From Bobbin Lace To Threadpainting. Obsessions.

I have spent all of my time since Covid hit obsessivly crafting, pretty much flat out. First I learned to make bobbin lace and did it every single day for a year.

I spent a whole year making bobbin lace every single day.

I taught myself to make bobbin lace and did it every single day for a year. Thank goodness for youtube, or it would have been impossible. Lace is a really hard craft to teach yourself! I even joined my local Lacemaker’ Guild, making a grand total of 11 lacemakers in my province. 🙂 For that whole year, I read, made, researched, and thought about bobbin lace with total obsession and then, with no warning, I was done. For now anyway. So I have all of the gear for lacemaking now, which is nice in case the bug bites again. I hope it does. That gear is expensive!

Oh, and I might as well apologize for any clumsiness in this post. It’s my first in a long time and I really don’t remember how all of this works. Like how do I put a break in this post again? And how do I spell check this? Sorry for any spelling errors, but everything looks different now…

Hand Knit Socks

And then I made socks for a year. And I mean nothing but socks. 18 pairs of increasingly complex socks. And then suddenly, I just wasn’t interested anymore. I do however have a sock drawer of pure awesomness and my family have excellent socks.

Embroidery and Threadpainting

And for most of this last year I have been embroidering again. And this time I have been threadpainting! I have always been intimidated by the idea of threadpainting, it looks so difficult and artistic, and it is but it’s so satisfying! These are some of my current and recent projects.

Obsession!

Whenever I think of the word obsession (which I often do) I think about it to the tune of The Fiddler On The Roof’s song “Tradition!” And I bet you are too now.

You’re welcome. 😉

One of the gifts of being very slightly on the spectrum is the pleasure of obsession. I have always said that the difference between obsessions and compulsions are that obsessions are fun, where as compulsions are not.

I feel blessed to have enjoyed more then a decade of various passionate, all-encompassing string obsessions, and I hope they never leave me. They seem to come and go with no input from me, like blessings from the Muse of String. Wherever they come from, I welcome each one wholeheartedly.

I wish you all much passion and creativity in your lives,

Baba Stringthings aka Renata

Depression Lace

This type of embroidery on gingham fabric was very popular during the depression when lace was a luxury most could not afford.

I first learned about Depression Lace (aka chicken scratch embroidery, Hoover lace, Amish embroidery, gingham lace, snowflake embroidery, broderie Suisse) about a year ago and I really wanted to try it but I never managed to find any good cotton gingham so that I could try it.

But last week I went to Ikea, and to my joy, found that they have this nice pink cotton gingham for $6.95 Canadian a metre. Score! (They have some very nice linen as well, that’ll be my next purchase. 🙂 I love Ikea’s fabric department.)

So before trying a nice gingham apron (a la Dorothy and The Wizard Of Oz) or some nice depression lace throw pillows, I thought I would play around and experiment with a sort of sampler. Continue reading “Depression Lace”

Must See: Renate Kirkpatrick’s Dreamcatchers

I have a special love of religious string things, and dreamcatchers certainly fit into that category. But they can be just for pretty too…

Here is a post that is worth checking out. It is a beautiful series of interpretive dreamcatchers, made by one of my favourite inspirations, Renate Kirkpatrick. She’s an Aussie but her dreamcatchers would be popular here in the Cree/Ojibwa lands too.

And yes, she is another Renata like me, different spelling, same pronunciation. Extra bonus!

Check out her freeform crochet, you’ll be happy you did. 🙂

Lots of love,
Baba StringThings (aka Renata from Winnipeg)

Renate Kirkpatrick's Freeform Crochet~Knit~Fibre Designs

dreamcatchers

Dreamcatchers… something new & different from me that I’ve wanted to try for some time. I’ve created these Dreamcatchers, not as authentic representations but as my own personal artistic interpretations.

I’m an Aussie, so my interest in dreamcatchers isn’t cultural… I simply love them & more over, I love the idea of them.

Dreamcatchers originate in Native American tradition, believing both positive & negative dreams flow through the night & that a Dreamcatcher, hanging freely over or near a sleeping person, will allow the good dreams to pass through while capturing the bad dreams, which will perish & vanish with the rising sun…

I used patterns from this collection of 16 Crochet Motifs & embellished with wooden, glass & plastic beads & attached swivel cams so the dreamcatcher can rotate freely…

Dreamcatcher 1Dreamcatcher 7Dreamcatcher 6Dreamcatcher 2Dreamcatcher 3Dreamcatcher 4Dreamcatcher 5

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Wrist Love For Crocheters

This is a great post by Paardje about hand and wrist health for us crochet and knit maddened craftspeople. I just tried the wrist yoga and it feels GREAT, especially the stretch.

Gotta keep these wrists supple, amiright?

Of Snailmail, Books & Vanities

cat-691175_960_720I’ve been crocheting a cardigan which has significantly increased the number of ‘swirling’ motions I do with my right wrist through the copious use of treble stitches.

Add this bag to that.

Plus my quest to improve my wheel pose (which challenges my wrists, among other body parts).

And I’m feeling something just a tad bit off in my right wrist o_O

I am reminded of an amazing crochet artist whose blog I regularly visit for inspiration. She’s been out of commission for quite some time now due to wrist issues.

So my dearest fellow hookers I thought I’d make this post all about wrist/hand care exercises because most of the time, we just take for granted how important our amazing and very hardworking hands/wrists are. And they hardly ever complain! Unless perhaps when it’s too late 😮 😮 😮

I know it’s very hard to put down those hooks…

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Baba’s Current StringThings

Here is what I have been working on this week…

Here is a quick round up of what I’ve got on the go this week…

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A Pretty Peacock Blanket for Miss.B.

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Blocking a new piece of thread crochet, a pattern-free mandala or doily.

Continue reading “Baba’s Current StringThings”

Does Anyone Else Rescue Abandoned Craft Projects?

Finding a half finished and abandoned craft project always makes me so sad…

Finding a half finished and abandoned craft project always makes me so sad…

I always wonder what happened? Did the crafter just get bored? Or did someone’s mother  get old, and in the process of sorting their stuff out, a son or daughter decided to donate a half completed project?

I always feel that there is a tragedy there.

Continue reading “Does Anyone Else Rescue Abandoned Craft Projects?”

Finding Treasures

S0, as you Winnipegger’s may know, Wolsley’s Neighbourhood Bookstore and Cafe is closed (temporarily I am POSITIVE). I encourage action!

Anyway, I just read this wonderful post about finding fibre-love treasure in second-hand bookstores ad thought to share it with you.

Two of the best finds I ever made at the cafe were ‘Plain and Fancy: American Women and Their Needlework, 1700-1850’ by Susan Burrows Swan (found last week!) and the ‘Woman’s Day Book of American Needlework’, by Rose Wilder Lane. (Yes, Laura’s daughter!) It still had it’s companion box of patterns too!

Have you made any amazing finds second-hand?

A good second-hand book store is a pearl beyond price.:-)

The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fiber Arts

I enjoy roaming the aisles of used book stores.  Over the years I have found some amazing HandweaversWorkbookbooks for very little money.  Recently I came across a 1956 edition of A Handweaver’s Workbook by Heather G. Thorpe (originally published 1936, reissued in 1974).  Not surprising given its age, the book is hardbound, and the pages are printed on heavy acid-free pages. It is also in perfect condition, nary a pencil mark! What a find!

Browsing through it, I was impressed by its thorough yet not overwhelming approach to introducing weaving.  I learned some interesting facts I’ve not seen newer weaving survey books or learned in a weaving class.

Did you know (I didn’t!) that …

PorteeCrossThere are different names for crosses on warps made withe a paddle dependent upon their position:  The first cross at the end of a warp is called a porrey cross; the second cross is called…

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Chatelaines: The Original Multi-App Mobile Device!

My Chatelaine isn’t as pretty as the Victorian ones, but it’s just as handy.

Continue reading “Chatelaines: The Original Multi-App Mobile Device!”

A Perfect Day, A Perfect Hook, A Perfect Book, And A Piece Of String.

Tea and crochet is a thrifty pastime, but good hooks, (and books!) are worth the money.

Today was one of the 10 or so perfect days of the year here in Winnipeg. It wasn’t too hot or cold, there were no mosquitoes to speak of, the sun was out and the sky was beautiful. In short, a perfect day to walk down to my local second-hand book store and coffee shop, the Neighbourhood Cafe, with my crochet.

I found and bought a wonderful book, “Plain and Fancy, American Women and Their Needlework 1650-1850” by Susan Burrows Swan.

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“Plain and Fancy, American Women and Their Needlework 1650-1850

It showed many of the tools our foremothers used, and it started me thinking about the tools that I use everyday.

Most of them are virtually identical. Any weaver from 1650 could sit down at my loom and be up and weaving in seconds. My spinning wheel may have a bike wheel instead of a wooden spoked one but it hasn’t changed in it’s essentials at all. And although my hoop, needles, threads and scissors are really wonderful, my very best needlework might be as fine as the average 17th century six year old’s!

Crochet in it’s present form is a very new type of needlework, only from the mid-1800’s, but people have been using hooks to pull loops of string through loops a lot longer. Netting is most likely crochet’s direct forebear. It really came into its own during Ireland’s Great Famine and then in North America, but that is a story for another day. Originally hooks were all very small, and were made of silver, pewter, bone, and ivory, and wood. A vintage hook is a real treasure today, but for everyday use, I prefer mine.

Continue reading “A Perfect Day, A Perfect Hook, A Perfect Book, And A Piece Of String.”

Meet Dziparu Mate, The Latvian Holy Mother Of Yarn

“Dear Dziparina Mamulina, help me keep this damn yarn from tangling so I can knit another pair of damned mittens!”

I would like to introduce you to Dziparu Mate, one of my very favourite Goddesses. She is one of the Latvian Mother Goddesses or Mates, and She rules over Wool, Coloured Wool and Yarn.

Knitting was very important in the life of young Latvian women. Girls were expected to knit over fifty pairs of mittens before their wedding day, and the number of pairs a girl had made was one factor in finding a husband.

That made mitten-making a very serious business. Can you imagine the pressure of knowing your prospective husband’s family would be examining your mittens in order to decide if you were worthy of marrying their son? On the wedding day, the bride would give out the mittens she had made to her new in-laws. Hopefully, the mittens (and the bride)  would be a big hit.

Continue reading “Meet Dziparu Mate, The Latvian Holy Mother Of Yarn”

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