Archive for the ‘books’ Category

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Patching Things Up

May 22, 2009

While visiting my parents I was given a 1970’s Pan Craft book on Creative Patchwork that had belonged to my late grandmother.

While reading it I find myself captivated by the hexagonal patchwork pattern and after several awfully drawn hexagons I resorted to the compass and ruler method of drawing them; the maths teachers in my family are very pleased by this.

All patchwork I have done previously has been either of the square or of the crazy variety.

In the book is the most beautiful Victorian hexagon patchwork dressing gown.

Hexagons,as well as being a precise mathimatical shape, are one of those shapes that are also present in nature.

The hexagon is one of the microscopically tiny units that helps give structure to DNA; it is found in the structure of crystalline minerals like quartz; it is the shape taken by water when it freezes into snowflakes. The Basalt Columns of the Giant’s Causeway are hexagonal.

It displays true symmetry; all six sides of the hexagon are of equal length, and when the hexagon is divided down the middle the two sides mirror each other.

I’ve cut a stack of fabric samples into small squares and started making a few hexagon patches.

Will share photos soon 🙂





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Building Blocks

April 5, 2009

I won an amazon voucher a week or so ago – a raffle ticket I had forgotten I had bought proved lucky!

I bought the Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook by Lynne Vogel with it and it arrived yesterday morning.

Its a fabulous book with lots of pictures and illustrations , showing sock yarn from the dying of roving through spinning it and then designing your own sock to suit you own feet.

The last of these really appealed to me as I have narrow ankles but large calves, and small feet with long toes, hence most patterns have to be altered to fit comfortably. At the moment i end up making ankle socks to avoid fitting them to my calves but as the year progresses I know I’ll need longer socks,

As one of my families favourite sayings goes “Invest in your bed and shoes, if you aren’t in one, you’re probably in the other”. I think this holds true for socks too. Investing time in your socks is kindness to your feet. (Another is “Use Both Hands” from my habit of doing 2 things at once – usually eating and reading at the same time….At least when i knit, I am using both hands!)

Although its not what they call them I love the ‘building blocks’ approach to knitting socks, picking and choosing cast ons, ribbings/cuffs, heels and toes and cementing them together with the leg and foot.

I look forward to trying out some of the methods involved, including a fancy rib cuff and an hourglass heel. I’m going to try toe up after that i think. There is even instructions for toe socks that I’ve always loved but struggled to find comfortable as the toes were rarely the correct length.

This book is designed to be inspiring and it is…..now, I wonder if I have room in the kitchen for a dye pot…..



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Sense of Sisterhood

July 31, 2008

I have a very dear friend with whom I correspond regularly by letter and a while ago we were writing to each other about the sense of sisterhood we felt whilst working together to get some pieces finished for an art and crafts fair we were doing a stall at together.

We were sat up late the night before, by this point mainly powered by pots of tea, frantically finishing some pieces, and both of us felt a nice sense of connection, of solidarity through our handcrafts and through our love of textiles.

Now, this feeling of a sisterly union I’ve felt before, both in my reenactment days as there was often several of us, the night before the event huddled together doing last minute repairs and finishing our clothing (not the best thing to do by the light of a campfire, but needs must!)

I felt it today, whilst sitting in a nearby cafe chatting to a new friend about anything and everything,and I feel it when I go to my local knitting group.

It seems to be that this sense of coming together and having a stitch and bitch (or knit and bitch) or something similar is sadly missing from society today. The feeling of women coming together to be creative and just be women together seems to be something we cling to with the pressures of modern life. (And I’m not saying men should be excluded, I’m just saying its nice to spend time with other women)

There’s a really interesting article over at the Fword called Whatever happened to sisterhood, that’s really interesting.

Having moved to a town where I literally only knew a couple of people, making friends wasn’t easy as there were few places I could go to meet them, other than pubs and I don’t like getting to know people around alcohol.

Its taken doing something seen as traditionally feminine – knitting – to meet independent like minded women who have a wide range of interests and are interested in learning new skills like spinning (again, I’m not saying men don’t want to learn, I just haven’t met any yet).

There seems to be a paradoxical situation where women who have ‘feminine’ hobbies or careers feel they have to apologise for them and that I don’t agree with. I love to knit, sew, embroider, embellish and have pretty things. It doesn’t stop me believing in equality for the sexes. I can be a feminine feminist, dammit!

I applaud the current move in ‘subversive’ crafts, such as subversive needlework, The Anticraft, Sublime Stitching (God I wish I could afford to import some of her patterns!) etc, as well as Knitta Graffiti and similar activities but am just astounded by the resurgence of the mend and make (do) ethos that’s happening these days and it makes me proud to feel a sense of sisterhood with all this amazing creative women.

(I think that makes sense……)