Once upon a time, I started writing my morning pages, a daily journalling ritual inspired by the book “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron. A few months later, on rereading my journal entries, I came to the conclusion that I mentioned knitting a lot, and that there was a big surge of knitting creativity inside of me. I started putting to paper a few designs I had in my head and started working on a new cardigan. Slowly, diligently, I began “3D printing” it the old-fashioned way, with knitting needles and yarn.
I finished it, wrote its instructions, had it tech edited and test knitted… and then life happened, I got scared, put my cardigan’s pattern away while exhausted by pregnancy and taking care of a newborn.
At the beginning of 2018, I set the goal of finally publishing this pattern. As scared as I felt of sharing it with the world, I felt more shame of having put so much effort, care and love into a project and not finally setting it free.
So I rolled up my sleeves and finished what I needed to finish: designing the layout of the pattern (I’m a graphic designer, and you know how it goes: “casa de ferreiro, espeto de pau”, as we say in Portuguese), publishing the PDF and setting up a ravelry shop.
I did all that, trying to keep my balance on the bouncy rope of fear of publishing and the shame of not publishing it. And voilà.
This is a loose-fitting cardigan with a body that is worked back and forth; starting with the right-front panel, then back panel and finally the left-front panel, all worked in one piece. Sleeves are worked in the round, picking up stitches from the armholes. The overlapping front panels give the garment a drapey front, which can be fastened with a pin (or buttons as per the instructions given in the pattern).
The yarn used is Trianon by Lopo Xavier, a shop located in the beautiful city of Porto, Portugal, that carries its own yarns. It is a light fingering, pure wool yarn that comes in a large assortment of colors and is available online.
I’ve been writing this post in my head for the last few weeks, mostly while nursing my baby girl, who was born on November 25th. As you can imagine, her safe arrival was the highlight of 2017, without a doubt. And so have been the last few weeks, spent in a state of loving hibernation, my heart a constant explosion of joy whenever I am with her and her older sister. After my previous experience, this post-partum period has been exceptionally smooth and joyful.
After this introduction, which could be called “the cherry on top”, let’s get to the muffin, shall we? 2017 was a pretty good year.
Work: In 2017, I had plenty of work to keep me busy. I taught knitting classes at Companhia das Agulhas. This is something I really enjoy, because I meet lots of interesting people. People of all ages come to my classes and everyone has an interesting story to share. Knitting is always more than only knitting: it’s a connection to elders in the family, it’s a therapy, it’s companionship. And those are the stories I like to discover and bring to the table while teaching stitches, increases, decreases.
I also worked at a tech company, AGORA Systems, as a documentation specialist. I organized, created standards and produced documentation for their software, while being integrated in the development team. I learned a lot as I settled in a team where all members were men, mostly younger than me, working within the agile methodology.
At the same time, I freelanced for several clients. I created designs and illustrations for different companies, in different countries. I had a lot of fun creating smartphone ad campaigns with my friend and colleague Joana Paz.
I created twelve new embroidery patterns for the air Embroidery Club, twelve designs that make me happy and proud, and showcase, at least to me, the progress I made during the year. The Club grew as new members joined. Apart from my human babies, the air Embroidery Club is my non-human baby, my creative baby. Seeing it grow and creating community is one of my biggest work-related joys.
Anita no Trabalho, the podcast my friend Eliana and I host together, is also one of my biggest work-related joys. We started the podcast almost two years ago by recording our own conversations about female entrepreneurship. There are several of such podcasts in English, but we knew none in Portuguese, and we wanted to fill that void. It has grown in audience and in scope, and we now have regular conversations with people we both admire about the issues that matter to us. We found out, via comments and feedback from the audience, that these issues matter to our listeners, too, and we couldn’t be happier about the space we have created, where we share experiences and grow together.
For fun: I sketched. My commute to work took one hour, of which 24 minutes were spent in the train. Those 24 minutes became my slice of time for doing things just because. I brought my knitting or my embroidery along for some time, and then I started sketching my fellow commuters. These sketches became one of the most fun exercises I have ever done, mostly because I was doing them just for the sake of it. Not because I was going to use them for a project, but just because I could. And doing things because I can, well, that’s the best.
Personal: I healthily gestated my baby girl and practiced yoga up to two days before giving birth. This pregnancy went by smoothly and diabetes-free. After my first pregnancy, I decided that if I were to be pregnant again, I would be determined to live it with joy, not fear of something going wrong. And so I did. Not that I didn’t know of all the things that could, indeed, go wrong, but because I decided to do so. Yoga and keeping a normal life were a big part of it; stopping work when I decided I should slow down and enjoy the last weeks of my pregnancy was also important. Having an older kid who needed care certainly helped, too.
During the year, I had lots of wonderful moments with family and friends. Our summer vacation took us on a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Malmö, Sweden. This trip included a reunion with my dear friend Rebecca, whom I hadn’t seen for… twenty years, maybe?. We enjoyed a lovely Summer day in her hometown, walking by the sea and sightseeing, all these with three young children who seemed to have a lot of fun playing with one another, even if they didn’t speak a common language. When we returned to Portugal, we spent the next two weeks at the beach with family and friends from abroad.
In September, to celebrate my mom’s birthday, the whole family spent a weekend hiking the Passadiços do Paiva. It’s an 8km walkway along the river Paiva, from which one can see a landscape otherwise inaccessible. Gorgeous, and very much worth the visit if you can.
I think that, as we grow older, it gets harder to meet new people and make new friends. However, I have found crafts to be a great catalyst for new friendships, and this year was no exception: I met new people to whom I feel connected and who energize me.
What I lost, and it came quite as a shock to me, to be honest, was my knitting mojo. This surprised me to no end: as soon as I got pregnant, I felt absolutely no desire to knit. I felt even a bit sick. No morning sickness, fortunately, but knitting sickness – oh yes. I kept teaching my knitting classes, as that thankfully didn’t make me sick; but I did not pick up the needles on my ongoing projects for several months. I crocheted a little blanket for my baby, though. My knitting mojo started to creep back in as my second trimester came to a close and Fall started to appear on the calendar. My eldest kid requested I made her and her sister matching sweaters, and I complied, and thus returned my knitting mojo. I’m now looking forward to making new (matching?) sweaters for me and the girls.
Speaking of looking forward, 2018 is the year I turn 40. So far, every new decade has been better than the previous one. This has been true for the last two decades and I want it to be true for as long as I live. My 30s did bring me a fair bit of sadness, but all in all I feel like I grew and learnt that what matters is how I face adversity, and not let myself believe that I am at the mercy of fate. I know I cannot control what happens to me (the death of my son being the most obvious example of that), but I can choose how I want to live a life that contains not only joy, but also frustration, sadness and loss. And I chose then, and choose now, to live a happy life, not because only happy things happen to me, but because I choose to live that way despite of the bad things that happen to me and around me. This has been the major lesson I learnt during my 30s, and it is priceless.
So, to celebrate the year I turn 40, I decided I wouldn’t restrict celebrations to just one day (my birthday). I want to celebrate year round – and why? Again, because I can. I gave it a lot of thought and decided that I am going to run (or walk, if that is the case) a 10k race every month this year, starting on March 4th. I will be three months and a bit post-partum, so I’m being gentle with my goal setting. I want to complete each new 10k I run in less time than the previous one. I’m not setting a specific time goal, but I want to know that I will be improving with each month of training and experience.
In the year I turn 40, I also want to finally release the knitting pattern I designed. It is written, tech edited and tested by lovely knitters. The only thing missing: layout, exporting the pdf and releasing it on ravelry. I hope setting this goal and sharing it with you will keep me accountable and help me achieve it.
Another goal of mine is to grow the air Embroidery Club. It has been running for four years now and it has grown, but not as steadily as I would like. This year, I want to introduce a few changes that will make it easier for members to join and have an overall better experience.
I also want to start selling some of the embroidered originals I have. These were made with love and care, and I think it’s time for them to find joy in new homes.
How about you? Did you make a recap of your 2017? Did you set goals for 2018? Please share in the comments, or send me an e-mail.
…and so 2016 has come to an end. We are now less than two weeks away from 2017, and I have to say this year has officially flown by me. Just yesterday it was Easter break, and we were in Florence climbing the Duomo stairs, and now it’s Winter again.
This was a good, busy year. Work has kept me elsewhere (you can follow me on Instagram, where I still post regularly), entertained with many new challenges, but some things remain the same: my knitting, my embroidery, my beautiful city of Lisbon.
This was the year I launched my podcast with my friend Eliana about female entrepreneurship, Anita no Trabalho. We’re very proud of it.
I started working at two new places; after the adjustment period, I’m now loving the different challenges they bring around. Through these two projects, I have met many new people, some of them I now call friends.
I’ve been dragging my feet on releasing my first (well, second) knitwear design pattern – insecurity, mostly. It will be coming in January, I’m promising myself, because no one is more let down when I procrastinate on sharing my creative projects with the world than myself. So. There. Now I said it.
In the meantime, I wish you all happy holidays. This year I’m very much delighted by the coincidence of the first night of Hanukkah and Christmas. And to everyone, even those not celebrating, I wish much peace, love and embroidery (or knitting).
E eis que sem saber ler nem escrever chegamos ao fim do ano de 2016. Este ano voou. Ainda ontem estávamos a subir as escadas do Duomo, em Florença, nas férias da Páscoa. E agora já é inverno outra vez.
Este foi um ano bom, muito ocupado. Tenho estado muito entretida com projectos de trabalho longe do blog (podem seguir-me no Instagram, onde vou partilhando imagens com mais frequência), novos desafios, mas há coisas que continuam sempre iguais: o tricot, o bordado, a minha querida cidade de Lisboa.
2016 foi o ano em que a minha querida Eliana e eu lançámos o podcast Anita no Trabalho, um podcast em português sobre empreendedorismo no feminino. Penso que falo por ambas quando digo que temos muito orgulho neste projecto.
Comecei a trabalhar em dois lugares diferentes, e após um período de adaptação, estou a adorar os novos desafios. Através destes dois projectos, conheci várias pessoas novas, algumas das quais hoje já considero amigas.
Tenho estado a adiar o lançamento da minha primeira (vá, segunda) receita de tricot. É do meu casaco cinzento que já usei tantas e tantas vezes (aliás, tenho vestido neste preciso momento. Sempre que se trata de um projecto criativo meu, tenho tendência a arrastar os pés… insegurança, claro. Mas vou aqui e agora fazer um pacto comigo mesmo: sai em Janeiro de 2017!
E por agora desejo a todos Boas Festas! Este ano, a primeira noite do Hanukkah calha precisamente na véspera de Natal. De alguma forma, esta coincidência faz-me sentir mais próxima de quem celebra coisas diferentes das minhas, e faz-me acreditar que a paz e a convivência em harmonia são possíveis (não há a menor relação causa-efeito entre a coincidência e a paz no mundo, mas deixem-me sonhar à vontade). A todos vocês, quer celebrem uma festa este fim-de-semana, ou não, desejo paz, amor e muito bordado (e tricot).
I’ve been incredibly busy, but also happy to feel that my skills are being challenged in different ways. On the one hand, I’ve been learning a lot about how to talk about knitting. It’s much easier to teach by showing than by talking about it, and yet there is so much that needs to be transmitted to the person who is learning that it is, indeed, necessary to find a way to talk about it. I feel that I have learned a lot about talking about knitting in a way that is easier to understand to a beginner – and this, of course, is thanks to my students, who have posed the most interesting questions, showing me the way to become a better teacher.
My other new job as a documentation specialist is very much a job as a “translator”, in the sense that I try to convert a mostly tech language into a more broadly understood language. It’s been fun, and challenging, and eye-opening, too.
November was also the month we had the Web Summit happen here in Lisbon, for the first time. It was amazing, stimulating, a wonderful learning opportunity. Eliana and I compiled our thoughts in the latest Anita no Trabalho podcast episode (in Portuguese only, sorry!)
In the meantime, November is here, almost gone, and today I was finally able to put together a fun stop motion animation of this month’s air Embroidery Club project. Hope you like it!
Estas últimas semanas têm passado a correr. Esta ilusão do tempo que foge é precipitada por uma causa: ter começado a trabalhar em dois novos projectos. Um, como formadora de tricot na Companhia das Agulhas, perto da Gulbenkian (paralelamente aos meus workshops de tricot aqui no atelier, cuja página foi actualizada com novas datas). Sinto que tenho aprendido todo um mundo sobre como falar e ensinar a tricotar. Isto, porque sobre tricot é mais fácil demonstrar do que teorizar – e no entanto, para quem aprende, é necessário estabelecer uma estrutura, ainda que pequena, de conhecimento teórico sobre malha.
O outro projecto a que me dediquei é um novo desafio para mim. Estou a trabalhar numa empresa de software como especialista de documentação, que é uma forma de dizer que compilo e transformo a documentação técnica em documentação compreensível por todos. Tem sido uma experiência muito boa.
Este mês, a revista Prevenir traz um artigo sobre os benefícios do tricot. Vale a pena ler o trabalho da jornalista Catarina Baguinho, com quem conversei sobre este tema que tanto me apaixona. Vem também recomendado o livro da Zélia Évora “A terapia do tricot”, um livro muito completo, particularmente adequado a quem está a começar.
Já sabem que para mim o tricot é uma viagem só de ida, e aqui se conta porque é que penso assim: por um lado, a malha traz-nos para o aqui e para o agora, fazendo-nos esquecer um pouco as preocupações do dia-a-dia. Por outro, à medida que vamos vendo o tecido a crescer debaixo das agulhas, sentimos aquela satisfação que se tem ao olhar para trás e ver o caminho percorrido.
Também foi a primeira vez que falei em público sobre levar o tricot para reuniões de brainstorming, pois noto que tenho muito mais facilidade em produzir e associar ideias quando tenho as mãos ocupadas com a malha. Não vos vou mentir: foi uma ideia que hesitei em partilhar por não ser muito convencional, por poder ser alvo de gozo, mas que me parece de facto importante – e por isso a partilhei.
O número de Abril já está nas bancas e vale bem a pena: para além do artigo sobre os benefícios do tricot, vem também um artigo sobre os “Filhos da ciência” (título do livro da jornalista Sandra Moutinho sobre a sua história de luta contra a infertilidade), muita informação sobre saúde e alimentação e ainda um plano de exercícios que, como vem sendo hábito desde há dois anos, é ilustrado por mim.
This month, Prevenir magazine has an article about the benefits of knitting. It was an honor to participate in it and share my thoughts on how knitting helps to slow down and destress with journalist Catarina Baguinho. I also shared why I bring my knitting to brainstorming meetings: it helps me produce more ideas and associate them in a different, freer way than when I’m not knitting. This was something I was reluctant to share, to tell you the truth, given that it’s a somewhat unconventional idea. In the end, I think it may be a helpful change, so I decided to go forward with it.
This month’s issue is packed full of interesting information besides this article; it also features a story on infertility (another topic close to my heart) and has an exercise plan that was illustrated by me (as has been for the past two years).
A few days ago, I was running late to my yoga class – a project for a new client had just landed on my desk and I was caught in a meeting with my partner. So when I left for yoga, I didn’t have the time I usually allow myself to get there on my calm pace: I had to run!
But at some point I felt something stopping me on my tracks. At first, I didn’t quite understand what had just happened to me. But then I realized my lovely, long, feels-like-a-warm-hug-sleeping-bag cardigan got caught in a parked car. I wanted to sob! This has been my go-to cardigan ever since I got it, and although it isn’t handmade, I love it almost as much as if it were.
Há uns dias, ia eu para a minha aula de yoga um pouco em cima da hora, senti um puxão no meu casaco. Não!! Tinha ficado preso num carro! Foi com absoluto horror que olhei para o meu casaco-que-mais-parece-um-saco-cama (de tão confortável que é) e vi que tinha um grande buraco lá no meio. Apeteceu-me chorar!
Hi everyone, this week I decided to shake things up a bit here.
To be very transparent, I’ve been working hard to grow the air Embroidery Club. This is a project I truly, deeply believe in, because it not only challenges me to learn and create new things (and, hopefully, other members, too), it creates a lovely community where experiences and techniques are shared and new friendships are forged.
At its inception, I thought that the Club would be a good way to share with others what I’m passionate about: the power of creating beauty around you with your own hands; slowing down and carving time to be with one’s own thoughts; the enjoyment of the process and the gratification given by the final product. And mostly: taking care of yourself and your well-being through beauty and calm.
But now, two and half years later, I see that it’s so much more than that: it’s about sharing inspiration and experiences; it’s about feeling empowered to try new (to us) techniques, to connecting dots in a new way. It’s about meaningful connection in this online world.
Because I would like to share this with all of you, I want to invite you to join the air Embroidery Clubfree for the first month. At the end of the first month, you get to decide whether you join for six months (60€+VAT) or twelve months (100€+VAT) or not. How about that?
P.S. Above you can see last February’s embroidery in the making.
Olá, olá! Esta semana trago-vos algo de diferente… deixem-me explicar. 🙂
Para ser transparente convosco, tenho feito grandes esforços no intuito de fazer crescer o Clube de Bordado air. Este é um projecto em que acredito, porque não só me leva a experimentar e aprender coisas novas (e aos outros membros, espero, também), como também cria uma comunidade onde a partilha de várias experiências e técnicas nos enriquece a todos.
No início, pensei que o Clube seria uma boa forma de partilhar as minhas paixões convosco, a saber: o poder de criar beleza à nossa volta, com as nossas próprias mãos; abrandar o ritmo frenético dos nossos dias para, com um bordado nas mãos, nos sentarmos com agulha, fio e os nossos pensamentos; a alegria do processo e a gratificação de chegar ao produto final. Mas sobretudo, o poder de cuidarmos do nosso bem-estar através de intencionalmente criar beleza e calma à nossa volta.
Dois anos e meio volvidos, noto que o Clube traz muito mais que isso: traz partilha de experiências, de técnicas e de conhecimentos; traz uma sensação de satisfação ao experimentarmos coisas que antes não pensávamos poder fazer, relacionando diferentes elementos de formas novas para nós. Mas, sobretudo, o Clube promove um ambiente de amizade entre os membros, unidos pela sua paixão comum.
Quero poder partilhar isto com todos vocês, e por isso faço aqui o convite para se juntarem ao Clube de Bordado air de forma gratuita durante o primeiro mês. No final do primeiro mês, poderá decidir se quer aderir durante seis meses (60€+IVA) ou doze meses (100€+IVA), ou não. Que tal?
If there’s something I like seeing in an artist’s work is the behind the scenes process. I love seeing the making of a finished piece, because it not only adds layers of meaning to a finished piece, it also unveils the steps, the doubts, the leaps, from inception to finished object.
And because I love seeing the steps, I also share the steps behind my own projects. And here, today, you can see how a sketch I made will become March’s embroidery at the air Embroidery Club.
When I start thinking about a suitable design for the air Embroidery Club, I look for a story that can be told in a small area, that of the embroidery hoop. Not all sketches are suitable, as some of them tell only a small part of a story (maybe a tiny detail, too little to make sense in an embroidered piece). So I browse my sketchbooks looking for candidates.
This month, I picked a sketch I made a few weeks ago in a beautiful place near my studio, the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara. From here you get to see a beautiful panorama of my city, with the castle and the river in the background. When I made the sketch, I quickly captured some visitors that came and went, and even a naughty pigeon who wanted to be part of the group.
When I start embroidering the sketch, I make decisions about which strokes are important and which are “noise” when it comes to embroidery. Some of the pen strokes that help understand the context of the scene become “noise” when embroidered. I remove those strokes to get a “cleaner” embroidery template.
I share the process, the doubts and the leaps over on my Instagram account. Until I get to the finished piece, which I photograph and add to the final pdf embroidery template active members of the air Embroidery Club receive.
The final embroidered pieces become different things: this one is being worked on a cushion cover from ikea I’m filling with embroidered sketches of Lisbon. It will become a Lisbon-themed cushion. (I have several embroidered pieces waiting to see the light of day, maybe being shown in an art show and sold to new, loving homes, but this one will become a one-off mosaic of Lisbon scenes.)
That’s all for today! Have a great weekend – and happy stitching!
Se há coisa que gosto de ver no trabalho dos artistas é o “making of”, o processo por detrás do produto acabado. Gosto, mas gosto mesmo. Porque quando vemos o produto acabado, vemos uma coisa terminada. Intuímos o trabalho que ali está, mas sem certezas. Achamos que a versão final foi sempre linda e perfeita, imaculada. No fundo, concentramo-nos no objecto final, e não no processo que o viu nascer. E eu adoro o processo, isto porque passo tanto tempo no processo, que se não o amasse seria certamente mais infeliz.
É por isso que gosto de ir partilhando o percurso entre a génese de uma ideia e o objecto final. E aqui, hoje, mostro-vos o desenho inicial, que estou de momento a bordar e a preparar para ser o projecto de Março no Clube de Bordado air.
Quando penso num projecto para o Clube de Bordado, penso em algo que possa ser representado numa dimensão pequena, e que no fundo conte uma história dentro da área do bastidor. Nem todos os desenhos servem esse propósito. Daqui, vou espreitar os desenhos que tenho nos meus caderninhos, ver quais se poderiam adequar.
Este mês, fui buscar um desenho que fiz há umas semanas no miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara, uma perspectiva da vista e dos visitantes que se foram acercando para a observar. Ao bordar, vou percebendo que elementos posso retirar do desenho: a verdade é que há vários traços que ajudam a contar uma história no desenho, mas que no bordado só adicionam “ruído”. Esses detalhes saem.
À medida que vou bordando, vou registando o processo e partilhando fotos, dúvidas e reflexões na minha conta no Instagram. Até que chegamos ao produto final, que fotografo para constar na receita de bordado, em pdf, que os membros activos do Clube recebem.
Quanto aos bordados finais, esses, têm fins diferentes. Este que aqui vêem está a ser feito numa fronha de almofada de sofá que comprei no ikea, que estou a encher de desenhos lisboetas. Em vez de ir parar a um tecido solto, que depois acaba por ficar guardado no armário (tenho tantos à espera de uma exposição, ou de serem vendidos para irem para novas casas), estas fronhas ficam sentadas no meu sofá, onde as posso ver todos os dias.
Quanto ao bordado final – vejam no Instagram, Facebook, ou juntem-se ao Clube de Bordado para receberem a respectiva receita, muitas mais fotos do processo e instruções passo-a-passo no próximo dia 1.
A few days ago, I was waiting for a client’s response and had a few minutes for a pause. I grabbed the knitting I have in my studio – a pair of socks – and added a few more rows. Not much, really, but as I moved from one section of the sock to the next, I looked at what I had accomplished and felt a sense of wonder, and surprise. The sock was much longer than I remembered it to be, which was specially impressive given that I work on it only when I have a few moments to spare. Read more
When my grandma taught me to knit, three decades ago, she couldn’t have guessed how important it would become in my life. I remember knitting scarves full of dropped stitches, and telling grandma: “I can knit with my eyes closed!” Knitting was something I did with my grandmother, and when we moved from the outskirts of Lisbon, Portugal, to live in Macau, South of China, I didn’t pick up the needles again. Adolescence struck, along with the 90s, and knitting faded to the background, giving way to checked shirts and Doc Martens boots.
It wasn’t until my late twenties, when I was living in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that I thought about knitting again. With some basics from my mom and a yarn shop near my apartment, soon I was using knitting needles again. Ravelry, a social network for knitters and crocheters, had been just launched, and through it I met people and made new friends.
I have moved twice since those days, and I still treasure knitting as a way to improve my well-being. Sharing that joy is what led me to start teaching others how to knit. We gather in small groups, on Saturday mornings, between yarn and needles, talking all things stitches.
Students arrive early in the morning, a bit nervous and shy. Some apologize in advance, believing they might not be able to learn; they feel it must be difficult to turn a single thread into a solid piece of fabric.
We start by winding the yarn and casting on, allowing our hands, not our minds, to learn the gestures. We wrap the yarn around our fingers and behind the neck, as our grandmothers did, and we start purling. Stitch by stitch, we work through the row. When purling becomes easy, we go on to knitting, then ribbing. Amid childhood memories of a grandmother or aunt who made booties or a scarf, a small miracle happens: with a pair of sticks and a bit of thread, fabric starts to grow out of the needles. That is the point of no return, when students realize they, too, can make something out of nothing.
Being part of this small miracle brings a sense of community to everyone in the room. We now have a common thread that connects us, one that is defined by slowing down and taking the time to make things with our own two hands. We become partners in a slow process, one that allows time for thought, movement and creativity. Knitting becomes a “passport”, one that shows us new worlds.
Last Saturday, January 9th, was one of those days. We shared a morning learning, connecting, recovering childhood memories and remembering those who knitted around us when we were just kids.
There will be another workshop on January 30th, and I hope you’ll want to join us and be part of the magic. (More info + sign up here.)
Quando a minha avó materna me ensinou a tricotar, há três décadas, não poderia imaginar a importância que iria ter, mais tarde, na minha vida. Lembro-me de tricotar cachecóis intermináveis em liga, cheios de malhas caídas, e anunciar, feliz e orgulhosa, que já sabia tricotar de olhos fechados! A malha era algo que fazia com a minha avó, e quando nos mudámos dos arredores de Lisboa para a nossa nova vida em Macau, não voltei a pegar nas agulhas. Veio a adolescência, chegaram os anos 90, e o grunge, as camisas aos quadrados e as botas Doc Martens ocuparam o panorama. O tricot, esse, perdeu-se na penumbra da memória.
Só na segunda metade dos meus vintes, já a viver em Buenos Aires, na Argentina, é que voltei a pensar no assunto. Com umas lições da minha mãe e uma loja de lãs perto de casa, passado pouco tempo estava a tricotar. Nessa altura surgiu também o Ravelry, uma rede social de tricot e crochet, que me permitiu conhecer mais pessoas e fazer amigos na minha nova cidade.
Desde então já me mudei duas vezes, e continuo a considerar o tricot como uma excelente forma de promover o meu bem-estar. Partilhar a alegria que o tricot me traz foi o que me levou a organizar workshops de tricot e a ensinar pessoas a tricotar. Juntamo-nos em pequenos grupos, ao Sábado de manhã, e entre lã e agulhas se passa o tempo.
Os alunos chegam cedo, por vezes nervosos, um pouco envergonhados. Alguns começam por pedir desculpa, pensam que provavelmente não irão conseguir aprender; muitos acreditam que transformar um simples fio em tecido deve ser demasiado complicado para aprender.
Começamos por dobar as meadas em novelos, e depois montar as malhas. São as mãos, e não o intelecto, que têm que aprender o movimento. Depois passamos o fio à volta do pescoço, tal como faziam as nossas avós, e começamos a aprender a fazer liga. Malha a malha, avançamos pela agulha até chegar ao final da carreira. Quando a liga se torna fácil, passamos à meia, e daí ao canelado. Entre memórias da avó ou da tia que tricotava (ou, no meu caso, dos relatos do avô que fazia as suas próprias meias), acontece um pequeno milagre: com apenas um par de agulhas e um fio começa a crescer tecido debaixo das agulhas. E esse é ponto sem retorno, o ponto em que os alunos se apercebem de que também eles podem criar algo a partir do nada.
Ser parte deste pequeno milagre traz uma sensação de comunhão, de partilha de algo especial como todos os que ali estamos. Temos um fio que nos liga uns aos outros e que se define por conscientemente abrandarmos e nos deleitarmos com o prazer de podermos criar novos projectos com as nossas próprias mãos. Tornamo-nos parceiros num processo lento, que pelas suas características nos permite abrandar, ter tempo para pensar, para deixar a mente deambular, para criar. O tricot transforma-se num “passaporte” que nos abre novos mundos.
O Sábado passado foi um desses dias especiais em que houve workshop aqui no atelier. Começámos a manhã a aprender, a trocar experiências e memórias das nossas infâncias, daqueles que à nossa volta faziam malha. A hora de almoço chegou sem repararmos, e não fossem as barrigas a dar horas se calhar ainda lá estávamos… 🙂
(Uma versão deste post foi publicada no número 27 (do Outono de 2015) da revista Uppercase. Se ainda não conhece esta revista, não hesite em visitar o site! É uma revista trimestral canadiana dedicada a tudo o que é criativo. Vale mesmo a pena! Visite o site da Uppercase.)
My last post was a roundup in pictures of my year of 2015. Today’s post is another kind of roundup: it’s 2015 in embroidery. These were the projects I created for the air Embroidery Club. Most come from sketches on my sketchbook, some are observation sketches, some are patterns borne out of doodles. But they were all ways for me to learn and experiment new techniques. If you’re curious about the Club, click here. If you want to learn how to embroider (free!), register here.
This sketch was made during a trip to Mexico, where VW Beetles are a common presence. Mexico was a treat for the senses, with all its colors and spices.
This embroidery was made on a typical “chita de Alcobaça”, and it is based on a sketch inspired by my hometown of Lisbon, Portugal.
This floral design was made to remind me that Spring was just around the corner. And it came early, as soon as I started embroidering this project.
This was one of my favorite projects to date: although challenging (working with metallic floss took some trial and error), it was very fulfilling to both my mind and my senses, as it created a delightful texture on the fabric.
In May, I tried to create a deep, full texture with very few elements: one color, one stitch, one element repeated. I loved how this project turned out.
In June, I repurposed a tunic that was bound for the recycling bin.
In July I dreamed of childhood summers, with endless days at the beach, playing with the waves and building sand castles.
In August, I embroidered a sketch made in Sortelha, Portugal, one of the historical villages along the border with Spain.
In September, I played a bit with cross stitch and other filling stitches in this door I sketched a few years ago in Casco Viejo, Panama.
In October, my embroidery took me back to the sunset on my friend’s balcony back in Macau, where I spent my teenage years and revisited in April 2015.
November’s project was based on a sketch I made right outside my studio.
You know how there is “comfort food”? Well, this was my “comfort embroidery”, to be shared with members of the air Embroidery Club in the month of December.
É verdade, gosto mesmo de ensinar as pessoas a tricotar. Gosto da metamorfose subtil que se opera nas quatro horas de workshop, desde a insegurança inicial até ao processo alquímico que se dá na sala quando as malhas começam a sair e as voltas crescem debaixo das agulhas. Gosto de ver o entusiasmo das pessoas que, da concentração absoluta no que as mãos estão a fazer, passam – sem notar – a “fazer malha” sem olhar, enquanto conversam. E adoro quando dão conta disso, quando de repente se apercebem que conseguem fazer algo que não sabiam se iriam conseguir. É muito bom! Por isso, terei todo o gosto de receber quem quiser vir aprender este Sábado (há mais datas marcadas, esta é apenas a primeira), aqui com a melhor vista sobre Lisboa.
It’s the truth: I love to teach people how to knit. I love the subtle metamorphosis happening between the moment students arrive, in the morning, feeling a bit insecure and the moment they leave. In the middle, there’s an alchemic process that happens: that moment when stitches start to happen and rows start growing under the needles. I love the enthusiasm, the full concentration on what hands are doing, and the moment people realize that they have learned how to knit and purl, for now they can even manage to keep a conversation while knitting. It’s amazing when students realize that they could, indeed, learn something they weren’t sure they would be able to.
That’s why I’m looking forward to having you this Saturday here with me, learning, stitching and enjoying the best view over Lisbon.
Also pictured, the shawl I’m knitting for my Prince, who used to “lift” my shawls from my drawer. This one is really, really for you (borrowing your shawl may or may not happen in the future; I’m not saying that it will, but I’m not denying it either. 😉 ). Pattern, needle and yarn details on ravelry.