Tuesday, May 04, 2021

This Article Fron Inspirations Magazine Newsletter

SALs, Samplers and Stitching Spots
We’ve covered so many topics in All Stitched Up! over the past few weeks, it is not surprising that we’ve received a delightfully mixed bag of responses from our community. We love how different articles will inspire different people and, sorry to be repetitive but we have to say it again, we never get tired of hearing from you!
The article about stitch-alongs in All Stitched Up! issue #270 is still garnering responses, and as we believe you can never discover too many stitch-alongs or online stitching communities, please keep them coming! 

This week, we heard from Shalaya who brought our attention to the SAL from A Steady Thread. It is a floral blackwork SAL which, Shalaya reports, offers so many creative opportunities for colour variations and different sizes. 
The start of the Embroidery Motifs from Old Dutch Samplers SAL
Victoria Wakefield sent us a fantastic story about her own SAL experience. She had never heard of SALs until she discovered a Facebook page called ‘Embroidery Motifs from Old Dutch Samplers’. They were just about to start a SAL, designed by Robyne Melia that was called ‘Song of Solomon Ship Sampler’. Most of the motifs came from the book that gave the Facebook page its name, but the designer selected a range of historical patterns, themes and ideas to create a stunning project.
Embroidery Motifs from Old Dutch Samplers SAL
Participants were encouraged to use linen and threads from their stash to complete the piece, so Victoria stitched on a piece of linen shoe lining fabric she had purchased years before and used DMC threads from her own collection.
The completed sampler, stitched by Victoria
The aspect of the project she enjoyed most of all, however, was being able to speak with stitchers from all over the world and to share progress. 
She even learnt some new terms, such as ‘frogging’ or unpicking one’s work – a term which is said to come from having to ‘rip-it, rip-it’! 
But it is clear from the pictures, Victoria gained so much out of the experience. If you want to try this stunning design, Robyne Melia has it available for purchase on Etsy.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Traditional Fishermen’s Ganseys/Guernseys/Jerseys Knit & Natter Zoom Night

Well, zoom is hard work but it was worth getting up at 3.15am to prepare and be able to join the Knit & Natter at my 4am Friday morning. 7pm Thursday for Scotland. It was so interesting and informative. 

The Ganseys have followed the fishermen. Elizabeth Lovick ventured (in one of her amazing books) that wherever the Vikings went, there is knitting. These Ganseys, Guernseys or Jerseys followed the herring fishermen and the herring girls and like all crafts, were taken on by surrounding locals and developed into unique but connected variants. Just gorgeous. There is an old and strong tradition in Holland too.

This morning I started following up my notes, scribbled while others talked of their experiences and groups or books etc. I have already pre-purchased ‘The Gansey Knitting Sourcebook’, and nearly ordered a few others! But I do already have some of the best oldies, so have pored over them again. In fact, I’ve quite a few drawings in my various mole skins already, lots, and will cogitate further and come up with a jumper or two at some point. I think one for my honey and a more girly one. Plus a cardigan... hmmm...

It seems that Frangipani wool is the way to go. Apparently it wears amazingly, has brilliant stitch definition and washes beautifully etc. It turns out there is a big take up in the fishing communities of Cordova in Alaska and they favour this wool. Why? Because wool is WARM! And lovely.

As for me, for now I’m really, really, really busy with my really, really, really big project of interpreting the knitwear in a favourite movie for hopefully a book (under my hat), and I shan’t be seen for some time! However, I did pull out my old Vintage Aran and have a play with the pattern in anticipation of the chat. It’s considered a Gansey, though the Aran versions incorporated a lot of the Celtic style cabling and may be a bit chunkier. I’m no expert though so don’t quote me! I made the poncho (and turned it into a bag) years ago and have a cardigan started. The cardigan is being pulled out and I’ll redesign it after the really, really, really busy period goes back to just really busy.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Phillip Island Retreat

You can see the ridges in this light so I thought I’d post a sneak pic below... without explanation! I’m not sure if my neck/head ache is due to knitting or sleeping on the wrong pillow and I’ve been using headphones too much and have tinnitus! Poor petal! 
Sitting and walking at Kitty Miller bay yesterday was a balm though. The waves and the beauty of it gets inside you. Our favourite place on the island. After walking and knitting for ages I just sank back onto the thick carex (or poa) while Ross was painting and melded into the view. The quiet helped my head.

We’re coming home today. I took heaps of work to do but forgot key ingredients like the green spindrift to finish the extended sleeve on Sadie’s cardigan (although it’s completely ready to graft otherwise), and somehow left home the size charts for the same! That was to be my biggest appointed task, to key the pattern into the program. The charts are all edited and ready to go so I was thinking the evenings here would be a perfect time to do it. Idiot! 
But I’ve managed to swatch lace patterns and make decisions, then despair at the amount of work I’ve set myself in compiling a book (a common thread with me, to turn things into huge undertakings) which both overwhelms and entices me, one mood dominating, then the other. Ha ha! Can’t lay blame for that one.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Black Walnut Dyed Alpaca. 2Ply Lace Weight


Natural walnut, kettle dyed alpaca in lace weight. It has been washed firstly in bags on a wool cycle, then hand washed and thoroughly rinsed again.
There are two cakes, I’m saying 440grams ($88) and 560grams ($112)... but they are little a bit over that. I will take $185 for both. Plus postage from Victoria Australia. So, AU$10 per 50g of very soft alpaca.
It’s a beautiful colour, so rich and warm. Like wheat but deeper. Like my daughter’s hair when she was a little button. 
Please message me if you want to purchase only one skein (cake) and I will alter the listing.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Procrastination Cushion

I meant to clean my sewing room. But, I didn’t want to shove the cushion insert away (dead cover situation) so pulled out my tub of velvets. One of my tubs of velvet.

The orange velvet was a partly pulled apart garment my Grandma found in an op shop at least 30-40 years ago. It’s so beautiful I use it very carefully, but I’m glad to find a reason. The buttons are covered in it too.

I did fold and put away my pile of velvet but the floor is covered in fluff so I kind of went backwards, although one little job is off the list and the stash went down a little bit.

Rather than figure out a Drunkards Path patch, I just cut a piece of old brown paper into the circle, roughly drew the grid and shapes then cut them out, adding seam allowances.


Friday, January 15, 2021

My Career As A Knitwear Designer (ha ha ha)!

I’ve decided to make more knitting designs. Work is quiet, which allows me time to map things out and think things through and calculate. So I’ve made a cardigan design and graded it into 16 sizes, from really little little to fairly big big. 

I started with a kiddies version, quite successfully too I thought, (it’s cute and I’m happy about it), then set about to do the young adult size. Yay isolation!

This one has slightly different background colours. I did the body, bottom up to the underarms and just for a break, decided to make a hat. Again I’ve varied the colours and the patterning to showcase other possibilities (and not be bored myself). But, I ran out of the main colour. It’s from Shetland and I’m in Australia so whilst I was ordering I thought I may as well choose the colours for my bigger cardigan. Which I did. 

As it turns out, Scotland has a temporary ban on international postage, so while that’s happening I went back and started the sleeves to finish the other. 

I cast on and worked the cuff, then got into the fair isle band motifs before realizing I’d left out the first band. So I pulled it back to the rib and started it properly. I got back as far as I’d gone before, some 10 cm of pattern past a deep rib but it looked too baggy. Not what I want. Unpicked it. 

Going back to my original charts I fussed over all of the adult sized sleeves... which is really, really arduous because the program I then use is sooo slow on my stupid, stupid laptop and it kills me. It took ages to generate my new improved sleeve. An evening. 

Cast on again. 

I like to cast on with 3mm needles then drop back to 2.5 mm for the ribbing but I forgot so pulled it out.  Next day... Cast on properly with 3mm but (grrr) forgot (grrrrr) to (grrrrrrr) change down...

SO I started again. Inner calm, inner calm... 62 stitches. Yes. Managed a neat, well practiced cast on with 3mm followed by a beautifully tidy (deep) cuff in 2.5mm’s. Beautiful. The size looked right for a 6. Great. Sleeves don’t take long, I’ll be done soon.

I want you to know that all of this happens between many other tasks, train trips and work and family and perusing my emails. It’s a few of days of disjointedness. I thought, right, I’d Better Just Make Sure and pulled out the pattern to be 100% and hey! The pattern said (mother-flippin’) (stop swearing) seventy (mother-flippin’) two!!!! Not. 62.

Shoving down a rising beserk, I ripped back my little neat cuff. Again. For the 5th or 4th or 10th time! Unravelled it yet again...

I pulled out the original graph. The very original paper calculations, not the stupid, arduously made print out with my fair isle plonked in. And yes, guess what? 62 was in fact CORRECT! Time to tear up the wrong print outs, with vigor.

You’ll be proud of me because I didn’t swear (out loud) and I didn’t cry (on the inside). I either overcame my feelings of rage and disappointment and boredom, or suppressed them deeply and just got up, packed a bag for the train trip in the morning and went to bed.

Before I did go to bed I thought I’d get out a fresh ball of wool for the cuffs, since I’d worn the other ragged and it might be better to bury it deep inside the fair isle. So I grabbed another and saw that I was going to run out before I finished the cardigan and needed to order another couple. But Scotland... mail...

Never mind... suck it up (you stupid, stupid idiot)...

This morning I had a nice walk before I caught the train to the city. I listened to a great podcast about early female pilots in Australia, whilst walking through the pretty bush. Lovely! On the train I set up a show I’m watching on my propped iPad, cast on 62 stitches neatly with 3mm needles then dug in my bag to change to 2.5’s and guess what? I’d left them at home.