What I’ve been up to


My knit slippers ready to be popped into the washing machine to be felted. It’s from an Aldi kit, which came with roving (100% wool for felting) and 5 x 8mm bamboo needles. Here I’ve seamed the heel with the seam on the outside intentionally, because I don’t want to feel the seam when I slip my foot into it. The plan is to add buttons when those flaps have shrunk a bit.
My knitting friend is using a similar house slipper pattern to teach her daughter to knit. I’ve written here, why a scarf isn’t the best thing for a beginner to knit. This (or similar) shoe will teach her how to knit and purl flat, then join and knit in the round,  how to add another colour if you want stripes (I prefer two-toned), how to decrease towards the toe and to weave in ends. That’s even more basics than a hat! Who knew!

What I’ve been up to: I went to the Holland Cloth Market (Holländische Stoffmarkt), This is a travelling market that takes place in several big cities all over Germany twice a year, in Spring and in August. Every weekend, they’re in a different city, but if you plan for it, as many many hobby sewists do, there’s a wide variety of cloth and sewing equipment for household or personal sewing.
This year I got

Fabric, pinking shears (zig-zag scissors), sashiko thread and needles and a bit of cotton

I’m quite pleased to say that I churned out my new cushion slipcovers fairly quickly one afternoon in out midterm break.  I used both sides of the fabric. I just love that honeycomb motif. Has a very understated midcentury feel to it.


I haven’t started the sashiko yet, although I’ve been doing a lot of research on it. I discovered that it’s been part of an intense Internet discussion on cultural appropriation.
Which makes me think back to a lovely young German woman, with whom I chatted at the Stoffmarkt. She was out shopping with her mom and she was wearing a kimono. She told me that her kimono was very warm (she didn’t need a jacket, as we all did)  and she was thrilled to wear it. She also told me that although she had sewn a kimono before, the one she was wearing was purchased (I assume from a Japanese kimono producer). I was so glad she was in “little” Karlsruhe and not some place where someone would rip it off her or try to shame her for “culturally appropriating” a Japanese kimono.
There’s a difference between a company using a culturally significant pattern, design or technique to make money without sharing credit/recognition and an individual being lambasted for being interested in another culture.

The rampant discussions of cultural appropriation are just starting to trickle down through mainstream media coverage but have not yet really hit mainstream consciousness here in Germany yet. It could get unpleasant, because Germans love to travel, and they love to support local craftspeople and artisans. They love trying new cuisine and trying their hand at cooking it.  I’ve been in people’s homes and heard about lovely holidays while being shown wallhangings, cravings and pictures from Canada, Thailand and other far-flung places.

Now Sashiko has been on my radar for a while, because I’m interested in mending and beauty. Upcyclestitches has a lovely website on all things Sashiko with a tutorial and YarnStories’ podcast interview with Jessica Marquez, author of the little book Make and Mend.


Coryn Fashion Leipzig: Boot “Flora’s Present”, Italy/Germany 2017. Photo: Karola Bauer/source: grassimuseum.de

And since we’re on the subject of embroidery, The Grassi Museum of Applied Arts in Leipzig is showing a special exhibition called “History in Fashion: 1500 years of embroidery in fashion” until March 2020.


Have a great weekend, and happy crafting.

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