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    Pattern for the Ormen Lange bargello quilt

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A Thousand Bodice Inserts

We were so lucky as to get to see the exhibition of 1000 Bodice Inserts at Hardanger Folkemuseum at Utne last October.

A bodice insert is a separate piece of fabric covering the front opening of the bodice on the folk costume from Hardanger and some other areas.

 

Folk costumes in Hardanger, and also in other areas in Norway, were influenced by continental fashions. The renaissance fashion trend with waist and skirt in differing colours, and often heavily decorated bodice inserts, kept its stronghold in this area till the costume was embraced as the National Costume of Norway in the late 1800s. It was a living tradition, so no need to go back to study old garments in order to reconstruct the costume, as has been done later in other areas to create local folk costumes. (We now have lots of different folk costumes in all areas of the country.)

 

Luckily a lot of old and new bodice inserts from Hardanger have been donated to the museum over the years. There are also collections in neighbouring districts, and some of these were also on display, – a total of more than 1000 bodice inserts, and not two alike.

 

People have used a variety of techniques to decorate the inserts, and cross stitch embroidery seems to have been a popular method. All the inserts on the wall to the left in the photo above, are decorated in this way.

 

The amount of decoration vary from very simple to elaborate. People used the same style of clothing both for every day use and for Sunday best and other festivities, and they often had several bodice inserts to fit the occasion.

Unadorned bodice inserts were used when attending funerals, and grieving.

 

The size of the inserts vary a lot. This may be due to variations of the waist front opening, and also the fact that people come in different sizes. A couple of hundred years ago, people were generally smaller than we are now.

Even though hardly two bodice inserts are alike, there are some common standards. They all have a ribbon hem on top. Most have a defined motif of various geometric shapes sewn on red or white fabric. Between the ribbon and motif there is often a border made of metal lace or ribbon, beads, or embroidery.  The decorated parts are mounted on a piece of fabric, which is mostly made of home woven wool or linen. This background fabric is not visible when the bodice insert is in use.

It is almost as interesting, – or perhaps more so, – to observe all the different background fabrics that have been used.

The most common geometric motif is by far the eight pointed star, also called an eight leafed rose in these parts. The variations are many, there may be one big star, or a few or several smaller ones set in a grid, most often on point. The grid itself may be narrow, or wider with geometric decor elements of its own.

In quilting terms we might call the decor on point blocks with narrow or wide sashings.

 

Quite a few inserts have beads on them.

At a time when most household items were home made, purchased objects would be regarded as finer and having a higher status. Beads have been produced and sold for many years, and bodice inserts decorated with beads were regarded as especially fine and for best use. The inserts can be dated by looking at the colour of the beads. White, green, mustard, and black beads were first available. Blue beads and straw beads came later. Also the older beads are bigger and of more irregular shape than newer ones.

The motifs are again mostly geometric borders and eight pointed stars, but also heart shaped decor has been popular.

 

On one insert with very small beads, they found that the maker had used horse hair to thread the beads. The horse hair is so stiff that you would not need a needle, which would perhaps have been to thick for the small pearl openings.

 

Pearls have been combined with both embroidery, metal lace and ribbons, and also applique as in some of the photos below..

 

There is a story about three vicar’s daughters from Ulvik who used to do very fine applique, mostly eight pointed stars. When their father died, they supported themselves by making fine bodice inserts for sale. At the time, paper was used inside the top hem to make it stiffer, and much later one of their father’s sermons was found inside one of these inserts.

 

 

Not all bodice inserts were made from woollen fabric. Some used fine imported silks, silk velvet and calamanco. A few of these were displayed behind glass.

 

The pattern darning technique has also been used to decorate bodice inserts.

Pattern darning is a very old embroidery technique, – even older than cross stitch, – and this technique has been used quite a lot.  Pattern darning is often used alongside other techniques, where the pattern darning will compose the grid, or framework, for the motif, while other techniques such as cross stitch or satin stitch, are used to fill in the pattern repetitions.

A very common motif on pattern darning inserts is the “eldjarnrose”, which looks like a modern day hashtag set on point. It is most often worked in black, while the surrounding grid has been made in red yarn.

 

This last group of photos show some inserts made in a variety of techniques, and some of them with unusual motifs. There are a few examples where the cross stitch embroidery patterns are made to look like bead embroidery or threaded bead grids. There is also one with a great variety of stitches, including the only example of chain stitch that I noticed.

Lastly, here is an insert mounted on a piece of fabric cut from a beautiful woven coverlet in the “krokbragd” pattern:

 

 

The exhibition was scheduled to be taken down last January, but due to its popularity, it has been extended till 1st November 2019. If you get the chance to visit, grab it with both hands.

It is well worth a visit.

 

🙂

Eldrid

 

 

Old Socks

sokkar

Recently I had the chance to see some of the old socks that Annemor Sundbø rescued from the ragpile at her factory Torridal Tweed. The socks and other old and worn knitted garments were going to be recycled and turned into shoddy.

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However, when Annemor took over the factory and went through the pile of rags, she noticed the beautiful patterns on the knitted garments, and they became more unusual as she neared the oldest layers at the bottom of the pile.

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She decided to save many of these old rags in order to document older knitting patterns and traditions. Her work resulted in several books and a collection of garments for exhibitions. What I got to see, is the sock collection.

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All the socks have different patterns, and it was also interesting to see how they had been worn and mended. If one part of the sock became totally useless, usually the foot part, it had sometimes been cut away, and a new heel, foot and toe had been knitted onto the old rib and leg.

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Sometimes it also looked like and old sweater arm had been used for the rib and leg part with a new foot knitted onto it.

These rags are a legacy of harder times, when people had to turn every shilling, turn bed sheets sides-to-middle, and turn one garment into a new one to make do. It is not all that long ago.

 

You can read more about the salvaged rags at Annemor Sundbø’s website.

 

🙂

Eldrid

 

Edited: In my next post, you can see what shoddy looks like.

Festival of Quilts IV – Quilt Creations

I am still enjoying my photos from the Festival of Quilts, even though this is not exactly news anymore.

They have a competition category called Quilt Creations, where you may enter every quilty thing that is not exactly a quilt or a wall hanging.   It can be clothing, wearable art or 3 dimensional pieces, which must have length, breadth and depth. This post will cover some of these.

The coat above was made by Marijke van Weltzen from The Netherlands, and was called “Once in a Blue Moon”. The inspiration is the story about the crane daughter: A girl who turned into a crane and secretly wove beautiful cloth, and who flew away when she was discovered.

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This ensemble named “Citrinesque”, was made by Kathy Knapp from USA.

It was inspired by the citrine gemstone which has a beautiful yellow colour.

devotion978Here is a little beauty: “Devotion” by Judith Anderson.

Using the knowledge gained from a class in faux taxidermy, she made this piece from old and new wool, net, lace, and other embellishments.

diaghilev993This “outfit” was called “Diaghilev Comes to the Party”, and was made by Sally Hutson.

The artist writes: “Inspired by the extraordinary theatrical performance of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe from the early 20th century, this garment captures the art of modernism and the fun of the party!”

firelight979“Firelight” by Jane Appelbee.

The artist had a new wood burning stove installed, and was told that she would be watching that more then the TV, – which she did. The flames licking the logs inspired this piece.

henge953“Henge of Celtic Seasonal Totems” by Linzi Upton.

Circle of nine mystical Celtic Totems inspired by votive trees and stone circles found in Ancient Britain.

Linzi is also famous for her quilted Yurts (Mongolian dwellings).

holst973“What on Earth would Holst think?” by Liz Clark. The artist calls these 3D-off-the-wall quilts. Motifs and colours are chosen to represent the seasons.

Another coat, “Homage to Hundertwasser” made by Catherine Lawes. Inspired by Hundertwasser’s paintings and architecture.

This lovely creature was made by Claire Crouchley, and is called “Naiad”. It received a “Highly Commended”.

The artist says: “The doll was created with sequin scales and beaded embellishments, including seaweed and jewellery to reflect her vain nature. She sits on driftwood which is being slowly claimed by the marine life which surrounds her”.

splash955“Splash” by Linda Turner won a “Judges Choice”.

The bowl is made of organza layered between soluble stabilizers and is free motion thread painted to illustrate the action of water when an object or raindrop falls into the water.

takeabreak972“Take a Break” by Ulrike Tillmanns.

An old teak bench, covered in fabric using weather proof glue and lacquer.

tigersandgoats957c“Tigers and Goats Game” by Gillian Travis.

The artist’s interpretation of a game that is very popular in India.

woodlandfantasy965This one is lovely, – “Woodland Fantasy” by Helen Alexander Bristow.

Lovely free machine embroidery on felted fabric. Beautiful colours.

My own quilt, Rosemadonna, was also shown in this category. I did not get any good photos of it on the location, but it can be seen in this post.

bedtimemonster995This is one of a “Collection of Quilted Monsters and Bedtime Beasties” made by Daisy May Collingridge.

The artist says: “The quilt monster is a beast with a fickle permanence. Its presence only captured in the blink of an eye. Yet, it is always there, under the bed or wrapped tight around you”.

The one above, along with the two other “Bedtime Monsters”, and many other outfits were shown at the “Fashion Show” on the Friday night during the Festival. Some of the outfits were also in the competition, like the one above, but not all of them.

Below are some photos taken during the Fashion Show. The photo quality varies as I was sitting near the back, the models were moving, and the lighting varied across the stage. I did not take notes during the show, so I have not got the names of the various makers.

🙂

Eldrid

Festival of Quilts

For the very first time I had the chance to attend the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham this year.  The last quilty event I attended in the UK was the National Patchwork Championships at Ascot in 1997, which is quite a long time ago. It felt good to be back at a quilt show, and I enjoyed every minute of my stay.

Since I returned home, I have also enjoyed myself studying the photos I took of the quilts. I had planned to post some of them soon after my return, but I have had a hard time choosing which ones, and where to start.

There was a large number of quilts on display, and even though I spent most of the time looking at the quilts, I am not sure I got to see all of them. And then there were all the boots, which also had quilts in them, along with other stuff.

What I found I admired most at the show was all the wonderful and detailed quilting done on most of the quilts that were shown. So I think that is where I will start.

rhapsody701

“Rhapsody” by Sandy Chandler is one of the quilts that caught my attention. It is a wholecloth quilt, and was entered in the Traditional Quilts category, and got a “Highly Commended”, which is kind of a 4th place. It was quilted on a longarm machine, mostly hand guided.

 

Lots and lots of beautiful feather quilting. Click on the photos to see a larger and closer view.

 

sunshine and flowers 167

This one, called “Sunshine and Flowers”, was made by the same person as the one above. It was entered in the Quilters’ Guild Challenge, which had a garden theme this year.

Again: Lots and lots of beautiful quilting.

after snowfall 71

Here is a little beauty: “After the Snowfall” by Sheena Norquay. It was entered in Pictorial Quilts, and was one of the Judges Choices.

I did not get to take many close ups of this one, but above are a couple.

lily white 812

This is “Lily White” by Pauline Tiney, entered in the Contemporary Quilts category. I came across this quilt one morning just before I was due at a workshop, so got just the one picture. It was hung so you could see both the back and the front, and I think this is the back side. It is still beautiful.

There were so many quilts I thought that I would go back to have a closer look at later, but in the end, there was not enough time.

The thing about wholecloth quilts is that they often don’t look like much until you go close and study them. That is also partly true for this one:

simply mandalas 352

It is called “Simply Mandalas” and was made by Pierra Vernex from Canada. The motifs are inspired by circular mandala motifs made by Tibetan monks. It was made completely on a home sewing machine, using the quilt-as-you-go method.

It is truly stunning.

 

 

 

kutch diamonds 714

Here is one with more colours and beautiful quilting. It is called “Kutch Diamonds”, and was made by Annelize Littlefair. It was entered in the Traditional Quilt  category, and got a Highly Commended. You can see why below:

 

It is freehand quilted on a longarm machine, and took 150 hours to finish. I can easily believe that.

the old garden gate 166

This is called “The Old Garden Gate”, and is made by Lynda Jackson. It has been quilted on a longarm machine.

Below are some close ups:

 

 

Then there was this one:

profiles2

It did not look like much at first glance, but the more I looked, the more it caught my interest.

profiles1

I thought it was a bit fun that it was also captured with another head on it 😉

The quilt is called “Profiles”, and was made by Stephanie Pettengell. It was entered in the Art Quilt category.

The profiles were made by removing the black colour of the fabric, using discharge paste. It was then free machine quilted.

All the profiles were quilted in a similar manner, except the brains, they were all different.

After looking for a while, I also discovered that profiles were quilted into the black part of the fabric. A very original piece.

Since we are on the topic of heads, I will also show you this one:

skull optics 403

This is “Skull Optics” by Paula Rafferty, entered in the Art Quilt category.

When I first came by it, I did not see the skull, – just the black and white stripes, which were kind of disturbing to the eyes. I took a photo anyway, because I thought the border was so neat.

skull optics 403b

Only after loading the photos on my home computer did I notice the skull motif.

On a more humorous note: The space in front of this one was always crowded.

Les Q-Ers 538

It is a group quilt called “Les Q-Ers” entered by Marion Barlow on behalf of the group Q 4 Quilters. It shows a group of quilters in a bus queue, heading for a quilt show. The quilt got a Highly Commended.

And here is the reverse side, on their way back from the show.

Les Q-Ers 538d

 

I think I am the one who does not NEED more fabric, – except I do not have to hide it when I get home. 😉

Although I spent most of the time looking at quilts, I set aside a small amount of time at the end of the day to walk by the boots, – just to see what was there. Of course I got tempted, – and I also had a small list of items that I was looking out for.

Here is what I brought home:

stuff

The fabrics at the front are all for a project that is lurking in the wings. They are silks, some hand dyes, and a few gorgeous ones from Oakshott.

Then I was also tempted by Heide Stoll Weber’s hand dyed fabric packs, and I am really looking forward to make something out of the two pink and orange bundles to the right. I also grabbed some neutrals for my hexagon project, and threw in a few other fat quarters as well.

I bought one of the African embroideries, and a few of their prints. Then there is some bling and a small iron, and also thread and needles. I love the Nimble Thimbles, so bought a couple of those, and on the last day I splashed on a small hand made pair of scissors. (I bought a pair of hand made duck billed scissors at Ascot nearly twenty years ago, and they are still very good, so I reckon it is worth the expense. ) They must be very popular, for as I was getting the last pair, I overheard them saying they were super busy and would not be taking any new orders till after Christmas.

The fabrics have been duly fondled and put away till I have finished my current project. In between sewing, there are plenty more photos to be studied, and I will pick out some more to show you in another post.

🙂

Eldrid

 

Audition

This afternoon I have been auditioning threads to go along with the silk fabrics I have chosen for a new project. After lining up the possible contestants, I thought my work table looked so pretty, so I just had to take a photo:

silk

A few minutes after I had put away my camera, the low autumn sun shone in through the window, and the silk fabrics and threads on the table were positively glowing. I just had to take one more photo (or ten):

silk2

This is for two commissioned items, which cannot be revealed in full till early next summer, – but I hope I will be able to  show you some teasers along the way.

Eldrid

More knitting

Knitting socks with self striping yarn is quick and easy, and can be done without problems in front of the TV.  My latest knitting project however, is not recommended for TV-knitting as you have to concentrate on the pattern.  I tried that on the second pair when I thought I “knew” the pattern, but had to unstitch several times.  Still, it is such a fun pattern that I have already started on my third pair of socks.

Here are a couple of photos of the second pair, – I forgot to take photos of the first pair before I gave them away, – they were knitted with yarns in offwhite and black.

catsocks

catsocks2

The pattern is from Jorids Strikkemønster. The text is in Norwegian only, but the diagrams are very good. The pattern at the top of the page there is a free download.

Eldrid

Surprise mail

When I finally came home, I went about sorting my mail as soon as I could.  There was a lot to go through since I had got nothing forwarded to the hospital.

Imagine my surprise and delight when this lovely get well card turned up in the pile of letters and magazines:

postcard

A wonderful fabric card made by Heather Lair and sent all the way from Canada.  Lots of strips of hand dyed fabric form a lovely seascape. The back side of the card is a beautiful grey dupioni silk:

postcard2

I could not recall that we had been in contact with each other before, but after some detective work I have found that we are both members of the Thread Society forum at Yahoogroups   This was a complete surprise.

That’s quilters for you 🙂

A million thanks, Heather.

Eldrid

Edited:

Heather sent me the url for her website which has an impressive array of beautiful quilts on it.  She has even made quilts for the movie industry.

Go have a look.

Variation

When planning and packing for my rehab stay, I aimed for a variation of “toys”.  Even though sewing is a great hobby, you can get pretty fed up if you have nothing else to do.

I have enjoyed doing the English paper piecing so far, but also enjoy knitting.  Even though the patchwork pieces are small and handy, nothing beats a simple, straightforward knitting project as a pick-me-up-during-a-three-minute-break project.  It sits ready in its bag, needles, thread and project in one bundle, just grab it and do some stitches, then put it back into the bag.  No extra glasses to put on to thread the needle, no extra equipment to bring out and organize, like scissors, spool of thread, thimble, paper and fabric….  I feel I need a bigger time slot to sit down with the pathcwork than with the knitting.

And then there is the benefit of variation, of course.

strikk

The most straighforward, no-brainer knitting projects in my opinion are socks made from just one bundle of yarn.  When made with painted yarn such as in the photo above, you can just knit and knit, and the stripey pattern emerges all by itself. 

Whose feet are going to be kept warm?  The grandkids’ of course.  Knitting socks is a granny thing.