A Stash of One’s Own – Clara Parkes

A Stash of One’s Own – Clara Parkes

I like to read essays on knitting – I own several collections and am always keen to read more.

This is a series of designers and knitters (all the usual suspects) writing about what stash means to them.  Some are sad, some are funny and they are all easy to read. And if you have a particular stance on stash someone in this book will be on your side.

Here is the blurb …

This addictive-to-read anthology celebrates yarn—specifically, the knitter’s reputation for acquiring it in large quantities and storing it away in what’s lovingly referred to as a “stash.” Consider contributions from knitting and teaching luminaries, including:
BUST co-founder Debbie Stoller
Meg Swansen, daughter of master knitter Elizabeth Zimmermann
Knitting blogger and author Susan B. Anderson
alongside offerings from knitting greats Amy Herzog, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, and Franklin Habit—plus, stories from a romance novelist, an illustrator, a PhD-wielding feminist publisher, a globetrotting textile artist, a licensed clinical social worker, and the people behind the world’s largest collective online stash, Ravelry.com. The pieces range from comical to earnest, lighthearted to deeply philosophical as each seeks to answer the question of how the stash a knitter has accumulated over the years reflects his or her place in universe.
The stories in A Stash of One’s Own represent and provide validation for knitters’ wildly varying perspectives on yarn, from holding zero stash, to stash-busting, to stockpiling masses of it—and even including it in estate plans. These tales are for all fiber artists, spinners, dyers, crafters, crocheters, sheep farmers, shop owners, beginning knitters to yarn experts, and everyone who has ever loved a skein too hard to let it go.

If you are a knitter (or you need to buy a gift for a knitter), then this a great book.

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Sock Yarn Blanket

Blanket Progress

This is a fabulous project for when you want to knit, but don’t want to knit anything that requires too much focus – watching TV, etc. All I have to remember is to K2Tog either side of the marker on the right side rows. And I get to use all of the fabulous sock yarn I’ve bought over the years – it is my one weakness (as Dorcas Lane says in Larkrise to Candleford). I am just randomly selecting a ball and then knitting a square. Once I have made 13 squares (I have 13 balls), I will start again. My plan is to make a 16 by 16 blanket, so I have a long way to go.

I did just buy a set of Addi Sock Wonders, so I might have to make at least one more pair of socks – perhaps the Antirrhinum Socks from A Year of Techniques.

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Many Varied Projects

The Many Projects I Have on the Go

Like many of us I like several different crafts – knitting, embroidery (both hand and machine) and quilting – and I have decided I need a system. A way of rotating through them, so the less preferred projects do manage to get (eventually) finished.

Basically, I have split my projects into types – knitting, etc – and I try to do one type a day and then I move through the list of projects in that type. For example, in knitting I currently have my Hap for Harriet, my sock yarn blanket and Miss A’s meow mitts. So when it’s knitting’s turn I rotate through these three projects.

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Clothes Line

Machine Embroidery Clothes Line

I store my pegs in a bag – my current bag has seen better days and I constantly get the pegs caught on loose threads. Something had to be done. I decided I should make my own and I looked for machine embroidered clothes lines.

I found the one above at Embroidery Library (I left off the word Laundry).

I stitched it using Robinson Anton Rayon in the colours I had that were closest to the recommended colours. I used a medium weight tear-away stabiliser. There is a little bit of puckering, but not enough to bother me.

Now I just need to make it into a bag.

 

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Update

Blackwork Triangles

I have been trying to rotate through my various projects – to get the ones that were languishing on the go again.

Above is the piece I am working on at my embroidery class I only seem to have time to work on it there – I never make it back to it in my rotation. I should finish it this week and then I am going to need a new project. Various different ideas are floating around in my head, but I haven’t settled on anything yet.

I am also knitting Miss A these mitts

Meow Mitts (image from Ravelry – tinyowlknits)

this is proving to be trickier than I expected – 30 minutes yesterday to knit one row! There’s balls of yarn everywhere and I needed to learn how to capture the floats in purl. I am hoping to achieve more next time.

And then finally I am back onto this quilt

 

Block for my Sampler Quilt

I have gotten a bit more savvy about this quilt – I’ve cut the fabric, backing and batting for 12 blocks and I am just quilting them when I have time. I would love to get this finished because it has been going for a long time.

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Threading Time – A Cultural History of Threadwork – Dolores Bausum

Threading Time – Dolores Bausum

I can’t remember where I first heard of this – I think it was on Amazon in the people who bought this also bought that section. It combines two of my loves – threadwork and literature. Here is the blurb …

In a ground-breaking survey taken primarily from literary sources, Threading Time reveals the essential link between the human spirit and the art of connecting threads. Whether looking at stories about clothing made in the Garden of Eden, a medieval manuscript, or modern fiction and poetry, the author traces the importance to humankind of a craft that has never ceased since it began at least forty thousand years ago. The author’s conception of threadwork throughout is generic, including all kinds of work done with thread, yarn, or fiber.

In the author’s long-range view, threadwork becomes more than a garment, a rug, or a tapestry on the wall. It is often a bond shared with contemporaries and with ancestors, a link between humans and cultural beliefs, even a tie between humankind and the Divine. This age-old association of interwoven fibers and humanity is found today in a metaphor that is used to convey the concept of shared traditions, values, and beliefs: the fabric of society. A rip in the fabric can be alarming; mending it is necessary to avert instability and even chaos.

Threading Time opens with stories from biblical traditions that continue to influence society. Next come portrayals of threadworkers in Greek and Roman myths and those suggested on the famous marble frieze carved on the Parthenon of Athens. The author then turns to Piers Plowman, Chartres Cathedral’s windows, the Bayeux Tapestry, and other textile evidence from the medieval era; she suggests how threadwork in those centuries became identified with spiritual faith and belief in miracles.

An illustrated French manuscript and the Apocalypse Tapestry highlight a discussion of changes in the lives of cloth workers that occurred during the Renaissance. Works by two Germans—playwright Gerhart Hauptmann and artist Käthe Kollwitz—illustrate labor struggles that persisted for centuries in textile production. Selections of poetry by English poets such as Robert Burns and William Blake provide glimpses of protests made by some against economic forces disrupting the lives of textile workers during the Industrial Revolution.

Novels by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edith Wharton, and D. H. Lawrence suggest that threadwork activity itself may arouse, release, or inhibit strong feelings, even erotic passion, between men and women. These novels also demonstrate that needlework and its products can be used to stigmatize, ostracize, or control an individual. Both fictional and real-life accounts follow in a discussion of works by three nineteenth-century writers—Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, and Mary Boykin Chesnut—who illustrate the power of threadwork during wartime to transform solitary individuals into patriots and lift the morale of civilians who share common beliefs and objectives.

Novels by Edith Gaskell, Edith Wharton, and Theodore Dreiser, as well as several memoirs, offer examples of textile work that individuals have done in peacetime when their daily survival hung by a thread. Finally, the author turns to twentieth-century American authors Margaret Mitchell, Alice Walker, Anna Quindlen, and John Updike for glimpses into families whose members are linked by threadwork. As an original view of threadwork written from a broad chronological perspective, Threading Time will appeal to textile artisans and collectors. It will also interest lay readers of literature, women’s history, and cultural history.

This book is lovely – academic, but not overly so, beautiful illustrations and suggestions for further reading. Many of the novels mentioned I have read (I am now keen to read One True Thing), which made Ms Bausum’s analysis even more interesting.

There are nine chapters

  • A Time to Sew
  • Athena’s Gift
  • Threads ‘Twixt Cloister and Crown’
  • Art of the Loom
  • Ballads of  Harp Weavers
  • With Passion and Thread
  • Battle Yarns
  • Sewing for Bread in Years Gone By
  • Fortunate Daughters and Sons

Each chapter looks at a different period of time and refers to literary texts of the period: the bible, works by Homer, etc. She also references the Bayeux tapestry and the Apocalypse tapestry.

If you are at all interested in textiles, women’s history or literature then I think you will find this book fascinating. In fact, this is the book I would have liked to have written.

 

 

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A few projects

My irises are growing

I love irises and I plant bulbs every year – I never dig the old ones up so some of them come up again – this year they have been spectacular. A reward for how wet and cold it has been.

Blackwork triangles

I have done a small amount of work on my Blackwork triangles – mostly just at my class. I feel re-invigorated on this project and now just want to get it finished.

It is Miss A’s turn to have something knitted and she picked Meow Mitts

Meow Mitts (image from Ravelry – tinyowlknits)

She has picked her own colours – our base is going to be blue and the bow red.

Here is the swatch

Meow Mitts Swatch

This will be my second attempt at colour work so we will see how it goes.

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A New Start – Mitre Square Blanket

Mitre Square Blanket

I am still working in my Hap for Harriet – I just realised (after doing a search) that I haven’t blogged about that, but I will save that for another day. Anyway, I need a bit of a break – knitting with lace weight feels like knitting with dental floss! I decided a new project and one that would use up all the copious amounts of sock yarn I have!

I found instructions here it was a little bit confusing as to what to do with the two stitches on the stitch holder  when you pick up for Square 4 – someone asked in the comments, but she couldn’t help at that time. For the record, I am knitting them together and including them in Square 4, so far so good.

My plan is just to keep going until I feel it is big enough. I have selected 13 different yarns (yes I have a lot of sock yarn) and I will just swap them around as I feel like it.

The misti alpaca yarn is much nicer to touch than the others.

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A Finished Object

Hitchhiker Beyond Finished!

I’ve been plugging away at my Hitchhiker Beyond scarf – it was slow going towards the end, but I am happy with the final result.

Super easy – if you looking for an interesting garter stitch project.

The yarn is a Misti Alpaca Hand Painted Sock Yarn.

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Blackwork – Triangles

Blackwork Triangles

I have done a bit more work – a tiny bit – on my blackwork sampler.

The new stitch is waffle (that’s what Becky Hogg calls it). I am struggling a bit with this stitch – working out what to do at the edges and just how to follow the pattern properly.  Class starts again tomorrow though so I need to get going. I thought my eyes were part of the problem, but my optometrist says not yet – she suggested better lighting.

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