile artists in Cusco, Peru who dedicate their work to the empowerment of weavers through the revitalization and sustainable practice of Peruvian ancestral textiles in the Cusco region. Please consider supporting their work by donating to their causes.

Design from fleece to garment

Close-up of a grey sweater with white embroidered flowers

Through my years as a spinner I have made lots of projects where I spin for a garment. This time I take the process further and make my own garment design, based on the superpowers of the fleece. In this post I look at design from fleece to garment.

This is the third post in a blog series. The first post was about how to find the superpowers of a fleece and in the second post I talked about consistency. In the remaining post I take you through some calculations. Through the blog series I use the wool from one sheep as a case study.

Design: Margau beta

When I designed the yarn in this case study I worked with the superpowers of the fleece. I wanted to take advantage of the characteristics of the wool in the finished yarn. By listening to the wool and let it tell me how it wanted to be prepared and spun I could allow it to become its best yarn. I wanted the same for the design of a garment – to let the yarn be the star of the garment. So I designed for the yarn. Meet the Margau beta design.

Josefin Waltin walking in the snow. She is wearing a dark grey knitted sweater with white flowers embroidered on the side.
Meet the Margau Beta design. Photo by Dan Waltin

Texture

I wanted a simple pattern with both knit and purl elements. An advanced pattern like cables or lace would take the focus from the yarn too much. At first I was playing with the idea of stockinette stitch with panels of garter stitch. This idea didn’t work very well, since garter stitch fills out the thickness of the fabric and takes from the length. Stockinette and garter in the same row would therefore result in a bubbly structure, which I didn’t want. Instead I came up with simple panels of stockinette and reversed stockinette. The smooth stockinette shows off the shine in the yarn and the reverse stockinette reveals the roundedness of the 3-ply and the colored specks from the sari silk.

Model

I love the look of a raglan yoke. It looks very flattering and knitting in the round suits me as a process knitter. Top-down knitting is what first comes to mind for me, but I wanted to try bottom up this time. I knit the sweater seamlessly with a no-ease fit and waist shaping. Neckband and cuffs in garter stitch.

Design details

The main part of the body of the sweater is knit in stockinette. At the front and on the sleeves there are panels of reverse stockinette stitch. The waist shaping is all made in reverse stockinette side panels. The panels pass the sleeve in the front and back and go between the raglan yoke shapings.

Close-up of a dark- grey knitted sweater with embroidered flowers.
The side panels pass on both sides of the sleeves and between the raglan shapings. Photo by Dan Waltin

Embroidered flowers

I decided I wanted som assymetrical bling on one of the side panels. I spun a yarn from another finull/rya mix breed, also a winner (silver medal) at the Swedish fleece championships and also from shepherdess Margau Wohlfart-Leijdström. She knows what she is doing! This finull/rya mixbreed, however is more rya-like in its character. The staples are long, shiny and quite straight, but also soft (lamb).

A white fleece.
Long, soft and shiny staples of a finull/rya mixbreed.

The fleece was the perfect candidate for an embroidery yarn, and extra special since it was from the same flock as the main fleeces. I combed the staples and spun with short forward draw into a 2-ply worsted yarn.

I had plans to dye it in a light turquoise and a medium turquoise, but the colors turned out all wrong for this project (dyeing is not one of my superpowers). Beautiful colours, but just not for this sweater. I ended up using the natural white only.

Handspun yarn
2-ply embroidery yarn.

The embroidery pattern is simple flowers in chain stitch. I placed them randomly on the left side panel and let them continue on the left front raglan panel and end mid-neckline.

Close-up of a grey sweater with white embroidered flowers
Flowers climbing up the side panels. Photo by Dan Waltin

I have never embroidered on a knitted garment before and I was very careful not to stretch the embroidery yarn. The chain stitch is in itself has some ease. I didn’t stretch the chains since I wanted the rounded shape of a flower petal. that way it works quite well even on a garment with no ease.

Thoughts for a future pattern

I call the design Margau beta. Margau is the name of the shepherdess. I added Beta because it is not a finished pattern. and I haven’t made a pattern to publish for this sweater. Knitting this sweater was a test to see if I could design one at all. However, I do want to try to make a pattern of the design eventually if people are interested. From the experiences of designing and knitting Margau beta I have some alterations to make:

  • I will try to design the second design top-down. I think it will make the yoke fitting easier.
  • The neckline needs to be a bit more rounded and I will experiment more with short rows.
  • I do like wide raglan panels, but I think they will benefit from being a little slimmer. That will probably make the transition between front and back look better.
  • The front panel can also be a bit slimmer. That will probably make the yoke area look better.
  • To make a better balance and fit, I may put a panel at the back too (in this design the back is all stockinette).
  • The sleeves are a bit too tight and will benefit from a little more ease.
  • I am playing with the idea of making some sort of pattern in the side panels, perhaps also in the front panel. To fit a pattern, the side panels need to be a bit wider at the waist.

I just need to spin some more yarn first.

A sweater to wear with pride and love. Photo by Dan Waltin

I am very happy about this design and I wear the sweater with love and pride.

Coming up: The last post in this blog series is about calculations. I will summarize the work with this fleece with some interesting stats!


You can follow me on several social media:

  • This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. Subscribe or make an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
  • My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to miss anything!
  • I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow me there.
  • I run an online spinning school, welcome to join a course!
  • On Patreon you can get early access to new videos and other Patreon only benefits. The contributions from my patrons is an important way to cover the costs, time and energy I put into the videos and blog posts I create. The content I create is totally free from advertisement. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
  • Follow me on Instagram.  I announce new blog posts, share images from behind the scenes and post lots of woolliness.
  • In all the social media I offer, you are more than welcome to contact me. Interacting with you helps me make better posts and videos. My private Facebook page, however, will remain private.
    If you like what I do, please tell all your fiber friends and share these links!

Logo embroidery

Embroidery is not my strongest textile technique. Sometimes, though,  an embroidery just needs to exist, and this was such a time. I needed to do some serious logo embroidery on a wool handling apron.

Josefin Waltin wearing an apron with an embroidered sheep
My wool handling apron with sheep logo. Photo by Dan Waltin.

The logo

You may have noticed my logo, the sheep with the spiral fleece.

A logo with a sheep and the text Josefin Waltin spinner

My retired father used to work as an art director and has made lots of logos and I asked him to make one for me. He presented several different ideas, but I fell for this one. It was finished in March and I am very fond of it.

Looking at it, I realized that it wouldn’t be very difficult to make an embroidery of it. I had the perfect wool for embroidery yarn – a strong and shiny white Rya. You have seen it in the Spinning around the world video I released in June. I spun it on a supported spindle and 2-plied it. In this blog post you can read more about the wool and the spinning.

Dyeing

The first step after spinning was getting the colour right. Dyeing is not my field of expertise, I dye when I need to. I use dyes from Greener Shades. I want to mix the colours myself, but I find it quite challenging. Sometimes I don’t see the colour until it’s all dyed. eventually I did get the colour right, but I dyed very little yarn, so it ended up very dark. On the second try I got it right.

a bit of felted wool and a skein of yarn hanging on a washing line
Newly dyed and dried. Rya embroidery yarn and wet felted undercoat for the head.

Looking at the pictures now, though, I see that it has a bit too little red in it. I will have to live with that.

A small skein of blue yarn on a stone
A pretty skein of Rya embroidery yarn

Logo embroidery

I borrowed an embroidery hoop from my friend Maria (who helped me with my medieval spinning video). My original plan was to use a stem stitch – I thought it would look nice on the moving wool spiral. But the yarn was far too thick for the fine linen on the apron and it just looked like croquet hoops. So I picked it up and started again, this time with a simple backstitch. It didn’t make the yarn any thinner of course, but it was easier to make the curves of the spiral look better.

An embroidery hoop with embroidery in blue yarn
Backstitching away

The face was a bit tricky. Originally, I had planned to fill the face with embroidery, but then my friend Elaine suggested that I use a piece of felted wool instead. And that was av very good idea. The felted piece got a little thick, but I can live with that too.

An embroidered sheep in an embroidery hoop
A finished embroidery

My father suggested beads for the eyes, which was just right.

I love my new apron and I feel like a proud entrepreneur when I wear it.

Close-up of a person wearing an apron with an embroidered sheep
My wool handling apron with logo embroidery. Photo by Dan Waltin

Happy spinning!


You can follow me on several social media:

  • My youtube channel is where I release a lot of my videos. Subscribe to be sure not to miss anything!
  • This blog is my main channel. This is where I write posts about spinning, but also where I explain a bit more about videos I release. Sometimes I make videos that are on the blog only. You can subscribe or get an rss feed to be sure not to miss any posts.
  • I have a facebook page where I link to all my blog posts, you are welcome to follow.
  • On Patreon you can get early access to new videos. You can read more about my Patreon page here.
  • Follow me on Instagram.  I announce new blog posts and post lots of woolliness.