Mittens are finally embellished.....

  I'm not a stitcher - never did any embroidery growing up and only recently got into Sashiko, a decorative Japanese stitching. But I loved the look of it on all the amazing handknit mittens and gloves at the Historical Museum in Oslo. So after finishing this first pair of nalbound (nalbinded?) mittens using some handspun Icelandic roving my sisters gave me as a souvenir of our our second trip to Iceland, I decided to work my way thru a the  Pocket Guide to Embroidery Stitches and learn some basics while embellishing the mittens with these vibrant silk floss threads a sister dyed up using some natural dyes I brought back from Morocco. So here is the completed first pair. The stitching is wonky and each mitten is a different color of Icelandic Fleece because that's what I had. But I LOVE these mittens anyway. Probably because they are unique and they represent such great memories I have of trips to Iceland with my sisters and to Morocco with my friends. And, of course, they repr

Mitten Progress.....

So I've been spinning up some fibers to work up a prototype mitten and finally have some show and tell. It's not perfect yet, but I LOVE how it fits so thought I'd share my experience - for what it is: a work in progress! First, to recap, this is the mitten (above) that inspired me to learn nalbinding some 10 years ago on our first trip to Iceland. At the time, I thought this looked amazingly uncomfortable and ill-fitting. Still, I was intrigued and so the journey began! I first spun up this colorful and stray merino fiber I had laying around for the last couple of years! I knew that I needed to practice spinning a bulky singles yarn, since I just about exclusively have spun plied yarns all my spinning life! And, to boot, I never spin bulky!!  So I practiced first on this colorful yarn. Spun it Z and ended up with an aran weight, instead of bulky. And, frankly, because it is SO amazingly  soft I really wantto knit a cowl out of it instead.... So I went ba

A headband instead of a hat....

In case you hadn't already thought about this, if you would prefer to make a headband instead of a hat,  just follow the hat directions but stop when it is the width you desire and BEFORE you get to the shaping for the crown. As you can see from the photos below, you can the headband wide enough that they can double as a cowl, or just wide enough to cover your ears and forehead to keep you warm without getting "hat hair"! I did the narrower white one with the looser of the two Oslo stitch variations and the wider frosted periwinkle one with the denser version. I am trying to practice some decorative stitching - I am soooo awful at it and it is so frustratingly slow!   But I have as a goal to get better this year both because I ultimately want to be able to add interesting line and motion thru stitching to my felt and also I want to decoratively stitch my nalbound mittens in the fashion of the Norwegian mittens. I'm a long way from either of those goals, but betwee


I put this beginning tutorial together to help anyone who might be interested in learning to nalbind.  Nalbinding doesn't replace knitting for me, but I enjoy the process a lot and it gives me a chance to channel my Viking past (I figure any of us with ancestry in the British Isles must have some somewhere in our lineage!). Kidding aside, I have enjoyed my trips to Iceland, Norway, Ireland, Sweden and Gotland immensely and so engaging in this ancient craft of the Vikings has a lot to do with the process bringing back great memories of those trips with my sisters. There are a lot of videos on this ancient craft online - that's how I learned, combined with a LOT of trial and error and a DVD that a sister purchased for me! Because some of the videos were terrible and others were good at what they covered, but they left important things out, I ended up watching an awful lot of videos and had to piece it together. So I thought I would compile what I learned in one place. And n