Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sweater Pictures!

I thought I'd show you some better pics of the needlebound sweater. Thank you Carita for modelling! I've tried to slightly alter the pictures to match the actual colour of the sweater, but still... the real sweater is a much warmer purple! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cutting through needlebound fabric

A very good comment by Kareina to the previous post ("The Fny Method: Needlebinding a Sweater") made me think about the possibilities of cutting through needlebound fabric. I have previously tried cutting along the rows of stitches, which works very well! The edge stays intact and there is no need to made additional seams or anything. Very good!

Now, Kareina's comment made me wonder about the possibilities of cutting not along the row of stitches, but across. For example, if it could be possible to cut an opening along the front of my newly needlebound sweater...  So this evening I picked up a small patch of needlebound fabric that I made earlier (it's just a circle, nothing fancy, I made it as a test) and simply cut it in half.

This is what a half looks like right after cutting it:

Then I used the other half for my experiment, throwing simple saddle stitches around the length of the edge. Then I folded the edge and sewed tacking-stitches back and forth and back again. (Had this been more than just an experiment I would of course have used more proper stitches instead of tacking-stitckes, and would probably have folded it so that the raw edge is tucked in completely!). Here you see what it looks like where it's folded....

And here you see what it looks like from the front!

The other half, that I didn't do anything with, isn't very durable and I can easily pull out strands from the edge. On the other hand, the half that I stitched up and folded seems to be just fine. In other words, one could actually treat the needlebound fabric more or less like a woven fabric and it would be possible to make a sweater just like I explained in the previous post, and still have it open in the front! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Fny Method: Needlebinding a sweater

   This post was really supposed to be called "The Fny Method: Needlebinding a sweater without using a pattern" but that was just ridiculously long! Anyways... This is not a needlebinding PATTERN for a sweater, but rather a TUTORIAL or an explanation of how to do it in more general terms. In other words there will be no counting of stitches. Why? It's simple, I just really don't like counting! But what this post will tell you is how to put together a sweater just by using your own body as a sort of template, in which order to do things and what to look out for. 

1. Create a long line of loops to start with. Check the length against your own body size – this is the circumference at the bottom of the sweater, down below your tummy. Make sure that not only does it reach around your bottom/tummy (depending on how long you want it to be!), it is also long enough to slip your entire upper body through without it stretching too much.

2. When you are happy with the circumference close the first round. Make sure the line of loops hasn’t twisted
3. Continuneedlebinding, decreasing just a few stitches per round.

4.Carry on needlebinding, checking it regularly against your own body to see how much to decrease to make it fit well. For my bodytype I felt it best to decrease the circumference at the waist, but if you want the sweater to hang completely straight then feel free not to do so!

5.Once you reach just below the armpit (once again, try it on!) you should do a loop of unfastened stitches to go around the arm. Fasten it with just a few stitches at first (or use a safety pin!) so that you can try it and feel how tight it is around the arm. Make sure it's wide enough to let you lift your arm!

6. Once you are happy with the width of the arm-to-be then go ahead around to the other side, making a loop of the same width there.

7. Continue needlebinding around and around, slightly decreasing with a few stitches each row. I find it best to do the decreasing just above the point where the arm loop starts.

8. When you reach the shoulder it is time to drastically decrease the amount of stitches, decreasing one for each stitch you sew.

9. Try it on and figure out exactly where you want your neckline, making sure it's not too tight to get on or off!

10. When you've finished the neckline it's time to start with the arms.With a new piece of string, start right at the point where you previously began doing the unfastened stitches, at the back. Move around the arm-opening, decreasing one or two stitches at each side.

11. Once more, try it on! Depending on how thin your arms are and how tight you want it, you will want to decrease more or less. I chose to decrease very little, and not change the circumference after the first 2 or 3 rounds.

12. Continue with the stitches until  the arms are as long as you like, making sure you do the left and right as identical as possible.

13. Now you are almost done! You just need to fasten the end pieces of yarn, tucking them in and 
smoothening out the edge as much as you can.

14. You know what? You've just finished your sweater! 

I hope these instructions aren't too messy! The most important thing to remember is to keep checking the sweater against your own body and make the appropriate adjustments to make it fit. If you have any questions (if, for example, my instructions aren't clear enough...) I'll be more than happy to clarify it for you! I have never actually seen anyone else needlebind sweaters, which I think is a bit sad. It's not difficult! You don't need complicated counting or measuring, you just need to do it. And it really doesn't take THAT much time either! 

If you have ever seen or made a similar sweater I'd love to hear about it, and perhaps we could compare notes? Anyways, I hope my instructions are helpful!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Just 28 more visitors!

Weee! If I get just 28 more visitors I'll be at a total of 1000! 


After writing the post on mead making I realized that I still haven't told you about our glögg making! Glögg is a traditional alcoholic drink most commonly translated as "mulled wine", which is rather unfortunate since real glögg doesn't at all contain any wine!

My first attempt at making glögg was in 2009, when I came across a great recepy online. All credit goes to Eva i Höga at the odla discussion forum, who posted the recepy right HERE.

For those of you not familiar with Swedish, let me translate the recepy into english:

5 liters of 'svagdricka' (comment below!)
5 raw potatoes, sliced
1 package of yeast (wine yeast or baking yeast)
1 package of carnations
1 package of cardamom seeds
ca 5cm of ginger, peeled and in small pieces
1 cinnamon stick
250-500 grams of raisins
2,5 kg of sugar

About the 'svagdricka': it is a traditional Swedish low-alcoholic malt beverage, translated as 'low alcoholic beer' but... well... it really doesn't taste like beer so I find that translation rather bad.All ingredients are mixed in a bucket, covered by a lid or some plastic foil and stored for 3-6 weeks (at least!). The finished glögg is then bottled, and though it needs no further time it will just get better if you store it!

And yes, it is alcoholic. I haven't been able to measure the percentage but I can tell you this much: you don't really realize just how much alcohol is in it until you're already getting drunk! :D

We've made glögg this way for two years now, getting it finished just before Christmas. Though the second batch tasted a bit different, as I accidentally added a whole package of aniseeds... Ooops! So the glögg of 2010 tastes a bit of lickerish, though it is still surprisingly good!  

Here you see two bottles of glögg, one from 2009 and one from 2010. Soooo tasty! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mead Making: the first batch!

Early in february we started our first batch of mead, full of anticipation. The mead produced by our friends has been absolutely delicious, and since february we've been hoping for a similar result.

The recepy used was found here, at Kalle Runristare's homepage. However, we only had a 10 liters plastic bucket available, and to be honest it felt good NOT making 25-30 liters of mead at the first attempt... So we only made some 6-7 litres.

Ingredients according to the original recepy:
17 liters of water
3.5 kg of honey
Yeast (we used wine yeast)

Then, as suggested by Kalle Runristare, we added just a few pieces of apple to help the fermentation process.

After a few weeks we opened the bucket and were shocked to find MOULD! Mostly on top of the pieces of apple, and it seemed to be only at the surface... So we very gently removed the apple and the mould, added even more honey, resealed the bucked and hoped for the best. Next time I think we'll skip the apple... or remove the pieces just after a day or two.

A couple of weeks later we inspected the mead again and found NO mould whatsoever (what a relief!)! However, the mead tasted... like yeast. And a bit of alcohol of course! But mostly just yeast. Not so tasty.

So we let it rest some more! And today, on the 15th of May, we finally bottled the mead. It now tastes a whole lot better then the last time, though still with a rather large hint of yeast, but hopefully it will just get better. Now awaits further rest for the mead, and in a month or two we'll get to drink our very own mead!

We used bottles of three different sizes: 1/4 liter, 1/2 liter, and 1 liter. I must say I'm pleased with the labels... Pretty pretty. =)

And, yes! I will definitely come back with a review in a few months when the taste (hopefully) has improved further!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Available for download, go check it out!

As many of you might already have seen, the York Archaeological Trust have made several great publications available for free download online! I suggest you go download it right away. I know I will... You can find all of it here.

For those interested in textiles there is "Textile Production at 16-22 Coppergate" by Penelope Walton Rogers (1997). If you are into leather then check out "Leather and Leatherworking in Anglo-Scandinavian and Medieval York" by Quita Mould, Ian Carlisle and Esther Cameron. 

Also available for download is:
"Finds from Anglo-Scandinavian York" by Ailsa Mainman and Nicola Rogers
"Finds from Medieval York" by Patrick Ottaway and Nicola Rogers 
AY 2/2:"York Bridgemasters' Accounts" Translated by Philip Stell (2003)
"Making Archaeology Matter:" by David Knight and Blaise Vyner
"Archaeology and Landscape in the Vale of York" by Mark Whyman and Andy Howard

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hjärtekatt ("Heart Cat")!

The other day I came upon this great initiative. For those of you who don't understand Swedish... It's called Hjärtekatten, "the heart cat". Just a few days ago (I think, I can't really find a starting date) two very caring ladies started a collection for the kids at Queen Silvia's Children's hospital, at the section for kids with heart conditions. Their goal is to collect a hundred crocheted cats, which the ladies seemed to think was a bit ambitious but... well...

The ladies who started the initiative just a few days ago have been surprised at people's great wish to contribute... Yesterday they had already gotten 50 cats, and today they got a note from the post office, saying that there was a whole garbage sack full of mail waiting for them... So I wouldn't be surprised if they reach the goal of 100 cats by tomorrow, and I'm sure they will get a lot more as well! Which would just be good, I guess, since unfortunately there are a lot more than 100 kids with heart conditions.

Since I just learned how to crochet I also wanted to contribute, and today I finished a blue crochet cat named Muffins, and I'll send him away right away. I am so proud, considering I've only crocheted a kettle-holder before and had a lot of problems following the instructions... But the instructions provided for a Hjärtekatt were really good and it really wasn't too tricky.

If any of you international folks would like to contribute as well I am sure it would be very very appreciated as well, the site is just in Swedish but I guess you can just email them. Or even email me and I'll send you the necessary info. =)