Sunday, January 31, 2010

Only one more to knit if not counting the almost completed square on needles for my Grün ist die Hoffnung. Then I will have to first; learn how to crochet lace and; find the right edging for my blankettino :)

Did not get a chance to look into more links today but managed to find some fabric dyes that I had used for my batik projects 30 years ago! Need to check on some waste fabric to see if they survived all those years.

After examining the two nice books on natural dyes in my possession, I have decided that my adventure on this topic will be limited to onion skins, turmeric and other easier to access naturals! And these babies below will be my guinea pigs :) They are 100% Turkish mohair & merino blend. Got them from The Knit Box if anyone is interested.

While adding the link for "The Knit Box", came across this very interesting reading at Figen's blog where she is introducing one of her yarns, Sifa ...

Sifa yarn was not the result of months, or years, of research and experimentation. It was pure chance.

I've been working with a local yarn producer for several years now, and besides being a godsend and sourcing my fiber for me, they're a typical traditional Turkish family. Turkish people have a lot of superstitious beliefs and there are generations worth of natural healing wisdom built into their cultural make-up still strong today. Even my 18 year-old niece-in-law breezily tells me how to brew linden to relieve my cough.

So, it wasn't any extraordinary event for my yarn producer to add a little bit of real silver to untreated Turkish cotton simply because the wise women in his family said silver would help with their aches and pains. For me, in contrast, this was pure genius! For, to have yarn which heals, feels good and knits beautifully is extraordinary. So, what do these wise women know about silver? Is it just old wives' tales or is there really something to it?

Besides everything my spinner told me about the knitters who have found the yarn healing, particularly with foot fungi (which grossed me out a little), I did a little research of my own which I've compiled here. A big thanks to, and Wikipedia for useful and educational information. Apparently, silver ions and compounds really do have a toxic effect on some bacteria, viruses, algae and fungi. The goodness of it is that it doesn't have a high toxicity to humans. Here are some interesting facts;

  • Hippocrates wrote that silver had beneficial healing properties,
  • the Phoenicians stored their water and wine in silver bottles,
  • Ancient Greece, Rome and the Middle Ages used silver to disinfect water and treat burns and wounds,
  • Silver compounds were used to prevent infection in World War I before antibiotics were developed,
  • The first silver mines were discovered in Anatolia, Turkey,
  • Silver decreases wound inflammation and kills microbes on contact,

In psychic terms, it represents prosperity and money and it is believed that if worn while sleeping the wearer will have psychic dreams.

We all know silver is used in bandages, band-aids and antiseptic creams, but I never really thought about actually knitting it!

I had no idea such a modest yarn spinning family could actually spin silver into the cotton, but apparently silver is very malleable and can be shaped and stretched to any limit. It can be pounded into a thinness of 1/100,000 inch and an ounce of it stretches as far as 30 miles.Yet, it also takes wisdom and experience of a cultural kind; silver is such an inherent part of Turkish life, culture and heritage that they do not understand my astonishment and joy at the 'discovery' as they sit there knitting away at their silver shawls and bedsocks...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I have spent my day looking into dyeing yarn at home ... Will have to look into more links to get enough encouragement to attempt the process :)

I am sure most of you would have difficulty guessing what the above is. I went to our local agriculturalist today and she gave me this new mix to be used with our fruit trees. It is a mixture of elements, shortly essentials to make miraculous changes to the betterment of our citrus trees :) We'll know in a few months!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Latest additions to my collection ... Two wonderful drawn work samplers from Vienna ... I believe they are called "lochstickerei" in German. From another collector parting from some of his pieces. Amazing how these works keep changing homes and who knows where they will head to once I will not be able to accomodate them!

This one is from 1902 and in very good condition ... Cotton on linen ... I want to call this sampler my "trompe-l'œil" sampler because only two thread colours have been used but looks more colourful. Dimensions : 111 cm x 17.5 cm

This one does not have a date but cannot be any younger than 100 years and in very good condition. Very well preserved. Linen on very fine linen ... Dimensions : 20 cm x 31 cm

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Llama Yarn

This handspun pure llama wool yarn is all natural! Received today ... The colours are what the llama is! Tan, white, a touch of grey ... I bought it from a very nice lady from Montana, USA who owns the llamas, shears them and processes the fiber herself at home. I am told the yarn has been sized so it will not shrink once it is made into a garment. I love it ... Just need hubby's hands to make it into a ball :)

Et voila!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Those who peaked into previous posts in this blog may remember seeing the ginger biscuit recipe. Don't let me fool you ... I am not a cook forget a "good cook" ... I am somehow trigerred at times to try a couple recipes if the ingredients are available at home (and if the measures are not like a math problem) for that particular moment. And yes, the ginger biscuit recipe is one of them. However, sometimes the "comme il faut" woman in me; the one single cell of a "good cook" nature if any, sometimes activates and I am very brave to make inventions :) I used the ginger biscuit recipe for a taste I've been longing for. Tahini cookies ... Tahin is the sesame seed paste with its oil ... I do not know how much it is known to the western world but a very common ingredient for the Middle-Eastern dishes. A very traditional dessert in Turkey eaten with bread when mixed with molasses. Something like the peanut butter spread over bread but you dip the bread into the mix with this one ... Straight to the point :) Perfect for frosty cold climate of the Anatolian steppes in winter! OK ... Back to my invention which turned out to be delicious :) And I found the taste I've been longing for ... If you want to give it a try, just refer to the ginger biscuit recipe and simply substitute shortening with tahini and remove ginger, cinnamon and cinnamon sugar. Spread some sesame seeds on top as an alternative.

The mixture of tahini and egg ... A spectacular view ... Looks like marbling art!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Today's surprise of my PO box :) Three pieces by the same stitcher of the past "Ella Wurl" ... May she rest in peace. I bought them from Leipzig, Germany.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hubby found a new free photo editing program, PhotoScape ... I played with it today and used a nice photo of mine from two years ago taken in Aleppo, Syria ... We loved being there and hoping to go back again one day :) Last photo is the original ... Amazing what you can do with the program :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Today's find from the flee market is a wooden box which needs a bit of repair when hubby is back to his normal life.

We are also having our share of the cold weather and today was the first day of the season that we had the fireplace going.

Had a short walk to pick some broken branches up to start the fire up and took some pictures of the vicinity. The pictures are of the backyard neighbouring territory and olive trees.

My sweet darling Frida was with me and others unhappily watching over the fence!

And then, a nice short siesta :)

Today's final shot is from the the porch!