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.
October is here! Last Saturday, members of the air Embroidery Club received the template for this project in their inboxes. I took lots of pictures of the process wanting to make a stop motion animation to show you all a bit more about it.
You may notice that the colors are not those I usually go for when planning a new embroidery. Well, even the floss is different, as I used linen instead of the usual pearl cotton no. 8 from DMC.
There’s a story to this, as you may imagine! Last April, I visited All You Knit is Love in Barcelona. This is a local yarn shop ran by two really nice people. While shopping, I talked and talked (and talked) to one of the owners, who was helpful and knowledgeable and introduced me to the idea of knitting with linen. Curious? Meet Purlwise, their exclusive line of linen for knitting.
I bought myself two skeins of Purlwise linen, along with two skeins of Knitwise (their 100% alpaca yarn). And came home to Lisbon. I started knitting a cardigan for my daughter while hoping the yarn would be enough – and as you may guess, it wasn’t.
So I went on to order more yarn. I waited (impatiently) for the mail to arrive and when it did… it had a few goodies for me! Two mini skeins of Purlwise linen in these beautiful colors you see here.
I loved stitching with these. This yarn has four strands; I picked two apart and used them double. While I was stitching, I watched all the videos the ladies over at Clube do Bordado made – and adopted many of their techniques. I’m now a huge fan of theirs! (Clube do Bordado is a collective of women artists from Brazil who express themselves through embroidery. They publish video tutorials periodically and they’re great fun to watch.)
This project encases many things for me: new materials (linen instead of cotton), new friendships (thanks Jen for sending these mini skeins!), new techniques (thank you, ladies at Clube do Bordado!), new colors in my palette. In a nutshell, it means new, renewal, opening myself to what is new in life.
And for many of you the arrival of Fall may mean less sunlight, or colder weather. But to me? It means new beginnings, a renewal, a sort of going back indoors, and inwards, and having time to being with myself and finding out where I want to go.
Hope you have a wonderful Fall – or Spring, if you’re down south! Hope you’ll want to embrace something new and join us over at the air Embroidery Club.
Olá a todos! (e eu que pensava que vinha aqui ao site partilhar um pequeno vídeo do “making of” do projecto de Outubro no Clube de Bordado air – vai daí escrevo um testamento…)
Outubro já cá está! No Sábado passado, os membros do Clube de Bordado air receberam o seu projecto deste mês. Enquanto o preparava, tirei muuuuitas fotografias, para poder fazer uma pequena animação a documentar o processo.
Em primeiro lugar, os leitores mais atentos poderão notar que há algo de diferente neste projecto! A começar pelas cores, que não são as que habitualmente uso nos meus bordados. Nem mesmo o fio é o mesmo: em vez do Cotton Perlé da DMC usei um linho especial que uma nova amiga me ofereceu.
Claro que há uma história por trás, como já devem imaginar… e nem vou esperar mais um instante para vo-la contar. Em Abril passado, visitei a loja de fios para tricot All You Knit is Love, em Barcelona. Para além da loja ser linda, os donos são ainda mais encantadores. No local estava um deles, com quem falei (e falei) e que me tentou a experimentar tricotar com linho. Mostrou-me a game de linhos que têm, chamada Purlwise, com uma gama de cores muito ampla.
Trouxe duas meadas de Purlwise, bem como duas meadas de Knitwise (um fio 100% alpaca). Assim que cheguei, comecei logo um casaco em alpaca para a minha filha, enquanto torcia os dedos para que o fio fosse suficiente – não foi, claro.
Daí que tive de encomendar mais alpaca, para ser enviada pelo correio, e procedi a montar guarda à minha caixa de correio, qual perdigueiro. No dia em que chegou, foi com muita alegria que descobri duas mini meadas de Purlwise dentro da encomenda, nestas cores lindas que aqui vêem.
Foi um prazer bordar com este fio. Composto por 4 fios mais finos, separei-os dois a dois e usei-os dobrados. Enquanto bordava, vi avidamente os vídeos das meninas di Clube do Bordado – e adoptei algumas das suas técnicas. Fiquei fã!! (O Clube do Bordado é um colectivo de artistas brasileiras que usam o bordado como meio de expressão. Publicam vídeos com lições passo-a-passo de várias técnicas de bordado, que para além de pedagógicos são também muito divertidos.)
Este projecto representa para mim o abraçar de várias coisas novas na minha vida: novos materiais (linho, em vez do habitual fio de algodão que costumo usar), novas técnicas (obrigada, meninas do Clube de Bordado), novas cores na minha paleta. Resumindo, este projecto representa algo de novo, de renovação, de fazer espaço, dentro de mim, para o que há de novo na minha vida.
E se para muitos de vocês a chegada do Outono pode significar menos luz solar, ou mais frio, para mim o Outono é um novo início, um regresso a um tempo mais introspectivo em que posso decidir que quero experimentar de novo na minha vida.
Espero que tenham um excelente Outono – ou Primavera, se estiverem no Sul! Se quiserem abraçar um novo desafio, espero-vos no Clube de Bordado air.
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!
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
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.
I like routines. I love them, actually. I love the security they give me, the feeling of knowing what comes next. I like to see the same faces in the bus, each morning; I like to look outside and be able to tell the time, just by gauging the luminosity. I like predictability, I like to have patterns framing my days.
But there are moments when breaking these beloved routines is the best – and most enjoyable – thing possible. Yesterday, I was sitting in front of the computer, feeling stuck and dry and something needed to be done about that. I decided to head home, but instead of taking my usual, direct path, I wandered through streets I never passed before.
I carried my head looking up and my eyes wide open and noticed anything that was different – a lot was different, just by taking a different route. My rule: avoid the streets I already know, take those that I don’t.
While walking, I noticed the Bougainvillea right next door sports flowers with two different colors. Or… are these two intertwined plants?
I found cone-shaped rook, like a fairy tale castle, smack in the middle of Lisbon, a stone’s throw away from my studio.
I crossed a little square, and found a beautiful dry well, hidden in plain sight, just a few steps away from a main avenue I often walk.
While I walked, I felt that little child that lives within me jumping with joy, looking at those potted flowers, that beautiful sign, the wonderful house surrounded by buildings. When I got home, my legs were tired, but my well was filled with creative energy.
Eu gosto de rotinas. Gosto. Gosto da segurança das rotinas, de saber o que vem a seguir. Gosto de encontrar as mesmas caras no autocarro, gosto de saber as horas olhando só para a luminosidade exterior, gosto de padrões previsíveis que se repetem e que enquadram os meus dias.
Mas momentos há em que gosto de quebrar essas rotinas, e de fazer algo completamente diferente do habitual. E então ontem, ontem mesmo, estava num daqueles momentos em que já não adiantava nada em frente do computador e decidi que precisava de ar. Arrumei as minhas coisas e preparei-me para ir para casa. E assim foi: fiz-me ao caminho, sem pressa, e por ruas por onde não costumo ir.
Fui de olhos bem abertos e de cabeça bem atenta a tudo o que era diferente, inesperado. A minha regra: escolher a rua desconhecida, caminhando na direcção de casa, mas não pelo caminho mais directo.
Neste passeio, notei que a buganvília mesmo aqui ao lado tem flores de duas cores – ou serão duas buganvílias juntas?
Encontrei um telhado cónico, qual torre de castelo de fadas, bem aqui no centro da cidade.
Passei por largos que nunca tinha visitado, e encontrei uma fonte, escondida, ainda que perfeitamente à vista, a dois passos de uma avenida onde passo frequentemente.
Enquanto caminhava, sentia a criança dentro de mim aos saltinhos, a apontar para aquele canteiro de flores, para aquele sinal luminoso, para aquela moradia ali, no meio dos prédios da cidade. Cheguei a casa cansada, mas cheia de energia criativa.
O bordado de Novembro do Clube de Bordado air, baseado num desenho da vista que tenho aqui do Príncipe Real, já está em caixas de correio por todo o mundo. Ainda vai a tempo de a bordar, também! Basta aderir ao Clube.
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.