Sunday, 18 May 2008

Midwinter Inspirations

Brilliant design course with Debbie Abrahams yesterday, held at Get Knitted's shop in Bristol. We were asked to take an inspiration with us and I took this Midwinter saucer, designed in the 1960s. I've been wanting to do something with this as a piece of knitting for ages and this seemed a golden opportunity. Debbie showed us how to sketch out some ideas and then develop these into a knitted swatch so that we could begin to work out the tension and then do the calculations for a whole project. The pattern was too complicated to copy exactly and in any event I'm not a great fan of Intarsia knitting, which is what an attempt at the starry flowers would require. Debbie suggested browsing her pattern books to find a suitable Fair Isle design. Amazingly the stash she had brought with her for us to use included some Rowan Handknit Cotton in exactly the right shades of turquoise and pink, plus some grey and black. I picked up some cream from the shop downstairs and got to work on my swatch. I'm really pleased with the end result and am now working on the actual project, a small purse/spectacle case.

Monday, 5 May 2008

To Spin or not to Spin...

There hasn't been much time for knitting lately - lots of nights away for work and leisure have led to very slow progress on my throw and I've also been feeling very tired. I've missed having solid blocks of time to get on with my knitting projects and I'm looking forward to giving it a bit more attention over the coming weeks. A trip to Bath last weekend led to a walk along the Kennet and Avon canal where I was struck by the patterns on this bridge: there must be a way to translate these interesting colours and textures into a piece of knitting! It just goes to show that inspiration can be found all around us, if we care to look. As well as working on my throw I want to finish off the written pattern for the lacy leaf collar that began this blog last October. This, and two of my lace scarves will be on sale at the Oxford Artweeks show of my local Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers at the end of May Bank Holiday weekend. Details at:

In the meantime, I've been wondering what to do about my own efforts at spinning. I've not made much progress over the past few months and have thought maybe it's not for me. But I didn't want to give up on it without making a further attempt. So on Saturday I joined up with Kate and Sarah from my knitting group for the afternoon and had another go. This was really helpful, as I learned that a lot of the problems I was having with my wheel were things they struggled with too. By the end of the afternoon I'd certainly made some more progress and there were even aspects of the process that I enjoyed! I'm still not sure that all the preparation of carding, washing, spinning and dyeing a fleece is for me, especially when I could be knitting instead. But I can see that once the skills are acquired there is something satisfying in working a piece from scratch and I won't give up until I've had another go, with Carol, in a couple of weeks' time.