Sunday, 25 January 2015
Dublin City Public Libraries
Oh man, this is going to be a cranky review, he made me so annoyed with his paternalism and patronising attitude and how he regarded Christianity as the only logical choice and how there were no pagans who could have any virtue and how only with Christianity could there be honour. I've read too many legends and stories to fully trust that attitude.
And then I have to remember that it was written in 1962, that this was the attitude of many at the time, that the paternalistic attitude of both lauding traditional societies while at the same time questioning why they modernised and left tradition behind. Mourning the fact that people didn't embrace the past and keep things the way they were while not realising that he himself was doing the very same thing, that he was looking at a world his ancestors had lived in and had moved on from.
He also decided that Dun as not a word to use but insisted on using Doon, which wound me up a bit too. I read this in short bursts because I kept getting annoyed with him.
P A O Siochain wrote this, mostly about the myths and legends of Aran. Mostly about the Christian legends of the islands, an easy enough topic with the proliferation of sacred spaces on the islands. I was reading it more for details of costume and mention of knitting.
So we have on page 117: "The excursionists [from A report of the Excursion of the Ethnological Section of the British Association to the Western Islands of Aran in September, 1857 by Martin Haverty] found that the costume of the people had not changed with the centuries. The men wore the costume of fishermen. The women and girls wore the characteristic red petticoats, which with their red or blue bodices, which, for the most part they then wore - "made the effect very striking in the eyes of the stranger.""
The red petticoats were also found until the early 20th century in Galway. mostly in Claddagh and Connemara. My great-grandmother wore a red petticoat.
p120, he describes an interesting cliff-cimbing event, dating from the same time with the climber throwing himself about the cliff face with abandon, and then you think about modern ropes and the peril...
"After the banquet, the party were to witness a remarkable exhibition of cliff climbing and searching for sea fowl and their eggs. From the top of a three hundred foot cliff, three Islanders, one after another descended the sheer cliff. The end of a great length of rope was tied under their armpits. Fifteen to twenty men then paid it out as the Islander stepped backward off the cliff. Gripping the rope with one hand, and using the other to keep his balance, the Islander descended in a series of leaps. Striking the rock with one foot after another he propelled himself out into space. He then "flew, as it were, outward and downwards, his feet constantly moving like paddles in the air."
Haverty described the return ascent as "graceful movement". As the cliff searcher gained momentum, the men at the top pulled in the rope at such speed that he was able to make fifty foot leaps up the cliff face. When he reached a point thirty feet from the top, he ran up it with his body laying out horizontally from the cliff face. Not only the daring but the incredible skill of the feat made deep impression on the party."
He records the last of the Ailleadoiri, the cliff climbers, died 30 years ago, so in the 1930s.
p177. "Synge noted the various accomplishments of the Islandmen, but he did not note the many accomplishments of of the Islandwomen who are expert seamstresses, tailors [I sometimes wonder what the distinction between these two is] shirtmakers and knitters, fish-curers, bakers and cooks. They assist generally on the little farms. The cows and calves, pigs and hens are usually their particular care."
p183-184. "Tourism has undoubtedly put a lot into the pockets of the people of Inis Mor, particularly in Kilronan and Kilmurvey, but it has taken away a lot of their old independence and pride, to leave a drab nondescript character in parts. This is not, of course, true of the real Islander on Inish Mor, and in the parts away from the tourist trade they still retain their old character.
"More than all the rest of Ireland, bochtanas, poverty, was something of which they knew the real meaning in the unhappy past. It was in the long long ago that they learned to help those in need."
and he wonders why they embraced tourism as a way of getting out of the poverty trap.
"Unique folk art.
"Aran Knitting has long been known to the experts but, until recent years, to very few others outside of Ireland. It is a creative folk-art of exquisite beauty and quality, and is the only one of its kind in the world. It has been defined as sculpture in wool. Some of the imitations are often quite wrongly described as "Aran" ganseys, so it is essential to ascertain that a garment styled as "Aran" has actually been made on the Islands. The number of genuine Aran ganseys available in any one year is limited.
"The style of knitting is that known as traditional. On the Islands it is distinguished by the fact that each knitter has her own particular pattern or patterns of stitches. Some, even, change the pattern at will and today with its development on an organised basis, full scope is given to them to create not only changing patters of stitches but new stitches and new forms and varieties of stitches.
"Many of the stitches in use are exclusive to the Islands. Many of them, in form, have been copied in imitations. But no matter how good the quality of the imitation it can never equal an original garment, with its everchanging and incredible variety and combination of stitches and patterns.
"The speed of the Islandwomen's knitting is another feature of their accomplishment. To watch them is to wonder at this rare gift. Even the simplest pattern of traditional stitches involves constant changes in each successive "line" across.
"This art has been handed down for untold generations from mother to daughter. One sad feature has always been associated with the Aran gansey: it has always been an unfailing source of identification of Islandmen at sea.
"The most famous of these traditional Aran stitches are as follows:
"The Tree of Life: Crann na Beatha. This is sometimes known as the Fern Stitch.
"The Crooked Road: An Bothar Cam. It is also known as the Marriage Lines.
"The Carrageen Moss Stitch: Lub an Charraigin. This is named after the edible seaweed.
"The Tobacco Stitch: Casadh an Tobac. This is a form of the Cable or Rope.
"The Castle Stich: Lub an Chaisleain. An unusual stitch, not unlike another stitch known as the Anchor Stitch named after an unique type of anchor used on the Islands.
"Other stitches in general use are well known, such as the Diamond, the Net, the Honeycomb, Figure of Eight, the Tree, the Ladder. Finally, the Bobaleen, the Bobble, is popular with a number of knitters. This is a little ball of wool introduced into the pattern. [I love his descriptions, sadly there are no illustrations]
"Some of these stitches in miniature form are incorporated into wool caps of distinctive character.
"Another form of this folk-art exclusive to the Islands is the handcrocheted multicoloured shawl so favoured by the Islandwomen.
"A third distinctive folk-art on the Islands is the hand-weaving of the belts, known as crios (plural criosa), worn by the Islandmen instead of braces. They are multicoloured but always in an unceasing and lovely variety of designs and colour combinations.
"Their sense of colour is unfailing, as is their natural talent for design. They can create a design in colour in their heads in a moment, which would take an industrial artist upwards of a week to work out.*
"*Note: Full particulars regarding the handcraft products of the Islands can be obtained from Galway Bay Products Ltd., 102 Sraid Grafton, Dubhlinn, Ireland, through whom they are marketed at home and abroad."
These are a few passages that struck me, and that add to the legends and also what was being said in the 60s about the Islands and their heritage. I didn't enjoy his writing and I really wish there had been some more detail about the knitting.
This book made me want to do more research on the crocheted shawls of the Islandwomen. I also have a deep-seated urge to learn how to make the crios too.
Forgive missing accents, I keep poking my computer and hoping I will make it do them but failing to make it happen.
This copy was got in Dublin City Public Libraries who provide me with no incentive to do this other than a generous lending policy to staff and access to too many books and provide me with a wage.
Monday, 24 November 2014
First impressions are good, beautiful pictures.
First recipe is for pastry crust, the idea of incorporating spices into a crust sounds interesting and I should try it sometime.
The Long-tail cast on is detailed in some very clear photographs, that I might use for reference if I was to use it (it's not my default cast-on, but it does have it's uses. Then there's the Icelandic Bindoff, which looks like something interesting to try and to add to my cast-off repertoire.
Cleverly she has some basic terms and conventions used in the book. And some sewing conventions and a clear how-to on Blanket stitch, that's one that I always have to check on how to start it, and this is clear.
The first section is Winter
Mugwump Oatmeal pie looks interesting, but not one for me.
The Keating Hat is an interesting slightly loose hat, knit in DK.
The White Chocolate Cheesecake looks good and should be easily substituted (Aldi's Gluten Free Range has some nice digestives by the way)
Cupid's Arrow Cowl is a pretty, loose cowl that would use up a ball or two of treat-me Aran Yarn.
Next section is spring.
Starting with Lime Poppy-seed scones, that looks sadly lovely.
I have been tempted recently to make myself some boot toppers to hold my jeans down during the chillier weather (trust me you start to understand the use when you ride the back of a motorbike in the cooler weather) and the Cobblestone ones tempt me.
The Strawberry Mascarpone tart tempts me too.
The Falling Petals Shawl is another deceptively simple but beautiful pattern.
Next recipe is Snickerdoodles.
Smudge's Handspun Headband is a lovely showcase for a small amount of DK yarn, possibly a use for a first handspun or some beautiful dk leftovers.
And it's into Summer with Aunt Nell's Blondies.
Mary's Hostess Apron is a half-apron copied form an old favourite. Classic apron.
Buttery Cheddar Biscuits look delicious.
Another sewn pattern with the On the Green Picnic Mat. An oilcloth backed pattern, very practical for a knit in public day!
Lemon Drizzle Cake makes me want it, on-screen photographs are so clear you can almost smell the lemons. (I did resist licking the screen, just)
Princes Street market tote is lovely, and very practical here in Ireland where we are charged for plastic bags.
Autumn again teases with some Orange and Honey Loaf cake.
Love the Honeycomb Tea Cozy, the colours are perfect for it too, warm and autumnal.
Monster cookies look lush.
Festive bunting is a sewn pattern here.
Grandma's Pumpkin Pie sounds delicious and doesn't start with a tin of pumpkin but with a whole pumpkin... starts to plot possibilities, it's been simply ages since I had a decent pumpkin pie, shush, I had it, in the 80s courtesy of an American neighbour, in Galway.
The Sugar Maple Vest would not be my kind of top, but a very useful, versatile top it would be for many people.
Chocolate Cardamon Tart sounds intriguing.
Upcycled Felt mittens sound like a good use for those jumpers that have had a laundry incident.
Thanks and an index round things out.
It's beautiful, well produced and with something for nearly everyone. I'm just sad I can't just use some of the recipes straight from the tin but some of them have me plotting and heading for my gluten-free recipe books. Well done Evin.
Order Bake Knit Sew through the Anchor and Bee (publisher) online store or herRavelry shop during the blog tour to take advantage of a special 10% discount on your entire purchase! Discount code: BLOGTOUR until November 27, 2014 at 23:59 EST.
And one commenter will get a free ebook copy of the book (delivered via Ravelry) Of all the commenters on the blog tour blog posts, one will receive a paperback copy of the book including shipping.
. So get commenting.
Sunday, 2 November 2014
So I went to the desk at the Knitting & Stitching show, and was ignored, people talked around me. Now I'm actually a pretty shy person and I find it hard to approach new people, I do a good job sometimes of pretending to be a confident outgoing person, but that takes a lot of effort and, to be honest, I found the women there intimidating. I mean, I often wonder how good I am really at many of these things, I know I have only scraped the top of many of the crafts I do, and I'm always looking to try new skills, to try something different.
On Friday the Late Late Show had three older knitters racing against the show to produce three items during the production. There were lots of comments from a lot of people about granny knitting, it's a problem many of us in the discipline have, people don't see younger knitters so they don't think that younger people knit, which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Saturday, 23 August 2014
Geeky girls knit
Geek Girl Crafts
Illusion knitting all sorts of nerdy
some free nerdy illusion patterns
Dark Mark Illusion
Matrix Neo Illusion
Winter is coming
Babylon 5 Shadow Ship Illusion
Captain John Sheridan socks
Star Wars Fairisle charts
Cat dice toys
d4 shaped dice bag
Hogwarts School Crest
Tree of Gondor chart
Bigger on the Inside Shawl
Doors of Durin Scarf
One Ring Scarf
MST3K Baby jumper
Wonder Woman Jumper
Another Wonder Woman Jumper
Star Trek Junior (Husband says that it's a next gen alternative universe commander outfit)
SKCD Pillow pattern by a Dublin knitter
Bender Loo Roll Cover
The Great Old one mittens I learned early on about using his name
Caffeinate Coffee Press Cozy
Doctor Who Fairisle charts
221B Baker Street Hat
Thursday, 22 May 2014
I have several reviews done on a USB stick which is missing, presumed having a good time somewhere. ARGH!
I do have a finished sock.
I have been very neglectful of my knitting recently in favour of some lingering cross stitch. I need to try for at least one post here a week, lets see how that goes
Sunday, 6 April 2014
A slip stitch waistcoat
Easter Socks with a Daffodil and chicks and bunny
I keep meaning to try twinned knitting, this hat is an inspiration
I have a pet peeve about not seeing front and back of a garment, this garment looks like it could be interesting but how would I know?
I like how this scarf plays with the yarn
I like this shawl and the inspiration wondering if it would be better in greens or autumnal colours...
very sweet Easter decoration
Snowdrops cowl, and now I've got "Snowdrops and Daffodils..." line from All Kinds of Everything looping in my brain, pass the brain bleach...
A masterpiece wedding dress
It just doesn't quite work for me. it might be the whitespace at the edges
Lovely top, with bust coverage
Clever, Clever Loki Socks
Illusion knitting and stripes in a shawl
My style of cardigan, maybe without the belt
Very special scarf very cool design
Very pretty cardigan not really me, though I must knit one of hers some day
Lovely design the subtle striping is just so pretty
Clever hat design I love the flower detail
Such pretty detail without being over the top in this jumper
I like the style of this shawl
Possibly the cutest boots I have ever seen
my kind of cardigan with pockets and cables
Lovely floral motif in these mittens great use of a variegated yarn
Wednesday, 26 March 2014
As I have never been paid (well not really, family don't coumt) for knitting or crochet I fall into the ranks of amateur, some might add the word talented, I couldn't possibly comment. I have embroidered semi-professionally (got paid in fabric, patterns and yarn) but I still wouldn't regard myself as professional.
I mean, I am an amateur, by the very definition of the word. It comes from one of the first words you learn to decline in latin "Amo" meaning to love (technically amo means I love, but I'm trying not to confuse things too much), it means to do something as a passtime, because you love it, the lacking expertise part is secondary, and really we need to use another word for that, "tyro" is a perfectly good word for novice or beginner, "dilletante" sounds too much like lounging around.
There is also the issue of value for work that I have been thinking about lately. Before the time of washing machines and vacuum cleaners housework without maids was long hard work, even today it's work, keepimg up with it, hobbies and a job can keep you exhausted, and some of those women, those housewives that presenter dismissed, not only cleaned and scrubbed and clothed their children, they also made things, some for charity, some for their local church (kneelers etc) and in many instances their work is considered trivial, belittled. Yes, sometimes the colours were garish, think of the conditions, garish would stand out in firelight, garish brought a bright into sometimes drab lives, garish might have given that woman a smile, no-one can dismiss garish, it implies a playfulness that maybe we miss. Garish could also imply sales, that hank of embroidery thread that wasn't selling, thay could be got on a tight budget, but the woman could feel like she had done something, contributed.
And we forget this, these women carved time out of their days, time they could have spent doing something else, perhaps for themselves, to contribute and we then talk about this work as if it should be trivialised, and maybe they weren't amateurs, maybe they hated doing it, but we need to reframe how we think about this.
Also the world of art is strange. Many of the knitted pieces I've seen are works of art but we don't treat them as well as we should. I've seen pieces devalued in price by the seller, who doesn't seem to value their time or their work, and we let them in pursuit of cheap goods. I've seen knitted garments I'd prefer to see on my walls than some artworks that cost 100 times more.
Maybe we do need to put a price on crafts that propery reflects the work and artistry that goes on.
The other part we ignore about womens crafts is that it was the one acceptable way for women to create art. There is art to choice of colours, the work, the interplay of colours etc. And I'm pretty sure a lot of it answered an artistic yearning many women had, by making it into "useful" items they had an excuse, a reason, they could devote that time to this output, or I'm sure, in some instances, time when they could think, relax, while still technically doing something.
Two posts in one day after a few months away, well there was Christmas and then ill, I've had a cold/flu with added strep throat since early January. Plus a minor bike accident that caused my shoulder to flare, I have a few reviews that need me to add the links and check them, then they will be posted. I'll probably set them up for once a month for a few months and may backdate a few.e
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Book Depository Dublin City Public Libraries
The Knitter's Book of Yarn - Clara Parkes
I was about 20 pages in when I thought about buying it and by about 60 I had an order into the Book Depository for it. I will admit that the patterns don't really fire me with huge enthuiasm but the information in this book is gold.
Yes, other authors have written on this theme, but Clara is like being in a good yarn shop with a friend who is very knowledgeable and who doesn't have a huge bias against pretty much any yarn, she sees the utility in almost every yarn and wants to share her enthuaism for it all.
The book opens up with an exploration of different fibers, starting with Protein fibers - wool, alpaca, silk etc; Cellulose Fibers - made from cotton, Linen, hemp etc; Celluostic - using industrial processes to create a fiber but deriving from natural materials like wood, bamboo, corn etc and then synthetic - nylon, acrylic etc. She discusses the pros and cons of all the fibers.
Then the book moves on to production and I finally understand the difference between worsted and woolen spun.
Then the patterns, they are divided by ply, to encourage exploration of how this works with the yarn.
Starting with single ply yarns, there are the Maine Morning Mitts; Cabled Tea Cozy, honeycomb hat and Seascape Bolero. The mitts are ribbed and pretty plain, the Tea Cozy is a good use for a small amount of luxury yarn and the honeycomb hat plays with textural stitches to create an interesting play with light. The Seascape Bolero is not my aesthetic, I just don't like the way it sits and I think the buttons on the back would interfere with my comfort.
The next are two-ply yarns; Step ribbed stole in two different texture yarns; Baby Soft Cardigan; Optic Waves Shawl; Raspberry Rhapsody scarf; Vines Cardigan; Guernsey socks; Little Shells Socks; Endpapers Shawl and double thick mittens. I like the pattern on the double thick mittens, simple but interesting; endpapers shawl shows an interesting use of some handpainted yarns and colour graduation; Little shells has texture from the ankle up; Guernsey socks are interesting textured again showing variation; Vines cardigan is an angora piece, not my thing, not into fluffy, the style is interesting and I could be tempted to knit it in a less fluffy yarn the Raspberry Rhapsody scarf is relatively simple but a nice showcase for a yarn; Optic waves uses the variegations in the yarn to accentuate the waves in the pattern. Baby Soft cardigan is for 3-24 months and is cute. The step Ribbed Stole would be a good piece against busier pieces.
Three ply yarns are the next logical step; opening with the Rhinebeck hat and Mitts, colourwork enters the game, using a variegated yarn with a plain to create a fair isle style. I like elements of the Cabled Swing Cardi, the collar doesn't work for me, I'd be tempted to tweak. Swirly o socks have a fairly simple pattern that would work with a lot of multi-coloured yarns.
Four-ply and more is next. Beginning with a very simple baby hat; then more colourwork in the Norwegian Snail Mittens, which are playful and cute. The Patchwork Carriage blanket works with stripes and textures. The girly tee uses hemp and is an interesting fairly plain pattern; two catnip toys make an appearance. Iris side-to-side sleeveless top is grafted together and then edged with vertical stripes. Ripple and lace leaf linen basket liners have an interesting texture, deceptively plain they would make a nice gift. Princess Mitts are wrist warmers with a cabled back, ideal for a small amount of luxury.
Then we move to cabled yarns, plied yarns plied on themselves. Wavy socks use cables in a loose way to create interesting movement. XOX vest is a tank top with cable detail down the middle and is a temptation for me to knit. Cabled Headband is pretty and useful, the butterfly mobius is an interesting piece for some luxurious yarn.
Textured yarns are up next. The chunky winter set uses a thick and thin yarn to good effect, the Architect's hat plays with colourwork and slip stitches in interesting ways. Diamonds and pearls shawl uses the strengths of the yarn involved to create a pretty piece.
Bouchle yarns has a honeycomb bag again using slip stitches for a colourwork pattern that compliments the yarn
Brushed yarns has a scaruffle that shows how two different yarns can produce two subtly different results.
Chenille uses a cotton chenille to produce a classic washcloth that looks lush.
The felt factor has a very pretty Calla Lily personal security nightmare bag. No way to fasten it but it's pretty. The retro cloche is a small hat that pearches on your head and I would hate it.
Then she discusses care of fabrics and some other information. There are a few errata
The book is a great resource of information and useful knowledge and I look forward to it being part of my collection.
This book was obtained from Dublin City Public Libraries where I work. Dublin City Public Libraries pay my wages but offer me no inducements to write these reviews.
Tuesday, 24 September 2013
There's something about knitting socks that just calms me. I always have some socks on the go. The latest socks are skew, I need some distracting at the moment, and something somewhat complicated is just what the doctor ordered!
Earlier today I got this shot of the toe
Friday, 19 July 2013
Book Depository Link; Ravelry Link; Dublin City Public Libraries
This is a very good, ambidexterous guide to Crocheting. The instructions are clearly done for both left and right handed crocheters, side by side, down to a clearly illustrated granny square done by both left and right-handed crocheters. A breath of fresh air for those of us who need instructions for left-handed use (now if she'd only shown crab stitch, trying to work that out left-handed was a head-wrecker.
The book is divided into two parts, the instructions and the projects, and the projects are simple and good starter pieces. Usefully, right beside the illustrations of the projects in the centre of the book you have instructions for reading charts on one side and UK/USA terminology and hook size with suggested yarn weight alongside.
Projects include a Bracelet, (illustrated inside the cover) simply made with a plaited edge, the instructions are both written and charted.
Hair Scrunchie (also illustrated inside the cover)- again written and charted instructions
Bottle Bag (also illustrated inside the cover)- another one charted and written
A Daisy Facecloth is a modification to a granny square with a picot edging, charted except the centre, also written.
Love Heart Soap Sachet - charted and written
Traditional booties - charted and written
Cobweb Cover is a blanket and is written and charted.
Flower Cushion - motifs sewn together to create a cushion. Could be made in two sets of colours for variety. - charted and written
Chevron Scarf - is a pretty scarf that would lend itself well to all sorts of yarn - charted and written
Skullcap, a hat that starts from the centre and works down so would be adaptable for a variety of yarns and adaptable to make it bigger if necessary. Again charted and written.
Tee-shirt edgings uses beeds and is edging that could be used anywhere.
It's a good basic starter book and also would be useful as a reference for more experienced crocheters, a worthwhile book for most crocheters libraries.
I got this copy from Dublin City Public Libraries where I work, who don't offer me any inducement other than access to the titles and my wages.