Saturday, 31 March 2018

sometimes socks shrink

Originally these were knit for Mac.  I started them when he was being admitted to the hospital and had them finished in a few days.  Stress does wonderful things to my knitting.  However they're now shrunk in the wash a few times, Mac gave them to me, now they're too small for me either, so into the donate pile.  Someone will get warm socks.

Sadly I didn't knit the knee socks and they have landed in the bin because of holes.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Mandalas to Crochet by Haafner Linssen
Interesting exercises in crochet, crocheting in the round with circular motifs, well done but you'd need to have a purpose in mind before starting.  Circles can be a problem for joining as things like throws.  Loved the T-Shirt yarn rug idea.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

interesting quote I found

From “The Aran Islands” by J M Synge (!)

The simplicity and unity of the dress increases in another way the local air of beauty. The women wear red petticoats and jackets of the island wool stained with madder, to which they usually add a plaid shawl twisted around their chests and tied at the back. When it rains they throw another petticoat over their heads with the waistband around their faces, or, if they are young, they use a heavy shawl like those worn in Galway.  Occasionally other wraps are worn, and during the thunderstorm I arrive in I saw several girls with men’s waistcoats buttoned around their bodies. Their skirts do not come much below the knee, and show their powerful legs in the heavy indigo stockings with which they are all provided.

The men wear three colours: the natural wool, indigo and a grey flannel that is woven of alternate threads of the indigo and the natural wool. In Aranmor many of the younger men have adopted the usual fisherman’s jersey, but I have only seen one on this island [he’s on Inishmean].

As flannel is cheap – the women spin the yarn from the wool of their own sheep, and it is then woven by a weaver in Kilronan for fourpence a yard – the men seem to waer an indefinite number of waistcoats and woollen drawers one over the other. They are usually surprised at the lightness of my own dress, and one old man I spoke to for a minute on the pier, when I came ashore, asked me if I was not cold with “my little clothes.” P 14-15 Edited by Robin Skelton, OUP 1979 0192812580

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Knit Real Shetland Review

Ravelry Link

This is a lovely showcase for Jamieson & Smith yarn, and ironically I just finished watching Shetland the TV series yesterday (which I enjoyed).  After an introduction by the inestimable Kate Davies it launches into the patterns and sadly it features one of my pet hates, garments that aren't modeled by people. Sigh.

Hopefully some day Ravelry will provide pictures.  I live in hope, at the time of writing at least two of the garment projects doesn't feature photographs.  Unusually there's no preamble for the patterns talking about inspiration etc and I found that I kinda missed that.

15 patterns from clothing to tea cozy, this is an interesting inspiration and variety.

The first project is the Wave Cardigan, by Toshiyuki Shimada and Grace Williamson steeked, this features 3 basic colours and then 24 other colours, perfect for if you can't decide which of the 2 ply jumper weight you want.  Round necked cardigan.

Next up are the aran-weight Feathercrest mittens by Jared flood, with a reverse stocking stitch palm. Done in the round.

Next up is probably the pattern that most tempts me, the Peat Hill Waistcoat by Hazel Tindall, steeked again, with rounded edges so I really want to see this on someone, I have never done steeking before and want to know how it will turn out first. Muted colours it really appeals to me.

Cross Tam by Daniel Goldmanto me this looks like sunset, bright orange main colour and blues, the crosses fall down the hat.

Viking Tunic by Sandra Manson, a jumper that echoes Viking dress

Osaka Tea Cosy by Msami Yokoyama features teapots as part of the design and a star tops it, this is charming.

Kergord Scarf by Mary Kay is a delicate lace scarf, worked from both ends and then Kitchenered in the middle.

Melby Jumper Dress by Gudrun Johnston would be a dress for my niece but more tunic for most adults.  Features pockets and stripes.

Wool Brokers Socks by Lesley Smith white and berry tones with striped cuffs and sole. Lush and beautiful

Muckleberry Gloves and hat by Mary Jane Mucklestone complex colourwork in rich reds and blues creating wearable works of art.

Caavie Gansey by Candace Eisner Strick a complex steeked jumper that's full of colour without being overwhelming.

Madeira Lace Shawl by Joyce Ward a triangular lace with a scallop pattern and v-shaped edging.

Buttoned Hat Aka Lexie by Woolly Wormhead made in an Aran weight yarn this is a cloche with buttons that channels a Downton Abbey type of aesthetic and features interesting texture.

Olly's Allover by Jean Moss; cables in the middle with colourwork at the edges this is knit in Aran-weight.

Overall it's an interesting mixture of patterns and full of inspiration.  For a knitter with some experience, worth a look at least.  I borrowed it via Dublin City Public Libraries from South Dublin Libraries.  I would add that some pages fell out although it didn't really have a huge circulation from what I could tell.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Riders to the Sea

For the sodding record, apparently too many people are actually not bothering to actually read the play Riders to the Sea, and are misquoting it.  It's in the public domain and available online.

I was actually quite shocked recently when I discovered the parallels with my life and that of JM Synge.  I was lucky, I got my Hodgkins Lymphoma almost 100 years later than him, the swelling in my neck went down with Chemotherapy, I didn't die of it.  I found it quite strange to read his biography online and realise how lucky I was.

from Stitches in Time

Stitches in Time
Lucy Adlington
p 289 -290
Guernsey sweaters - also known as ganseys - have long been associated with fishermen and seamen. Fanciful writers say the cable stitch on the gansey was invented to mimic the ropes that played such an important part in the lives of sea faring men. As families and communities evolved the basic pattern into new adaptations, a myth arose that a fisherman pulled from the sea could be identified by his individual sweater. This story was enhanced by the 1904 stage play by J.M. Synge, Riders to the Sea, in which the jumper in question is actually in simple stocking stitch. [gah, misreading of the play] There are no recorded instances of any such identification being made in real life. Ganseys are traditionally dark blue and they have no designated front, the repaired patch could be worn at the back where it would be less noticeable.
Aran sweaters are often an unbleached natural wool colour, patterned with honeycombs, cables and diamonds. Original Aran knits kept the water-resistant natural lanolin, rather than washing it out, making them more practical as outdoor wear.  Far from being an age-old pattern contemporary with the twining artwork of the Book of Kells, as one myth suggests, it is likely that Aran Sweaters really began life as a twentieth-century initiative to boot dwindling household budgets.

From Galway Women in the 19th Century

By Maureen Langan-Egan
P 9 - 10
“The destruction of the textile industries affected Galway, a noted ‘yarn county’, very badly.  Flax, in particular, was a very useful crop on small pieces of ground; no tithes were payable to the Established Church on income from its sales, and it was easier to spin than wool. ‘Bandle-linen’  (a poor-quality fabric) was widely made. Landlords had distributed spinning wheels (tuirni) and reels in Connacht, either free of charge or for a minimum charge.  Their motives were not altogether altruistic, for it was reported that ‘the women in many families spin more than the whole amount of the house and gardens’, which means that the income earned from spinning was greater than that earned from the produce of the gardens and the earnings of other family members; thus, landlords were assured of their rents. The linen industry declined after 1815, which marked the end of the Napeolonic [sic] Wars.  As regards woollen goods, Ireland had been able to supply its requirements in 1800, but by 1830 the industry was in ‘terminal decline’; tariffs were lifted in 1826, allowing cheaper imports.”

P 95-96 “an examination of the Regulations and Curriculum of the Dominican Convent Superior School (A Superior school taught at least one foreign language) in Taylor’s Hill, Galway reveal both its ethos and curriculum.  The Regulations stated:

Each young lady to approach the Sacrament of Penance once a month.
Out of school no pupil is to associate with a companion unless she have the sanction of her parents and the religious.
Each child to be provided with work materials, books, according to the list; and no one is to lend or borrow from another.
Silence to be observed during school hours.
Shoes to be changed before entering the school room and each pupil to be particular in making her salutation. (Polite greetings were the order of the day)
The lessons marked to be well studied at home and music pupils to practice one hour daily.
In 1858, the curriculum was set out as follows:
Daily Duties: Religious Instruction, English Reading, Parsing, Dictation, Needlework, Tables.

Alternate Duties:
Monday,              Grammar, Arithmetic, History
Wednesday,        Chronology French Conversation
Tuesday,              Sacred history, Geography, Spelling.
Thursday,            Mythology, French Dictation

Monday               English Letter
Tuesday               Object Lesson
Wednesday         Natural History
Thursday              Astronomy
Friday                   -
Saturday              Long Religious Instruction.

This plan had to be modified, as the pupils were ‘too backward for such a course’. Such a wide-ranging curriculum was rare.  There was an on-going debate about which subjects should be taught to girls, and there was much sex-stereotyping in the curriculum.

P 118
Members of all religious organisations worked actively to obtain relief from abroad, including £24,000 from Calcutta. [in the 1840s]

Sunday, 8 May 2016

WTF Knits

WTF Knits by Gabrielle Grillo and Lucy Sweet, is one of the low-hanging fruit of the knitting book world, sometimes it is easy to mock patterns and to find them ridiculous.  To me some of these fall into 3 categories, Art, actually clever if you think about it and lastly they're strange adventures in using yarn.

It seems to be coming from a place where yarn is only good if it's used for a utiliarian project and not in sculptural projects and as some of the profits from this are going to charity it would have been hard for many of the copyright owners to refuse use of their photos for use here.

Much of it is stuff I'd never knit but I found some of it more clever than WTF.  It did annoy me to see the TitBits in here.  These are pieces knit for women with Breast Cancer as soft, caring, replacement prosthesis while they're healing and need something soft and the idea that someone would do that for me appeals, also the knitted falopian tubes are being used in activism.

Much of the garments are insane and I couldn't see myself wearing or making them but Haute Couture is insane, the yearly fashion design student catwalk is full of garments that will never be worn outside of the runway, but the authors of this choose to mock rather than to ask why fashion is so out of touch with reality, why it's almost compulsary for designers to make garments with no function (though it could also be asked why companies are making fortunes from making shoes that are crippling people more comfortable!).

Overall this book just made me slighly annoyed, yes there are knits in it that I have no idea why they were even conceived but there also knits that I can see could be used for education or entertainment. Kids get fake food toys all the time we don't seem to question it as much when we get it from a shop, or see it in a gallery, but we seem to question it a lot when someone who isn't part of the artistic establishment chooses to make it themselves.

I still don't understand some of them, but I also sometimes don't understand modern art, I wouldn't choose some of it for my house or to knit it myself (unless hugely bribed, and it would have to be huge) but each to their own.

I got this one from the library a while ago. Dublin City public libraries employ me and provided this book, I get no added inducements for doing this above my salary, access and generous lending facilities

Thursday, 7 April 2016

May, Lou & Cass

By Sophia Hillan
The story of Jane Austen's nieces in Ireland.
P. 125 "Despite the personal stress of 1845, by the year's end Lord George [Hill] had published his detailed pamphlet, Facts from Gweedore, an account of the work he had begun in 1838 on his estate. At the same time, Louisa began to work her own mission. Though she had originally come to Ireland to care for the motherless Hill children, she found herself becoming increasingly involved with their father's cause. It became a matter of vital importance for Louisa to publicise her brother-in-law's efforts to improve the lot of his tenants, and she enlisted the willing assistance of Fanny who, in her turn, wrote to her old friend Miss Chapman, asking her to make the work known. This early marketing was quite concentrated: the sisters were determined to raise money through the sale of the book and of hand - knitted garments, mostly socks and stockings, in order to bring Anglicanism to Gweedore. "
p. 134 "Fanny, too, continued on her mission to promote the sale of Facts from Gweedore: 'I am now negotiating the sale of 6,000 pair of Gweedore socks and stockings, which [Lord George] has on hand, knit by his own people, all of which he buys from them and disposes of as he can.'"
p. 156 [Crimea campaign] Lord George, too old to go into battle himself, sent consignments of the hand - knitted socks which his Donegal tenants had made in their homes, and George Billington appears to have been one of the recipients.  His letter from the camp shows how necessary such apparently simple gifts were: in an attempt to keep their packs light and their progress swift, the men had been ordered ashore without tents, ambulances or sufficient protection against the Russian weather: 'I don't know what I would have done without those Irish socks you gave me the last time I was at home,' George Billington wrote. 'Those and the mittens Miss Rice gave me have been of more use than anything I have. I believe they saved me from being frostbitten the other night.'
p. 175 A list in the Garden Book for Christmas 1867 reveals that their provision for the poor included jerseys, blankets, hand-knitted socks, 'linsey gowns' and 'crochet shawls'. Some of these may have been Marianne's own handwork for, like her aunt Jane,  who commended her skill when she was seven years old, Marianne was an expert needlewoman; some of their gifts to the poor may have been the work of Lord George's tenants, as the socks and mittens sent to their family and acquaintance in the Crimea had so often been.
The bold print is all mine, if I come across more I will add to this post.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Dominitrix Review

 Domiknitrix - Jennifer Stafford

I've got to the stage in my knitting career where I assess books I'm going to buy more on the patterns than the information on how to knit in them.  I have a chunk of books on that topic and I know most of the basics. Yeah, yeah, I know pride goes before a fall and all that, but such is life.  I had dismissed this one before as her aesthetic isn't mine but it turns up on a lot of recommended beginner books so I decided to try it out and I have to apologise to Jennifer Stafford, her book did have a few tips that I hadn't come across before and her well-organised photographs, however goth, are very instructive.  Her reasons to knit a gauge swatch are excellent and made me think a bit more about them.  I'm not sure that clothes should be fitted as well as wearable, my rule would be Clothes should be wearable and make the owner comfortable.

She doesn't do the knitted cast-on, or the cable cast-on, but does offer a lot of other options, I'm not sure that it's one I'd recommend to a rank beginner for these instructions but it's a good set of reminders for people who know some basics and it would make a valuable reference book for a lot of people.

The how-to section is helpfully coloured to the edge in black so it stands out in the book, the white coloured pages are the patterns and as I said before I'm not a great fan of them. Some of them appeal in a "I'd bet a friend or family member would get a kick out of" way but none appeal to me personally to knit for myself.

One of the best things I have seen is an actual bust-waist-hip measuring for what the author means for XS, S, M, L & XL, a quite helpful hint

Thin mint is a scarf that's a tubular knit from the middle and grafted together at the end, knit with 4mm needles in a light dk weight yarn with stripes.

Valentine Candy Pillows, offers heart-shaped cushions in bulky yarn on 6 mm needles with embroidered lettering that doesn't offer a template but gives somewhat vague instructions on spacing and placement.

Flower Pins are lillies, camellia and rose flowers knit in an aran weight yarn (noro kureyon that the author snipped out the sections of 6 balls that she wanted... ) they're felted

Snood Spiral Mesh cap is both a Cap and a Snood, though it doesn't show it being worn as a snood. A open lace cap knit in an acrylic/nylon yarn  in an aran-weight yarn with 5.5mm needles.

Mohawk Hat is basically a close-fitting hat with a mohawk for those people who want one without the career-limiting head-shaving.  Knit in Bulky wool on 5.5mm needles.

Strings of Purls is a set of stuffed spheres along an icord, there are some suggestions for variants.

Homegrown is a hemp yarn handbag using a bamboo placemat and pair of chopsticks for structure. The yarn is DK using 4mm needles and with an icord decoration and closure

Devil & Snow devil hats knit in a bulky-weight yarn with 5.5mm needles.

Star Pillow - a cushion with a pentacle knit on the front in intarsia in a super bulky yarn with 9mm needles

The next chapter are more challenging knits beginning with L'il red riding hoodie, a cardigan with pockets and a zip knit in a bulky yarn and 6.5mm needles.

Big Bad Wolf pullover has an intarsia wolf on it and some suggestions for other pattern ideas.  Knit in a bulky yarn with 6mm needles.

Bob Dobbs & skull vests are a tank top with some intarsia patterns on them knit in a bulky yarn in 5.5mm needles.

The Winged heart bralet is for a or b cup sized women with some colourwork.

Sweetheart is a jumper with a intarsia bow, worked in black for the body and the bow in pink, knit in a dk yarn with 4mm needles

Diva Halter is a halter-neck waistcoat with a zipped front. Knit in two colours in a bulky yarn with 5.5mm needles.  It also has suggestions for a mock-laced-up back.

Swizzle vest is another zipped waistcoat knit in a super bulky yarn with 9 & 10mm needles in two colours.

Next chapter is side to side and on the bias, more difficult projects.

Jughead hat is knit using short-rows in a dk yarn on 5mm needles

The Slink is a top knit on the side with some stitch shaping incorporated, a v-neck and cap sleeves.  Using Crystal Palace shimmer with 5mm and 8mm needles.

The final pattern printed in the book is City Coat which is knit sidewards with a double ended zip or buttons, there's some suggestion for variations under the Mod Coat title, this is a bulky weight yarn knit at a tighter gauge on 5mm needles to try to give it weight and body.

The final project in the book is a teaser for the Elfin Bride & Gothlet pattern which is available on the web site. Free if you have the book.

I got this one from another Irish library via Borrowbooks