I added a bandana in 'skull and crossbones' fabric, a gold hoop earring and a cutlass and eyepatch stitched from felt. Click on the pic for a closer look. Yaaaarrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!
Email: busstopgirl (at) googlemail (dot) com
I added a bandana in 'skull and crossbones' fabric, a gold hoop earring and a cutlass and eyepatch stitched from felt. Click on the pic for a closer look. Yaaaarrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!
Knitted Elizabeth I doll in progress, next to the 'Pelican Portrait' of Elizabeth I, c1574
When my M.E. forced me to jack my job in, my beloved colleagues at 24 Hour Museum threw me a party and presented me with my very own spoof homepage, which included personalised links to (made-up, sadly) sites such as BuildABaptistBoyfriend.com and KnitYourOwnTudor.com. It's the latter which has spurred me into action!
Using Jean Greenhowe's Pedlar Doll as a base, along with the wig from her Cinderella doll, I have started to create a likeness of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I - in knitting. (It's already been done but I wanted to have a go myself.)
I'm concentrating on two portraits in particular, both from the 1570s and both depicting the Queen wearing deep red - Nicholas Hilliard's 'Pelican Portrait' of Elizabeth I, c1574, which is in the collection of the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, and the 'Plimpton Sieve Portrait' of 1579, by George Gower.
I'm also looking at portraits of Elizabeth I in the National Portrait Gallery's collection, concentrating on those from the 1570s, and researching fashion in hairstyles and clothing in the 1570s.
As you can see she's taking shape. Now for the fun part - beading, braiding and embroidery-a-go-go!
ElizabethI.org.uk: Elizabeth I - Appearance
Elizabethan Geek: Elizabethan Costume Review
Extreme Costuming: Two Elizabethan Hairstyles
Elizabethan-Era.org.uk: Elizabethan Hairstyles
themakeupgallery: Queen Elizabeth I
Semptress: Elizabethan Costuming
ElizabethanCostume.net: Elizabethan Hairnets, Cauls & Muffin Caps
Well, they've gone off in the post - only managed to contribute fifty hats towards the target of 400,000, but it was fun playing just a small part in it.
Look out for Innocent Smoothie bottles wearing hats in branches of Sainsburys from 7th November - and buy one, it's in aid of Age Concern!
Well, this looks like just the sort of knitting project someone with a limited concentration span, who tires easily, needs: knitting tiny hats for Innocent Smoothies, in aid of Age Concern's Fight The Freeze campaign.
Each hat knitted and sent to Innocent by 22nd October will adorn a bottle of smoothie in Sainsbury's stores from 7th to 21st November, and for each bottle sold, Innocent and Sainsbury's will donate 50p to Age Concern. For inspiration, see the Big Knit group on Flickr, or browse through the Hat of the Week archive.
Innocent's target is for 400,000 hats this year, which would mean £200,000 for Age Concern.
They will use the money raised to provide support to older people in winter including hot meals, blankets and advice on how to keep their houses warm.
So get knitting - and if you can't knit, buy a behatted smoothie!
Take a look at this movie about last year's Big Knit:
LARGE: This humungous knitted bunny was placed on a mountainside in the Italian Alps in 2005 and will stay there until 2025. Knitted in 'toilet paper pink' yarn over 5 years, it is the brainchild of art collective Gelitin. Its (knitted) heart, liver and intestines spill out of a wound in its side. It's even been visible on Google Maps. Take a look at the photos which visitors to the rabbit have already sent in... including one of the rabbit snowbound and one showing grass starting to grow on it.
I first heard about ganseys - knitted jumpers (usually navy blue) traditionally worn by fisherman - when I was looking through a book of photographs of Whitby in Yorkshire, taken by Frank Meadow Sutcliffe a century ago. A little Googling threw up the website of Flamborough Marine, who still handknit ganseys to order, as well as patterns and yarns to enable you to knit your own gansey.
Ganseys (or guernseys) were knitted in the round, so they were seamless and more durable, and had distinctive patterns knitted into them:
"Many of the stitch motifs used to decorate the ganseys were inspired by the everyday objects in the lives of fishing families. Some of the best-known designs represent ropes, nets, anchors and herringbone. Other patterns are based on the weather, echoing the shapes made by waves, hail or flashes of lighting. Some patterns had more complex symbolic meanings. One of the traditional Filey patterns, for example, is a zigzag design called 'marriage lines' which represents the ups and downs of married life.I found more info and some wonderful photographs of gansey knitters and wearers in the online archives of UK museums:
It was even possible for fishing families to recognize from the pattern of a gansey, which fishing village, or even which family, the wearer came from. At a time when the loss of a boat was a frequent occurrence, deliberate mistakes or the wearer’s initials were often incorporated into the design in order to help to identify a body recovered from the sea. As the gansey was was traditionally worn tight-fitting and close to the skin, and with no seams to come apart, it could not be washed off in the water."
Flamborough Marine: Gansey History
*The David Morgan Rees collection at Sheffield Hallam University: Mrs Ethel Richardson of Old Whitby, a fisherman's wife, using the traditional four needles to knit a 'gansey'
* University of St. Andrews's Library Photographic Archive:
- Cox[swain] David Fenton, RNLI, St Andrews (larger version)
- Lowestoft fisherman (larger version)
- Fisher Lad (larger version)
* Tyne & Wear Museums - Memorynet: Dave Graham talks about his gansey
* Tyne & Wear Museums - Fish Tales: The Fishermen's Ganseys
* Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service: Ganseys
* National Museum of Photography, Film and Television: Frank Meadow Sutcliffe (image gallery)
Last year, entrants were asked to design an Alternative Deckchair, and Robert Bailey's Pink Ball of Wool chair won first prize (extra points for the lilac mohair jumper too, I dare say).
This year, competitors have to design an Alternative Clock and entries can be viewed along Southwold High Street on Sunday 23 July.
Tree sweater, Seattle (c) Erika
Back in January, Seattle resident Erika knitted a sweater for a tree in her neighbourhood. Since then it has been shown some respect by someone pruning the tree, got a little ragged and grubby, made a surprise appearance on the front cover of a local listings mag and been stolen... and replaced by Tree Sweater #2, which now has been joined by Tree Denim Miniskirt. Lovely, lovely, lovely.
You can dress your local trees using the free tree sweater pattern Erika's provided.
Other knitters trying to brighten up their neighbourhoods include Knitta ('Warming the world, one car antenna at a time...") who knit graffiti (take a look at some of their tags here), and British textile artist Freddie Robins, who has knitted tree cosies.
Especially for my lovely friend S, here are some knitted lambswool cupcakes by the marvellous Donna Wilson. Perfect for the lady who is watching her waistline. £12 each but they never go stale. I like the choccy one best.
S - you'll also love Heidi's plush patisserie @ My Paper Crane.
Knitted Green Wing finger puppets (c) green-knit-wing.livejournal.com
It had to happen (and I'm very glad it has): knitted finger puppets of the main characters from Green Wing - starring in exclusive episodes! By Rose @ Hullfire.
Matie Trewe has also produced many other knitted delights for you to try, including the Lacy Skull Shrug, the DoKnit and the Slit Throat Choker ("For when you want to keep a specific 1/2" of your neck warm, AND look like you've just been murdered..."). Fan-bluddy-tastic.
Among them is a shark with a severed leg in its mouth, conjoined teddy bears, a rabbit who has been stabbed through the heart with a carrot, some fluffy pink bondage gear and a roadkill cat with guts and blood spilling out of its stomach. Artist unknown. Enjoy!
Later that same day... A-ha! Further Googling (props to 1percent - and I didn't pinch that post title, honest) reveals that the artist in question is Patricia Waller. There are dozens more works for your delight in her online photo gallery.
"To celebrate Valentine's Day this year, The Children's Society has teamed up with Rowan to give you an exclusive free downloadable Valentine's pattern. Also on these pages there are special patterns for knitted chocolates and flowers, kindly donated to us by Magknits.Download patterns via this page - very brief registration required.
All of these patterns can be used to raise money for children that are vulnerable, isolated and abused across the country. You can knit as many chocolates as you can and sell them or you can knit flowers to make friends feel special and donate the money you would normally spend on them. Whatever way you choose to do it, your knitting will really make a difference.
Contact us on 0845 600 8585 or www.childrenssociety.org.uk/fundraise
Please grab those needles now to bring a smile back into the lives of disadvantaged children. Thank you for your kind support."
Contained Obsessions is at the Crypt Gallery, Lewes until 4 March 2006. It includes the work of Liz Padgham, which "encompasses the contemporary, even quirky uses of traditional craft forms such as knitting and stitching. It incorporates found and domestic objects and uses a variety of media, including textiles."
"Padgham takes domestic objects and encases them in knitting. She believes that every line in the fabric contains a memory. There’s a rather pop-arty feel to her work, in the way it makes us re-examine every day objects." Viva Lewes
It's full of patterns - this time including iPod Mittens, a lovely Chevron Scarf and the Cha Ching Moebius. The first issue (pdf) is also still available.
3rd Jan 2009 - EDITED TO ADD: Thanks to Hope for letting me that the Naive Knitting blog and its tutorials have disappeared. Here are some alternative sock dog tutorials I've found:
A lovely clearly illustrated tutorial from Naive Knitting : How To Make A Sock Dog . And look - more sock dogs (and a cat)! Also, from Home On The Range: sock monkey and sock elephant instructions... and sock babies from Crafty Visions.
A cry for help from the Centre for Knitting and Crochet in Holmfirth:
'"We’re looking for Lego!" says Mary Hawkins of the Knitting & Crochet Guild of Great Britain. "It’s not that we’ve changed tack in what we are collecting – it’s to support our knitted village!"
Much-Knitting-by-the-Sea is the name of the village created by Morecambe resident Dorothy Entwistle by way of recuperating after an operation. Although the village is imaginary, it does include: Dorothy’s own bungalow, her local church, Trinity Methodist Church on Morecambe’s West End Promenade, and many, many more buildings. The knitted village first went on public display in November 1992.
"The intervening years have not been kind to the cardboard and sellotape which hold the houses together," says Mary. "The Guild has taken the decision to build more permanent frameworks in Lego or Duplo, and to drop the houses over like tea cosies."
Donations of these plastic building bricks are being now sought towards the upkeep of the village. They may be sent by post to: The Collection Co-ordinator, PO Box 4421, Kidderminster, DY11 6YW
...or brought along to any of the Guild’s Open Days near Holmfirth in West Yorkshire, when parts of the village will be on view, along with possibly the largest and most exciting collection of knitting and crochet in Britain.'
I've never seen the collection at the Centre for Knitting and Crochet in person, but you can see highlights from it on their website - beautiful items from the 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including some fab knitted and crocheted dresses.
"Please help us knit the first completely knitted wedding! Everything at this wedding will be knitted, from the cameras, to the dress, the food, the decorations, something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. Our bride is curator of the exhibition ‘Ceremony’, and Knitting Doctor, Freddie Robins. All knitters and their friends are invited to the wedding.Scroll to the bottom of this page for free wedding-themed knitting patterns, including candles, doves, flowers and sandwiches; as well as info on how to send your knitted items to the wedding. All work will be credited in a slide show during the reception, and later shown in a book - How to Knit Your Own Wedding - published by Cast Off.
The wedding ceremony is at 2pm. At 2.45pm we will throw the woollen confetti. The champagne reception is at 3pm, with speeches and knitted cake. You may knit through the reception. There are drinks but you may want to bring a picnic, as the food is knitted. The 1st dance and the wedding disco with our favourite DJ Nervous Stephen, will start at 4pm and continue until 6.30 when the bride and groom leave."
The Knitted Wedding is part of the Ceremony exhibition at the Pump House Gallery in Battersea Park till 9 October 2005, "...fusing craft with live art Ceremony brings together an eclectic range of works, performances and projects that explore the performative relationship between object and ritual...ranging from cake decorating, metalwork, video, knitting, live art, quilting and floristry." Rachael and Annie from Cast Off will be knitting in the gallery, and showing films with weddings in, from 28th September to 2nd October, and 5th October to 8th October, 11am-5pm.
Via The Guardian:
"Opera meets knitting in the latest project from Tête à Tête. The opera company has already met over 100 knitters and spinners in preparation for A Shetland Odyssey, its retelling of Odysseus's journey home from Troy, to be performed by six singers, seven musicians and five craftspeople in autumn 2006."The production is explained in depth in a great article from the Highlands & Islands Arts Journal: Navigating New Waters.
Should I make it to a performance, I think it only fitting that I should knit myself some opera gloves to wear...
Knitted opera gloves © Sweaterscapes
Thanks to Craftlog for flagging up The Lost Art of Knitting Nancies, which in turn links to a KidsCanMakeIt article on fingerknitting.
Speaking of learning new ways to knot yarn into pretty shapes... I've tried crochet for the first time, with dubious results. I got a simple chain thingy going and produce a quite acceptable rectangle of cloth, but after that I tried to make a round shape and couldn't understand the instructions and ended up just freestyling and producing a mutant flower shape. It's back to the knitting for now and I might give crochet another go when I'm feeling more patient.
'Dave Cole is in residence at MASS MoCA with his project The Knitting Machine which comprises two excavators specially fitted with massive 20’ knitting needles. The product of The Knitting Machine is an oversized American flag – a flag which can be seen as both a celebratory gesture of pride and a commentary on America’s role in world affairs....
Cole explains, “The Knitting Machine combines the feminized domestic American tradition of knitting with the grandiose gesture of construction usually associated with masculine labor. The Knitting Machine challenges familiar notions of labor and production, while expressing a complex understanding of patriotism.” When the flag is removed from The Knitting Machine it will be folded into the traditional flag triangle and will be on display in a presentation case which Cole describes as “slightly smaller than a Volkswagen Beetle”, accompanied by the 20’ knitting needles, and a video of the knitting process.'
The Knifty Knitter Maybe I've been living a crafty rock, but I'd never see these before - Knifty Knitters. I spotted them while I was on the Fun 2 Do site looking for bag handles. They come in various sizes and produce tubular knitting which can be made into hats, scarves etc. I wondered if they worked like large french knitting dollies, and having watched the manufacturer's instructional video - here - it seems they do, although at this scale I would imagine it'd be much quicker to just get out a circular needle. Would that produce the same effect?
I really must get around to making myself some larger gauge knitting dollies - just a few sizes bigger than the ones you can buy, so I can use yarns thicker than double knitting. I used a gorgeous two-tone chunky yarn for one of the roses I made for Sarah's bag and it was tough work getting the resulting cord through the dolly. I also fancy getting an automatic knitting mill - maybe this one from Inox, or the Clover Wonder Knitter, which has two gauge options (although I am worried by how much it looks like it came from Ann Summers...).
I made this in burgundy corduroy to match her favourite cardy, and lined it with pink candy-striped cotton, cos the girl likes her stripes. The handles are glittery amber plastic, the roses are french knitting and the leaves are cut from felt left over from Rachel's 'shrunken sweater' bag.
Thanks to Plums' LJ friend Revelatrice for flagging up the gorgeous Minette - out-of-this-world crocheted, knitted and felt accessories. How have I never seen these before?! Yet again I tell myself: you MUST learn to crochet. But I have the Fear... it looks so complicated compared with knitting...
16.06.05 - edited to add: if and when I learn to crochet, I'll be visiting the Livejournal Crochet Community for inspiration!
Went to see Hitchhikers yesterday - funny, surreal stuff, though it didn't grab me quite as much as I'd hoped it would. Worth it though even just to see the five main characters turn into knitted versions of themselves.
If you're into knitting and near London, don't miss this show. If you can't make it, here's my review.
Another great piece of knitted art in progess: Cork's Knitting Map:
"Above the earth there is a satellite which looks down at Cork and watches the movements of people and cars around the city. Through a strange technical alchemy, this information is transformed into a knitting pattern, which constantly shifts - some hefty cabling during rush hour; quiet lulls of stocking stitch on Sunday mornings; bobbles of blackberry stitches for the un-quotidian gatherings of Cork mortals.
Down in the city there is a large empty hall, with a semicircle of chairs. It is here that fifty people knit for a year. They work in relay, their knitting moving slowly into the space between them, where the strips are sewn together to form a single vast document of the city. The hue of yarn shifts with the weather, and the descent of the year.
During the day, people arrive to view the installation. They hear low voices, and the tapping of knitting needles. Before them this great knitted cartography, moves gradually across the space and then begins to pile up of the floor of the hall in the half-light..."
This Deirdre Nelson exhibition - The Dangers of Sewing and Knitting - sounds fantastic, but sadly for me it's only showing in St. Andrew's and Glasgow - too much of a hike from Brighton. In other recent knitting-related surfing, I've come across:
* Shetland's Great Gravit
* Year of the Volunteer's Big Knit (pdf) - a national knitting initiative, giving older volunteers the chance to donate knitted garments and toys to children's hospitals and premature baby units
* More on the Crafts Council's Knit 2 Together show (which I STILL haven't got to!)
* Knitting Together: the story of the East Midlands knitting industry over the past four hundred years
* Via Craftster, 'Strathaven folk knit themselves a 1950s room' - knitted cakes, teapots, cups and biscuits - even a knife and loaf of crusty white bread - while over in the corner sits a knitted valve mantel radio. A few Jean Greenhowe items can be spotted in the pics.
It's my friend Baadad's birthday, so I decided to knit him a Jean Greenhowe cactus, to add to his collection of real ones. To while away the time whilst I did this, I watched the box set of the BBC's 1995 Pride & Prejudice I'd borrowed from Annie.
Normally I watch this with Julie on her annual trip down from't North - she goes all unnecessary when Darcy appears in his wet shirt - but this time I was on my own, and I really enjoyed seeing it all again. I picked up so many more subtle jibes and jokes than I had before.
And of course the costumes are beautiful and fascinating. I kept wondering what the little piece of ribbon or braid was, which all the gentlemen had peeking out from under their waistcoats, close to the right hip.
My first thought was that it must be a watch fob but it didnt appear to be attached to any chain or button - though obviously it was difficult to get a clear look. Found the answer on Jessamyn's Regency Costume Companion - a fantastic resource. It IS a watch fob. Thanks Jeesamyn!
'The domestic craft of knitting is back in vogue. In Knit 2 Together, the Crafts Council taps into this contemporary revival with a snapshot of how contemporary knitting is used as a medium for art practice. With exhibits ranging from knitted sex adverts and subversive toys to giant cobwebs and knitted interiors, Knit 2 Together proves that there is more to knitting than just sticks and string. Knit 2 Together highlights the work of 15 international artists who are pushing perceived boundaries within knitting, and features a range of innovative and experimental work created with both new and traditional techniques. By exploring areas of tradition and history, process, skill, materiality, individuality and future technologies, Knit 2 Together celebrates the creative potential and contemporary appeal of this craft tradition. The visitor will experience work ranging from the lyrical to the eccentric. Exploring the process involved in knitting, Freddie Robins has developed a wall-based work that focuses on the element of chance whereas Celia Pym’s knitted timeline represents her travels round Japan. Highlighting the skill of the medium are Ruth Lee’s lacy, ephemeral ‘Spirit dresses’ and Susie McMurray’s (sic) 3D hangings that have been French-knitted from human hair. In recognition of the obsessive side of knitting and the current fashion for knitting groups is the collaborative work of Françoise Dupré and the guerrilla knitting of the Cast Off knitting club. Equally quirky are Donna Wilson’s rebellious creatures and Kelly Jenkins' edgy wall pieces based on adverts and cards from the sex industry. The skill of knitting is one that is passed down through generations. In an interactive area of Knit 2 Together, the Crafts Council will encourage visitors to share their first memories of knitting, enabling them to fully engage with the work on show in this major exhibition. Knit 2 Together is curated by craft editor Katy Bevan and artist Freddie Robins. Knit 2 Together is the Crafts Council’s first knitting exhibition since 1986 and will tour the UK from May 2005.'Dribbling on contemporary craftworks is frowned upon, yes?
This just in: "The stonework at Cartwright Hall will be well wrapped up this winter, thanks to an exhibition by artists from Bradford's twin town in Germany. Installation artist Kirsten Kaiser will be covering the 25 stone spheres outside the Hall with red and yellow knitted 'cosies'. The installation is designed to highlight the importance of the wool industry in Bradford's history. It is also a reference to the game of pool which, on a recent visit to Bradford, Kirsten Kaiser noticed was so popular in the city's pubs. The 'cosies' are being hand-knitted in Hamm, following an article in the town's newspaper asking for volunteers.
"Kirsten Kaiser said: 'When I saw Cartwright Hall this August, I thought the flowerbeds and stone balls would make a fantastic site for an installation. With the exhibition happening in November, I wanted to choose something which fitted the season, but also said something about the city and its industrial heritage. It should add a lovely splash of colour to the gardens.' ..."
So, I finally finished Rae's bag! She went to New York and bought a jumper, then brought it home to the UK and put it in the washing machine when it was dry-clean only, reducing it to felt. She was so upset. So it's a bag now, with french knitting roses and padded leaves cut from scraps of the main fabric (and an 'I heart NY' charm on a chain round one handle). I was a bit worried the decoration was too full-on for her, but she assures me she's thrilled with it.
After I gave it to her, we were browsing in a trendy baby boutique and she was deliberately wafting the bag in the direction of the shop owner. She noticed the bag and asked if I'd do them a batch of bags on sale or return! Damn, but Rachel's good - I may have to keep her on as my agent...
Have only just had a chance to have a proper look at the R2 knitting mag which Plums bought me last week. It's the latest manifestation of the 'Knitting is now cool' phenomenon (hey, I've been knitting for years, sometimes even in public - I didn't start just cos Julia Roberts has...). It's a lovely zine-y format, with some great things to try. I'm particularly keen to try the criss-cross method of making very looooooong knit stitches and moving them about within the knitting. Looks like a fancy stitch: isn't!
Left to right: the poet Ian McMillan, Wendy Moorby - the reigning World Champion fastest knitter, David Rawson - the Marketing Manager of Sirdar and Simon Thackray, founder of Shed - a performance arts cooperative in Brawby, North Yorkshire. (c) theshed.co.uk
The fabulous Cast Off Knitting Club For Boys And Girls is all over the press at the moment, as they're hosting a Friday night knit-in at the V&A. It was a joy to watch one of them teaching BBC Breakfast's Bill Turnbull to knit. Here's what The Independent had to say, and a few other knitty links: