News round up for May 2017

Someone asked me if I have a newsletter and I thought no I don’t but perhaps I could try having one. At least that way I might post more regularly.

So, I had an article published in Vogue Knitting, about Sanquhar gloves. I felt extremely honoured to be invited to do this and very much enjoyed doing it, especially going to visit Sanquhar again, staying at the Blackaddie and meeting fellow glove knitter, May McCormick.

Here’s the cover and the first page of the piece:

img_1382


I’ve restarted knitting gloves for friends and so I’ve been sampling and designing for my friends Nick and Jenny.  Nick is a musician and he chose the vintage Sanquhar colours of brown and yellow. These are the cuffs so far:

I have also opened a glove knitting Instagram account where you can find me as Angharadt. The pics are the same as what’s here though.

My work got retuned from the Make exhibition at Ruthin Craft Centre after a lot of kerfuffle with the post office or Royal Mail. It turned out they were just trying to be helpful but t seemed as though the parcel had gone astray for a few hours.

Finally, I write this from Latvia where I am attending a mitten knitting retreat. It is the last evening of a packed week in which we have seen other places than Riga, being based inThe southern city of Liepaja. We have seen more mittens than I would have thought possible and met more knitters ditto. I have tried techniques I’ve not even heard of and been to places I didn’t know existed. I’ll leave you with a picture of the Russian Orthodox cathedral here, the nearest I’m likely to get to the Kremlin.

Gloves for John Alexander Skelton

I’ve been busy this year but a lot of what I’ve been up to has had to be kept under wraps. I was contacted by John Alexander Skelton, a fashion designer based in Sarabande Studios, London, to work with him to make two pairs of gloves based on traditional glove designs and his ideas for his collection launched on March 17th.

The name of the collection is RADICAL NORTH and these words are knitted in to the cuff of one pair.

The second pair has the date of the Peterloo Massacre, 1819, knitted into the gauntlet and a heart on the hand, to be worn on the back of the hand or on the palm.

They are knitted in Jamieson’s double knitting Shetland wool in black and natural white. I was helped in the knitting by my daughter which meant that it was not too much of a scramble  to get them to John by his deadline.

She was able to go to the show at Sarabande Studios which sounded wonderful. The models, who were street cast – that means they were found in cafes and so on, rather than from a model agency. There was no music and the men read from Shelley’s poem ‘The Masque of Anarchy’ as they walked on stage. The last person was a wearing a head dress made from sheeps’ skulls with two candles burning in it.

Here are the gloves – they are big, 12 inches or 30 cms in length.

There are more on John’s Instagram page:

The fringes are a feature found on a very old pair in the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere

  And here are the pictures from the show:

 

 

Hand in Glove exhibition

Last Saturday, 12th November, the exhibition of my gloves opened at the Bankfield Museum, Halifax, West Yorkshire. It is on until Saturday 14th January 2017. The Bankfield is open 10am – 4pm Tuesday  – Saturday but it will be closed over Christmas and the New Year.

It was great fun setting up and preparing. The curator, Angela Clare provided me with large fabric panels for the gloves (pinned on) which went into frames and I had 5 glass cases to fill with contextual material. In these are items on loan from the Collection of the Knitting & Crochet Guild where I volunteer, sketchbooks and design work, and items that I’ve designed for magazines. There are five information panels and two frames of vintage glove patterns. There’s also a frame with ball bands from some of the yarns I’ve used over the years. Most of it was planned weeks before so that I could be sure that there was enough material for the space. I used A1 boards and laid out the gloves and items for the cases at home ages ago so I knew that there was sufficient material.

I gave a talk to open the exhibition, just so that people could find out more about why I have knitted all these gloves and some of the research work behind them. I had notified the Huddersfield Examiner   who ran a piece about the exhibition about 10 days ago, and I also had an interview on Radio Leeds. I had Tweeted a bit too, but on the day there were 30 chairs in the hall and about 80 people! Lots more chairs were found so only a few people had to stand. So thank you, print and broadcast media, and social media for getting so many people there. It was very exciting and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

Here are some pictures:

img_1173

The first case with a variety of Sanquhar gloves: 2 pairs from the KCG Collection and one from the Bankfield Collection

img_1180

The Yorkshire case: gloves from the KCG Collection, with a first edition of the Old Hand knitter of the Dales, and knitting sticks from the KCG Collection.

img_1198

  I’m the one at the front, wearing a white poppy for peace

img_1218

With Angela Clare, from the Bankfield. She’s really lots taller than me!

Barbara, my fellow volunteer at the KCG has blogged about the exhibition here: and her blogs are always worth a read.

Knit for Peace

I’ve been experimenting with knitting gloves or mittens to send to an amazing organisation called Knit for Peace. Based in London they both bring people together to knit and understand each other better, but also collect garments and other things that are then sent out to people in need of them, in Syria, mainly.

So as a break from knitting fine gloves, I decided to make some simpler gloves and mittens for Knit for Peace, with the aim of designing a pattern for them; more on that later.  This I saw as an opportunity to explore some different structures for covering the hands, with a view to perhaps using them in my own designs, so not entirely philanthropic in aim! I started with their own patterns for hand warmers which are a garter stitch square that has a gap in the side seam for the thumb. Very straight forward.

img_1120

Waiting to be sewn up

img_1119

Ready to wear

These are knitted in 2 strands of vintage pure wool Jaeger 4ply which should be nice and warm, and which came from the Knitting & Crochet Guild Convention stash swap. I’ve got another pair on the needles and it’s great to have something straightforward to knit as a change from complicated gloves!

So far I have also knitted 2 mittens from Elizabeth Zimmermann, the 36 stitch pattern from Knitters Almanac, and the garter stitch mitts from Knitting Around. These are in the same vintage pure wool as the hand warmers. You can see these below, and although the 36 stitch mitts look rather long and thin they are actually fine once they are on a hand – like mine!

img_1117

EZ 36 stitch mitts

img_1118

EZ sideways garter stitch mitts

The sideways garter stitch mitts are interesting to knit, and cunningly constructed but I don’t think they are one of EZ’s most inspired creations – however, I’m still glad that I tried them.

I offered to write a pattern for mittens and perhaps gloves for Knit for Peace and apparently most of their contributors like to knit on 2 needles from patterns that they provide, not Ravelry or the internet. So, I started knitting some mittens on two needles, and I’m almost there with the pattern having realised that you have to knit the thumb before progressing up the hand. I struggled with this, having knitted a whole mitten and gone back to the thumb in the round with a pair of straight pins. It didn’t work. I then had to find a pattern for mittens on two needles, which is not as easy as you might think, to see how it’s done. I found a Canadian booklet for gloves and mitts which explained the process, so now I can progress with my pattern.

So that’s all for now about Knit for Peace, but I plan to be writing more soon.

Workshops

Birmingham Saturday October 15th and Sunday October 16th I will be teaching two workshops:

Saturday is the Birmingham branch of the Knitting & Crochet Guild meeting and the subject is lace. There will be a show and tell of lace garments and samplers from the KCG Collection followed by a hands on workshop of lace knitting, using a sampler from the collection as inspiration. Participants can make their own selection of yarn and needles with a view to knitting samples or a scarf.

Yellow lace sampler

Sunday is an independent workshop on glove knitting. Participants will have the opportunity to learn and practice the techniques used in knitting two colour gloves and will need to bring 2 colours of plain smooth yarn in 4 ply or DK and double pointed or circular needles in appropriate sizes.

Sanquhar glove

There are a few places available on both. Cost for the lace workshop is £12.50 and the cost of the glove workshop is £20.

Both take place in the Community Room of the John Lewis store in central Birmingham.

Contact me via this blog if you would like to reserve a place.

Estonian Craft Camp 2016

Estonian Craft Camp 2016

Readers may remember that I went to this in 2015 and posted about it here:

and here:

You can see the wristlet I made here:

I enjoyed myself so much that the only doubt I had about returning was that it could be as good again. In the end I decided to take the chance and signed up for Craft Camp 2016, the third one.

You can read about the organisation and aims of the camp here:

The Estonian Government takes the promotion of ‘folk crafts’ seriously and they are taught at university level, for instance at the Vilanjdi Culture Academy.

The camp, for me, is a perfect combination of activities, location and people, and the language is English, which makes it possible, as I don’t speak any of the languages heard there – Estonian, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, German, Dutch ….

The activities I chose this year were all textiles:

Fringed wedding gloves,

Techniques used in knitted garments in Saaremaa, an Estonian island,

Mugli embroidery, and

Saaremaa and Kihnu knitting bags

There are descriptions of the workshops here:

 

The fringed gloves workshop was taught by Kristi Joeste, author of Ornamented Journey, probably the most attractive knitting book I know. Fringes on gloves are said to protect against the evil eye and in this capacity they were worn for weddings. The fringes can be knitted in or sewn: this workshop did the latter. Kristi had studied three examples from the Estonian Museum collection and we knitted small pieces of these, flat rather than in the round, to have a base on which to sew the fringes. These samples incorporated purl ridges onto which the fringes are sewn and some two colour work. Here are the materials (note the 1.25mm dpns) and one of my samples:

img_0325

img_0394

The next was Archaistic embroidery from the Mulgi region, taught by Liina Laaneoja and Annika Vaalma, see here for more information.

The teachers of this workshop are graduates of the Viljandi Culture Academy and have a business making garments decorated with embroidery. We were given the materials to make a game of noughts and crosses using a felt base and 9 small felt squares which were to be embroidered using the following traditional motifs: circle, cross, tree of life and rose. These are worked in only 3 stitches: blanket stitch, chain stitch and stem stitch.

There was a free choice of colours (fine wool thread) to use on a light brown base. I was stuck for colours until I decided to use a photo I had taken in the grounds of the camp that morning as a source:

IMG_0375

 

I chose to embroider 7 of these squares (about 2 inches/5.5 cm)  to put in a frame, rather than make the game. I discovered that I am a fast and accurate embroiderer (I did lots when I was a child), probably better at that than I am at knitting. This is what I made:IMG_0385(There’s a couple more too, but you get the idea)

The motifs are documented in this wonderful book and this is the page that gave me particular inspiration:

 

The day out was to the Setomaa region of Estonia, but I might post about this separately.

 

The third workshop was Knitted Sweaters and garments from Saaremaa, a large Estonian island. The workshop was led by Riina Tomberg, author of a book about these garments, see:

The project is a wristlet that incorporates some of the details found in these garments. This is tricky technically, as is all Estonian knitting, due to the extremely fine needles – 1.25 or 1.5mm – and relatively thick wool – 2/8s or about a woollen spun 4ply. Making stitches is physically difficult with this combination.

This is the completed wristlet, Riina’s example, NOT MINE, but one person did complete theirs in the course of the camp and showed it on the last day. However, I think they stayed up almost all night to achieve this!

IMG_0520

The opportunity to make a ‘traditional’ knitting bag was the last workshop and for this we were asked to bring fabrics cut ready for patchwork and a lining. These were to supplement those provided in the workshop by Riina. I decided to mix up the two types of fabric and was very pleased with the result:

IMG_0563

The national museum has examples of these bags in their collection and they can be seen here:

(not all have a picture, but it’s worth clicking through to see the variety). Most are clearly made from scraps and some include fabric and crochet; many have a similar aesthetic to the quilts of Gee’s Bend, which I blogged about in January this year.

So that’s all for now apart from a last picture, of me with my products at the show of work on the last morning:

IMG_0597

Estonian glove workshop: 16th June 2016

 

Thursday 16th June – Estonian gloves workshop.

(Huddersfield branch of the Knitting & Crochet Guild)

 

I went to Estonian Craft Camp last year and am going again this year in July. The web site is here if you want to find out more:

http://www.kultuur.ut.ee/en/craft-camp

Other crafts than knitting are also covered and I did nalbinding (pre-knitting constructed textile) and making bone needles last year. I did blog about them in July 2015:

This workshop is just to give a taster of how to go about knitting wristlets, gloves or mittens in the Estonian style. You are going to knit a sample piece to try out three techniques and then from there you will be able to design and knit your own.

 

These are some resources for finding out more about Estonian knitting:

Books:

Estonian Knitting by Nancy Bush

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Folk-Knitting-Estonia-Symbolism-Tradition/dp/1883010438/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466009987&sr=1-2&keywords=estonian+knitting

 

Ornamented journey by Kristi Joeste

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ornamented-Journey-Kristiina-Kristi-Joeste/dp/B007ST3FZI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1466009949&sr=1-1&keywords=ornamented+journey

 

YouTube has some useful resources: a book review:

Estonian Knitting 1. Reviewed here by Felicity Ford (Knitsonik)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UNoNisCCV0

Estonian Cast on by Nancy Bush

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Frc5_9AIVy0

 

The materials for the Muhu wristlets: note set of 5 1.5 mm double pointed pins and pure wool 3ply

P1000928

Getting started on 4 pins

P1000930

A completed wristlet – not mine

P1000932

Knitting & Crochet Guild

Huddersfield branch, 16th June 2016

 

A taster of Estonian knitting for the workshop

 

N.B. Bare bones instructions

 

Use a set of 4 or 5 needles – and cast on 36 stitches using one of the Estonian methods

(any long tailed cast on will do, or a chain cast on)

Knit one round in purl and one in knit

 

Purl stitch with braid

Take a short (80cms approx?) length of contrast yarn and knit in with main colour on first stitch. Purl every stitch using the two yarns alternately, wrapping one over the other as you go. A two colour braid will form.

This can be done with one colour, but it’s easier with two to keep track of the yarns. Hot tip: unwind the yarns by letting the knitting spin around, not the yarns.

 

Knit 2 – 3 rounds main colour.

 

Two colour border with lace holes

First round: Knit 4 contrast, 2 main all round

Second round: YO K2tog all round

 

Carry on knitting

This would be a good time to try some small two colour patterns – little squares or just alternate stitches in the contrast colour to get used to knitting with two colours, one in each hand.

 

Estonian/peasant/after thought thumb:

Knit a few stitches, then knit say, 4 or 6 sts with your contrast yarn, replace these on the left needle, and continue to knit in the main yarn. When you are further up the knitting the contrast sts can be taken out and picked up for a thumb.

Use this as an opportunity to design your own wristlet or mitten – you will need more stitches of course. The amounts of yarn needed are very small.

 

Top edge of traditional wristlet is finished with a crochet picot edge – suggest this could be used on the cast on also, if this is a little ragged?

 

Some gloves that were shown in the workshop at Craft Camp, and in other sessions

P1000934

P1000937

P1000938

P1000941

The above gloves are all typical Muhu island gloves

The white/cream and colours are from another area, Ruhnu

P1000974

P1000975

P1000976

P1000977

P1000978

P1000979

P1000987

P1000988

P1000989

P1000990

P1000991

P1000992

P1000993

P1000994

P1000995

P1000997

P1000998

 

 

 

 

P1010003

P1010004

P1010005

P1010006

P1010007

P1010008

P1010009

A couple of pairs designed and knitted by Nancy Bush for Estonian friends are shown as part of an online exhibition here: scroll across until they appear), or here they are:

P1010020P1010024P1010025P1010026P1010027P1010029