Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Pirate Jenny

When I was in school (about sixth grade or so, I think), a class of older students performed the Threepenny  Opera by Kurt Weill, and I became kind of infatuated with Pirate Jenny (in German: Seer√§uberjenny), a song from said opera and character in this song. For days, my best friend and I would try to sing the "Schiff mit acht Segeln"/"ship, a black freighter" part (and fail horribly, I might add).

I then saw a performance of the Threepenny Opera in one of the local theatres a few years ago and started searching for versions of the song on youtube. Somehow I seem to have missed the best ones, and I forgot all about it until I kind of stumbled upon a version by Amanda Palmer.

Now, as a former opera singer to be it took me some getting used to her style of singing, but I've grown to like her very much, and she is a fabulous artist. (Her latest album is downloadable for the price you want to pay, by the way).

I found another version of Pirate Jenny by Ute Lemper, a German singer. I think this is by far the best performance, I am absolutely amazed at how versatile her voice is.

To think that this is the German voice of sweet Arielle... Would you have believed it?

After listening to so many versions of the song (there are more to be found, of course, and I listened to many of them), I became inspired once more by Pirate Jenny, and I decided to spin a yarn (what else?!).

I put in skull beads (one of my favourite ingredients, as you might have noticed by now), coin charms for the penny which is referred to in the song, and ripped pieces of cotton fabric for the rags. I also added rust red linen for some texture.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One Down, Three to Go

I'm very happy to announce that I had my first oral exam yesterday, and that I passed with a magnificent 1,7 despite of the translating a Middle Egyptian text part. Looking back on intermediate examination (same subject, same examiner, lots of anxiety, bad feeling, not a good grade - about five years ago) I'd never have believed I could ever overcome my exam nerves and be this good :-)

My next exam will be in December, and it will be a written one, on the subject of megalithics in Ireland. Since that's only one subject, contrary to the Egyoptology exam with three different subjects plus Middle Egyptian, I think there might be some time for spinning and taking care of the shop.

Oh - I also handed in my thesis last week, so double yay! There will be two more oral exams in Februrary and April, so it will still take me a while, but right now I see a light at the end of the tunnel :-)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just a quick note...

and picture of my freshly knitted Cupido cowl :-) I found the pattern on Ravelry, but there's also a blog post about it on Please Don't Eat the Daisies if you'd just like to see a few photos. I finished knitting the baby blanket some time ago (but haven't blocked it yet, and time is getting short...) and there were two skeins of yarn left. I had had no idea how much I'd need and decided to be on the safe side. I thought about putting the two remaining skeins in the shop, but when I saw the pattern for the Cupido cowl, I just had to knit it and the yarn seemed perfect. I absolutely loved knitting with the yarn (it's so fluffy and soft!), but since the colours really don't look so good on me I hope to trade the cowl for something I can't make myself. I might put the last remaining skein in the shop, though, which is white, blue and yellow. I'll need to take photos some of these days.

In other respects I'm spending pretty much of my time studying, my first oral exam will be at the end of the month. It's freaking me out and alternately filling me with joy since it will bring me closer to the end of my student days...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Space-Time-Discrepancy

I haven't blogged for so long I really hope you all haven't wandered off to someplace more interesting! Much has happened here, but nearly all of it good :-) We have spent these past months renovating and at the end of August, my husband and I moved into our new flat. Sadly, there has been some delay concerning the basement flat, which will be the temporary home of Twisted and her husband until their own flat will be vacant. There is also still a lot to do before they can move in, so we'll have some more fun renovating... 

There has been not much spare time for spinning or tending to the shop, I've also been preparing for my final exams and I'm afraid shop updates and blog posts will be very irregular until April. BUT I have my own spinning room now! (which I won't be using much until next year, hence the title)

I originally planned to use the rather small room as a storage room for fibre and things to spin in, but it turned out there was still enough room after filling the shelves and putting up the drum carder, so I can actually spin there. This way, the living room will stay tidier ;-) And I still can move my wheel into the living room if I have company, but as long as I work during the day, I'll be very comfortable in my small woolly empire.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Spin like a Pirate

Meet Captain Jack Sparrow, and his beard, which was a huge part of my inspiration for this yarn ;-)

This is finest black alpaca fibre, corespun, and containing bone skulls, bells, sea shells and pieces of some Pirates of the Carribean merchandise (a replica of the red kerchief Captain Jack wears). Arrr!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tour de Fleece - Day 21

I haven't had much time for spinning lately, as was to be expected with all the stuff that's going on. We spent the past weeks renovating, and I spent the last two days studying for my exams and trying to squeeze in some house time (renovating again, and also getting some bills in order) in the evenings. Today was reserved for shop work, but I watched some documentations about Ancient Egypt while spinning :-) Twisted and some other friends gave them to me years ago, and I had already forgotten a lot, so it was nice to watch them again. It felt reasonable to combine spinning with some kind of learning/revising stuff that might be helpful. But enough about my studies, I'm going to show you the yarns :-)

 I carded some batts first thing in the morning and hoped to be able to spin them all up, which was indeed the case. I love the colours of all of them!

 Snow Daisies

I always love to use white fibres because their quality is somehow different than the dyed variety. Also, I don't have any dyed bluefaced leicester wool the texture of which is heavenly, so I like to use the pure white stuff. I combined it with only a small amount of green and yellow merino, shiny white alpaca and white lambs wool, and I spun in shimmering snowflake sequins and textile daisies. There's also a bit of commercial eyelash yarn in this one, and I used mother of pearl thread for even more of a shimmering, snowy touch.

This one is still without a name. I was thinking of naming it Koi Pond, but I think Twisted had a yarn once with this name, so I might want to use a different one. Maybe Sparkling Koi would be good since there is a lot of heavenly, peacock angelina (glitter) in this one. It's light fingering or even lace weight, though it looks sturdier in the picture.

 Bubble Gum

I'm not entirely satisfied with the name, maybe I'll think of something else. Bubble Bath is already taken, though the Bubble Bath yarn would also make a great Bubble Gum yarn due to its colour *g* Both the bubble yarns glow in the dark and feature these cute little glittery pompoms.

Monday, July 2, 2012

It's Tour de Fleece time!

I was so looking forward to this year's Tour de Fleece, and I thought I could make quite some time for it this year - but my plans have been thwarted once more. Not that the thing eating up my time isn't  a good one, but I'll come to that in a minute. I'll try to participate in the tour sporadically, and today was a good day (no, not to die - in case there are other Klingon fans here - but to spin!):

120m / 90g of heavenly soft corespun, with beads and sparkle and sari silk threads. I like corespinning, and though I have done it often in the past, I am astounded every single time at how long it takes and how wonderful the texture is. Can't get enough :-)

And now for the big stuff: Apart from polishing my thesis and learning for my final exams (hello, Middle Egyptian, among other things) we're very, very busy renovating. Not the flat we've been living in for the past ten years, but our very own house. Well, it will be our own once we pay off the loan ;-) We, in this case, means Twisted, myself, and our husbands. We have searched for a house for two years, and we finally found it. It was hard to find a house which could be split fairly, since the four of us don't want to live together but in two separate flats inside the same house, sharing the garden. Anyway, we're currently in the process of doing all the paper work, renovating, planning etc, and since my husband was able to take some leave, the Tour de Fleece time span will be filled with removing wallpaper, hanging new wallpaper, building a kitchen and a bed, and other fun stuff. If you'd like to see pictures, please come and visit our blog. It's in German, but if you want to know what we're talking about, maybe google translate can help. It's always hilarious to read the translations, in any case ;-)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yummy New Yarns

As promised, here are a few pictures of my latest projects :-)

I thought of naming this first one something to do with twitter, since the bird charms remind me a lot of the twitter icon, but I might also name it Frozen Sky, in the style of two other yarns I named Frozen Sea and Frozen Lake. It's of a similar colour scheme, so it would fit nicely.

Now this one I spun with a clear idea in mind: this yarn I call The Huntress, after a comic book figure. I have to admit I never read the comic books, I only saw the (very trashy, yet somewhat entertaining) TV show "Birds of Prey". I took the idea for the colour scheme from pictures of the comic books, though. I also added strips of black silk, alluding to a super heroine cape.

I don't have a name for this last one yet. I spun it with Ireland in mind, as you might have guessed from the colours and the shamrock charms ;-)

I have also spun a Hedwig yarn, inspired by Harry Potter's owl, but it's still wet and photos will have to wait.

In other news, we have a new listing in our shop which is no yarn, but yarn related: the Surprise Stitchmarkers. The listing is for one stitch marker (for $1,50) which we will pick at random. They are all handmade by us, of course, and they are all made from silver plated copper wire and will fit needles up to 5,5 mm (US size 9). The other materials vary, as you might know we are partial to semi precious stones and bone skull beads ;-) But there are more possibilities than that. We started off with listing a quantity of eight markers, but we're able to make more. They will be shipped for free if bought together with another item! :-)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

New Project

Two weeks ago I found out that one of my oldest friends is pregnant. I decided to make a baby blanket, and I hope that I'll finish it in time. It has to be handspun, of course (I think I've never bought yarn since I started spinning my own), so I quickly carded some batts and started spinning. Here's a work in progress photo from last week, I've actually finished the yarn and started knitting by now. More photos soon, I hope, and I also hope to be able to share some art yarn photos soon, too :-)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Back in Business - and Starting with a Sale!

Hello everyone :-) I hope my long absence has not induced you to wander off...

I am very happy to announce that I nearly finished my thesis (which means I need to add some pictures, check a few references, wait for correction and add/change the things other people think I should), and work on the shop has begun again!

I thought it would be great to celebrate with a sale, so as of now all the old items (items added before today) are marked down to make room for the new. The sale will be active until Sunday, 3rd of June, 12 am EST. You don't have to enter a coupon code or do anything else to get the discount, it's already included in the prices now shown in the shop.

As for new stuff, I have quite a few ideas :-) I made a really extensive yarn plan a while back, and since I can now take down my thesis plan, I can hang the yarn plan back on my wall - so there are lots of things to come. I have already spun three new yarns which I will add to the shop shortly, and I have also carded a couple of batts, so there will be even more new yarns soon :-) If you're looking for a custom yarn, that's possible, too - just message us on Etsy!

Oh, it's so good to be back!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Message from the Exile ;-)

This was going to be just a short note to letting you know (if you're interested in my private affairs ;-)) that my self-imposed exile was the right choice. I've been working hard on my thesis, and made quite some progress. I really do hope to finish it by the first week of May, though there might be some delay because I had a bad cold and had to take a few days off. But May it should be!

Now for the extra part ;-) I've been meaning to show you some photos which I have just rediscovered, so I chose to put them in this post, too, for a bit of colour. Last year, I knitted a hat and a pair of arm warmers from a skein of gorgeous corespun. I don't have a photo of the yarn or the arm warmers, but here's the hat :-)

The yarn was spun from a complex fibre blend, some of which was hand dyed, and it didn't contain any add-ins. I used the whole skein of about 100 m, which was enough for both the hat and the arm warmers, and I used 6mm needles. I think I must have written down the pattern as I went, but I have no idea where I put it. Maybe I should use a note book for future knitting projects, as I always find myself in this dilemma: I write down everything on small pieces of paper, and when I'm done I put them away so I won't lose them, intending to write a neat version down some time. When I get around to blogging about the project I can't remember where I put the pieces of paper...

I also took some time for spindle spinning recently. I bought these wonderful spindles from Zebisisdesigns shortly after Chrismas (my mum gave me money to buy two of them because she didn't feel comfortable ordering them herself, but it was a wonderful gift, of course! :-)), and delivery got delayed because the wonderful shop owner wanted to do me some good and made me another spindle, free of charge! I was absolutely amazed, as you can imagine. I had ordered a labradorite and a lapislazuli spindle, commenting that I really liked the one lapislazuli spindle in her shop (which had the wrong form for me) since it reminded me of a starry night sky. She only had a whorl of lighter blue left, but then she made me a starry night sky spindle from what I think might be called blue goldstone (please correct me if I am wrong!), and she also sent some hand dyed fibre along, also free of charge. Thank you again so much, M.!

I started spinning, and both the goldstone and the labradorite spindles turn beautifully. I haven'd tried the lapislazuli one yet. I made some more progress during my lunch break today, watching Star Trek DS9 (for the fourth time, I think) and trying to relax my mind a little.

I love the colours of the hand dyed fibre, they are very bright and intense.

Ahh, I do miss working on the shop. Please wish me luck so I can finish my thesis soon and start spinning for real again! :-)

News from Westeros ;-)

Some of you might remember my blog post about the series "A Song of Ice and Fire"/"Game of Thrones", and the yarn I spun based on it. Well, it's been bought, and transformed into a wonderful neck piece, which I'd like to show you, of course :-)

  Winter is Coming

 Pam knitted up the whole skein of 257 m / 110 g (14-18 WPI) on 4mm needles. She used the free pattern Elanor, and here's the outcome:

Isn't it beautiful? I really love how it turned out, and I think the pattern was a great choice for the yarn :-) Thank you for sharing, Pam!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Meet Anna! :-)

Anna's alpacas Galax and My
A while ago we got a message from a very friendly knitter from Sweden who - apart from flattering us very much indeed - told us she had alpacas. This really got my attention, as well as the small and beautiful word Sweden ;-) I just love Scandinavia, and I took Swedish classes a while back, and with these things and the fact that Anna described herself as crazy about yarn and knitting we had something to talk about :-) Turns out we are interested in similar things, like mythology, Star Trek and Harry Potter, and there were some long letters going back and forth. I asked her whether she had a blog, for I'd love to follow someone who wrote about alpacas and knitting, even if it was in Swedish (I have forgotten nearly everything from my classes), as long as there were pictures ;-) Anna told me she had actually thought about writing a blog, and now she felt was the time to get going. I promised to tell you about it, so she could get some readers (and at-picture-lookers ;-)) - so here I go:

Please stop by Annas aviga maskor :-)

I've rediscovered google translate in the process, so now the Swedish isn't too much of a problem, and also the google translations turn out to be quite hilarious at times (yeah, it's still a machine, and for that it's pretty good). Just give it a try if you like creative stuff and alpacas!

Anna has also kindly sent me pictures of the cowl she made from our Dark Secrets art yarn, which can be worn in more than one way:

I love the versatility of this piece, and also this was one of the yarns I thought twice about putting in the shop, so naturally I like how it turned out as well :-)
Thank you for sharing, Anna!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Please Hold The Line

As some of you probably know, I have been working on my master's thesis for quite a while. Actually, it's been a lot longer than I anticipated, and I really want to get it out of the way.

At the beginning of 2012 I decided to decrease the work on the shop slightly, to have more time for the thesis, but somehow that didn't really work out. I did less, but it's still something that's in the back of my head, especially since I really want to work on the shop - to be honest, I'd rather do that than work on my thesis and that's where the problem really lies. I realized I needed to focus much, much more on the one thing that really needs to be done. So I made a tough decision - I will put the shop nearly on hold. This doesn't mean it will be closed, and it doesn't mean I won't write the occasional blog post or put a new yarn in the shop from time to time, but I won't do all that on a regular basis. This post is meant to make this clear for myself as well as for you, our dear readers and customers, as I see how badly it worked when it was only a vague idea in my head ;-)

We will still ship out orders within our usual time frame of three work days, and I will probably spin every now and then to clear my head, but I won't pressure myself to keep everything up to date and I don't think I'll be able to do custom yarns for a while.

I do hope you'll bear with me/us! If you want to be notified about any news (new yarn, new blog post), please become our fan on facebook, as we will post updates there should they occur.

I'll miss you!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More Hats!

Sheila Harden has made two more wonderful hats from our art yarns! I especially like the design of the green one, it's so creative and I like the different kinds of texture!

 Dolores Umbridge

You can find this hat in Sheila's Etsy shop, right here :-) There are more pictures, too!

Winter Delight

The green and white part in the back is made from our yarn. You can find more pictures in the actual listing - there's also one that shows our yarn beautifully :-)

Thank you for sharing the pictures, Sheila! :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Etsy Loves Us!

Yesterday, I looked into my mail box to find a small package from Etsy Germany.
There was a Valentine's card in it, a tote with an Etsy logo, and an Etsy pin. We didn't know this was coming, and we don't even know why they picked us (or did every Etsyian in Germany get a parcel like this?), we were very pleased.

It's the small and unexpected things that tend to make us happy, isn't it? :-)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

How Ron's Dressrobes Turned into a Hat

You might wonder, was it magic? One could certainly think so! ;-) The magic used is called crochet, and the one who performed it was Kyuubi No Kitsune. Thank you for sharing the photos with us and our readers :-)

Ron's Dress Robes

The yarn, as it was listed in our shop. Maroon, with bits of lace, just as described in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

 The hat it became...

 ...which features a neat steampunk button :-) Great idea, I think!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Winter Is Coming

Some of you might be familiar with the fantasy epic A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. If you're not, you might be familiar with its TV adaption Game of Thrones, like me. And if you haven't heard of either, but like fantasy and don't mind a lot of blood and a certain brutality, you might want to follow the links to see whether it's something you'd like to read or watch ;-) It is very good, but it is also very, very intense (and brutal, that was no joke). I don't mind blood and murder too much (on TV!), but I have big problems watching sexualized violence, and it can't be denied that a certain amount is to be seen there. I was able to watch the whole first season, but I think this shouldn't go unmentioned.

But I don't intend to go into all this too deeply now, unless some of you would like to discuss things further. I am introducing all of this because of my new yarn, of course ;-)

One of the concepts of the epic is that "summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime," and now, Winter Is Coming! This is the title of the first episode, and also the motto of House Stark, the rulers of the north. The northern border is fortified by The Wall, a solid barrier of ice, 800 feet tall. Beyond the Wall, the White Walkers dwell: a supposedly mythological race who haven't been seen for thousands of years and are said to be extinct or never to have existed in the first place - but rumor has it they have returned.

Winter Is Coming

My new yarn comprises the coming winter, the terror of the White Walkers, the ice of the wall, and the grey that is prominent with House Stark in the TV show. It's made from a gorgeous blend of white fibres, a small amount of blue linen, and some shiny grey Gotland wool. I spun in white sewing thread to stress the snow/winter theme even more, and bone skull beads as well as round bone beads to represent the threat of the White Walkers and the deadly long winter itself.

257 m / 110 g, to be listed soon :-)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Fairy Ring Hat

Sheila of Fun Funky Fibres bought our Fairy Ring art yarn...

...and made this gorgeous hat from it:

She tells me she loved it so much she couldn't give it away, and she wore it all through the holidays. Now, that does make this spinner happy :-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Music, Yarn, and Pirates

Yesterday brought me new ideas and old songs: I don't know exactly how events/thoughts took their course, but I was thinking about spinning another pirate-y art yarn (I just love those!), inspired by a delivery of new bone skull beads. Suddenly, I had a nearly forgotten song in my head and the name for the yarn was clear:

Under Jolly Roger

Things fell into place quickly: I wanted ocean colours and white bamboo flakes (waves) as a base, and black silk strips to represent the pirate flag - and the skulls, of course, as they are also part of the flag, and therefore highly associated with pirates.

(sorry for the crappy pictures, I had to take it indoors, with artificial light and the colours are off)

I used more skull beads than I usually do, and I spun a highly textured art yarn from the batt shown above. It contains merino wools of dark blue and deep teal, hand dyed BFL/silk blend of a wonderfully intense dark turquoise, and white bamboo flakes. The black silk fabric strips make a great contrast. Here's a picture of the finished yarn in daylight, but since we don't get much light nowadays, it's still not as brilliant as it could be:

I still don't know whether I'll be able to part with this yarn, I am quite in love!
I also found another version of the song which I like a lot better than the one linked to above: Under Jolly Roger - by Therion.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

 ...at least in the local home deco store. Otherwise, it's cold and somewhat grey and rainy (wish there was snow!), but I am very glad about the premature offer of spring deco, because the store now has some of my favourite ribbons available again:

There was also soft pink and lilac, but no light blue, which I would have liked to buy. Red, green and yellow are wonderful, though, and I do like the dots :-)

Something I also like is what Twisted gave me for Yul: a package of soft, brightly coloured, sparkling puff thingies. I alrady used a lot of them, and this yarn is my favourite:

Alien Frog Pond

The others were also a lot of fun to spin. There are three yarns so far featuring the whimsical puffs:

I have enough red ones for another yarn (at least I think so, I should check) and smaller blue and violet ones for another, so there will probably be two more quite soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Introducing: Trashy Tuesday

Happy new year to you all, our dear readers, customers, and friends! :-)
I'd wanted to post a fireworks picture at the beginning of the new year, but I was too busy watching the fireworks and hugging my friends, so I forgot to take pictures... So, let me start with a regular post then.

Twisted and I have decided we need to spend more time together, which has become more difficult with increasing work. So we agreed on starting a tradition of Trashy Tuesday: each Tuesday (or at least nearly each one) we will meet, have coffee, work on crafty things, and watch a trashy movie together. Sounds good? We think so too :-) Trashy movie? you might ask - well, let me give you an example ;-)

Last week, we watched Robin Hood - Men in Tights. And not for the first time, I might add. In fact, we've got a kind of tradition already with this film, and it's the only one I really like to watch in German because I know the words. Let me show you one of my favourite scenes:

While this film is cheap and trashy, it's also quite witty, actually. There are some clever allusions, and (of course) side blows to the original film, Robin Hood - King of Thieves; like this one ;-)

I am currently thinking about spinning one or even several yarns based on this film. One idea would be Latrine's scrying soup of which, sadly, I found no video I could show you. Another one might be a general Robin Hood yarn, or something to do with Sherwood Forest, but I am still collecting inspiration.

Today it's Trashy Tuesday again - and we will watch Red Sonja, which I haven't seen yet. We also thought about watching King Arthur - with 32% on Rotten Tomatoes it should qualify as trashy enough ;-) Spaceballs and Dracula (Dead and Loving it) could be on the list, too, as well as Splitting Heirs or The Life of Brian - but we've already seen all of them. If you have any other suggestions for trashy movies, please leave a comment!


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