Deadlines

In September the plan was to knit three pairs in three months – one in September, October and November, leaving December free to do more Xmas-y things … well the road to hell is paved with good intentions so here I am at the end of November with two pairs complete and one still to knit in December. Artificial deadlines are just not the same as proper external ones.

Still, the pair I’ve just finished have turned out rather nicely, I’m hoping that they fit well too. I’m showing some pictures of them with one or two ends waiting to be darned in – that can be done at any time though without daylight or any superhuman effort.

(Brief aside). Mentioning daylight, I have just bought a Luxo work lamp. As my eyes get worse and the days get darker, I need more and more light to see what I’m doing – that’s true for hand and machine knitting and any sewing – in fact more or less everything apart from gardening and doing yoga. Some while ago, I was given a Luxo light from an architect’s office that no longer needed them – it’s all on screen now. I have since bought another two Luxos – in addition to the rather ancient Habitat one (red) and an IKEA one (purple) attached to various tables. So wherever I am in the house, I’ve got a well lit spot. Luxo is the light that is dancing in the famous animation at the start of Pixar films, in case you didn’t know (I didn’t either) but they are lovely lights, very stable and not too industrial looking. I prefer them to the Anglepoise which I checked out while in London a week or so ago.

So with my knitting deadline a month late, on Monday 30th November I tried to get them finished. The first picture shows them in the morning and the second one at the end of the day – actually early Tuesday morning. So in the day I knitted three fingers and started the first thumb. That wasn’t non stop by any means – I did other things as well and while I was knitting I listened to the Zola adaptation on Radio 4 (harder than you might think while knitting gloves).

 

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Missing three fingers and both thumbs early Monday morning

 

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Late evening Monday, all fingers present and correct and the start of a thumb

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The completed gloves, in need of ends darning in and a press

(The colour differences due to using daylight or flash on my phone’s camera I think)

A note about the patterns – they are all Faroese taken from an actual Faroe jacket in the KCG Collection or a book of Faroes patterns in the KCG library. Most of them have a float of 5 stitches, one more than ‘allowed’ by Elizabeth Zimmerman, but meaning that the patterns often use multiples of 3s and 5s and are therefore really easy to work.

On to the next pair. I wonder if I should be knitting anti war mitts like Lisa Auerbach??

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Gloves for Linda

I’ve been knitting these since the end of last month and they are coming on really well. So well that I haven’t had time to blog about them although I have put them on Ravelry.

The colours are a good contrast which makes them instantly easier than the previous pair, in which the greens and blues were so cloes I had to wait for daylight to be able to knit. I also didn’t have enough of any two colours and had to change several times which I usually don’t mind. However, on this pair, the changes didn’t seem to sit well with the design and it made me wonder about the wisdom of sticking to stash yarns when the amount of yarn in a pair is so little compared to the time spent knitting them. Add to that, that there are some wonderful yarns available such as Marion Foale’s 3 ply pure wool  which is shown on the web site.

Anyway, back to the current pair. Tried and tested Regia 3ply, a sock wool but totally suitable for gloves, and what is used and sold in Sanquhar, an endorsement I think, and knitted on 2.25mm circular needles. These are Knit Pro wooden ones, my preference over the metal Addi turbos, the tips of which I find too blunt for picking up stitches and correcting mistakes (always plenty of that going on). Perhaps I need the Addi lace, but I’m not spending any more on needles now, especially as I have several boxes of dpns lying unused.

The patterns on this pair are Faroese inspired using the same sketch book sources as the pair for Stan:

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The Faroes page in my sketchbook

I’m using some motifs almost directly, such as the large zig-zag but these patterns are interesting as they mostly use 5 stitch floats which is one more than I am generally used to using. Elizabeth Zimmerman generated her patterns with a maximum of a 4 stitch float. I catch in the middle of the 5 stitch float and like the tiny suggestion of texture that that can give to the fabric. These patterns are wonderfully easy to knit though, the zig-zag being various permutations of 3 and 5s and therefore quite easy to work.

Almost forget to put in some pics of the knitting:

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The cuffs with initials and dateP1010303

Up to the thumbs, back of handsP1010305

Up to the thumbs, palms facing up.

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

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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)

Nalebinding

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:

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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.

Knitting gloves re-organised, update

To all my readers! I know you’re out there ‘cos sometimes I meet you and sometimes you send me messages!

I have spent this weekend, yes almost all of it, shuffling the blog posts around. The task is not quite complete yet but I didn’t have a message on the home page so I thought that I should explain.

The pages are now in groups, the titles of which are across the front page. Roll over these and you will see the names of the pages in that group. Under About there are the more general pages such as:

Design: here you will find all the design related posts (unsurprisingly)

Process: blog posts about materials, thinking about making

Knitting & Crochet Guild: usually news from the KCG Collection, where I volunteer

Events: exhibitions, visits to collections and so on

Let me know your thoughts.

Thanks to those who’ve ‘liked’ it already!