February newsletter

February newsletter

I’m not sure if this post should be called news from January rather than February newsletter … but that’s what is it really.

Social media
After thinking about it for ages, my social media is now more pulled together. The Welsh Minx has gone and I am now I’m angharadt, except Twitter, which already had one, so there I’m angharadtphd.

I’m on Facebook, which I use for both personal and textile-y posts and news, sometimes public and sometimes private. You can find me as Angharad Thomas; I have 2 Instagram accounts, one of which is public and one private, and I also have a Linkedin account. I have a Pinterest page; both of the latter are fairly dormant, but I do keep pics of lost gloves there.

More importantly perhaps, I’m on Ravelry, where you can see my projects, groups, stash and so on, and message me.

My activity on all of these is fairly sporadic, a bit like on this blog actually.

Yarn for glove knitting

Dreadful news. In the last few days I’ve discovered that my favourite yarn for glove knitting, and the one used by the knitters in Sanquhar, Regia 3 ply wool and nylon, is being discontinued. Supplies of some colours have been tricky for a year of so now, resulting in me bringing some back with me from California, supplied by a shop in Canada. I had a query, through this blog, about what yarn to use for Sanquhar gloves, so I thought I had better check my suppliers, only to find out of stock and discontinued notices on web pages. So it’s back to searching for vintage yarns and fine 4 plies to substitute for the Regia. There is a German yarn that appears to be suitable but the web site is all in German …..

What I’m knitting now – silk gloves
In the meantime I’ve been knitting in Jaipur Fine Silk, in white, on 1.5 mm circulars. The knitting is very very slow both because its so fine – and because I can’t knit more than about 4 rounds without getting pain in my left hand. So what I was hoping to have complete in about a week is very incomplete now. Even if I knitted solid all the time I’m awake I wouldn’t get them done. It’s been a bit of an eyeopener and makes me look at the silk gloves that I studied a few years ago with renewed awe.

Here’s a real unedited snap of my worktable with the silk gloves in progress. It looks as mess, probably because it is one. Every item is of use.

And here’s the thumb of the right hand, a little offset into the palm.

Knitting & Crochet Guild news
I volunteer in the collection of the KCG where my rather grand title is Textile Curator. I’m usually there two days a week but this week we had a concerted initiative to have an early spring clean, so a group of us were in for an extra day. We also had a visit from second year students at the University of Huddersfield, a picture of which is on the KCG Facebook page, and a visit from the editors of Slipknot, the quarterly magazine of the KCG. This is a great little (A5) publication and in itself a good reason for being a member of the KCG. There’s no advertising, and lots of interesting pieces written by members. Often there’s something about the collection too, usually written by Barbara Smith whose blog is highly recommended at Barbara Knits Again.

The big clear out included a massive sort out of the knitting needles and you can get some idea of the scale of the operation from these images:

 

My UFOS and WIPS (Unfinished Objects and Works In Progress)

The light is getting brighter and the days longer so it might be time to take stock of the UFOs and WIPs that fill the bags and baskets in my workspace (actually a spare bedroom, the bed is a handy space to spread things out on). There are at least 3 pairs of gloves that might never become pairs, 3 pairs of mittens ditto, a jumper that has a couple of inches of the trim started, a crochet blanket with perhaps half the hexagons started but not finished, and several pieces of Estonian knitting started at Craft Camp and waiting for attention … then there’s still some swatches and samples which could be turned into blankets and throws. They’ve been waiting many years and might have to wait longer still. Some of them are waiting patiently in these bags:

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January 2018 newsletter

This comes with best greetings for the New Year. I’m planning to do lots of great projects and go to lots of great places this year in my knitting life. Let’s see how many actually happen. In the meantime what have I been doing?

Gloves for Jenny

A pair of gloves for my friend Jenny. I showed the cuff for one of these gloves in the November newsletter, but they have progressed since then. The name and dates are knitted in and I am progressing up the thumbs here:

These are really complicated and inspired by a historic pair that are in a collection in London. There are so few pairs of these two colour knitted gloves still in existence that it’s really exciting to find some that I haven’t seen before. These were pictured in Text, the magazine of the Textile Society a few years ago and I think they have the same sort of charm as nineteenth century cross stitch samplers.

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Marianne Clarke’s gloves from 1835 in the Hopkins Collection, School of Historical Dress, London

Socks on circular needles

This is the first time that I’ve knitted socks for a long while so I decided to do them on circulars in the same way as I knit gloves. I used to be a dab hand on a set of four double pointed needles by the way. They are for my partner who suddenly announced that he would like a pair of socks. He makes specific requests very rarely so I thought I should take notice. I dug out some red four ply yarn from a charity shop that contains wool and some silk and should therefore be fine for socks. As usual when I knit anything like this – socks, mittens and so on, I went for a copy of Woolcraft. If you don’t know this publication which ran for years published by Patons then I can’t recommend that you find one as soon as possible. I’m well down the feet at the moment and aiming to keep going.

Copies of Woolcraft from the collection of the Knitting & Crochet Guild

I have plans for a glove exhibition perhaps later in the year or in 2019 and will keep you all in the loop as these develop … and plans to knit more gloves …

 

In case you don’t get these, here are links to the web sites for some of the newsletters that I’ve had in the last few days and are well worth a look depending on your exact interests.

Schoolhouse Press, includes a re-released pattern for EZs sideways mitts in garter stitch featured in this blog here.

Knitter’s Review  Clara Parke’s excellent account of yarns

Hand/Eye magazine (not knitting but some very inspirational work, mostly textiles)

Textile Art  Lots of practical and free advice on your career as a textile artist

Beth Brown-Reinsel With lots of information about her classes and travels

December newsletter

 

Only a bit late this month!
I’ve been far too busy this month machine knitting. I’ve been knitting a batch of hand warmers for John Alexander Skelton ready for his next show early in the New Year. Keen readers of this blog (!) will remember that a couple of pairs of gloves knitted by me and my daughter were part of his last collection. I blogged about these earlier this year: https://wp.me/p2ctxi-Og

There are images of the show here – do go and look – you won’t see anything like it.

https://www.wallpaper.com/fashion/john-alexander-skelton-shelley-inspired-collection-is-poetry-in-motion

This time though, we agreed that I would machine knit which then meant that I could produce more, so I have done. Suddenly batch knitting felt like being back in the 1980s when I had a small business producing garments on the machine. When you have to do the same thing repeatedly – 40 thumbs and 64 fingers – for example, you find ways to refine and speed up the process along the way. Anyway, these samples were hand related so not big pieces and very enjoyable to do, although it has to be said that yoga was essential  last night to straighten out my poor old back and neck. The big plus of all this activity was that I have caught up on my Radio 4 listening.

I have been supporting Knit for Peace in the UK for a while now but I subscribe to Beth Brown-Reinsel’s newsletter here: and this post caught my eye. 

The Project Peace is an initiative that Beth mentions, organised by Christina Campbell, who has Knit Along with a pattern available on Ravelry

https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/project-peace-2017

and a blog at TheHealthyKnitter where she shares ideas for doing peaceful things

So I will leave you with this inspirational project. We have to do what we can in these troubled times. I joined the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament yesterday as a non knitting way of peace promotion, although I’m more than slightly embarrassed to admit that I haven’t been a member for years.

Seasons greetings and have fun over the festive season, and a peaceful and enjoyable New Year. 

November newsletter

 

I wonder if anyone has noticed that these missives are getting later and later in the month? By early next year I’ll be able to miss a month and get back on track.

The first weekend of October was the twice yearly (is that bi-annual, or does that mean every 2 years?) Rag Market in Hebden Bridge. The Knitting & Crochet Guild had a stall there, selling all sorts of haberdashery, wool and fabrics, and here’s some of them:

Mid-October was marked by the end of my exhibition at Farfield Mill on the 15th. I was scheduled to teach a workshop there too on that day but it was cancelled as there just weren’t enough people to make it viable. I was sorry about that, because although I don’t teach very much, I do enjoy it, and I had designed a pair of fingerless mitts or hand warmers specially for it. I hope that Farfield Mill might be able to use it in a kit with the very lovely pure wool that they have there, spun by Blacker Yarns.

 

The rest of the month of October was taken up with either Knitting & Crochet Guild activities, of which more later, or half term type things, definitely not for this blog!

On the knitting front, I’m hand knitting some gloves for my friend Jenny, these are the cuffs so far …

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and I’m busy on the knitting machine with a secret project that I can’t tell you about … but here’s a bit of it anyway. Those of you who machine knit will realise that this is a close up of the tension swatch.

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Piecework, the American needlecrafts magazine, published an article about the collection of the Knitting & Crochet Guild. I helped Barbara Smith write it and she also designed and made the companion project, a Fairisle beret adapted from a vintage magazine in the collection. I received a copy of this, twice in fact, both the copies looking as though they had been through a hedge backwards. but never, mind, here it is:

 

This is the Tam O’Shanter that is the companion project: So that’s all for now. When it comes to reporting on November there’s 2 events that have happened already, so I will have more news!

October Newsletter

Late as usual, but hello to all my readers!

There’s been lots going on, and I hope to give you a taste of the textile-y bits at least.

At the start of the month I was up at Farfield Mill where I have an exhibition of my gloves. It is a lovely location with lots of textile history just outside the small town of Sedburgh. I have a light filled corner room that has space for half a dozen large frames and a display case. The pieces are the same as they were at the Bankfield Museum in Halifax.

Here it is:

And here’s what was left after the exhibition was put up: but much easier to carry out to the car than the large frames.

I’m giving a workshop on the 15th October and at the time of posting there are some places left. Contact the mill via the web site to book, or contact me. You will learn to knit Yorkshire Dales style gloves and start a pair of wool hand warmers like these below. The yarn is a really robust Blacker pure wool in a double knitting – I’ve really enjoyed knitting with it and it will be available to buy at the workshop as Farfield has a small quantity in some lovely colours.

After that, I went to California where I have family. My first textile-y visit was having lunch with June Hemmons Hiatt author of one of the most important books on knitting, The Principles of Knitting. If you don’t know it, do take a look as it contains everything that you could ever need to know about knitting.

This is the cover of the second edition:

PoK-II-Cover

June and I also took the opportunity to discuss knitting using a knitting belt which June now sells on her web site.

In the little town of Point Reyes Station I found a wonderful little yarn shop selling hand spun and hand dyed yarns and knitted and woven items. It is called Black Mountain Artisans. I bought a couple of skeins of hand dyed yarns for presents (really) and a book of patterns that use the local yarns, Knitting Woolscapes. 

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A Verb for Keeping Warm is one of my favourite places to visit on a California trip and while I was there Clara Parkes was presenting her new book about yarn stashes. This is a picture of the event – as you can tell, I am right at the back of quite a crowd.

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I thought I should include a few pictures from California – we went to some wonderful places and saw some wonderful things, the best of which was possibly the humpback whales about a mile from the beach we were on, jumping out of the water and blowing. However, the views from the Tilden Regional Park of San Francisco Bay were good too. I especially like the industrial landscapes around Oakland Harbour which you see from the SF Bay ferry, so I’ve included one of them too, including a surprise siting of Mahatma Ghandi striding purposefully on the harbour edge in San Francisco.

 

Since I’ve been back I’ve been busy with the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection, where I volunteer, getting the hand warmers finished, and planning some exciting new projects.

 

 

 

September newsletter

 

Some news, some pictures and some plans ….

I finished the music themed gloves for my friend Nick apart from darning in the ends – which is quite a big apart from … but if I sit down with a good radio programme on it should only take about an hour so I need to get a grip and get on with it, mostly so that I can start the next pair.

Here they are with the ends not darned in:

Nick’s gloves, not quite finished, palms

 

Nick’s gloves, not quite finished, backs

I went on holiday to France and Spain, mainly in the Pyrenees, as usual, but we started with friends in the Corbieres region. I’d seen the name on wine bottles but never visited so it was lovely to be there.Here’s some pictures of a house in the small town of Fabrezan with the most lovely art nouveau decorations in ceramics:

We started and ended in Toulouse and also had a short stay in Albi at the end of the trip. Both were centres of the pastel industry in the Middle Ages, to the extent that the motorway connecting the two places is called the Autoroute de Pastel. Pastel was a blue dye, extracted from the same plant as woad, and was used before indigo became available from India. It’s interesting as the activity has been used to generate new businesses making cosmetics like Graine de Pastel. Another one in Albi is Terre de Pastel which has a shop right by the cathedral in Albi with rather lovely blue scarves and lots of other things. Vanessa France’s blog has more on the history of the pastel trade.

A further textile interest was found in Albi, not just in the clothes shops (several rather nice ones) but in the form of a producer of local textiles, Les Toiles de la Montagne Noire. These are locally produced cottons, plain, striped or checked and sold as yardage or made-up into household textiles including tea towels, tablecloths, aprons and so on. Naturally some had to be bought as presents – there’s a bit of a tradition building up in the family of giving tea towels, hardly original but useful. This production is similar to some of that found in Wales and Ireland where locally made textiles add to what’s on offer for both local and visitor markets. I would have bought the whole shop had I not had to carry it all back on the night train from Toulouse to Paris and then onto Eurostar and so home to Huddersfield.

Knitting wise I took socks with me as my partner had said that he would like some. He doesn’t often make requests so I thought that this was a Good Idea as a change from knitting gloves. I fully expected to finish the pair in a fortnight, long train journeys, easy evenings on the terrace etc. I’m just above the rib on them both so lots to do still.

 

News for July 2017

The month started with a visit to Estonia for the annual Craft Camp, my third time. I took workshops in knitting with Kristi Jõeste and Riina Tomberg, both of which were excellent. The other two workshops were indigo dyeing and Happsalu lace, again, both were excellent. The samples I produced are below and I hope you can tell which is which.


My own knitting which is ongoing is the gloves for Nick, almost complete. The other pair, for Jenny, are in the planning stage and I’m wondering whether to introduce some Baltic style patterns and techniques that I’ve seen and learnt in my visits to Latvia and Estonia this spring and summer.


These are actually almost complete, just the thumbs to knit, but I don’t have a more recent photo and I’m away from home in the very west of Wales. 

Farfield mill, outside Sedbergh, have invited me to show my gloves, planned for September and October. I went there on my birthday to discuss the arrangements accompanied by my partner and London grandsons. We stayed at Ingleton youth hostel and then visited Dent, home of the ‘terrible knitters’, and of Mary Allen, who was known to knit the patterned Dales gloves. Fewer than 20 pairs of these survive in collections in the U.K. 

So that’s it for now, I’m battling very slow internet and an iPad so perhaps more later in the month.