Still catching up

As usual busy busy, but all good stuff so here goes.

On Saturday the Knitting & Crochet Guild Collection visited the Northern Society of Costume and Textiles at its quarterly meeting, to present our trunk show. My fellow volunteer, Alex, and I had chosen a great selection of garments from the collection including some vintage ‘art silk’ (that is rayon) from the 1920s, vintage fine knitting from the 1950s, some 70s and 80s exuberance and a couple of very fine examples of Irish Crochet. The audience really enjoyed what we showed and they had time to put on white gloves and have a closer look when we’d finished the presentation.

Examining vintage art silk pieces from the KCG Collection

Examining vintage art silk pieces from the KCG Collection

In the afternoon, I was invited to give a talk about the history of knitted gloves, which I have been researching over the years since I was first given a pair in the 1980s. I took along that original pair and the Sanquhar ones from the collection and a very precious pair of Dales gloves, sometimes called Dent gloves, or Mary Allen, after the knitter.

On the knitting front I’m getting on with Stan’s gloves. I have decided to knit the thumbs before moving on to the fingers. I quite like doing this and it means that I can plan out the use of the wool between the fingers. I don’t have enough of the yarn I started with so I’m moving on to other shades of green and blue and this means that I will knit the thumbs and the little fingers in the same combination. You can see the first thumb on the right of the picture below and the second one just being picked up on the left. The thumb is alternate stitches of blue and green apart from above the gusset where the small diamond pattern continues.


Stan's gloves up to the thumbs

Stan’s gloves up to the thumbs

In September I planned to knit three pairs before Christmas and as it’s already part way through October and I still haven’t finished one pair I think my schedule is going pear shaped … must be all this blogging!

Trying to catch up

As in life, so in the digital life ….

no time to blog and too much to do.

Since I blogged last, which was a month ago, I have spent three days in London grandson sitting (FYI the Globe Theatre, the National Portrait Gallery, the Olympic pool and the Barbara Hepworth exhibition at the Tate Britain, and a river boat trip), had 8 days in the French and Spanish Pyrenees, and a long weekend in Venice at the Biennale.So lots of fun in all of those, not least a 15 hour walk, more or less pathless over a high pass used by desperate refugees in both the Spanish Civil War and WW2.

Knitting and craft wise I have started a new set of three pairs of  gloves –  more on that later, given a glove workshop in Blackpool at the Westcliffe Hotel where Paula Chew runs fabulous knitting breaks and holidays, run an evening of casting on and off for the Huddersfield branch of the KCG, been at Lee Mills in the collection a day or so, had a day at Yarndale on the KCG stand, and started preparing for a day with the Northern Costume Society where we are presenting about the KCG collection and where I am giving a talk about the history of knitted gloves. And for times when I can’t knit – like on European flights where the security doesn’t let on knitting needles in my experience, I’ve got some crochet hexagons on the go.

So, the gloves. These three are for three more friends, a husband and wife and the sister of one of them. They have northern connections and have travelled and worked in the Faroes so those are the patterns I’m using for two of them. The colours chosen and blue and green for the first pair. After a lot of looking at Faroes patterns, including a jacket from the KCG Collection, and some photos of knitwear in Torshavn, the capital, that my daughter took ages ago, when she was there, I’ve come up with small diamonds with the initials and date in a larger diamond on the back of the hands. This is a page of images from my sketch book:

The Faroes page in my sketchbook

The Faroes page in my sketchbook

This is how they look so far. I need to start the initials and dates so it’ll be a line by line exercise.

The Faroes gloves with their charts

The Faroes gloves with their charts


So that’s it for now, although I would like to tell you a bit about Yarndale, gardening gloves from Estonia and a fabulous exhibition of glass in Venice. In the meantime I need to press on with the knitting.




Jan’s gloves

This pair has been on the go since the spring, but they are finally finished. The friend they are made for tried them on a week or so ago and they fit perfectly so I was very pleased as all I go on is the outline of their hand that they give me. Sometimes I ask for their measurement around the hand too, but I’m not sure that is essential. This is knitting after all, which is inherently flexible.

I think that these might be my most favourite pair of all – it took me a long time to settle on the colours which are just right for the atmosphere I had in mind. The grey is Regia 3 ply sock wool and the fawn is a vintage yarn from the KCG eBay shop when suplus from the collection was being sold for Guild funds.

In these images they have hardly been blocked or pressed at all as I want to keep the slight texture of the pattern. I also did not have to mend the base of the fingers or thumb at all, which I usually do, to close any small holes left after picking up and casting on for the fingers. I must be getting better at doing this!

I took photos on the usual light wood background but them tried a dark wood which I think makes them look better.

This is the third pair I have knitted this year, not including the Bonham mitts, which were fingerless and much less of a proposition. I am planning to knit three pairs for friends in the autumn, before Xmas. So, I’ve said it, so I’ve got to do it!


Here they are. As you can see, I decided to put the date and initials on the palms of this pair, as the pair that Bonham’s auctioned about a year ago. You can see them here:

PalmsPalmside up

The backs

The backs, above and below on a dark background




Estonia wristlet finished


The first of the Estonian craft camp projects is finished although I think it is destined to be a singleton. It needs a hot press which I can’t do as I’m at our caravan and we don’t have an iron, caravanning not tending to need the sort of clothes that need ironing.
This was hard to knit with 1.5mm dpns in a set of five and quite dense wool. But I learnt some new techniques and I might use these in future designs.

More on Estonian Craft Camp

Well, after the first two days we had a day out. I had chosen to go to Parnu, a town on the Baltic coast. It was about an hour or so on a coach through quiet roads and lovely agricultural countryside. We were taken round the local museum and then went to look at crafts in the local shops. The weather was windy and not too warm so I headed off to the beach as I hadn’t seen the Baltic. Also, the museum had pictures of the beaches from the days when Parnu was a resort used by the Soviet authorities for the workers to have holidays. When Indira Ghandi visited Parnu, which must have been before 1984 when she was assasinated,  a wooden elephant was put in the sea, which is still there. It also doubles as a slide. It’s almost life size and looks bizarre and so smart that it must be renewed and repainted. Here it is in the unseasonably choppy waves:


I also bought some gloves in the local Modern Art Museum. They are beautifully knitted and very fine but I haven’t taken any pictures yet.

Back at Craft Camp we had two more days of workshops. I did a day of bone work, in which I made four bone needles and a second day of knitting in which we learnt about blue and white mittens and gloves, and started a pair of them. Here’s the bone needles, of which I am very pleased. It’s an example of it being easier to learn to do something that you know nothing about as the steep learning curve is always very satisfying.


Estonian craft camp

Estonian Craft Camp

I’m (was) writing this from Craft Camp, in the south of Estonia. I found out about it by accident, probably on the internet, and decided that I had to come as there are workshops about Estonian gloves although there are workshops on craft other than textile ones too, such as silver smithing and making from birch bark. My choices for the week are

Muhu wristlets (knitting)


Making things from bone

Blue and white glove knitting

So far, I’ve been to two of the workshops, every one is a day, split into a morning and afternoon session.

I expected to know what I was doing in the wristlets workshop, given that I knit gloves almost all the time, but this was not the case. It’s actually harder doing a workshop that you know something about than one in which you are totally ignorant I think, as when you know something about it, you want to do things the way that you usually do. You also have an expectation that you will be able to do it. I had one of those ‘feel about 6 years old’ moments when we were shown a twisted cast on, and I could not do it. Then it was hot and my hands got sweaty, the knitting got tighter and moister etc …. It was a bit like ritual knitting humiliation in public.


The materials for the Muhu mitts

The materials for the Muhu mitts

The start of the Muhu mitts

The start of the Muhu mitts

But you can see how attractive the material looked laid out for each of us in the class, and I did get going eventually. I’d forgotten that I’m not very good on 5 dpns, I prefer three, as I find them more stable, but as you can see the knitting is on four and you knit with the 5th. The needles are Prym, 1.5 mm and the yarn is Estonian, and like a light Shetland, quite woolly, so hard work to knit on the fine needles.The pattern has a braided cast on and braided ridges which make the yarn twist yo really badly, another hazard! But I have progressed since this picture was taken so I’ll post a picture when they are finished. If ever.


The following day I chose the nalebinding, the technique that prefigured knitting and that can appear to be the same structure. That turned out to be difficult too, time consuming and hard to control. I produced very little in the way of anything recognisable: here is a little of it:


However, this was a good learning experience again, as it’s useful to be on the receiving end of instructions if you are more used to giving them.

More later about the other workshops.

Long train journey



These pics taken on my phone with knitting on pull down table. Large expanse of pale green is my legs in cycling trousers (Patagonia, used to be too tight but not any more)

Onto the fingers of Jan’s gloves and on very long train ride which is an ideal opportunity for uninterrupted knitting. Pleased with these mostly but I can’t iron out the little ridge that goes up the fingers where the two circulars meet. I’m going on to the thumbs next as I don’t think I have quite enough of the beige wool for all of them. If that is the case I will maybe do the little fingers and then use another, very similar yarn for the two remaining ones.
I think there could be more posts coming in the next few days as I am hoping to finish these soon.