School Summary

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.

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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.

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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!

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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”.

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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. (:

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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.

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Striped Cotton Rug.

Today I’m going to show you my very first loom weaving project. Before this I had only made a couple small samplers. Now our task was to create a full size striped yarn. It could be a rag rug and mine is but one could also use store bought material.

First question in my head was, where shall I do this? I don’t own a loom and I live in a really small flat so getting one wouldn’t be an option either. Also I live about 254 km from school so as it was a homework task this didn’t seem an option either. Including the fact that most of my classmates already cued up for them.

A couple of school sessions later I had thought about contacting a local cultural centre that I read had a loom but I hadn’t done that either. And in school it turned out there was no cue either any more. So all I had to do before next school week was to get the rags and cut them. I had a colour scheme in my head but it changed a little as to what colours I was getting from my parents place and from thrift stores. It turns out greens are rather rare.

The cutting took very long time. I even had to sharpen my scissors a few times meanwhile. We had a rough number how many kilos of material we should have but I’m bad with numbers and don’t remember it. I do remember I had spare (which is way better than the opposite) and could share them with my classmates. We also had measures that we had to keep so here is my sketch with some samples (pardon the horrible quality).

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The weaving itself was a joy. I enjoyed every bit of it and it went much faster than I had anticipated. Some said they had sore backs/shoulders/bottoms the next day but I didn’t get any of that. If I ever should have a larger space of my own I shall definitely buy myself a loom too.

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At first I put the finished rug in the bedroom where it fit perfectly between the wall and the bed and it stayed there for quite a while. Until a couple of months ago I needed to take photos of it for my portfolio so I brought it to our living room and now it stays there. I quite enjoy looking at it. The edges are somewhat wobbly but I think it’s due to different materials, some were a lot more stretchier than others. I don’t mind.

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Both ends got a fringe too for the last finishing touch. I really did enjoy weaving and the thought that I could reuse something purposely. Although many rug materials that you can buy are also scraps from fabric industry so it would have been not bad either.

So what does everyone think? I’m happy for my first rug. No idea when I’ll be able to make another one but we’ll see, there will be the time.

J is for Jalapeno.

This is the thing, kind of edible jalapeno. Not my favourite kind of food but interesting looking enough to try and make it into amigurumi. I googeled a little bit t find the closest colour of yarn from my stash and found out I really have only a few greens. So this is as close as I could get, perhaps a bit too dark and cold shade but recognisable, I figure.

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It’s a simple little figure. I worked it from the wider end toward the thinner and then added the stem part later. I didn’t use a pattern but made it up on the go instead. The yarn I used didn’t have the label anymore but I’m pretty sure it was HP Garn Love Garn, it’s a nice 100% cotton. The hook was an old soviet time hook that didn’t have a size marked on but my guess is it was somewhere between the 1-1.5 mm range. I stuffed it with some spare wool I had left from my thesis.

Once again I got some reassurance that old hooks and amigurumi don’t match. At least not in my hands. They are simply too thin and long. Perhaps for some lace etc they would work better. So far my favourites are Japanese-made that are shorter and have a nice soft grip (Clover Amour and Soft Touch).

Next in the alphabet is K and this time it would be a live organism. Any guesses who would come up? Hit follow and don’t miss out! Maybe there will be some non-crochet crafts meanwhile.

Lined bag(s)

This next post is about stuff I made in school. I try and post them chronologically so whatever I made first comes first (or as similar as I can remember). I realise I have already shared some about my studies but mostly only exercises and no real projects. So this is about sewing.

At first we made a small bag in school similar to the one that we later had to do at home in full size.

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It was a small lined pouch that I later used for pens and pencils and other stuff I needed in school. I lined it with a vintage polka-dot fabric. I choose them from what I had brought with me. In some schools you get the supplies from there but then you also have to leave the products. I’m glad we got to keep everything.

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In the instructions the larger bag was very similar to this one, also including a flap and a long handle. It kind of looked like a laptop bag and some really did make themselves one. I decided to flip it portrait instead of landscape and didn’t use the flap or the long handle either. I made a backpack instead. Here is a rough draft of this one where you can also see the lining print which is not visible anywhere else including other details.

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The main fabric is a thicker sort of cotton and the lining (again vintage) much thinner. I also added floral welts to the seams inside, some cotton lace and cotton straps. Metal buckles I got from an old bag. They fit perfectly for both the straps and the bag, I was surprised really.

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I love neutral and gray colours and I also like the pop of colour. Yellow and gray go together really nice and altough I have now had the bag for more than a year I still love it. It’s the perfect size for everyday use and cycling around but also just fits A4 sized papers if necessary.

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Not the best picture but gives some sense of the size. It has no pockets but I don’t really miss them either. It’s this kind of perfect size bag that nothing gets lost in it because you can’t fit too much in there, just the necessities.

I’m planning on making more of them. I want to try pockets whether on the outside, the sides or inside. Also I want to see if I still remember how to make one. But this one is not bad for the first try, eh? Let me know in the comments what you think!

Next post will be crochet related again to continue the amigurumi alphabet.

I is for Ice Cream.

Hello again! Long time no see! As the matter of fact I was in school studying textile works for two years and I barely had time to do anything else. I’m also planning to show some of my work here too, I already have pictures taken of most of them for my portfolio that I had to assemble for my thesis defense. This much about the general future.

Coming back once again I have also decided to keep my English and Estonian sites separately. You can find the link to my new Estonian blog (https://hipikaktus.wordpress.com/) at the top right corner of your screen. Also if you happen to find yourself over there there’s a link back here on the exact same place of that page. I also changed the name of this one to Hipikaktus as well, the blog address would be the same as always but the name would be new, same in both languages. What do you think? Does it read as well in English as I think it could (hippie cactus)? All feedback is welcome!

I try to keep them both as similar as possible, hence the theme change, but there might be some occasional posts in one language only if I for some reason feel it would be irrelevant in one case or another.

First of all before coming back I was wondering where to start. After taking a look at my blog I realised I had an unfinished project going on here. Amigurumi alphabet, the stashbuster project. This means I am not allowed to buy any new yarns for it but I have to say amigurumis don’t really take that much either. I might have to come up with a next one some time later. Any ideas?

Anyways, here comes the ice cream. As I realised H was last and I is next and my notes said it’s  ice cream, in knew I had it already done. So I don’t really have that many details in my mind about it but I’ll do my best.

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As much as I can remember, the cone/cup is made of cotton and milk protein fibre mix yarn and the cone is some strange strechy-fuzzy synthetic yarn. I believe I used either 1.75 or 2.23 mm hook and the cone is stuffed with fibrefill. The pattern I found is from Crochet Cake Sachets.

The next up is J, any ideas what it might be? I can at least say it’s edible (somewhat). Actually I have J and K both already finished so I already know the answer and this also means the next two posts will be here rather sooner than later.

Don’t miss out!

PS! Kes mõtleb, miks ainult inglise keeles, siis tegin eesti keelsete postituste jaoks eralid lehe:  https://hipikaktus.wordpress.com/,

H is for Hot Dog.

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Organic (the bread), recycled (the hot dog) and a bit of regular (ketchup) cotton yarns.

Some stuffing.

1.75 mm crochet hook.

Made up the pattern.

The sausage colour might be a little off but as I have mentioned, it’s knid of a stash-buster project so I’m only allowed to use the yarns I already have.

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H nagu hot dog.