knitting

Beads, trains and sea sparkle!

March and April are turning out to be crazy months where the social diary has exploded and we have something on every weekend now until the first weekend in May! Whilst that means we have lots of fun things to look forward to it does mean that I am going to need to squeeze in extra knitting time during the week to keep on track with my C&G course. I have made great progress on module 5 so far and next up is beading samples.

Beads

Last weekend was spent by the seaside visiting my friend, it was the first weekend this year when it really felt like Spring was on it’s way. Just look at that blue sky!

Worthing

Worthing Pier

Work is also seeing me travel to London a bit more frequently so in order to stay on track I have started making samples on the commute.

Train Knitting

This coming weekend is one that I have been particularly looking forward to as I am getting together with my friend I met at knitting group to take my first steps in yarn dyeing! I have lots of lovely undyed yarn and a sample kit of dyes from Wingham Wool Work in the Mountain Colour range.

Undyed Yarn

I can’t wait to see what colours these skeins become. To get inspired I have been looking through my postcard box and Pinterest to see what combinations catch my eye. Here are a few of my favourites.

Watercolour Painting - Sunset Storm Seascape

This watercolor painting “Tormenta” is an original watercolour painting by professional Artist Brazen Edwards. Photo taken from Pinterest

Succulent Gradient

Photo from Pinterest

Beach sun

Sea sparkle! Photo from Pinterest

I had better stop there otherwise I will be here for hours!! I’ll let you know how it all goes next week…

knitting

A Marvellous Day at Ally Pally

A lovely day was had yesterday at the annual Knitting & Stitching show at Alexandra Palace. The show is the largest textiles and craft event in the UK and as well as being a chance to stock up on ‘essential’ supplies, there are many exhibitions, workshops, fashion shows, demonstrations and lectures on offer.

On walking into the main entrance hall you see the ‘PicKnit in the Pergola’, an amazing display of hand knitted flowers, birds, butterflies and a pond! It is a project by the UK Hand Knitting Association and each wildlife item has been made and donated by volunteers. The Pergola is touring the country in order to raise awareness and funding for the Livability Home Design Appeal, a charity that provides support and opportunities for disabled people in the UK.

Picknit in the Pergola

I went through to the main exhibition area to the the knitted Textile Awards exhibition which showcases knitted work in 2 categories – graduate and open.

One of my favourite showcases was of mounted dogs heads, a playful take on taxidermy by Nicky Barfoot. Here is ‘Pickle’.

DSC08538

And here is ‘Willoughby Brown’ by Heather Drage – a knitting shop owner from Salisbury.

DSC08564DSC08533

I also managed to catch one of the fashion shows and fell in love with this orange ladies cable coat by Patons. Isn’t it stunning!

Patons ladies cable coat

Moving on from the exhibitions to the stalls…and here is a selection of the days purchases…

Ally Pally purchases

Top left – Copperfield Yarns, hand dyed by Oliver Twists, silk and baby camel. My most extravagant purchase of the day but if you felt the softness you would totally understand

Middle left – Scrumptious 4 ply / sport superwash by Fyberspates. I had to buy this as I have a handbag and gloves in the same colour. This is going to be a matching scarf.

Right – a selection of buttons by Cool Crafting – just look at them, need I say anything more?!

Bottom – Rowan Creative Linen. A beautiful colour for Halloween

I also purchased a 10 ball bag of Rowan Pure wool, in a dusky pink shade. No idea what I will make from it yet though…

DSC08556

And finally, a book – ‘A Handknit Romance’ by Jennie Atkinson. A gorgeous book full of vintage inspired knitting patterns. I can’t wait to have a proper look through this but what immediately struck me when browsing though it at the stand was the beautiful photography and presentation of this book. Each pattern is accompanied by a note about where the inspiration for the design came from. And I was lucky enough to have Jennie sign it for me too!

DSC08569

Speaking of autographs, guess who else I met – none other than the textile queen Zhandra Rhodes! What a lovely way to end the day 🙂

DSC08561

Art

Quilts and Colour Exhibition

During our recent trip to Boston I visited the Quilts and Color exhibition currently showing at the Museum of Fine Arts. This exhibition was especially useful for me as it ties in very nicely with my current knitting course module which looks at the use of colour.

The exhibition showcases around 60 quilts from the collectors and artists Paul Pilgrim and Gerald Roy and looks at both the craft of quilting and colour theories used in the design of the pieces.

The collection ranges from early 19th century to the 1940’s, a time when women’s environments were very labour intensive. The collector Gerald Roy quotes: “That first sentence that I use in my collector’s preface—I make my quilts as fast as I can so my children won’t freeze, and as beautiful as I can so my heart won’t break —I think that is the epitome of what quilt making provided for women throughout the history of the nineteenth century. Their worlds were very much labor intensive, and to be able to escape and to produce something by way of producing it for utility, for the family, for warmth, but also having that other very, very special part was extremely important.”

The first quilt we saw was the Carpenters Wheel Quilt by Mrs. Miller made around 1890.

Carpenters Wheel Quilt

I found this combination of colours really interesting – the photo doesn’t really do it justice though as the orange was much brighter, but the complementary colors of dark red and green seemed to reign it in. What you also don’t get from the photo is the detail in the stitching, if you look really closely in the orange squares you can just about see the flower pattern.

This next piece is ‘The Star of Bethlehem’, there aren’t any details to say who it was made by other than it was made in new England in the 1920’s.

Quilt Star of Bethlehem

Here is a close up of the centre, the amount of work that must have gone in to produce something like this is incredible:

Star of Bethlehem Quilt

We spent ages in front of this next quilt ‘A Thousand Pyramids’ (1930), trying to work out of there was any pattern  or logic to the placement of the triangles or whether they had been placed randomly.

Thousand Pyramids quilt

We never reached a conclusion on that one!

Pamela Parmal the exhibition curator states:  Traditionally, most quilt makers used a high contrast, usually white with a dark color, to create their patterns, which could easily be seen. A lot of the quilts in this exhibition do just the opposite; they’ll use similar colors together, or will have no white whatsoever. In fact the majority of the quilts in the show do not have white in them.”

‘Touching Sunbursts’, made in Pennsylvania in 1854 was one of the few quilts on display that used white.

Touching Sunbursts quilt

Again, this was one when viewed close up you could see intricate stitching patterns in the white squares, details which get lost when viewed from afar. This is what made the pieces so interesting as on first glance you are drawn in by the colorful and bold overall pattern,  but when you get closer you can see the patterns on each individual piece of fabric as well as the stitches that piece it all together.

I didn’t make a note of the origins of this one unfortunately but I was totally captivated by it. It’s almost as if the dark pattern has been printed on top of the finished quilt.

DSC07067

Here is a close up – just look at the number of different individual fabrics that were used to make it!

DSC07068

Another of my favourites was this one – it reminded me of spinning records.

Quilt

Quilt 2

If you look in the red squares you can see the stitching patterns a bit clearer in this one.

Speaking of the collection Gerald Roy quotes “…can you imagine what these women, if they were alive today, would think about their work appearing on the walls of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston? I mean that would be mind-blowing to those ladies. And what a compliment.”

If only the family of Mrs. Ephraim Scott has known her ‘Sunburst Quilt’ (1856) would one day be on display – it was dubbed by them as the ‘ugly quilt’!

Sunburst quilt

This is one of the best exhibitions I have been to for a long time. Each quilt is so intricate and beautifully made it’s impossible not to stop and appreciate the detail in each one. The amount of thought, work and love that went into each one is truly inspirational.

The Diamond Field Quilt

The Diamond Field (1860) – picture taken from https://www.mfa.org/exhibitions/quilts-and-color

Art, Travel

Bonjour Paris!

Not so long ago my husband and I spent a magical weekend in Paris. We caught the Eurostar early on Friday morning and by midday we were checking into our hotel.

We stayed at the Opera de Noailles, situated near the Opera House. We chose this hotel mainly due to the great reviews on Trip Advisor and we weren’t disappointed. Not only is the central location perfect (10 min walk to the Louvre) but the hotel is full of interesting pieces of modern art such as:

The turtles behind the reception desk

Opera de Noailles Paris

The snails in the main lobby

Opera de Noailles Snail

And the group of bears in the courtyard which became more and more sinister as daylight faded!

Opera de Noailles Bears

 

Our room was small but very clean, it was ideal for us as we spent most of the weekend out and about.

One of the places we visited was the Les Catacombs, which I have to say I was a bit apprehensive about at first. The catacombs are a series of disused quarries that run deep under the centre of Paris. In the late 18th Century, due to overcrowding and disease it was decided to transfer the bones of those buried in the city centre graveyards down to the mines; the tunnels hold the remains of as many as 6 million Parisians.

The way the bones have  been displayed and arranged makes for a pretty strange experience. I have to say I am glad that we did visit as it was unlike anything I have ever seen before, but I’m not sure I would rush back to do it again.

Paris Catacombs

 

In the evening we took a wander down to the Notre Dame and the Seine.

Notre Dame

The Seine Paris

 

It was late when we got back to the hotel and unfortunately the bar was shut so we couldn’t have a drink with the bears! On the Saturday we headed over to the Louvre to check out this little lady.

Mona Lisa

The Louvre is such an amazing, inspirational place. Everywhere you turn there are opulent halls lined with exquisite pieces of art. It really is something else. It also made us want to watch the Da Vinci Code again!

The Louvre

 

The only thing that I really wanted to see that we didn’t get chance to was a Surrealist exhibition at the Pompidou Centre – we just ran out of time. However, some of the artwork back in the hotel could have given the surrealists a run for their money!

Opera de Noailles art

I also really liked this chair – the jacket on the back was made up of strips of paper but you couldn’t tell until you got up really close.

Opera de Noailles

And check this out – the hotel has a really unique way of displaying it’s thank you notes!

Opera de Noailles Thank you

It really was a great weekend and I hope we can go back again soon – 2 days really isn’t long enough to explore this beautiful city.

 

 

C&G Hand Knit Textiles, knitting

C&G Hand Knit Textiles – Module 2 – The Knitting Bit

Following my previous post on Module 2 of the Hand Knit Textiles course, here are the samples I produced for activity 5. The brief was to produce 3 or 4 samples based on visual sources of line, but I got a bit carried away and did a few more 🙂

Activity 5 – Interpreting Line in Knitting

Sample 1 – Green Vase

DSC02564

This vase is in the V&A Museum in London and I like the thin white lines painted on the ridges and the way they reflect the light.

The sample is knit in plain green stockinette  and then in first purl row I used a fair isle patterned yarn which sat on the stitches below and above each ridge to give the highlight effect.

DSC06296

Sample 2 – Grille

IMG_0434

Knit in striped stockinette but the diagonal lines were picked up using purl stitches so at the end I could draw a line of yarn through these and finish with a button for the centre.

DSC06277

Sample 3 – Egg Dish

Another V&A find – the sample couldn’t be anything else but entrelac!

DSC02562

DSC06278

Sample 4 – Hexagonal Box

DSC02538

DSC06279

Sample 5 – V&A Floor

DSC02489

It was the interlocking squares that I liked about this pattern – originally tried working this one in colour but it got beyond complicated trying to keep track of the intarsia bobbins! So it became knit and purl instead and duplicate stitch over the black squares – but I wasn’t keen on the result,  it works better in one plain colour.

DSC06280

(By the way, see if you can spot the mistake in the floor mosaic photo!)

Sample’s 6 and 7 – 3D Blocks

DSC06283

After failing to recreate the V&A floor sample in colour I wanted to try again with a different pattern, this design was on the back of a greetings card.

DSC06282

I then tried the same design in a linear pattern and used contrasting yarn to pick out other patterns within it. The shapes aren’t very clear from the photo below but they are in yellow, pink and green.

DSC06299

Sample 8 – Ironworks

I wanted to have a go at creating something using raised stitches and cables and was inspired by this picture of an iron railing.

DSC02501

This is my least favourite sample and probably would have been a lot more effective in just knit and purl stitches. It just looks a bit messy and not really the result I was after. But hey ho – it was a good lesson in what doesn’t work!

DSC06284

Sample 9 – Llama

I found this little fellow in the Birmingham museum – isn’t he sweet!

DSC03102

The sample was a combination of knit, purl, stripes and eyelets for the markings.

DSC06285

So that was all of the knitted samples based on line – I absolutely loved this activity and could have quite easily carried on making more!

The final part of the module was to produce a ‘resolved piece’. Using the techniques previously explored the aim was to experiment with line patterns and work through a range of ideas to create a decorative design that could be applied to a craft item. The end design could be used as a print on a scarf, indentations around a ceramic pot, an embroidered or stitch pattern on a wall hanging or quilt etc.

Resolved Piece

My resolved piece started life as ripped up pieces of cardboard and thick paper which were then glued onto an A4 piece of card. I overlaid a piece of tracing paper and took a rubbing using a white wax crayon. This rubbing was turned upside down and put back on top of the original with glued on bits of string to mark out some of the lines.

DSC06286

I took a rubbing and scanned it into the computer.

DSC06287

Then was the fun bit of matching up the lines and picking out repeat patterns.

DSC06288

Here are a couple of ideas that were developed further

DSC06289

But in the end I went with this shape as it made me think of butterflies!

DSC06290

Once the main pattern was decided on I experimented with colours using watercolours and tissue paper.

DSC06291

This is the final design in colour.

DSC06292

Which was scanned and repeated to produce the pattern below.

DSC06293

The course then requires you to demonstrate how you saw the design being used. I saw this pattern as being a pretty print on a dress, forgive the rubbish drawing, but you get the idea!

DSC06294

And that was Module 2!

If anyone is interested in doing this course it is run by Fiona Morris at ‘Distance Knitting’ and you can find more details here.