Category Archives: life


Friday two weeks ago, the night Paris happened, i was on a concert. Vredehammer, Vreid and Keep of Kalessin. Sadly, they had to play in front of less than 50 people, probably because Mötley Crüe were in town the same night.

But boy, was this a concert! Vredehammer, the opener, blew me away. The drummer was sorta out of sync for the first two songs, but then he found his rhythm and everything went great. They do melodic black metal, if this is a style. They were IMHO the best band of the evening and a real discovery. Like with many black metal bands, their stage acting was rather sparse, but they did interact. I loved their complex rhythms and melodic elements.

Here are two pics of Per Valla, their singer and guitar player. Like ever so often, I spent more time headbanging and enjoying the concert than trying to get good pics. Also, that was difficult despite the small venue because of the stage fog.



Next were Vreid. Nice enough, techically perfect and just agressive enough, but for me, somehow lacking. I think their songs sound too much the same.

Then, along came Keep of Kalessin. They do a mix of death and black metal with melodic and progressive elements. Life they were even more agressive and in your face than on CD. They interacted with the audience a lot and everybody went crazy, and so did I. They acted as enrgetically and professionally as if they were playing in front of thousands, and after the concert, they shook everyone’s hands and thanked us for the party. Thank you guys, you were great!

The pics show Singer Thebon, too bad my pics of other band members didn’t work. Darn stage fog!






I spontaneously started stitching this after the plane crash at Egypt. It is not yet done, and is supposed to be accompanied by some plea to Sobek, Egypts most ancient god of fertility and protection. I have not yet decided on the final text. I know, probably not nice, and not a good idea, but sometimes my thoughts need a way out.

Now, after Paris, I seem to have no more stitches.

The things some right wing politicians and their followers say in public make me just as sad and furious. This won’t help.

The fact that most of the perpetrators grew up in Europe, and became what they are right next door, desperate about our own latent (or not so latent) xenophobia, makes it so much worse.

Stitch Sunday – Break, in Order to Do it Better

Well, during the last weeks, I felt my Stitch Sunday post are becoming uninspiring. I still have enough ideas, the chain stitch family I’ve been at is almost inexhaustible, but I feel I need to order my thoughts and write a more useful program. So I’ll take my time to do this, and then resume stitch Sunday posts.
Well, at least I have done some leisure stitching that helped me relax after work, so you’ll get to see some eye candy soon.

Stitch Sunday – Break

I am sorry, this has to be a break week again. I still have too many stitching projects, a lot of work at my day job and I need to knit something.

Stitch Sunday 11 – Roman Stitch (or just Stacked Fly Stitch)

Jet another Sunday. I know I have been lazy about posting these days, I have a helluva time at work, everyone except me seems to be on vacation, and there is a big construction site on the railway I have to take to work, causing a lot of annoyances. Also, I am in the process of switching to a new laptop.

So today’s stitch is usually called roman stitch, it is used both in conventional surface embroidery and in needlepoint on canvas. However, it is really just stacked fly stitches. it is usually worked by doing the loop first and then tacking it down, because the tacking stitch needs to be as small as possible. Some books classify roman stitch as a kind of couching, but I think it is so done like fly stitch, and true couching should require more than one tacking stitch in most places to hold down one thread. However, this stitch is a good example for how there is a limited number of ways to construct stitches, but endless possibilities for variation and specialized usage.

Here I show how to use this stitch to do a conventional leaf.  It is supposed to be a rose leaf, and those are serrated. So I make stitches of differing length to hint at this. For non-serrated leaves, you can stitch a back stitch outline first to make sure you get it right.

First, do a very close fly stitch at the top of the leaf, almost a detatched chain stitch.


Do the next fly stitch putting the loop next to the loop part of the first, come up for the tacking stitch where the last tacking stitch ended. Make the new tacking stitch straight and small. Remember the tacking stitches will form the midline of the leaf.


Add more fly stitches in the same way.


Continue until the leaf (or part of a leaf) is finished. Sometimes you will need to add a few straight stitches at the bottom to get the right shape.


Back Home

I am back home, trying to adjust to normal life again. I have been at summer breeze, a metal festival for roughly 35000 people, tuesday to sunday 🙂 and enjoyed it so much. For me this is the best way to just stop worrying and have some serious fun. I’m still so happy, and busy telling my intestines they are supposed to consume real food, not canned ravioli, beer and energy drinks. You will read more about the festival in due course, but may be not right here. I have another week off work, and I will do some stitching and take a few pics more appropriate for this blog 😉

heavy metal

Stitch Sunday – Break

It is summer, at my day job things are insane because too many are on vacation, and I am busy packing for my own vacation. Also, there still seem to be no real takers for my challenge. So this week and the next will be break weeks. It is too hot to stitch anyway, and the most creative thing I did this week was a big glass of ice coffee. I will continue the challenge when I’m back, promised.


From the Flea Market

Last weekend, I went to a local flea market with my mother. It was a wonderful warm day, and after the market we ate delicious cake.
Somehow, all my haul was textile related.

The first picture shows a little crochet hook, metric size 2mm. It is made from coated aluminium and is labeled “disc england”. I wanted it because it is small enough to fit into my needlework kit and I lack the size in it. But the interesting thing in this picture is the little box. It is a sewing kit for travelling, the size of a pill box.


The same box from above. The box is metal, either aluminium or steel with some sort of coating/ fake gilding that is badly scratched in some places. The label seems to be glass or glazed pottery and glued on. It says “needle and thread”.


Now let’s look inside. Looks like the contents are still intact. There are a needle threading tool, a timble, two sewing needles and thread, black and white, wound on a little piece of rubber. The little plastic bag contains the usual shirt buttons, push buttons and security pins. From the look of the rubber thingy, I’m pretty sure the kit is fairly recent, the rubber is still soft. Again, for size comparison: the needle threader is the regulat size.  Somehow it doesn’t look like the contents were ever used, although the box shows signs of wear and tear. I just had to have this sweet little thing. I still have my decorative letter case from childhood, it got a nice spot in there. Does anybody here know when/where such kits were sold?


The next thing was a bundle of needlepoint wool, for the most part Phildar, the rest an unknown brand. Both are no longer sold in Germany. The same stall also had a bunch of finished needlepoint pieces, from their look probably from kits. I’m always a sucker for leftover threads of all sorts, so I had to have these.


Next, Glass buttons! 20 cent each only, and the colour fits a cardigan I’m just knitting, so they too had to come home with me. I hope three of them will do for the cardi, the forth is in case one doesn’t survive the washing machine.


The last thing was this badly worn and torn piece of hand embroidery. It is nothing special but I have a hard time passing such pieces by, which have the charme of creative hand work and real use. It is perle cotton #5 probably on linen, done in satin stitch and some stem stitch. It looks like it had been sewn on a cushion hull or something and was ripped off for flea market sale. It is bleached out and has some spots but the fabric is intact. I will see how it looks after washing and ironing. It will go into my bits and pieces box for now, may be it will inspire me to some recycling project. There sure is enough space to add something funky.



Stitch Sunday Break and Inspiration

Some people found my stitch challenge just now and are busy figuring out if and how they should take part. In order to give them a fair chance, this week is a break week everyone can use to get ready for stitching or even begin to catch up. Next week, there will be a new stitch. This time, one that is not a feathered chain variant.

But, this posting is also called stitch sunday inspiration. The little embroidery I show you is in fact the next section of sampler 5. I left this space blank and filled it later because it was supposed to be pictorial rather than rows of stitches. You saw how to do the stones before. later I added layers of feathered chain and woven/buttonholed chain.


My Needlework Kit

A week or so ago, Mary Corbet at NeedlenThread talked about her needlework kit for travelling. She asked what kit her readers are using, and I’ll use this as an excuse to spill the beans. Also, I have gotten a shiny new purse for my needlework stuff and always like to show off ;-). However, writing this posting did make me think what I shlep along and why.

I have to say, I am not travelling that often or far, but when I do I take along some needlework projects to prevent boredom on rainy days. Exept when I’m going to music festivals of course ;-). But I spend 2 hours each day in trains on the commute, and do a lot of my needlework during this time. Also, I have no real workspace at home and just stitch or knit where I currently am for some reason. So it is important to have the stuff I need every day in a portable kit.

Having everything in one place is more important to me than keeping baggage to a minimum, I’m always dragging along too much stuff anyway so the needlework stuff makes no big difference. I don’t worry about flying because I rarely do that, and when I fly I happily put the needlework stuff into the checked in luggage and enjoy a a nice, long novel on my kindle.

Mary writes the most important things for her are visibillity, cleanliness and accomplishment. I don’t worry that much about visibillity. My eyesight is not stellar and has been even worse for long periods of time, so I tend to take along projects like knitting or coarse freestyle embroidery which won’t strain my eyes. I save the fiddly parts for the weekends at home when I get to work in daylight. I have a little LED pocket light on my key ring I can always use, and I don’t like magnifiers, they confuse me. For the sake of cleanliness I take along projects that can be washed most of the time. Hand wipes and hand disinfectant live in my day pack anyway. Accomplishment? Of course I make sure I have anything on me to do the intended work. And on top of that, a few things that make live easier or or allow me to start improvised projects when I feel like it. Also, I often change between projects on a whim and would hate to re-pack for specific projects. So for me, convenience is king.


Now here is my needlework kit. it is all in a little purse, 14 cm long, 7 cm high and when filled about 6 cm deep, with three separate openings/pockets. The other part of the kit is my notebook/sketchbook, a little moleskine clone. I do have a big, fancy studio journal at home but I don’t always carry this one with me. With all my stuff in it it is still small and light enough not only for totes or little backpacks, but also a handbag should I use one.


Now I have emptied it. Nice heap yes? Let’s have a closer look.


Now this is part of the stuff. I have two pairs of scissors, the ones with the plastic handles are japanese Kai’s, unfortunately not the leftie ones I would really need. They are as sharp and pointy as can be, and I strictly reserve them for snipping fine threads and precision cutting of fabric, such as drawn tread work or cut work. I keep them wrapped in paper, will have to get a proper sheath one day. The silver ones were really cheap, and are in fact semi-retired as embroidery scissors. I use them to cut thick knitting yarn, coarse fabric and pretty much any odd thing. I keep them around so I won’t dull the good scissors with such tasks. Also, they are dull enough that I can’t really hurt myself when the train moves in an unexpected way or I have to cut fabric in my lap. Then there is the small 6 cm spring frame. Of course I take an appropriate hoop with my project if I will need one, but the little one is so convenient for working on narrow samplers, or when I need to add just a few, say pulled work stitches to a project I work in hand for the most part. the little box holds a lot of security pins I use as row markers when knitting and instead of regular pins when an embroidery project needs basting. It also holds a few buttons, push buttons and similar stuff for clothing emergencies. When I really go travelling I also bring along a few small spools of sewing thread for that purpose. The round thing contains my needles, I use such a box instead of a needle book to save space. There is a really big tapestry needle as laying tool and for hiding loose ends in knitting, tapestry needles and chenille needles sizes 18, 20, 22, 24 and 26 two of each, a few darners for bullion knots and the smallest size crewel needles (no idea which) for beading and regular sewing. I prefer chenilles over crewels and crewels over sharps because of the bigger holes. I have yet to find a needle threader that works well for the smaller sizes, or coarser threads, so I don’t bother with those any more. With this selection I’m well equipped for most projects I can imagine. I don’t need a lot of each because I am not using a pin cushion.


Now to the next heap of stuff, the knitting paraphernalia. The white piece of plastic is used for measuring the knitting needle circumference. It is in here so I will know where to look for it when I need it. The pink cables are for screwing on exchangeable needle tips. It is always good to have a few extras of those, as stitch holders or when one breaks. The pink discs are stoppers to screw on these, in the zip lock bag also is the little key for fastening the needle tips. I have two cable needles, because I forget to include them in project bags and they also can be used as laying tools or ahls. The crochet hooks (size 1mm, 2,5mm, 3mm and 3,5mm) are there to catch lost knitting stitches, to slip beads on knitting stitches and to start crochet projects in case of terminal boredom. Their handles can be taken off so they fit in better. The reason I don’t carry knitting needle tips is that I prefer wooden ones which might easily get damaged from rough handling. I can always toss some in when I feel I might need them. the box of unwaxed dental floss is for putting lifelines into my knitting (I rarely bother but I always tell myself I will next time). For the non-knitters: that means at suitable points in the pattern, you lay an extra thread into your stitches so when you have to rip back because of mistakes the stitches are caught at this point and can be put back on knitting needles easily. All the knitting world agrees that unwaxed dental floss is the most convenient material for lifelines so I got me a box. I also have a little tape measure, you need that when knitting clothes.


Here is the remaining stuff. The little hair bands are used as stitch markers in knitting, I forgot to include them in the last pic. This is so not traditional, but they are soft so that they can’t get caught in the knitting or do other damage when you stuff a project in a bag recklessly, and are still stiff enough that you won’t knit over them when tired and not looking at your work. There is a little ball pen for writing I find cute and 2 fineliners for marking fabric and sketching. I will replace those with pigma microns because they are not 100% waterproof. Also, I have taken a leaf out of Mary’s book by including a few self care articles related to needlework. There is a glass nail file. The pocket knife on my key ring includes a mini nail clipper and emery board, but this one is so great for making nails really smooth. If you ever have knit with silk you’ll know why I like that. The lip balm stick is for my hands. I tend to have rough, dry skin, so that fatty stuff is good. It is much less likely to spill and cause a mess than a tube of lotion and works just as well. Of course I wipe or wash my hands after using it before stitching, it is not that important when knitting things that will go in the laundry later anyway. I had one before, but I never find it in the depths of my bag when I need it. The two big hair bands are for my long hair, when I have a bad hair day it keeps getting in the way of my work, and now I don’t have to use pencils or knitting needles to hold it together when I have forgotten my barrette. I already used all three things this week and am thankful to Mary for this idea.

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