Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Myths and Legends of Knitting

Hi, because all I've finished recently is my commission gloves I thought I'd start an occasional post about the history of knitting and crochet as its a subject that interests me, I would like to get a book on it, any recommendations?

Anyway on with the story..my Irish friend told me the other night that Aran jumpers were used to individually identify drowned fishermen, however on researching this I came across this information.

The Aran Islands are located off the west of Ireland, in Galway Bay. Contrary to popular belief, the typical cable-patterned Aran jumper is a 20th-century invention. In 1891 the government set up the Congested Districts Board to help poor families to survive unemployment and a shortage of potatoes. The Board encouraged local people to weave and knit garments to sell.

By the 20th century this cottage industry began to take off and the Board trained knitters to create complex patterns from stitches such as honeycomb, figure eight and double diamond. Instead of the dark coloured, oiled wools traditionally used to make fishermen’s jerseys, the islanders experimented with soft, thick, undyed yarn.

Here is the link to this site, this would seem to contradict my friends idea as it was only done recently and probably not even worn by the fishermen but sold to tourists. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Crochet and Daffodils

Yes, here they are, my favourite hobby and some of my favourite flowers. At last some sign of spring. I didn't plant any of these, they just popped up. Every time I see them they make me happy. And look at the sunshine! Of course it's grey and cloudy now....but it will shine again.

This is Robin - three colours green cushion cover. It is two sided and now you can see the effectiveness of that new stitch. I've started work on the scarf which looks lovely and finally I might use up that hand spun lace weight.

Tomorrow I'm off to a crochet meet up. Well I say I am, I might be put off by rain or sheer terror at meeting and mingling with strangers, I will report on whether I made it or not. On Saturday I went to the stitch and craft show at Olympia, London. I was not that impressed, I've been to much better but I still spent too much money...now I have large quantities of cotton, none of it organic or fair trade so I feel bad about it all. I was going to stick to only organic or fair trade cotton because of the terrible costs of producing cotton, both to the environment and to the people who grow it. Then I realised that almost everything we wear, sleep in, have on our floors and soft furnishings are made of cotton, and I can't afford to replace all of that stuff with organic and/or fair trade stuff, so the crochet would be a drop in the ocean...ah well.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

To Shell or not to Shell

This is the unfinished back of my next cushion cover. I always seem make things with shell patterns, even granny squares are just a variant of shells. So I looked through my book of crochet and knit stitches and found cross hatch. I tried it but found it too tedious because it involved trying to crochet into 2 chains every few stitches. Like having to do a foundation row over and over again.

After a few rows I decided to rip it out and start again. This time instead of trebling into the two chains I did the two stitches into the three chain space, sound familiar? Yep I realised after a few rows it was just another variation of a shell. It seems I can't get away from them. The fabric it made was quite strange, it has a 3D ripple across the surface making it look rather like corrugated cardboard. Each column sticks up. I tried photographing it but it's hard to see, I hope those bits explain it properly. I don't know how it will work out on a cushion cover as generally these are made with flat fabric. But I think it would make a lovely scarf, maybe in a thinner yarn worked with a big hook, but then it might loose that strange ripple effect. Sometimes I have more ideas than time and now I want to be done with this and try my scarf idea out even though I have at lease two more projects in the pipeline. Never, ever enough hours...still better to have ideas than lose my crochet mojo and have no ideas and no enthusiasm. I should just write these ideas down and then I'll have enough to keep me going in the fallow patches.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Cushion Cover

So here it is, finished this cushion cover which was more difficult than I thought it would be. Who knew? cushion cover just two squares, but working out the envelope fastening without a pattern and getting the size right, stitching two completely different weights of crocheting together, ah well its all a learning curve. I'm quite pleased with it now.

Meanwhile I'm sitting here waiting for a repair person and trying to concentrate on doing one of the most boring things in the world, my accounts...hence doing this blog post instead. Send me a nice comment so I have something pleasant to read.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Nearly finished my cushion cover

Yes I've nearly finished my cushion cover, so I almost have something new to share! In the meantime I thought I'd big up some fellow folksy sellers. Folksy is the english equivalent of etsy and has some lovely stuff so if you are in the States but can wait a bit of time for delivery and pay a bit more in postage you may find yourself a bargain.

In fact you could bag yourself a bargain. (Sorry for the awful pun) with this lovely bag, well I snapped it up, but she has a similar one and if she sells it she might make some more. Its a knitting bag with wooden handles that can come apart to make a pair of knitting needles. I've had it just two days now and its already my favourite bag. And at less than £15.00 its a steal, sooner or later she will realise that she should be selling these in Liberty's for £80.00 plus...so buy soon. Here is her shop.

More favourite folksians soon. And hopefully some crochet soon.