Agujas

The Art of Knitting

Tag: craftsmanship

February FO: Azzu’s Shawl

While I didn’t write out any knitting goals for the year, I knew that I should put my ever-growing stash to good use (besides just being beautiful to look at and soft to the touch).

Azzu's Shawl 1

I decided to use this hand spun that I bought at a crafts fair. The combination of Bluefaced Leicester and silk (80/20) felt luscious in my hands.

Wool/Silk Handspun 1

Wool/Silk Handspun 2

There were 490 yards of it to play with and the color changes were lovely to look at as they unfolded.

Azzu's Shawl - In Progress

Azzu's Shawl - Blocking 1

Azzu's Shawl - Blocking 2

The size is just right to use as a scarf, a shoulder wrap, or to keep Bear warm on chilly nights.

Azzu's Shawl 2

Here are some colorful close-ups.

image

This was the perfect little gift to me.

Azzu's Shawl 3

Wishing you a happy valentine’s day full of love and yarn.

Ashley's Art illustration {source}

Gifts from Southeast Asia

My wonderful, amazing, sweet, gorgeous husband not only took photos of places that would interest me during his trip, he also brought back a few mementos.

Woven Baskets 1
The woven tube contains a sample of raw yellow silk. He picked up this souvenir at the Institute for Khmer Traditional Textiles (IKTT) in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Raw Silk 2
The small woven box contained these small pottery bowls. These came from a ceramics factory in Chiangmai, Thailand.

Small Pottery 3
This yarn is made in Thailand. My husband found a yarn shop in the Farong District, the old part of Bangkok. The original Mandarin Oriental Hotel is located in the Farong District. Around this area are countless craftsmen specializing in silk, silver, gems, antiquities and other items.

Yarn Made in Thailand 4
This is a beautiful silk scarf from the museum shop at the Jim Thompson House in Bangkok.

Jim Thompson Silk Scarf 5 Silk Scarf from Bangkok 6
Even the packaging it came in is beautiful. The paper envelope is imprinted with scenes of the silk-making process.

Silk Scarf Packaging 7
He picked this up during his visit to Chiangmai in northern Thailand. This silk scarf is from Jolie Femme, a Thai silk factory.

Butterfly Silk Scarf 8
This crumpled silk scarf is from the Old Market in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Crumpled Silk Scarf 9
Finally, he brought these two illustrated books that tell the history of the Thai silk industry. The Thai Silk Sketch Book contains beautiful watercolors depicting the reeling, spinning, dyeing and weaving of silk textiles. The House on the Klong is a lovely picture book about the art collected by Jim Thompson over his lifetime and which is now on display at his home turned museum.

Jim Thompson Books 10
I may not have been there but he made sure to give me a sense of the place through photographs, retelling what he saw, and bringing these lovely things to make me smile.

Illuminating Blogger Award

What a great way to start off a new year. Dre at Grackle & Sun shared the Illuminating Blogger Award with Agujas. Dre illuminates me with her step-by-step yarn dyeing experiments. She uses only natural plant dyes and is even growing her own dye garden! She and her husband recently celebrated their 16th wedding anniversary. Thank you Dre and wishing you many more years full of joy!

Illuminating Blogger Award

In return for the award, I must share one random thing about myself: I am trying to learn Mandarin Chinese. I’ve been taking classes at the Chinese Community Center and hope to travel to China so that I can practice.

I also get to pass on the award to five other blogs. So, without further ado, here they are:

    1. Travel Photography by Dmitrii Lezine – Fantastic photography and time-lapse videos of interesting places around the world
    2. Bottleneck Consensus – Textile design and other artistic endeavors
    3. Itchier Feet – Journey through Ethiopia through amazing photos
    4. Alicja Kolakowska – Designs beautiful and interesting jewelry, and also crochets
    5. First Bar – Graphic designs inspired by nature

Sparkling Glass from Germany

Of Handmade Quilts

These are the last two quilts from the International Quilt Festival last weekend. Undoubtedly, they both represent superior craftsmanship but what appealed to me most was the theme. If you read My First Post, you will understand why I love these quilts showing a woman’s hands at work.

This first quilt, “The Mending,” captures a woman’s hands mending fractured lives. In the quilter’s words:

Women find themselves continually mending the fabric of their lives, trying to restore beauty and function in the aftermath of war, greed and lust. This quilt began as a collage of photos collected over a decade of living, working and traveling overseas. The quilt top was then torn, cut, burned and shot – literally, tearing families apart. Finally, the woman’s hands are shown working to stop the destruction, mend the damage, and repair the vision.

The Mending by Lea McComas, Colorado.”

Upon seeing this quilt, I couldn’t help but think about atrocities committed against women. Just the other day, there was an article on CNN about how women and girls in Haiti continue to be raped in the makeshift tent cities that serve as their not so temporary homes. A BBC report recounts details of sexual violence against prisoners in Syria. There are many more stories every day.

I did not mean to lead you down an unhappy path. But my heart goes out to these women and I am ever more grateful for so many blessings in my own life.

On the other end of the spectrum, this next quilt represents the power of friendship and community-building. The artist made this quilt to commemorate her ten years as a quilter. Her design inspiration was “the people who gather at a quilting bee.”

Viva Quilt by Noriko Nozawa, Japan.

It is heartwarming to see so many hands at work. Each person contributes busily cutting, sewing and ironing and each leaves his or her mark on the quilt. This quilt fills me with joy and leaves me feeling hopeful about what people can do when they come together, each contributing their own unique gifts.