Baba Yaga

The first day of summer here and we are headed into heat wave and the first day of winter on the other side of the world and I see snow is falling in lots of places.

Baba Yaga, the witch from Russian foklore (where it is cold) has always fascinated me, along with her house.  It is supposed to found deep in the forest and to move around on chicken legs.  Well I found a picture of it.

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source Pintrest

This is a raised store house made by the Sami.

And then I found another on Flickr and I see that this witch has given up the broom and replaced it with a motorbike.

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This same witch is known in Scandinavian countries along with Scotland and Ireland.  Here her name is Cailleach.

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I have seen lots of drawings and paintings of her house but when you dig a bit deeper this is a very old story that has various versions across Europe.  The image above is linked to an interesting article about this witch.  You can find it here.

 

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WIPW

So, all the embroidery is finished the box just needs to be assembled.  It has not been the easiest piece to stitch.  Mainly because of the 40 count linen and my poor eye sight.  (I have had glasses since I was 6 y.o.)  But I am pleased with it.

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The assemble will have to wait until I get my Xmas presents and class samples finished.  They all have to be done by the second week in December.  Why do I do this ?  Year after year I swear that I will have every things finished in November but I never get there.


That cloak

As you can probably tell from yesterday's post I have been to see Dr. Strange at the movies which invoked all those memories.

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I had been told by a friend not to leave when the credits came up as there was more so I sat and looked at all the names of the animators etc, that went on for ages, and there was more.  But in among all those names there was a small section recognising the costume designers.  So I went looking to find out more because that cloak is just wonderful.

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It is hand and machine embroidered, pieced using nap and like colours.  A work of art. As are all the costumes in this movie.

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There is a great article in Vanity Fair by Joanna Robinson about the designing of this cloak and at the bottom of the article are some wonderful images, where these two came from.

I have always admired the work of Alexandra Byrne in many movies and love the fact that embroidery is used in many of her creations.

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There is a huge body of work from costume designers that isn't really recognised, it is just part of the movie and gets a credit in those bits at the end, that a lot of people walk out on. 

I loved the movie, pure fantasy, which I love.

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Comics

I was raised in the era when everyone stood outside the store and watched TV.  Television didn't arrive in Australia until the late 1950's and we didn't get a set until well into the 1960's. 

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I remember all the neighbours being invited to the Mumford home to watch, and you had to bring your own chair and something for the table.  (Uncle Ray Mumford had been a Rat of Tobruk so he was looked on with awe by us kids.   Yet, his home was a haven for my sister and I when our father was drinking, trying to defeat those devils who still chased him from his time in WW11. )

We had books to read.  Not a lot, you got a new book for your birthday and at Christmas.  You could only get a book from the council library if your parent got it out for you, and besides, that was miles away.  But there were comics. You could get those from the newsagent and buy them or borrow them from other kids.

Being a rather weird kid  'Tin Tin' was my first love.

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The 1960's was the time of the great influx of migrants to Australia and they brought all kinds of wonderful things with them we had never seen before, including Tin Tin.  It was all in French, which I couldn't read, but you could work the story out from the illustrations.

Then there were the Disney comics.  We all learnt to draw Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse.  (You didn't really draw it if it was traced.)  At the Royal Easter Agricultural show you got Phantom, Dick Tracey and Superman comics.  I remember getting into terrible trouble because I had drawn Dick Tracey's watch on my arm with biro and it wouldn't come off. 

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Now I have my own watch from Apple and the inventor was inspired by this very cartoon character.

 This was all when I was a little kid.  When I got into my early teens it wasn't so cool to read comics, but I still read them in secret and by this time the Marvel comics were starting to appear. 

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(source:http://www.allposters.com.au/-sp/Marvel-Comics-Retro-Hulk-Thor-Spider-Man-Wolverine-Captain-America-Iron-Man-and-Thing-posters_i13757635_.htm)

These appeared at about the same time I started reading Si Fi books and the two seemed to be related in my mind together with grafetti art. (I have a weird mind still!)  I have since discovered that my daughter has a huge collection of comics.  I don't remember talking to her about them, so it must be in the genes.

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http://theotaku.com/wallpapers/view/232165/to_make_history

Now of course, all the Marvel characters are on the movie screens and designers are making all those illustrations into 3 dimensional creations.  Watching these movies takes me right back to this time.

 

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Some more goodies.

I also picked up a couple of donations for the Guild Collection whilst I was in Toowoomba.  The first is an apron.  These were available through a newspaper back in the 1920's and 30's.  There are lots of them still around and are sort after by collectors.  This one has a lovely story attached to it.

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It belonged to the Donor's grandmother who had travelled to a country property to be a governess for the children of a widower.  She and he later married and had a family of their own.  This was her special occasion apron and the donor remembers her wearing it when she was a little girl.  Some of these aprons were only outline stitched,

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image from Pinterest

but others had the whole design stitched like this one.  It certainly makes the skirt come to life.

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The woman in the design has the look of Wallace Simpson, I don't know if this was deliberate.

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There is a pretty small design on the shawl and this is mirrored on the pocket.

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The apron even has the original safety pins used to attach it do the wearers dress.

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A bit of detective work

After the shock of the camera on my phone not working and then it just popping up again I can now write about some of the happenings on my weekend at Toowoomba as I can post some images.

One of the other women at the retreat asked me if I could find out about an old piece of clothing that her grandparents had brought to Australia from Poland.  This was the old Poland, when it's borders extended north and it was part of Imperial Russia pre WW1.  It was part of a child's dress that had been mostly hand made from parts of other clothing.  The most notable feature was the beading on the bodice and sleeves.

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There are two distinctly different types of beading. The first is on the yolk across the shoulders, and is stitched.

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The second is across the chest region and is woven.

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I suspect that they were taken from two separate garments.

The beading on the sleeves is similar to that on the shoulders but might have come from another garment altogether.

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The beading at the side of these panels has been sewn into the pintucking and although the beads are a good match in colour, there is a slight difference in the beads.

On the back of the beading you can see the construction method and the piecing.

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The designs have a Scandinavian look about them and I suspect that some of the original beading was part of a Saami (Lapland) costume.  If you look at the bands around the sleeves those animals look like deer of some kind.  The other hypothesis is that the maker copied some of the Saami designs.

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The Saami today mainly live in Norway and Sweden but there are others smaller groups that live in Finland and Russia.  Although I have no documentary proof I suspect that some of the beaded sections of this garment originate with the "Skolt Saami" or perhaps the Karelians who live in the same area.

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Source: Wikipeadia

I  had read that the yoked sweaters that we know today were originally taken from beading designs used in Greenland by the Saami.

There is one interesting little feature.  One the back of the yoke there was a pyramid of yellow beads on each side. I wonder if these were original or added later?

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So here sits a piece of a small dress that was obviously much prized as it was brought to the other side of the world.  The decorated section was cut off and packed away probably because it held memories of home.   So if you have a treasured piece make sure you write it's history so that we are not guessing where it came from or who made it.

 


WIPW

It's a bit out of shape as I have removed the fabric from the frame to start the back of the needle book but the front is finished.   Looks like I might have this embroidery finished in 2016.

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And oh boy do I have a list of other things to get on with. 

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Disaster!

The camera on my iphone no longer works.

My beloved phone which I take everywhere with me, how am I going to cope? 

It wasn't that long ago (2010) when I was saying that I would have to work out how to use the camera on my phone, now that it doesn't work it feels like a death in the family!  But there has to be an upside to this.  Like a new iphone 7plus in rose pink to match my Dick Tracey Watch!

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Bother, it just started working again.

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What happens when you go away

I spent this last weekend up at Toowoomba with quilting friends.  It was a lovely weekend.  I didn't get anything finished but I got quite a lot of things part finished.  Unfortunately they are all Xmas presents and are to be a surprise so they have to stay under wraps until the big day.  We set up in the library of one of the primary schools, which was a great venue.

The problem with that was that there were some interesting books on display.  They are now part of my library, or will be when they arrive from the Book Depository.  Monique will be 6 y.o. next birthday, which is a couple of days after Xmas, and I have promised that I will teach her to knit when she turns 6.  This book has some great projects for little knitters along with a host of other good stuff.

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When I got home my husband told me what a great weekend he had had.  (I wasn't there.)  And then I saw the Xmas tree.  It has all the decorations on it from the past 30 odd years.  He told he he found the old lights and had put them on the tree but then he found some new lights.  He then had to cut the old lights off the tree and there was this box of 6" lengths of lighting cable.  I turned the lights on and I thought the whole house was going to take off into outer space.  He has all these programs put in to control how the lights flash.  I do think he has descended into his second childhood.  I just hope the house doesn't disappear into the stratosphere!

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Embroidery Inspiration

Some time ago I started following the Swedish Embroidery Guild after reading about it on Queenies blog. There is always interesting things there, different from what you see on other sites.  One of the artists they talked about was Eva Nelander Junten.  Her website is called 'Colour, Form & Textiles.

She has some lovely images on her site.

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At first I thought that most of her stitching was by machine but a lot of it is hand stitched, beautifully.

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 Her work has a folk art touch to it you can see her work here & here.

The other thing that attracted my attention was embroidery inspired by Eucalyptus bark.  I look at these trees all day and have often thought they would make a good embroidery.

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This is perfect.

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