Thursday 24 April 2014


The past few years I’ve seen lots of people in Sweden making so called babynests. It’s a clever thing to create a cosy sleeping spot for babies, where they don’t have to feel exposed on a big, empty space, like in a cot. It’s also supposed to be safer to co-sleep with baby in a babynest than without, and you can put it pretty much anywhere, or bring it along when travelling. It is, I believe, originally developed for babies in neonatal units, but have since been adapted for healthy, full term babies as well.

I wanted to make one when I was expecting B, but never got round to it. I improvised with a rolled up blanket in a pillowcase, which worked all right, but this time I wanted the real thing. As we have three floors in our house, and I like to keep my babies close, I want an easily moved sleeping place. I used this description (only in Swedish) for a starting point, but deviated slightly. For one thing I hand stitched the whole thing, so I worked in another order than the description said. That way I could work on it sitting on my bed watching a movie, or next to B, snuggled up closely, when he was watching a movie. I only used materials I had at home, so it has cost me nothing but time at the moment. The fabric, for example, came from a worn out duvet cover, that still had some sound areas. Instead of just throwing it into the bin, I used the good parts for this project. That the material's been used for so long also makes it very soft for baby to sleep on.

The function is quite simple: a padded bottom surface, and padded sides that are controlled by a drawstring, to change the size of the nest as baby grows. 

Laid flat.

Slightly gathered, but not yet tied.

Tightly gathered and tied, the ties neatly and safely tucked away.

 The drawstring tied at the bottom, before the ties are
wrapped round themselves, so baby won't get tangled.

The whole thing can be tossed into the washer at need, but I plan to make little sheets (including protective ones) for it, to minimize the frequency of that. Just need to think of a clever way to keep them in place, as there is no mattress to fold them round…. Buttons or ties are at the top of my mind, but we’ll see. As the sides of the nest cover the spot where I would attach the sheets, there are good chances baby will never get bothered by them.

I’m also working on a patchwork quilt for the little stranger. B got one when he was born, which he still sleeps with every night and every nap, and I want every baby (be there only ever two, or many) to have one.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Sewing Roll

For a while I have seen many Swedish textile crafters, historical costumiers and the like make sewing rolls (or mesma/marsma as thay are often called). Sewing rolls don’t have a historic base in most of Sweden (unlike the housewives of other places), as it seems to have been a Sami thing here, and, as Anna pointed out in a discussion about them, as in so many cases all over the world, the majority of a countries population, thinking themselves very civilized, don’t want much to do with the indigenous people’s traditions. It is however a very clever thing for when you need to bring your sewing kit along when travelling, which is probably why the Sami used it, being nomads. As many people today go away from home more or less frequently, and many sewing people bring their projects with them on vacation, to school, work, the beach, sewing groups etc., it comes in handy. I’ve been meaning to make one myself for years, but somehow I never got round to it, as there have been so many other things to do. The past few weeks however, the making of sewing rolls has really taken off in a sewing group on facebook, and I fell for the pressure and finally made one. 

Neatly rolled up, with braided wool ties keeping it closed.

As I intend it for modern use I could go for whatever design I wanted. I chose to be inspired by 19th century rural folk textiles from my county Skåne, and the thing turned out to be a nice marriage between a historic item from the far North of Sweden and historic textiles from the far South (which would still considered quite far North by most of the world).

I used heavy wool left over from my folk costume skirt (same as I used in my pincushion), and embroidered it with wool yarns - wool embroidery of high quality is often seen in cushions and covers in this area during the 18th and 19thcenturies. 

 The outside.

 The lining is made from lighter wool, as are two of the pockets and the bound edge.

Proof of a mishap and change of plans: originally I had another embroidery here 
(my initials and the current year), but it had a quite severe, military look about it that I didn't like. 
I unpicked the embroidery and did this instead, when the pocket was already stitched 
firmly in place - thus the now uneven edges. Sigh.

The pockets are all lined with striped cotton, slightly resembling the ones often seen in country women’s and children’s aprons in 19th century Skåne.

The small pocket will be good for holding Nalbinding needles and such.

The metal button is supposed to bring the thought to the silver buckles, buttons, chains, clasps etc. worn with the folk costumes for best. 

 The lid of the pocket closes with a sewn loop.

The bottom pocket is made from the test knitting I made before beginning my folk costume spedetröja a few years ago. It is bound with a strip of silk, as the finest spedetröjor was. I’d been saving the test piece for this purpose, thinking it too pretty to throw away. 

 Knitted pocket bound with silk.

I’m quite pleased with how the sewing roll turned out – it’s almost a little piece of art in itself, and will look nice in my sewing room, and when I bring it along with me.

Detail of the embroidery on the outside.

I have a new skirt to post about as well, that have been pending for a couple of weeks, but I need some photos first, and in my present state of late pregnancy, I don’t often feel like going through all the hassle of a photo shoot, not even a small one.