Back in Bloomington!

Sorry for the radio silence, but I’m pleased to say that I’m back in Bloomington! It’s been a couple of extremely hectic days, what with the 30+ hours of flying, packing for a move as soon as I landed, and the move itself. 90% of the house is organized as it should be, but as with any move, the organizing has revealed to me a bunch of projects and other endeavors that I had given up on and stashed away out of sight for months.

Not even 20% of the stash…

One of the more daunting things on my to-do list is organizing my giant stash of embroidery floss and sewing thread. A few years ago while visiting my fiance’s family, I mentioned that I was interested in learning how to embroider. So naturally I went back home with grocery bags and cookie tins PACKED with vintage threads and floss! I was a little overwhelmed at the time and didn’t have a whole lot of time, so it went to the bottom of my closet. It wasn’t until last week when I was putting things away from the move that I rediscovered the enormous pile, and I finally mustered up the courage and fortitude to tackle the mountain 3 days ago. I’ve got most of the DMC floss wound up into bobbins with labels, though there are a few that are missing the numbers. I’ll have to figure something out with those.

Another thing I have to do is process some fleeces and fiber. When I returned from my holiday, I found that I had acquired quite a bit of fiber during my absence. So far I have one giant garbage bag full of alpaca, and an entire alpaca fleece…and apparently there is more waiting for me to pick up! While I have some experience spinning fiber into yarn, I have never processed fiber, let alone an entire fleece, into spinnable roving, so this should be an interesting experiment. I do have a friend who has invited me over to use her giant automatic carding machines though, so it would be an understatement to say that I am excited about the whole thing.

I also have a couple of commissions to work through. For those of you who don’t know, tablet weaving is another one of my fiber-related hobbies. A lot of my clients are people who are into the hobby of historical reenactment, and it is my job to look at photos of artifacts and attempt to replicate them in weaving. This pattern is based off of a find from the Sutton Hoo site, and it was a lot of fun to figure it out! Now I just have to weave 6+ yards of the stuff…easier said than done, but it makes me happy to know that other people enjoy my work as well.

I also have another knitting commission, and am also working on a project for myself. I am making a pullover for myself, and it will be a lot of “first”s for me: my first cabled garment, my first pullover sweater, my first project incorporating short rows, and my first project using the provisional cast on. I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way, such as “Don’t attempt cables at 2AM when you’re extremely sleep-deprived”, but I’m taking this chance to learn many more skills that will be important for me to have as an aspiring Master Knitter.

While tackling all of these projects, I have been listening to a lot of various podcasts to keep me company. So far I’ve listened to the Knitmore Girls and Owl About Yarn, though I’ve also received recommendations of other knitting-related podcasts from my friends. What are your favorite podcasts to listen to? Do let me know in the comments section.

As always, thank you for sticking with my blog, in spite of my frequent bouts of hiatuses. Hopefully I’ll be better about maintaining a regular posting schedule (those podcasts are really inspiring!).

Signing off,
Marie

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Ihwa Mural Village

And it’s back to Korea! Today I’ll be showing you around the picturesque Ihwa Mural Village (이화 벽화마을), located in Ihwa-dong.

In 2006, as part of the Naksan Project, approximately 60 artists were commissioned to paint walls and install artworks around the Ihwa neighborhood. As a result, the area was reborn as a tourist attraction – visitors can come admire the many galleries and small stores selling handmade items among the prettily adorned concrete walls.

The neighborhood boom was not without its controversies, however. Many residents, constantly disturbed and harassed by the noisy tourists (and the trash they leave behind), have protested against the Naksan Project by painting over landmarks with grey paint. Wandering around the neighborhood, angry red messages spray-painted onto walls were not uncommon either. I could understand why they would be protesting, though – many tourists were blatantly ignoring numerous signs posted asking them to respect private property and keep noise levels to a minimum.

In spite of the controversy, there were still many murals left untouched, thankfully. I do hope that in the future, tourists are more considerate of the people who make their homes here.

One store that I really enjoyed visiting was Suga M, located at the bottom of one of the many hills. A small leather-working store, the owner was very friendly as she talked us through all of her pieces. Her store had not been open for too long, but I hope that she gets a lot of visitors (and business) soon!

We passed by a small wooden bench under some pieces of dyed fabric. I’m not entirely sure what they were there for, but they were quite pretty all the same.

There were a number of tiny museums dotted throughout the Mural Village. It was a shame they weren’t advertised more clearly; the only reason we found out about them was because we accidentally stumbled into one. One of them was showcasing traditional Korean embroidery, used in traditional Korean weddings. I loved looking at the intricate details of the richly embroidered dresses and bed-covers.

We also stopped by a small cafe, occupied by two adorable Siamese kittens that I played with as I sipped my iced cappuccino.

Despite the sweltering hot weather, we had a lovely trip to Ihwa Mural Village. I hope that in the future, some sort of agreement is made between the residents and the tourist board, to ensure everybody benefits equally from the Naksan Project.

Signing off,
Marie

Fiber Sunday and Anniversary Party at In A Yarn Basket

This Sunday was a double event at my local yarn store; their monthly Fiber Sunday and their Anniversary Party! In A Yarn Basket is my favorite LYS, even if it is further from my home than the other one. Everybody I have met there is super friendly, the store is inviting, and there is a Starbucks just across the road so I can stay caffeinated (even though most of the time the store gives me coffee!).

Today, a friend of mine brought two of her wheels in with her for us to play around with. A larger Canadian production wheel that spun like a race-car, and an adorable and tiny parlor wheel from the late 1800s! The production wheel was much too fast for me, so I got to play with the antique, which spun beautifully.

Another one of my friends took this video of me spinning some mystery fiber on the parlor wheel. As you can see, it needs a lot of pedaling to get going, but it was still a lot of fun!

In addition to all this spinning, there were cookies and cold cuts and cheese to enjoy, as well as door prizes for the anniversary. Guess who won the grand prize???

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Not only is this an awesome knitting/spinning bag, this bag grants me 10% off any purchases I make in the store for the rest of 2016! And for somebody who buys as much fiber stuff as I do, that’s a big deal 😉

In addition to all of that, everybody was given one free sample bag of fiber to spin. I picked up some cotton for myself, as I’ve never spun any plant-fibers, and wanted to give it a go. It’s a gorgeous brown color, and I’ll probably write more on my experience spinning that at some point later on.

Today was definitely a great day, filled with lots of fiber, friends, and coffee. And if you’re ever in Bloomington and are looking for a great little yarn store, definitely check out In A Yarn Basket!

Signing off,
Marie