August was Archaeology month for me. I spent most of it digging- but that’s not what I wanted to share today!
However, it was at one of the digs that I met a Finnish student. One day she appeared wearing this stunning jumper.
When I asked her about it she told me someone had knitted it for her mother a long time ago. I’m assuming it’s an Icelandic Lopi style pattern. Lovely to see it is still being loved by the next generation.
I love the way the knitter has also added the colours used for the yoke as dots throughout the rest of the jumper. I have no idea if this was part of the pattern being followed or a creative innovation of their own. I remember these Icelandic jumpers being very popular in the 70’s and a few of my friends knitted them but never in such a colourful, individual way!
As if I didn’t have enough WIP’s I have now inherited a nearly finished sock!
On the way back from Islay a few weeks ago I was passing the time on the ferry by knitting a sock. A new friend saw me and was delighted to find someone who knitted with 4 needles. She had recently been helping to clear out a woman’s house who had died and found the WIP. Originally, she had thought to try to finish the socks herself and then donate them to charity. Not being much of a knitter when she saw me knitting I provided a solution to getting the socks finished! I agreed to give it a try.
Last weekend I saw her again and was greeted with ‘I’ve got the knitting, if you’d still like it!’
I was relieved to see it came with a knitting book which I assumed contained the pattern.
It appeared that the socks were to be a pair of Men’s Ribbed Golf Socks, but when I read over the pattern and compared it to the already knitted sock the original knitter had made a modification to the look. Not only had she decided to knit the turnover top with a contrasting band but she had also changed it to include cables.
So just a wee bit of extra thought and working out to do, then!!
Hopefully my tension won’t be drastically different, but as I usually knit using the European way I’ll have to change to the British way to finish the sock.
Anyway, nothing ventured as they say!
I’m not sure when I’ll see my friend again but hopefully I’ll be able to present her with a completed pair of socks by then.
Yay!! one mitten completed:) It’s been 9 days since I started but it didn’t really take that long. I’ve also been working on a pair of socks which are almost finished. I just can’t let the sock knitting go!
For the observant this mitten is knitted in 2 parts. The first being the plain band around the fingers. For this it was necessary to do a provisional cast on. I have absolutely no memory of ever knitting anything where I had to do this before (I’ve obviously let a sheltered knitting existence!). Luckily, when I entered the term into Google there was a wealth of experienced knitters willing to share their knowledge including quite a few on U-tube. Here is the one I chose https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T7OwOpC6CY. It was easy to follow and I’ve just used it again for the second mitten.
Once the band has been done it’s just a matter of joining it together using the Kitchener stitch which I’m only too familiar with having knitted all those socks. After picking up the stitches for the main part it’s my favourite ‘knitting in the round’ method with a little shaping for the thumb.
With the way the weather has turned ‘drench’ (wet) and cold I certainly think I’ll get plenty of opportunity to wear them once I’ve finished the second one.
I’ve really got back into knitting in the last few years but seem to have got ‘stuck in a rut’ of knitting socks! I still really enjoy knitting them and they are a great project to do whilst watching T.V. as I don’t need an awful lot of concentration.
However, I picked up this lovely yarn from a 2 for 1 basket a few months ago.
One of my lasting memories of my maternal grandmother is that she was always ‘wyvin’ -or in English knitting. And the garments that were always on her ‘wires’ or knitting needles were Ganseys- patterned fishing jumpers. My father and uncles were fishermen so she always had someone to appreciate her knitting. Despite this she found time to knit for other people who were not so skilled in the art of the Gansey. She never used a pattern and used to mix and match ideas from other jumpers she had seen. Using 4 shiny, silver, metal, double-pointed needles always looked a dangerous procedure to my young eyes. Added to this she wore a knitting sheath/belt where she stabbed one of the needles into, to take the weight of the Gansey whilst she knitted. Each time she thrust the needle into the belt I could hardly believe she hadn’t done herself an injury!
After my grandmother died in 1993 I don’t think I ever saw anyone knit a Gansey again. The fishing industry had declined and the younger fishermen bought ready made clothing (perhaps their womenfolk had other things to do with their time?).
This week the Gansey came into my life again when I read that there was an exhibition in The Maritime Museum in Aberdeen of Ganseys. I just had to go!
One style of neck detail.
i am so happy that this skilful art has been recognised and examples saved for posterity. But even better The Moray Firth Gansey Project has not only made more people aware of this knitting heritage but has also encouraged knitters to keep the art alive and evolve new ways to use the patterns like this ladies jumper by knitwear designer, Di Gilpin.
Jumper by Di Gilpin.
I also got a lovely surprise to see that 2 of the Ganseys were credited to Mrs. Isabella Stewart- my grandmother!
On a recent trip to the Lake District I was charmed by the endearing Herdwick lambs. Sadly, the wool from the sheep is too coarse for knitting but in a shop dedicated to sheep things I found some lovely 100% British Wool called Herdy. I just had to have some as a momento of my trip.
Returning home I had a pair of socks for my niece’s fiancé to finish before I could get to ‘play’ with my new wool. A few months ago I printed off a free Ravelry pattern for slippers using chunky wool so decided to try it out with my Herdy wool. After trying 3 different sizes of needles I still couldn’t get the gauge right so had a few brain aches trying to work out the correct number of stitches. The first slipper was slow going due to having to make adjustments but the second was ‘a breeze’. I’m thrilled with my finished slippers and my mother has already hinted at a pair which I’m more than happy to knit for her. There is more than enough wool left for her pair too.
The original pattern can be found at http://www.Ravelry.com and is called Non-felted slippers by Yuko Nakamura Designs
A few years ago I took a felting workshop in Switzerland. I was in heaven – a whole week of being in the mountains with like minded people playing around with wool.
Sadly, since then I have done very little with the knowledge I gained.
Living in Saudi I only wear warm clothes for a short time in the winter so now that the days are a wee bit cooler I decided to wash some of my cardigans in readiness for cycling to school in the cooler mornings. One of my cardigans was becoming a bit holey so I thought it would be fun to have a go at felting it.
So in my usual slap dash way I chucked it in the washing machine on the hottest setting and waited to see what happened. Success – it shrunk! Next a dry off in a hot tumble dryer and I had a felted cardigan to play with.
I set to with scissors and cut it up into all its original pieces.
With a piece from the back I’ve made this cafetiere cosy.
I’m really pleased with how it looks.
At the moment I’m not sure what to do with my other pieces. Ideas very welcome:)
Many years ago, when I first visited the Outer Hebrides there was very little in the way of art and craft items for sale. Possibly, there just wasn’t the tourist trade and anything made was very much for personal use and most people made their own knitwear and tweed items. Since then there has been a growing community of art and crafts in the islands and especially on Harris. Many of these talented people have settled there from mainland UK and have very much embraced the local way of life. Visiting in the summer when the days are long and the sun is shining it seems a very desirable option, but knowing how long and dark the winter months can be when the Atlantic gales are battering all in its way I’m not so sure I would last very long.
This summer, I visited a few new (to me) artisans and enjoyed some lovely chats about their work and general life in a remote area of UK. A shed definitely seems to be an essential addition and a great asset for a personal place to work. 3 sheds I fell in love with were-
The Scalpay Linen shed which smelt so good with all the wool that was being worked as well as the linen.
The weaving loom.
Hand spun art wool.
The food shed at Northton where you can be tempted by home baked bread, scones, cakes as well as fresh caught shellfish.
All the purchases here are made on trust- loved the box which asks you to roll pound notes up tight to feed into the hole on the top!
And thirdly this cheekily called ‘Northton Trading Co’ shed with an eclectic mix of items. Again, trust is an essential part of its success as you are asked to ring the bell if you want to buy anything!
Handbags for sale.
An inside view.
How heartening it was to think that there are still areas where people can live in harmony without taking advantage of each other so readily and that they extend this trust to us,the visitors, who come from very different backgrounds.
And how do they survive? I’m not too sure. I know that for some the Internet is a vital link for selling their goods, and perhaps for others, who have partners with regular paid jobs, the financial reward isn’t the ultimate goal. Whatever, I know I met some very happy, contented people living on the Island of Harris this summer and hope when I return next time they will still be there …and their sheds of course!
Monday is craft morning here on the compound and as I was on holiday I could go and meet up with some of the other crafters on the compound. Dilemma though- what token craft project to take to look like I was serious and not just there to drink coffee and chat! Searching around in a couple of cupboards I found the sock I had started nearly 2 years ago -or was it even longer! – As a preent for my sister-in-law. A couple of hours later, after a coffee and a lot of chat I returned home without even knitting a stitch!
Later in the afternoon I decided it was time to ‘put this sock to bed’ and got those needles ‘click- clacking’! Eh voila after a couple of hours I was finished!
… And now for the other one…..hopefully it won’t take 2 years to complete and my sister-in-law may get her socks before next winter:)