Sign up with your email address to be the first to know about new products, VIP offers, blog features & more.

You are viewing In English

Vandrande korgar

För ett par veckor sedan började jag läsa Charlotte Brontës roman Shirley. Jag vet inte varför jag inte har gjort det tidigare, men det faktum att den ibland beskrivs som en ”tvilling” till Elizabeth Gaskells North and South gjorde ju att jag måste läsa den nu när jag vet det!

Den kom i en ny svensk översättning för två år sedan, på Modernista, den första sedan 1850-talet. Mäktigt eller hur? Fast jag läser den i en vanlig engelsk klassikerutgåva.

Charlotte Brontë målad av Evert A. Duyckinck efter en teckning av George Richmond. Bild lånad från Wikimedia Commons

När Charlotte Brontë (det ska vara hon på bilden, men den beskrivs som ett ”idealiserat porträtt”) skrev Shirley hade hon förlorat sina systrar Anne och Emily kort efter varandra — och innan dess sin bror Branwell.

Jag ska nog inte säga så mycket om handlingen än, för jag har mycket kvar att läsa, men jag hittade ett litet spår av hjälpstickningstraditionen och måste dela med mig av det:

It ought perhaps to be explained in passing, for the benefit of those who are not au fait to the mysteries of the ”Jew-basket” and ”missionary-basket,” that these meubles are willow repositories, of the capacity of a good-sized family clothes-basket, dedicated to the purpose of conveying from house to house a monster collection of pin-cushions, needle-books, card-racks, workbags, articles of infant wear, etc., etc., etc., made by the willing or reluctant hands of the Christian ladies of a parish, and sold perforce to the heathenish gentlemen thereof, at prices unblushingly exorbitant. The proceeds of such compulsory sales are applied to the conversion of the Jews, the seeking up of the ten missing tribes, or to the regeneration of the interesting coloured population of the globe. Each lady contributor takes it in her turn to keep the basket a month, to sew for it, and to foist off its contents on a shrinking male public. An exciting time it is when that turn comes round. Some active-minded woman, with a good trading spirit, like it, and enjoy exceedingly the fun of making hard-handed worsted-spinners cash up, to the tune of four or five hundred per cent. above cost price, for articles quite useless to them; other feebler souls object to it, and would rather see the prince of darkness himself at their door any morning than that phantom basket, brought with ”Mrs. Rouse’s compliments; and please, ma’am, she says it’s your turn now.”

Intressant eller hur? Ett initiativ som från början sannolikt var fint uttänkt och som blev en social press och en plåga för en del av dem som förväntades delta eller bidra. Man kan undra vad vi som hjälpstickar nu borde passa oss för. Och man kan också undra om det finns universallösningar som gör att det går att göra gott och bidra till det som är gott utan att riskera sådana här urspårningar. Det är ju alltid en stor förlust när rädslan för att göra fel eller göra något som kan missuppfattas gör att vi stelnar till och tvekar att göra saker för andra överhuvudtaget. Eller?

Generationsintegration

Av Posted on Inga taggar 0

Agneta påminde mig nu i veckan om vår reportageresa till London i pingsthelgen 2018. Vi arbetade med ett temanummer av Uppdrag Mission, och temat var demokrati, och vi hade två dagar på oss och ville verkligen hinna med mycket. Såhär i efterhand är det nästan som en saga — jag undrade hela tiden om vi skulle klara att hålla alla tider, och det gjorde vi, och vi hann till och med vara med och fira kyrkans födelsedag (det är ju pingstdagen) med ett tårtkalas i Southwark Cathedral.

En av dem som vi intervjuade var Sue Mayo, som leder MA-programmet i Applied Theatre på Goldsmith’s College i London och arbetar med organisationen Magic Me i ett slags generationsintegrationsprojekt.

Intervjun med henne kan man läsa här, och så måste jag bjuda på hennes TEDx-föredrag som jag har lyssnat på igen idag:

Some new creativity in isolation

Av Posted on Inga taggar 0

During the last year I’ve heard and read quite a lot about people who suffer in isolation — but also, sometimes, of people who have found new creative outlets. My friend Marjolijne in Eemnes in the Netherlands has started making dolls. Here’s a little interview with her!

***

Marjolijne.

Hi Marjolijne! You showed me a photo of a doll you made. What is this kind of doll called?

These are Waldorf puppets. In the Netherlands we also call them zonnekindpoppen, which means sunchild puppets. Their origin is the anthroposophical movement. But I make them just because they’re beautiful.             

What kind of dolls did you have when you grew up?

When I was growing up, I used to have the plastic dolls. Some had a fluffy belly, but most of them were all plastic. I loved playing with them, but I also liked my stuffed animals a lot, because they were more soft.

Wearing a knitted vest — actually it’s a Två trådändars lilla väst, from a Swedish pattern!

Is this kind popular in the Netherlands?

In certain groups it’s popular, mainly in the anthroposophical movement. 

How did you come up with the idea of making your first doll?

A friend of mine in Germany was very enthusiastic about a doll she bought. It was the same kind that I make now. I just loved the way she was talking about it and the pictures I saw. The women from whom she bought her doll also publish the patterns for making the dolls and the clothes. First I followed a course in making puppets. This helped me to get a better clue of how to make the head look good. Then I bought a book with patters for all different kinds and sizes of dolls, and then I also bought the patterns from Germany — they are available in English.

Where did you find the pattern and materials?

Mariengold is really the best pattern you can get. If you want a pattern for free, there is a website in Dutch. I bought the materials in handicraft shops specialized in what you need for making dolls. I know that Mariengold is also selling the materials, but I found a local shop near my house. The good thing is that if you don’t have a sewing machine, you can order pre-sewn parts from Mariengold so that you can do the rest by hand.

How much time do you spend making a doll? Many hours a day or stretched out over a longer period?

If I really push myself, I can make a doll in a weekend. But normally I make one during one week. When I did the course it took me four lessons of two hours and some time at home. But then comes the moment when you also want to make clothes for your puppet, and that takes some time as well. 

Do you usually have a plan for the doll’s looks and stick to it, or have you changed your plans or improvised?

I follow the pattern, but sometimes I add ears and sometimes I don’t. Before you start, you have to choose the colour of the skin, and then hair and eye colours that look good with the skin.

Is there anything in the process that you find particularly satisfying?

The moment you can see really the face starting to be a “human being” — it’s so nice to see that when you add the eyes and mouth, the puppet starts to come alive. I also love the moment when you can start dressing your puppet. For me, that’s the nicest part.

Was there anything that was surprisingly tricky?

Making the eyes look really good and similar to each other. I really would recommend to practice this beforehand on a leftover piece of fabric. 

For whom you make the dolls?

I made some of the dolls for myself, but I also made one each for my niece and my nephew and one for a friend who became grandmother. But I really have to decide in the beginning that this one is for giving a way — otherwise I get too attached to it, and it becomes really hard to give it away.

What do you think that practical, creative work can mean during this time of self-isolation, unpredictability and frequent not-so-good news?

I think that creating something beautiful is always helpful. It gives a feeling of satisfaction, and it’s a nice way to spend your time when there are not so many other things you can do. It also makes you focus on something else. I can’t think too much when I’m creative.

What would you say to someone who is thinking of trying to make something he/she has never tried before?

Go for it! Use a good pattern and materials — that’s always helpful. But also: don’t be disappointed when the first thing you make is not completely as you were hoping it to be. Give yourself time to learn and grow in the process.

What’s your next project?

For the moment I don’t have any, but I hope I’ll find something to do rather soon. Maybe I hear of a child that would love to have a doll, and then I can make it for him or her.

***

Thank you, dear Marjolijne!

How to make Easter eggs with a little help of onion peels

Av Posted on Inga taggar 0

My friend Katarina in Ljubljana showed a basket of incredibly beautiful Easter eggs on Facebook. My mother (who saw them on my screen — I was on a short visit) immediately asked: ”How does she make them?” And now, here are Katarina’s step-by-step instructions!

What do you need?
* eggs
* plants/ leaves that have interesting shapes
* some paper towels
* onion peels (light brown ones)
* a pot
* a couple of bowls or plates
* old nylon stockings
* thread/ string
* scissors
* time
* somebody to make Easter eggs with (because lovely stuff needs to be shared)

First, go out and find some green stuff that has unique shapes. Think what could fit on an egg. Gently wash them if there’s soil or dust, and put them on a paper towel.

Generously fill the pot with onion peels, add water so that it covers the peels. Heat the peels until boiling, then set aside. This way the peels will let the colour out. The peels stay in the water all the time.

Gently wash the eggs with a sponge. If they have number printed on, try to gently rub it off. (The side with numbers should always be on the back.)

Cut nylon stockings into small squares (cca 13 cm).

You can cut thread into shorter pieces (cca 25cm) beforehand or you can cut it while you work.

Put the green stuff on the eggs the way you want it. Carefully and tightly wrap the egg and leaf in a square of nylon stocking (sometimes the plants will tear apart — don’t worry, you’ll learn quickly!), tie the thread well, and cut the excess of the wrapping.

You can also play with shapes. I find ordinary green leaves of ivy to be perfect for that. If you use nail-cutting scissors, it’s even better.

Put the pot with peels back. Bring the water to boil, then turn it to the lowest temperature, put eggs in, bring it to boil again, turn to lower temperature and let eggs cook for 5 or 6 minutes more.

Eggs should rest in the pot comfortably, so not too many at the same time.

When they are cooked, take them out with a spoon or spaghetti spoon, cut where the thread is tied and wash under cold water.

Repeat the process until all the eggs are done.

Share your Easter eggs with your family and friends. Bon appétit! Happy Easter! 🙂

***

Thank you, Katarina!

Om stickning och andlighet

Gravvantar stickade efter mycket gammal modell. Foto: Tomas Åberg

Carol tipsade mig om en artikel på webbplatsen Fashionista.com (!) häromdagen. Den är mycket, mycket intressant! Textilt handarbete och andlighet är ämnet, och jag har läst om ganska många av idéerna och hört om liknande erfarenheter tidigare, men de som har blivit intervjuade just här berättar så olika och så fint. Läs, läs!

Jane Austen och hjälpstickning

En av alla (och det finns många) utgåvor av Jane Austens roman Persuasion, i svensk översättning Övertalning.

Nu har jag hittat — eller snarare råkat upptäcka — ett avsnitt om hjälpstickning i en av Jane Austens romaner, Persuasion!

Jag har läst den flera gånger och lyssnat på den som ljudbok ännu fler — upptäckte den en gång när jag var tvungen att skanna mer än tusen sånger ur olika böcker en och en som en del av arbetet med ett stort sångboksprojekt. Jag arbetade till klockan två en av nätterna, men Anne Elliot och hennes familj och vänner höll mig sällskap!

Nu har jag lyssnat på den igen medan jag har hållit på med olika praktiska saker, och plötsligt slog det mig att det som Annes väninna Mrs. Smith, en ung kvinna som har blivit änka, förlorat alla sina pengar och blivit reumatiker samtidigt, och hennes sjuksköterska, en mycket företagsam och kommunikativ kvinna, håller på med är typisk och klassisk hjälpstickning. Här:

[Mrs. Smith] had seen too much of the world, to expect sudden or disinterested attachment anywhere, but her illness had proved to her that her landlady had a character to preserve, and would not use her ill; and she had been particularly fortunate in her nurse, as a sister of her landlady, a nurse by profession, and who had always a home in that house when unemployed, chanced to be at liberty just in time to attend her.

”And she,” said Mrs Smith, ”besides nursing me most admirably, has really proved an invaluable acquaintance. As soon as I could use my hands she taught me to knit, which has been a great amusement; and she put me in the way of making these little thread-cases, pin-cushions and card-racks, which you always find me so busy about, and which supply me with the means of doing a little good to one or two very poor families in this neighbourhood. She had a large acquaintance, of course professionally, among those who can afford to buy, and she disposes of my merchandise. She always takes the right time for applying. Everybody’s heart is open, you know, when they have recently escaped from severe pain, or are recovering the blessing of health, and Nurse Rooke thoroughly understands when to speak. She is a shrewd, intelligent, sensible woman. (…)”

En som är tvungen att sitta stilla får lära sig att sticka av en som rör sig desto mer. Det stickade ser den rörliga till att sälja till människor som har pengar och som just i det ögonblicket är tacksamma att vara friska, och pengarna förmedlar den rörliga sedan till andra människor som behöver dem. Perfekt!

(Detta äger rum i en tid när textilt handarbete tillmäts ett större värde än idag, såklart.)

Det finns många andra sorters hjälpstickning, men det här är definitivt en klassisk sort.

Fascinerande att Jane Austen kunde beskriva också detta så exakt, eller hur?