As I have mentioned multiple times, I went to school for the last two years to study textile works. During most of the time there I was not sure at all that I would finish but now that I did, in some sense I feel more accomplished than I did graduating university six years ago.
First year was overall much easier than the second. One thing being that sessions were about once every 1.5 months but last year they were every month. It was intense, we had lots of practical homework and I fell behind. As the youth centre I worked in was going through some major structural changes and many of my collegues had left due to that, I had started thinking of finding something else too. Part of because the lack of motivation, part of to find some more time for school.
In October I found what I thought to be a nice easy job in a cafe in Tallinn Airport. I went there to try it out the first time for about 3-4 hours and it felt good. For the first month I was scheduled to work sometimes in the mornings (starting at 4 am), sometimes at evenings (finishing around midnight). From there on I was put only for the mornings and I realised it didn’t work for me. Waking up at 3 am for such long periods of time is not sensible because there will be no routine as on my days off I’d always sleep longer. Plus it felt sad to go to bed at 7pm the night before. The schedule of my first month made so much more sense and felt more humane. My boss even mentioned that they used to have it like to weeks of mornings and two evenings but some didn’t like that. My guess is that was the evening shift.
Another reason was that for the first time ever I had to take a sick leave. Which iin itself is nothing but it was because something I never had before. Horrible dizziness, felt like I was going to pass out. The best was just to lie down and not to move. Plus a strange rash around my eyes and some stomach problems. Last I’ve had before but it hadn’t felt as bad for ages. Perhaps it was the stress or some allergy (one of my collegues caught a bad one) or both or neither. It’s long gone now so I guess we’ll never know. During the sick leave they kept calling and checking if I felt better and could come to work. I can’t say it helped with the stress! Not sure if it’s the norm for when on sick leave but I would have called if I was going to end it, which I eventually did!
At the beginning of February I filed my application to leave the job. It was just too much with all the night shifts of 10-12 hours (which may stretch!) and the school and the health problems. First couple of days after quitting I felt the dizziness and then it was it. Nothing like it before or after working there.
I dedicated all my time for school and graduating. I focused on finishing all the stuff I had fallen behind with and working on my thesis. For the session in April I managed to do everything but the ones that for meant to be done by May (some finished them in advance as well). Plus the thesis of course! I also did some job searching but as nothing caught my eye, I decided to at least finish my thesis first.
My thesis consisted of 16 amigurumi charachets, 14 animals and 2 birds and the instruction manual for them. At first I was thinking of making only one bird but then the official name had it plural in it so I made two. At one point I was even thinking animals only but my teacher and classmates loved it and after some alterations I did too. All of the characters were worked on the same body that I had made a bunny of a few years ago. This old one looks and feels so much softer and looser but I still adore her! Oh yeah, the flower is also gone now.
Crocheting them all took a lot of time, writing the patterns down took a lot of time, plus writing the thesis and designing the pattern book. It was a very stressful period and I’m sure that attempting it while having a job also would have been a failure. Including the fact that of my first years classmates (I was the only one who choose sewing and not loom weaving) only one other than me graduated, everyone else took an academic leave. I was also quite close to that.
In my head I had thought everything out and even started to imagine the characters all in one shape. I even managed to put some sketches on paper. In reality it was much harder and for some more than others it demanded quite an amount of unraveling and starting all over again. The sketches helped with visualizing and I even wrote some notes to the side of them specifying the colours etc.
I used mostly organic cotton yarns but also some recycled cotton ones in the weight of 50g/~100m. My crochet hook was a 2.25 mm one and I stuffed them with wool. In addition I used 6 and 10 mm safety eyes and 6 and 7 mm safety noses. For the sewing and details I used large eyed blunt needle. This is what I got: mountain hare, ringed seal (baby), European hedgehog, Eurasian lynx, Ural owl, roe deer, red fox, red squirrel, great tit, gray wolf, European badger, European mole, beaver, moose, brown bear and wild boar. I’m thinking of making more birds in the future and perhaps some domestic or more exotic animals too. There is tons in the wilderness to make!
As I was really in a hurry I designed my pattern book in MS Publisher. I tried to find a template to make it even more easier but as nothing worked I started from blank. Overall I am pleased how it worked out. Every pattern has a photo of the character as well as one of an actual animal and a short description of it. Of course if I really want to publish it, I need to tweak it a bit more. Also I want to translate it into English. Would of you buy a book like that? Or perhaps a single pattern? What would be a reasonable price range for you? The title reads “Crochet Estonian Birds and Animals”.
To defend my thesis I also had to put together a portfolio of my two years works for assessment at the time that I was giving my speech. You will see the works included here in the future if you haven’t already, plus some that didn’t make it there. My portfolio had a short description of me and my impression of my work and studies and this kind of a ‘table of contents’ of sort. I was nervous about not writing anything next to the photos as everyone else did but how big was my surprise when our teacher and main tutor for the thesis brought it out as an excellent example! I was so chuffed and relaxed at the same about it! My little brother helped me with the pictures that I’m on. (:
The defending speech was supposed to be 5-7 minutes and as I practiced I got 5 exact, when reading very calmly and slowly so I was nervous about that too. I scratched some text off and wrote some new on the last minutes, listening to others and was not sure at all what it would do to the overall length of it. I was extremely nervous on my turn but everyone said it didn’t show and the committee gave me a really positive feedback! The nervousness was not at all reasonable!
In the end of it all they gave us an hour to decide and grade everyone fairly. We were graded in numbers 1-5 with 5 being the best. In reality it took about 1.5 hours. Although my overall feeling was good I kept thinking about the rumour that others said about everyone not getting the best grades as someone needs to be lower. It felt a little jittery during the whole waiting time. In the end I found out I (amongst most others) got 5 as the highest possible grade I was so happy! I did it, I graduated and I got a good grade and a level 4 vocation as a textile work apprentice. Plus many wanted to buy my book that doesn’t even exist yet! How cool is that?!
Chuffed to bits!
Looking for a job.
PS! One thing that I do regret regarding school was that picking sewing instead of loom weaving (because I don’t own a loom nor have a room for it, it didn’t make as much sense) I fell into a group that had chosen optional courses that I had the least interest in and due to that I missed leather work and ancient craft techniques which were kind of why I choose the school in the first place. It’s a pity but well, that’s something for the future, I guess.