My cycling dress and a wool jacket.

This is the second dress I made. In the end of the second (last) year we had to make a dress and a coat/jacket. Most made a more complex dress and a really easy cover but I tried the opposite. The dress was fairly simple and I managed to finish it real quick so I had more time for my jacket.

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I call it my cycling dress as it’s short enough not to get in the way but long enough not to reveal too much. Also, obviously, it has bicycles printed all over it.

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It’s made of two top pieces and basically two rectangles for the bottom part. The last one is just gathered together and fitted to the top – really simple. I also added bright green binding that had some cool crochet-looking lace picots on it.

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I’m quite pleased how it worked out. I like the simplicity of it. I will definitely enjoy cycling with it whenever there is good enough weather for it.

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Photos: Karlo Salu.

As I said, the jacket was more complicated. The wool fabric I used was really easy to unravel and gave me some pain. I also had a hard time finding the right thing for marking the pattern on the fabric – nothing would stay on or show. Ordinary bar soap was good enough although it too faded when I had to put it in the bag, for example.

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Also the instructions for it weren’t always so clear plus my teacher tried to explain it in totally different way than it was in the pattern.

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What you can’t see from the pictures is, there is also a lining in the sleeves and back of it. It’s cotton with autumny oak leaves all over it. I like it since now I don’t have to feel the little bit prickly wool against my skin.

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I hand stitched the hems on front pieces. This way you can’t even see the stitching itself. After that I crocheted over the edging with some plant-dyed wool yarn.

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The colouring on the yarn is farely subtle but I found it nice on the fabric itself. I also quite like how the fabric has two completely different patterns on different sides and you can actually see them both while wearing it.

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Photo:  Karlo Salu.

The cut of the jacket was a bit complicated and unusual but I’m proud I made it. I also altered it a bit as in original it had 3/4 sleeves and I wanted long. I also didn’t do the pockets but as I was in a hurry finishing it but I’m thinking of adding them sometime now.

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Photo: Karlo Salu.

I have been able to wear it a few times already and I like the feel of it – lightweight but warm, also loose enough to let some air in when needed.

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Photos: Karlo Salu.
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My First Dress, Belt and Traditional Leather Shoes.

Here is another combo of some of the things I did in school while I was studying textile work. This grey linen dress is the first one I made. I might have done something in middle-school too but that was more like a night gown probably. There is also a woollen belt included and some leather shoes.

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Photo by Karlo Salu.

It was our first “real” sewing job on the first year, a real garment. For this one our initial task was to make a simple shirt dress, everyone using the same cut, but as most objected to that, we got to choose our own. The only rule was now, it had to be linen.

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Photo by Karlo Salu.

I choose a nice loose cut for myself so it would feel good to wear in summer. Might be a bit dark as far as that goes but I liked the colour. The textile itself is a bit to the rough or more rustic side but I feel it will soften by time and washing a bit.

I think the hardest part for me in that point was the yellow edging. It’s not as pristine as I would prefer but practice makes perfect, right?! Over all I’m cool with it.

In another class we had to make an at least 2 m long belt by card weaving (that you can see here on my dress). I dreaded it and left it for the last minute. After making the construction out of a wooden broom stick, some screw-in hooks and some fishing swivels and measuring out the yarns it was so easy that I accidentally made it longer.

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I used 11 cards and three different colours of yarn. As the matter of fact it’s my second colour combo here as I completely messed up measuring the first one which had more green instead of blue. This is the option I had left with the yarns I had in hand.

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Although I’m not a big fan of blue, I really like it here and I also really ended up enjoying the whole process. Next time I would like to get the yarns measured out the first time. What an awful waste, but I’m sure I’ll find a use for them too.

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Photo by Karlo Salu.

Last but not least here might or might not have also noticed that I’m wearing some strange leather shoes here. These are my first ones that I made in a one-day training about four years ago now.

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Photo by Karlo Salu.

Leather work was also one of the reasons that I choose that school, so far away from my home but in the end I didn’t get it for some really strange and obscure reasons. Another time, I guess.

N is for Narwhal

Back once AGAIN. I’m being really inconsistent with my blog but this is how life is and I’m just trying to figure things out for myself at the moment. Currently I’m again not working so I’m at least trying to keep things more regular here. First – continuing the alphabet project.

Narwhals are like real-life unicorns of the sea, aren’t they! This makes it a fairly obvious reason of making one for my alphabet. I actually made it before  the break in blogging but I think I remember most of the details in the making.

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I used cotton yarn and 1.5 mm hook for making it. It’s really tiny and tight so I couldn’t even use safety eyes so I embroidered a couple of seed beads instead. (Does anyone know if there is an alternative for tinier amigurumi?) I think he looks adorable.  I took the picture today so it looks a bit sad and gloomy as is the weather here, wanted to leave it as is, sorry about that.

Pattern I  made up as I went on. It begins as my basic amigurumi head-body but then I cut it off and crocheted another circle of white in the same circumference and sewed  it to the bottom. Fins and tail are sewn on the same round. Stuffed it with wool.

Having gotten this far with the alphabet I’m thinking it would be a cool picture including all of the characters and things I have crocheted for it. I hope I still have them all as I tend to give my amigurumis away every once in a while. (:

Waldorf Doll and Another Fabric Doll.

This time I have again decided to put couple of items in one post. These are again one (or two) of my schoolworks. The first one is a rather simple fabric doll. It’s sewn made of a cotton/linen blend fabric and by using a sewing machine. This one I made in first year of school.

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Photo by Karlo Salu.

The toughest parts were stuffing and stitching the hair as it needed to be done strand by strand and I opted for this chunky yarn for a dreadlocks look. I had to pull the yarn gently so it wouldn’t break but tight enough to make it stay in place. The face is hand stitched on and this time I went for an anime kind of a look.

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The sweater is hand-sewn of an old woolen cardigan that shrunk in the wash. The trousers are from a linen fabric, I made up the pattern and went for a harem-look. The belt is an actual leather belt that I cut shorter. Slippers are crocheted on a felt bottom (thought about making similar ones to myself as well, what do you think?).

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The second doll is made in second year of school and I finished it just in time before the end. It’s a proper Waldorf doll made following some very specific instructions. It’s all hand-sewn from a knit cotton that I believe is meant for dollmaking (we got it from our teacher).

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I had thought that the first doll was tricky enough but this one took much more time and commitment. It had to be stuffed even tighter (both dolls are stuffed with pure wool) and everything had to be just right. Here are a few pictures to show some steps. In addition to what you see there is, for example a double layer in the head – the first one shapes it and the second one for cover.

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It was a long process but I am really happy that I did it. The hair took even longer to stitch as it the yarn was so much finer. The clothes could be made by using a sewing machine again but the tiny details again took their time. I used the same wool for the jacket as for the first doll and hand-sew it. I also made a white cotton undershirt and trousers with suspenders (made of the same leather belt as well). I also made a little waistcoat with buttons (that closes with press buttons to avoid making tiny button holes).

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My doll was the only male one in our class and it doesn’t have shoes for a reason. I wanted him to look a little like Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit. I know the trousers are the wrong colour but I didn’t have a solid mustard/beige/light brown and didn’t feel like going to shop either, perhaps another time. What do you think, does it look a little like him?

Pair of Wool & Dog Hair Socks.

Today I would like to share my knit socks that I did for school. Only rule was they had to have some sort of multi-coloured pattern in them. I had bought this gray yarn a little before and thought it’d be great gauge and feel for a pair of socks. By that time I had forgotten it had dog hair in it. Halfway through with the knitting I begun to think it was something odd as it had some dark and straight strands in it.

I didn’t want to make my socks too high as I am a slow knitter and I wanted to have time for other schoolwork as well. Partly as for the same reason but also because I like minimalistic and simple things I didn’t want to use many colours or patterns in general too.

In addition to grey, the blue yarn is a regular wool that I also had bought before and now found useful. I also had a yellow wool but it turned out to be too fine. It was much harder than I thought to find a suitable yellow for my project but I ended up with one merino that was similar enough.

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Although at first I wanted to use a bit darker yellow I really like how it turned out and am quite happy with the shade. After washing the socks turned out extra fuzzy and soft as for the dog hair. Dog hair is also supposed to keep warm well so some extra bonus for that.

I tried out a new technique for the heel that turned out to be much easier than the one I was used to use but it also doesn’t create as much of an angle. Overall I don’t feel it influences the comfort of them. The increasing was also kind of new fro me and I can’t say I love the visible twirls but at least I got to try it and know better next time. That’s what school is for, right.

The yarn was 8/3 gauge (or similar) and I used 2 mm double pointed needles.

PS! The pictures only have one on them because I only had one finished by the time I was putting together the folder/album for the end of first school year. I finished the second one in school so I still managed to do it on time.

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.

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.

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.