When my great-grandfather passed away last year I received some embroidered tablecloths my great-grandmother made. Some are worn out and mended, some have broken stitches (like the red mushroom heads above), but all are so carefully stitched by hand.
Sadly I don’t have a tablecloth of my mother’s elaborate embroidery. I adored her blue stitches when I was a child and I still see her on that sunny bench in summer at my grandmothers house embroidering while we play around the garden.
This is a great example of what happens if you put a n old wool embroidery into a modern washing machine. The surface stitches felt and pull together the fabric underneath. I wonder if you can’t use this effect on purpose…
Lately I have been embroidering a lot. After seeing so much otomi embroidery with all these filled shapes, I wanted to make new pillow covers with shapes. I started with horses. Not the easiest shapes to start with and I chose chain stitch as a fill stitch, instead of herringbone stitch like you would with Otomi embroidery. Being quite big each horse takes almost 1 skein of embroidery thread – using 3 of 6 strands for the stitches.
Sitting there on the couch, my daughter said she wanted to embroider some horses, too. She tried to embroider last year and gave up pretty soon, but she sounded serious, so I prepared a piece of cloth in a hoop, she sketched her horses, threaded the needle all by herself (she told me her father showed her how to do that – wow) and began to stitch.
This time she kept embroidering all of her horses and remained calm and concentrated – I have to admit I was really proud of her and impressed. I told her her grandma would love to have an embroidered piece by her, so she wanted to make another one for her grandpa and she sketched their house. Seeing her embroidering and seemingly enjoying sitting there with me doing the same like her mama and my mother and many generations before us, I felt so happy and fulfilled.
We have been enjoying the Easter holidays over here. Visiting family and having fun. Until Friday the weather was nasty cold and wet with some snowy sprinkles. Luckily April gave us a rest and decided we have suffered enough – Saturday and Sunday were just right – cold but very sunny.
We visited a dairy sheep farm not far from here run by two women. There were lots and lots of lambs, many friendly people and lambchops and delicious cheese. They breed the rare sheep breed of Krainer Steinschaf also called Bovska from Slovenia and Ostfriesisches Milchschaf (East friesian Sheep).
The rare Bovska sheep have a long and sturdy wool which appears to felt very well and is often used for carpets and other sturdier things. The people on the farm make woven seat pads from it (they give the wool to a local company to process and weave).
The east friesian sheep are a very common breed for milk here in Germany. The sheperdess said that they give more milk than the Bovska, but they are also less resilient. Their wool is curlier and a little bit softer. I will try to get some wool of both breeds next time and experiment! It will be exciting to feel the difference.
What I liked most about the farm was that they use local and organic feed for the sheep, they process and distribute all of their products regionally and the sheep have a lot of space to graze on. In this area of the country we have lots of water meadows and small rivers which can’t be used for wheat or corn and this gives extensive organic livestock farming a chance to be profitable.
Here is their website. All in German but you can see some pictures of the sheep there.
My daughter stood still for a scribbled portrait some month ago. She was so excited that I could really do this, that she made me draw a portrait of her. Of course it is a very rough sketch. I know my little one. One second she is all sincere and tries to be patient, the next second she is gone playing more interesting stuff than sitting still for her Mama.
In the weeks before my birthday I begin to think about my life – family – work and everything more deeply every year. Sometimes it’s just a recap of everything, sometimes it’s more deeply. After so many changes last year it’s not easy to do everyday what I have done repeatetly over the last years. I love my work, but I used to love it more and it kind of seems to be not enough. The feeling there should be a change comes up very often at the moment, but it’s hard to get my hands on the direction were it will lead me to.
So I’ve been thinking a lot, talking with the people I hold near my heart and who understand what I mean. I need something fresh and most of all – challenging. I have decided to bring myself out into the real world more. We have a vibrant art community here despite we are in a rural area and I want to be part of it. I want to make pieces of art, that inspire others to take up embroidery, too. Pieces, that make me a better embroiderer and push the edges of what I can do.
So I began with the kind of motif I’m most challenged and fascinated by – PEOPLE.
Drawing people is THE thing I have always struggled with more than other sections of art and yet it’s so fascinating to capture a humans Persona. It’s similar with animal drawings. I feel like capturing the soul or spirit of a living being when I draw people and animals.
We’ll see were it gets me.
I wish you all a great week.
Joining in with Nicole and Ginny.
The last week my knitting was all baby knits. A friend of mine is expecting and it’s her first baby so she will need some baby knits, right?
It started so harmless with the Wills sweater from Rowan Classic Babies, Book 4. I knitted this exact same sweater for my boy when he was 6 months or so and I loved the construction of the yoke and wanted to make this again.
Then I looked for a hat pattern and found the Garter Ear Flap Hat by the Purl Bee. It’s such a clever and easy design because the ear flaps are not attached afterwards, but knitted on the go with shortrows. I like earflap hats for babies because on tiny heads, hats tend to slip over the forehead too much when you want to cover the ears.
Then I got lost on the Purl Bee website and made the infant mittens and the baby moccasins, too. I’m still in love with the elfin hats, but did not get around making them yet.
Together with the baby quilt I made them for their wedding, I think that’s a good start for handmade baby stuff. Tiny things like these are done so fast, it’s a joy to knit them after huge projects like two adult sweaters in a row. Even the garments for my kids take so long now, because the grow much too fast. It’s not that I don’t enjoy knitting for them, too, but it’s wonderful to knit up tiny baby things in 2 hours, sometimes.
Joining in with Nicole.
Last week I received a huge pile of boxes from my great-grandfathers house who passed away recently. He was an artist, gardener and loved to make jokes.
We were not very close, but the art somehow connected us. He was a man of many trades in art useing aquarells, making cartoons and wood prints, but also painted small and huge oil paintings especially landscapes.
When I went through a basket full of art supplies, I discovered precious things. A receipt for his school money for art school. Sketches of sleeping beauty for a childrens book. Typography practice sheets. Glittering bronce powders wrapped in old papers. Lots and lots of pencils.
This weekend we made a short trip to the baltic sea to visit my sister. who is currently working on board of a cruising ship. We have only 2 or 3 opportunities to see her per year, so it was a highlight to finally see her work space.
The kids were very excited and managed the long drive well. The weather was on our side: a beautiful fog laid over the landscape all the time and let the sun shine through.
The ship was very impressive not only for the children. It’s one thing to see something like this on photos and another to see it in person!
On the way back we could enjoy the beautiful hilly landscape of north-eastern Germany. A landscape which I love so much and are so grateful to live in. Hills, rivers, avenues, winds and sunshine. Did you know my part of Germany is known for the amount of incredibly beautiful avenues (I hope I picked the right word- it’s roads lined with trees)? We have a lot of poplar avenuesaround the rural areas and around the old villages which history roots in the middleages there are a lot of oak avenues.