Monday, 15 August 2011

The weeping willow shawl

One of my favorite among the traditional Estonian knitted lace patterns is the willow pattern. It is a simple and harmonic pattern, and I always feel a bit of melancholy when I am knitting it. I wanted to make a shawl using this pattern to remind me of my mother and brother, which died much too earl.

I wanted the shawl to fall heavily around my shoulders, so I chose a lamb wool yarn named Lacy Lamb. This is a lovely, elastic and thin yarn, and I only used two skeins for this shawl. I have to admit that the yarn was a bit more elastic than I anticipated. As a result, the shawl became larger than I planned after blocking.

I did not manage to block the shawl out before leaving on summer vacation in July. On our way home, we meat the police special forces rushing out to stop the man shooting children at Utøya. Coming home, watching the news as I starting blocking out this shawl, I will always associate it, not only with those I lost, but also with the terrible events that took place in Oslo and at Utøya in July 2011.

I have chosen to make the pattern for this shawl available free of charge, but it is only in Norwegian. However, if you are able to read Norwegian, you can find a link to the pattern HERETo access the file, go to "File" and "Download original". (If you do not read Norwegian, you can always try Google translator.) I hope it is possible to follow the instructions. You may copy or distribute this pattern as you like, but I do appreciate it if you mention me when you do.

Monday, 8 August 2011

A Hardanger bunad for my daughter

My mother in law made a bunad from Hardanger for my daughter when she was five (see pictures below). It consisted of the west and hat from the bunad she had warned as a child, with a new skirt, shirt, apron, and belt and "chest cloth", which she embroidered with pearls. The bunad was beautiful, and my daughter loved it.

With some alterations, we were able to use the bunad until last year, but this year it was definitely too small. This meant that she could not wear her bunad for the 17. May celebrations (the Norwegian national holiday). This generated much frustration, especially since all but one of her class mates (female) wore their bunads.

Thus, it was time to make her a new bunad, which I actually looked forward to. The problems is that she is only 10 years old, and in-between the children’s and adult sizes. A bunad for children can only be used a couple of years, whereas the adult bunads would require several alterations to fit the first couple of years. Since a bunad is an expensive dress to make, I went for the adult version. We'll have to see if it is humanly possible to make the bunad fit next year. If not, we will have to wait before she receives her new bunad.

I have ordered and received the materials for my daughter’s bunad. She is smaller and more slender than me, so I used my size as an upper measure when I ordered the materials. I did not order the shirt, since it requires exact measures, since it is almost impossible to alter. She'll have to do with a plain bunad shirt until she is fully grown. Then I will make her a beautiful linen shirt with lots of Hardanger embroidery (see the first picture).

I also worried about the possibility to alter the belt and the chest cloth, since pearl embroideries are very stiff. However, Husfliden (which is the craft store where I bought my bunad fabric) only offered cross stitch embroideries for those who wanted to sew their own bunad. These are much softer and will hopefully not make a big bump under the west the first years.

I have almost finished sewing the chest cloth and belt. It has gone smoothly, since it is made of cross stitches.

The challenge comes with the Handanger pattern on the apron. I have never sewn Hardanger embroidery before, but I look forward to try. I have bought some small purses with Hardanger embroidery on (see picture) to put the silver for the bunad. The plan is to practice on these before starting on the more expensive fabrics of the bunad. It is also possible that I need to sew a smaller apron for her for the first years, since the motif on the adult apron is pretty large. In that case, she will receive the adult apron together with her shirt when she is fully grown. I also plan to sew a new chest cloth and belt with pearls (see the picture below for the pearl belt, and the first picture for the pearl chest cloth), that she will receive when she no longer grows.

As you can understand, I have a very complex and long-lasting bunad project for my daughter. I am optimistic, even though I have to be realistic concerning the possibility of being able to alter the bunad to fit her size the first couple of years. If I am not able to, she'll have to do with normal cloths for the 17. May parade in the mean time.