Saturday, 29 October 2011

Deck the halls with balls of fair isle!

‘55 Christmas Balls to Knit’ is probably the cutest Christmas knitting book…ever. Not cute little fluffy angels and snowmen cute, not that kind of cute. I mean cute as in the guys who wrote this book are just about the most charming pair ever and that shows in every stitch. I want to live next door to Arne and Carlos. I want to play in their doll house. I want to have snow ball fights with them and make them hot chocolate with marshmallows in. You get the feeling these guys are super friendly- that they’d be totally up for all sorts of old fashioned silliness, knitted and otherwise. The patterns in the book have an old fashioned kind of feel and indeed some of the fair isle designs are sourced from vintage patterns. The balls are knitted on four needles which meant that I handed the book to Mum to actually knit the balls (I am such a four needle wuss), she made these three balls. As she didn’t have any pure Nordic wool she did the first with some double knitting which was kicking about and the ball came out a little, ahem, large. She switched to 4ply and got a much more sensible sized decoration. She says the patterns actually ‘work’ really well, they’re nicely laid out and she had no problems following the charts. I really like the idea of doing these in black and a variegated sock yarn or some such-I’ll have to ask nicely, but not too much grovelling will be required I don’t think as she really enjoyed knitting up these darlings. I have also put in a request for a scarf, nice and wide and long, with balls at either end. I think that would be ‘cute’ in the most charming way ever. If you are wanting to rustle up a set of decs which reflect a kind of vintage Scandinavian feel, and who wouldn’t, this really is a lovely book. More than that if you want a peak into the whimsical world of Arne and Carlos they put a lot of themselves into this book which makes it Nice- with a capital N!

Monday, 24 October 2011

manipulation, oh manipulation, manipulation that's what you need

Here are my latest efforts, and another little section ticked off on the course. I burnt my little fingers several times fiddling about and ironing the pleated samples, and almost set light to some calico trying to get a fold to stay in, but it was amazing to see the different effects achieved pretty quickly.


I absolutely loved making the rolled beads and I can certainly see myself weaving fabric again. I remember doing some manipulation for GCSE textiles and recollect enjoying it then too. I can see me going to town with colour next time but the discipline of using neutrals has been good and it has been really good to see the textures.
I have been working on smocking this week, which kept me occupied on the train journeys home. I went back for my Aunts funeral, I don't know what to say about her loss- it was sad- too soon- not fair-when someone dies in their prime it is always the same sentiment. She leaves my Uncle and two sons one of 20 and one of 23. She didn't want to leave them, and no one wanted her to go. There, I'm sure it will all soften with time- but we won't forget- she was too damn great to be forgotten.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

1,1,2,3,5,8 are the magic numbers

Gosh haven't I been quiet lately? I haven't actually been quiet, I've been yapping away nineteen to the dozen with my pals. There seem to be some pretty dark times going on around here. Some gnarly horrid stuff and some trials of modern living. The big drugs company which is sited here and at which Simon worked up until taking VR, is closing, all but completely. This has meant a stressful time for friends who are having to sell up and relocate. Thankfully they are clever people and all seem to have found alternative employment but I think the knock on effect for the local economy might be harder to recover from. It has also changed the demographic of our tiny medieval town much more in favour of the wealthy retired weekender. Anyway if am looking for silver linings it comes in the benefits f friends clear-outs. I am better off by four pieces of Thai silk and the offer of the contents of a drinks cabinet....but poorer soon by a nearby friend- at least I can drown my sorrows in style! So sorry to offload, but things change don't they and my constant refuge is in creating. The rather bright sample is for the city and guilds. It is a padded piece, sewn with lines using the twin-needle in the machine. These lines are then drawn together in a pattern to give these diamond pockets. It is referred to as mock smocking and I rather like it.
The cauliflower is really interesting, well to me anyway! I am starting to work on my experimental pieces for assessment. I bought this Romanesque cauli as I love it's texture and recognised it's structure as probably being one that fits the universal formula of natural objects. I vaguely knew that shells, snails, ammonites all obeyed the same ratio, I vaguely thought there was something about fir cones in there too. Who knew that my research would have me returning to the graph paper and lying in bed working out if numbers followed any patterns. Basically it all comes back to the Fibonacci series of numbers and the golden spiral. It started here, yesterday I was blowing my mind with talk of Fractals. I wasn't bad at maths at school and I am finding this really exciting. (I don't blame you if you unsubscribe to this blog now you know I'm a whinging geek!) I ave no idea where my other experimental pieces will take me, my Pomegranate studies are mostly historical for now, and the work on conkers perhaps Psychological about protection and concealment. All I know is that whatever school subjects my studies return me to it is very unlikely I will be suddenly all wistful for P.E!