Friday, 29 January 2016

What's looking so alien?


When I first began to inhabit the Treehouse, I soon found out I was not the only inhabitant of this dwelling. I shared the Treehouse with a small tribe of Gnomes, whose civilisation, in a sort of time paradox, had only recently reached the Iron Age. Somewhere along the years, the Gnome-people developed changing rituals and identities, at one point even taking to worshipping an awe-aspiring Monkey God. Maybe it was because of the strict guidance of this deity, the absence of natural enemies, or the comfortable living amongst cakes of yarn, but for whichever reason, the Gnomes never developed into a very war-like people. Indeed, it is safe to say that few of the gnomes are eager warriors at all.

Maybe that is why human film industry has proven so incredibly incapable of predicting the gnomes' first contact with aliens.


There is really quite little to say about the whole business, as all those involved considered the matter to be rather amicable and uneventful. Although the extraterrestrial visitors were received with all due hospitalities, including the proper banquet, the composed civilities the gnomes offered their visitors did not extend beyond the welcome that was usually reserved for the gnomes' neighbours, or the mail man, or pixies, fairies, wood trolls and other such mundane visitors.



Obviously, this all changed when the Gnomes turned on the Baumholm Evening News on their tiny television sets: after all, the results of the elections in the Faroe Islands where expected, and events like that concern gnomekind all over the globe. In a harmless, but certainly not consequenceless, instance of cultural miscommunication, the aliens understood this as the start of a ferocious technology-based bragging contest. Seeing as how the Gnomes had not yet upgraded their television from antenna to cable, the contest turned out to be a short one. The space-age technology imported was shiny and magnificent: sleek, white armoured suits, made of a material that was not quite metal, nor quite plastic. In the boots, rocket thrusters propelled the unearthly space-gnomes to a distance above the Treehouse floor, where they hovered and displayed magnificent images of their home planet on holographs emitted from the wings of the flight suits.


Most surprising was a little ball, which the aliens placed on the floor. To be more precise, that which attracted awe was not the ball itself, but what happened after it was activated. It started first to glow, then to pulsate. Bright images flashed through the room, and a gust of wind blew everything out of place. Soon, the whole Treehouse started to change. Clutter and dark matter was vapourized. Colours changed. The natural light seemed to become amplified. Huge projections materialised high upon the walls, changing -along with the colours of many details in the Treehouse such as the doorknob and the windowsills- on the mere whim of a change of collective will of the gnomes. The shelves in the right corridor were ordened, and replaced into futuristic hologram-cabinets sliding soundlessly out of the left wall.




It is said that afterwards, the aliens left. The gnomes now vehemently claim that yes, they did politely offer the aliens a place to stay for the night, but the aliens refused even though they promised to cash in the offer at a more convenient moment. 

This is one version of the story of how Whatsinatreehouse changed its looks. In all honesty, it's as unreliable as any part of the gnomes' history, legend and mythology. Nevertheless, I've learned never to contradict the gnomes when they are telling a story, as in any case, it often makes a far more interesting narrative than that of a young lady and her friend, neither of whom know how to code, sitting at a desk, trying to make a template work on her blogger account. Whichever version of the story you prefer, I do hope you like the new look. 

xx
Nisse



Sunday, 17 January 2016

Craft Ambitions 2016





Well here we are in 2016, I hope the year finds you well thus far. I had meant to post this sooner but I'm in the midst of more exams, and have been busy picking, planning and arranging courses for the upcoming year. On top of that I've been feeling under the weather for the past couple of days, but in between that I've found some time to think about what I want to achieve in terms of crafting this year. If you want to see my ambitions for last year you can do so here. Like last year, I'm not going to be super strict with these things: if I get distracted with something else that I simply like better, that is fine, but I like to have something to work towards. In the same vein I like making to do lists, they keep my wandering mind focussed. Especially after last year's busy schedule.


Knitting
While I made quite some projects that I really liked, overall last year's knitting felt rather dry. I'm especially sad with the amount of time I spend knitting (i.e. lack of knitting time). Therefore I'm determined to focus this year on creating the things that I love most, which means to focus on colourwork and jumpers and cardigans. Last year it was a specific goal to make some non-colourwork projects for example; this year I give myself the green light to just do what I like best, as much as I want.

- Knit a sweater from my Norse book collection. I have a couple of Norse pattern leaflets and books. They are chuck full of wonderful colourwork patterns and I have been admiring them for a long time. They are written in Norse but deciphering the patterns has actually not been too hard. Deciding which pattern I'm going to make first has actually been the hardest so far, there's so many that I would cast on in a heartbeat!
- Knit a long anticipated project. I have a couple of things in my Ravelry queue that have been there for quite a while, it has become almost like a ritual scrolling past them when searching for a new project, and then pick something else. Even so, most of these I'd still like to make. I just need a little nudge.
- Focus on jumpers and cardigans. Most of us have a specific thing that, when stripped to the bare bones, we identify with more with than other things. You might be a sock knitter, or a hat knitter. For me, when it comes down to it, I am a sweater knitter. I like to make and frequently do make other things, but sweaters always take centre stage when it comes to my knitting. So because I want to centre my knitting around things I like doing most: I'm going to focus on cardigans and jumpers this year. I shall expect to make a bunch of different things as well, but I want the focus to be on sweaters.
- Focus on colourwork. For much the same reason as my sweater goal, I'd like to focus on colourwork this year. It is my favourite knitting technique, and the type of projects that I wear most. I mean I know that I already do quite a lot of colourwork, but last year it was a specific goal to make some non colourwork projects (and at least one sweater without colourwork). This year I'm going to indulge in as much colourwork as I want. Again I will probably make some other things as well ( especially now I've given colourwork the green card the itch to cast on..., oh I don't know, something with cables, will be steadily increasing) but the focus will be stranded knitting.


Sewing
I feel I took some major steps with my sewing skills in 2015. I tackled sewing with knits, upped my serger game which massively improved my projects, sewed with lace fabric and made a proper backpack. But there is a lot left I still want to learn and do. These are my goals for 2016:

- Make something from a PDF pattern. As of yet I have not sewn with a PDF pattern, except from the bowtie I helped my boyfriend sew for the holidays. I (think I) prefer paper patterns, but I want to try a PDF just to be sure, and also to sooth my fear of them. Some pattern companies only offer PDF patterns so I'm going to have to try them at some point anyway.
- Make a pattern from a sewing book or magazine (as opposed to a separate pattern). It is easy to forget there are so many beauties hidden in my pattern books and magazines when picking out a new pattern to sew. I want to remedy that. My brother gave me Boundless Style by Kristiann Boos for Christmas and it might be just the thing to tick both this and the previous goal of the list. 
- Master buttonholes.  Shirt dresses and blouses are high on my to sew list so this really has to happen this year.
- Sign up for The Fold Line and learn how to use the website. I don't want to sign up and commit to a lot of websites but I have heard a lot of good things about this website (including: "It's like Ravelry, but for sewing"). Indeed, when I was briefly looking at the website it does seem to have modelled the website after Ravelry, and it looks pretty good. I'm eager to find out for myself how good the website is.
- Sew more projects for everyday wear. I don't have many sewn projects yet, so really this is just an excuse to make all the dresses and walk off into the sunset with a happy handmade wardrobe. 
- Find a tried and true pattern. In the same vein as my previous goal I want to find a pattern that suits me, my style and my body so well that I want to make it over and over again. Basically a pattern I can bore you to death with.



- Make something with chiffon or similar fabric.  I started working on a project in chiffon about a year and a half ago and it was an absolute disaster. It threw me off sewing with these kinds of fabrics for a long time. But this year I want to sew a project with it, and then record how many wears it will take my cats to destroy it.
- Learn more about different kinds of fabrics and sew with them. I don't know, but in my experience so far, it seems that fabric content is less of an issue for the sewing community than yarn content is for knitters. In webshops you see descriptions like 'poly mix', or 'linen and cotton mix', or even 'Wool with Polyester', but not the exact fiber content. In any case, I want to sew with a diverse range of fabrics this year and learn more about these fabrics. Denim, corduroy and tweed are high on my list for winter.
- Make a pattern hack/modification. I sometimes see these in the sewing blogosphere, and wish I would be confident enough/have the skills to attempt one myself.
- Make a : Sixties (style) dress
                  Folk inspired dress
                  Flanel dress


Quilting

 Quilting is something I've never done before. Nevertheless, it is something I've been interested in since I started crafting seriously. Even as a child I quite liked quilts; I can blame Pippi Longstocking for that. I've wanted to try my hand at quilting for a while now, but always got 'distracted' by knitting or sewing. What seems odd to me is that I've never been interested in making knit or crochet blankets. But since I've never tried quilting, I would like to do so this year and see how the craft suits me. I like scrappy looking quilts, with a lot of colour and fabrics with motives. Those who are familiar with Sara Fielke's work will know what I mean. I also like the look of simple patchwork square quilts, which is good, because something like that seems like a good place to start. So my goals for this year are: 

- Learn how to quilt: i.e. learn the basics of quilting,  the most used techniques, the anatomy of a quilt, things like that. 
- Try hand quilting: hand quilting and machine quilting are two very different things. I think machine quilting is more common these days than hand quilting, and both have their pros and cons. Personally I like the look of hand quilting better than machine quilting. However, as you can imagine, hand quilting is a lot more laborious and slower than machine quilting. So before committing to a hand quilting a whole quilt it is smart to try it on something smaller first.
- Get some basic quilting tools: as a beginner I don't need a lot, especially because I'm a seamstress already, but I do need some things that are missing at the moment. Time to go shopping!
- Start my first quilt: you read that right: start, not finish. I'm going to be kind to myself and give myself lots of time for this one. Since it is a totally new craft for me, I've lots to learn. I also need some new crafting tools and learn how to use these. Who knows, I might even find that I like quilting less then I thought and since knitting and sewing are my primary crafts, I will devote most of my free time to these, so there is that as well. So I'm going to take this nice and slow, and just starting my first quilt seems like a sensible thing to achieve this year.

Blog: 

- Blog more regularly: This was  an ambition last year as well. It went well for part of the years, but not so good at other times. Ideally I'd like to blog once a week, but I'm not taking an oath on that (ahum, that didn't go so well this year already!) . I mainly blog about the things I am making/have made and I don't want to pressure myself in to just making stuff for the sake of having something to blog about. It would be nice to explore writing some different kind of blog posts related to my crafts, and maybe bringing the book posts back. As most of you will probably know, blogging soaks up quite some time (and always more than I think when planning blog posts!) and while I admire those bloggers who post multiple times a week, my time is limited and there are a lot of things that take priority over blogging at the moment. But let's see were good intentions will take the blog this year. 
- Reach out more.  Reach out to other bloggers, instagrammers, ravellers etc more often. Be more social on the various platforms I am a member of.
-Change my blog layout. Although I don't dislike my current layout, I feel it's time for an update to the layout I've been carrying around for a while now. I actually got very close to updating my layout last year, but technical problems and lack of time to figure out what was going wrong (this was during the height of thesis shenanigans) scrapped the plans. This year, however, I'd like to make it happen.

It will be interesting to see come 2017 how I did with my ambitions. I'm sure my partner is delighted with the prospect of yet another hobby that could take off in which I make stuff from other stuff and cram the treehouse with more crafty goodness. The cats are fine with the prospect though, they are always highly encouraging with my crafty pursuits. It means more fabric to sit on, yarn to chase and, gosh darn it, blankets! For, for who else but for them, could I be making them?

xxx