Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Spinning, Carding and Gma

In March Hackney City Farm gave me a bag of fleece to do with what I pleased! Yatra then came round and gave me a private lesson in carding and spinning over a pot of tea. I had previously been shown by Louize Harries and Irem Arig - founder of Sheep of Steel - in the early days of 2013 but as I didn't have anything to spin at the time I wanted/needed a refresher course once I had my own fleece to get through.

Fabrications kindly lent me their carders while I was experimenting and I enjoyed it so much that I quickly sped over to the Handweavers Studio and purchased a pair for myself. Quickly followed by acquiring my own niddy-noddy and drop spindle from Prick Your Finger.

Roll on a fair few months and I've finally got around to spinning up the rolags I carded in June.

My first real foray into handspinning and I decided to begin on the London Overground starting at Hoxton and spun my last rolag some hours later in the quite confines of Manormead Care Home in Hindhead as we gathered round my 91 year old Grandmother who taught me how to knit and is now fading from these earthly plains.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Scarf Commission

Whilst in the midst of knitting this jumper for Sheep of Steel

Their Creative Director asked me to knit a scarf out of pencil roving and one skein of hand spun:

Miss von Goetz at DJ Farina's house  

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Hand Made Knitting Needles

Woop! It's what everyone has been waiting for, the news is finally here: I have now started to make my own knitting needles

I went to the local hardware store and bought a piece of 15mm dowling which I took to Hackney City Farm and chopped into four lengths of 20 inches with a leftover bit of about 10 inches. Took out my trustee penknife and whittled the ends into points, sanded the whole down and voilĂ ! my very own set of long chunky knit double pointed needles which you can't buy anywhere because they don't exist!! The biggest I've found online is 12mm at 7 inches long from Fabulous Yarn, but seriously, what are you going to do with something that's only 7 inches long??

The reason I needed such long double points is that I've been commissioned to knit another bright orange chunky dress but this time I wanted it to be seamless... So, when needs must - make your own! And here is the beginnings of the dress

Also to be knitted on my supercalifragilisticexpialidocious one of a kind ( as yet) knitting needles is the latest commission from Sheep of Steel

I need to replicate the size and shape of the jumper out of the illustrated handspun yarns which are from her Toxic Silk range and are made from Manx Loaghtan and Corriedale sheep's wool

Oooooooooooooooooooooohh Yeah!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Headless Naked Lady

We are all familiar, to a greater or lesser extent, with the naked ladies in my garden. Recently, I decided to give one of them a bath and spruce her up a bit! This involved drilling holes, sanding her cracked edges and stringing yarn across her broken bits...

Sunday, 9 June 2013

A Nonsense

I was going to write a sonnet about my Easter bonnet,
But someone sat upon it so I cannot write a sonnet about my Easter bonnet.

I thought I'd write a poem but it started out quite solemn,
And I couldn't write about a harem; that didn't make sense at all!

I'd like to leave a note but I couldn't find a goat,
And there wasn't a single boat, so the idea became remote.

I want to write a tale about a lonely whale,
Who stranded in a town called Sayle, where they stole and ate his tail.

I tried to write a song but it seemed so dreadful long,
Then I had to bang a gong and forgot all about my song.

I invented a limerick but it wasn't very quick,
And I thought you might think me thick. So I deleted it.

I found a little verse but it was a trifle perverse,
And I couldn't fit it in my purse, so I left it in a hearse.

I should have sent a letter as none can write one better,
But I took the paper swimming and it couldn't have gotten wetter!

I would like to write an ode, but the talent hasn't showed.
I thought and thought as I walked along the road, but felt 'twas impossible that I should write an ode.

I tried to write a ballad, but I couldn't think of anything that rhymed with the blasted word.

I thought I'd try an epic, but it became so very sick,
When it tumbled in the attic that it ended up quite static.

There's room for one more stanza - if it can hide from a panzer,
and find an endangered panda, it would be a clever stanza.

I might have wrote a story; not one that would be gory.
I am the niddy-noddy champion and so I shine in glory!

Written for the Guest Book at Rayrigg Hall, April 2012

Monday, 27 May 2013

The Knitter of Shipton Street

Me: I am the Knitter of Shipton Street.

Chorus of my friends: And a right good Knitter too!

Me: I am very, very good,
And be it understood,
I create a right good knit.

Chorus of my friends: She's very, very good,
And be it understood,
she creates a right good knit.

Me: I don't use a crochet hook,
And never, never read a knitting book,
(No matter what I overlook).
Though instructions I may,
Occasionally obey,
I never read the whole, whole book.

Chorus of my friends: What, never?

Me: No, never!

Chorus of my friends: Hardly never?

Me: No, Never!

Chorus of my friends: And she never ever reads the whole, whole book!
Then give three cheers, and one sweet treat,
To the inventive Knitter of Shipton Street!

Me: I do my best to satisfy my clients -

Chorus of my friends: And with you they're quite content.

Me: I am exceedingly quick,
I knit a jumper in a week
And my work is often chic!

Chorus of my friends: She's exceedingly quick,
She'll knit a jumper in a week
And her work is often chic!

Me: Though knitting is my life,
It is causing me great strife,
And is a creative drain.
I am never known to fail,
At knitting up a gale,
But, I'll never, never knit again!

Chorus of my friends: What, never?

Me: No, never!

Chorus of my friends: Yeah, whatever!

Me: Well... Hardly ever.

Chorus of my friends: And she'll hardly ever knit again!
Then give three cheers, and one sweet treat,
To the stalwart Knitter of Shipton Street!

Adapted from Gilbert and Sullivan's I am the Captain of the Pinafore

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Fashion Student

On the 21st of March my friend Barley (who owns Fabrications on Broadway Market) called me to say that she had a Fashion Design Student interested in commissioning an orange jumper dress for her final degree show coming up in May.

Miss v G working on the commission

I met with the student a few times before taking on and beginning the commission and each time I met  or spoke with her she either added on another piece of clothing that she wanted knitting, shortened the  completion deadline or increased the number of yarns to be used in the pieces!

In short the commission became four pieces:

1) Orange Jumper Dress - with reflective trim
4) Orange & Pink Cardigan - with reflective and other threads woven in

the materials and tools used

All to be completed before the 28th of April - click the links above to find out how I got on!

And now the pieces have all been modelled and photographed properly! (below is her whole collection)

Orange & Pink Cardigan

Knitted on 15mm, 10mm and 2.75mm needles

April 12th - began knitting back panel

April 13th - finished knitting back panel

April 14th - began knitting front panel

April 15th - front panel progression

April 16th - finished knitting front panels

April 16th - began knitting sleeves

Sleeve Detail

April 17th - finished knitting sleeves

April 18th - assembled panels

Had Fun Trying the Cardigan on People!

Miss v G in the Cardigan

April 19th - began knitting trim

April 22nd finished knitting trim, knitted back shoulder panel and sewed onto cardigan

Commission Complete!

Total hours: 64