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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Hanbok Time at Gyeongbokgung

For the last Korea-related post, I will be showing off a little bit. On our last day in Seoul, I had the urge to go to Gyeongbokgung…in a hanbok.

Gyeongbokgung (경복궁) is the largest of the Five Grand Palaces built during the Joseon Dynasty. Serving as the home of Kings, the Royal households, and acting as the seat of the Joseon government, Gyeongbokgung was built in 1395. Mostly destroyed in the first Japanese invasion, the palace was restored under the reign of King Gojong in the 19th century…only for much of it, along with other major palaces, to be systematically destroyed by Imperial Japan during the Japanese occupation. After the Korean liberation however, the palace is continually undergoing reconstruction, and is now considered the most beautiful of the Five Grand Palaces. In addition to the vast gardens and ponds, the grounds also house the National Palace Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum.

As Gyeongbokgung has become such a famous landmark for tourists, the surrounding businesses have started to respond to this new demographic by offering new services, targeting foreign visitors. One of these services, hanbok rental, has also become wildly popular with younger Korean females, especially among those in middle and high school. An initiative by the Korean government that grants free palace entrance tickets to those wearing hanboks only sweetens the deal.

You can choose to borrow hanboks for various lengths of times, from 2 hours to an entire day. I chose to borrow mine for about 4 hours, for a total cost of 12,000 Won. This includes an extra hour to get dressed and adjust your makeup/hair, a petticoat, the hanbok itself, a hair accessory, and a matching handbag. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

While I wore my hanbok by myself, it was not uncommon to see gaggles of schoolgirls and couples on dates wearing matching hanboks. It made me think that in the future, I would like to bring my fiancé to a palace in Korea to wear hanboks together as well.

Despite the many layers, it was not uncomfortably hot, wandering around the palace grounds. The weather was cool and breezy, so it was bearable.

After our walk around the palace, it was time for lunch! I still had almost 2 hours left until my rental time was up, so I just ate in my hanbok. While eating, two tourists approached me and complimented me on my garb. Upon discovering that I was more than proficient in English, we struck up conversation. Coincidentally, their next destination was Taiwan, from where I had just returned a few days prior. They hadn’t really planned out their trip in detail yet, so I was able to offer them some tips and suggestions on places to visit and things to eat. I didn’t get their contact information though, but I hope they enjoyed their last day in Seoul and their Taiwan trip as well.

For the remainder of the day, we visited the National Folk Museum. Not having visited this museum for at least 10 years, it was enlightening and fascinating to go back in time and witness the lifestyle of my ancestors. It was interesting to see how shamanism and Confucianism merged to give birth to life customs that I, along with my extended family, still practice, such as Jesa (a form of ancestral worship).

However, my favorite part of the exhibitions was the displays on how cloth was made, and the various colors that were achieved through natural dyeing. Korean spinning wheels, unlike the Western wheels that I am more familiar with, are operated by a hand-crank. I hope that I will get a chance to use one of them some day.

And that’s it for my holiday in Korea! I hope you’ve enjoyed these posts, and I’ll see you again when I write about my other trips!

Signing off,
Marie

Tablet Weaving

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will know that my boyfriend and I are avid historical reenactors, especially of the 8th century Viking kind.

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Recently, I’ve gotten into the craft of tablet weaving, also known as card weaving. A type of weaving that’s been around since the BC ages, table weaving was one of the most common ways that Vikings would make trim and belts.

14.09.26.01 - Tablet Woven Belt

I haven’t been doing this for too long, so I’ve only just started experimenting with different fibers, different thicknesses, and such. But it’s a really relaxing sort of thing, if you’re into repetitive motions.

14.12.16 - Missing Hole Trim

For me, the hardest part is figuring out a pattern on my own. While there are plenty of patterns out on the internet for me to follow and recreate, I want to be able to eventually look at a piece of weaving, and make exactly the same thing.

14.12.16 - Some Trim

Tablet weaving is probably something I will continue to keep doing. So hopefully there will be more posts in the future regarding this! 🙂

Signing off,
Marie