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!

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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:

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

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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.

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

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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.

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Waiting to be sewn up

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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!

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EZ 36 stitch mitts

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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.

Double filet crochet

Going back to the Knitting & Crochet Guild Convention in early July, one of the workshops I did was the Double filet crochet, on the grounds that it was something that I had never done and know little about. 

This is what I produced:


The piece is about 4 inches or 10 cm square and the top view is the face and the lower one the reverse.In the centre you can see the 2 layers of filet mesh, one over the other. The technique was very ably demonstrated and taught by Barbara a and Michael Mann, who have made this a speciality, running the East London Double Filet Crochet Group for many years. See their web site here for more about this fascinating technique. There’s also a Double filet/Interlocking crochet group on Ravelry.

So my scrap is but a tiny start, a beginning of many potential projects and design challenges.

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.