This evening has been all about spinning. I’ve been trying to make a yarn with the look of the earth wire in a UK electrical plug for a hat that I am planning. I plyed this as an exercise in seeing how these two yarns would work together. Although not entirely what I was expecting, I’m pleased with it as a first effort. It is a purposefully slubby single handspun wool, corespun around a yellow commercial DK weight yarn. The plyed yarn’s texture is reminiscent of brainwaves in some places; of the yellow and green earth wire in others.
I don’t think I’ve made enough though. It may have to be a child-sized beanie.
I really want the hat to use the language of insulation at cross purposes. The idea of keeping a head warm, but using a visual of electrical instulation makes a certain kind of sense to me. It should enable me to talk about epilepsy via this and other visual cues.
But more on that later.
I’ve been drawing a lot today. It is something that I fully admit that I don’t do enough of. I’ve been trying to get some ideas out of my head; to articulate them in the physical sphere. A lot of the time I will work straight with the fibre, but lately I’ve realised that my work is lacking depth. It has been a hard day that frankly has not been all that successful. Nevertheless I’m glad I did it. There have been some unexpected turns which have been exciting and I’ve been coming up with lots of ideas. Extra layers of meaning are starting to appear.
Without saying too much about them, here are a few of the drawings and some yarn that I made today.
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KER+++$ Exp+++ SPM+++ Steel++@ Wood+ Syn Wool++ Lux++ Stash(+) Scale++ Fin Ent+ Tex+++$ Lace+@ Felt+ Flat- Circ+++ ML1++ Swatch+ KIP+++ Blog+ SNB EZ- FO++ WIP+++ GaugeDK(W) ALTCr(-) Q+@ !X Em Sw+ Sp+>++
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I knit on the train most days. I really enjoy the extra layer of rhythm that the clicking of the needles adds to the jolting of the train on the tracks. Sometimes people might comment or ask what I’m doing; mostly they have a quick look and get on with their thing. In short, I’m used to knitting in public; but this week public knitting was taken to a whole new level for me.
As previously mentioned, I took part in a university library outreach programme in Winchester this past week. The Knitting Reference Library held an exhibition in a small gallery space, ‘Cornershop’ which had once been a pet shop. Set up like a living room,’The Knitting Room’ had plenty of places to sit and look at patterns from the library or read knitting books. An exhibition of knitted objects from the handling collection were suspended from fishing line in the large bay window and duplicate vintage patterns displayed in the windows. I was invigilating for a good part of the week, and knitted in public like never before (and knitted over half a cardigan). I think that some people thought that we were an art installation, and certainly it felt like that at times! We taught plenty of people, young and old to knit. On the second weekend, 13th and 14th June, it was World Wide Knit in Public Days and all week we were very much encouraging people to come in and have a go. Lots did.
Throughout the week the library staff and I taught people to knit from scratch, how to make pompoms and helped knitters to learn new techniques. I think we had about 10 brand new knitters in total and 6 pompom-makers! It was great to have a selection of knitting books on hand which supplemented my own knowledge. I tend to teach knitting by showing the person how by ‘doing’ in the first instance, but needed a reference for things like cabling.
It was a really fun week and the exhibition worked on many levels. Many more people know about and will be using the Knitting Reference Library now, there was a coming together of existing knitters and the beginnings of new knitters. Two artists came in and made a sound recording of the gathering, which will lead on to further work as well. The Knitting Room became a focus for discussion and debate on the culture, heritage and process of knitting for the week. I’m hoping for this discussion to continue on in a range of media too.
From a personal point of view, I particularly enjoyed the interaction with other artists and knitters: bouncing ideas around, learning new techniques and planning new artwork. I got an awful lot out of the experience of teaching. Although I teach people to knit on a fairly regular basis, I’d not taught children to knit before: well, no under 10s anyway. I’ll be reflecting on how it all went and what I’ve learned from it in a separate blog post later in the week.
I’d love to hear from you if you came to the Knitting Room last week. What did you think of it?
Also, go and visit Cornershop if you are in Winchester to see Winchester School of Art’s Textile Art 3rd year student Bethany Mitchell‘s You and Whose Army? which she will be installing this coming week.
n.b. All photographs © Ingrid Murnane and used with the permission of those photographed, or their parents.
Here are the instructions for the George Coffee Cup Cosy in the stitch pattern Roman Rib: Georgius, if you will. It’s a stitch pattern that looks pretty complicated but is very easy to knit and makes a dense fabric which is great for coffee cup insulation.
Georgius Coffee Cup Cosy
Leftover chunky/bulky yarn: takes around 30-40m as a guide (also works with 2 strands of DK held together, as above)
6 small buttons and embroidery thread for sewing
k = knit
p = purl
yo = yarn over (wrap yarn around working needle once)
k2tog = knit two stitches together
kfb = knit front and back in same stitch (to increase)
Cast on 32 stitches
Row 1: knit all stitches
Row 2: k3, yo, k2tog, k to end
Row 3: purl all stitches
Row 4: kfb, *k1, p1* to last stitch, kfb
Row 5:*k1, p1* to last stitch
Repeat rows 2-5, 4 times (21 rows total)
Row 22: k3, yo, k2tog, k to end
Row 23: knit all stitches
Weave in ends and add buttons at appropriate places.
n.b. If you are making a mug cosy, repeat rows 2-5 only twice.
As usual, please feel free to knit up the coffee cup cosies to keep or as gifts/charity fundraising, but please do not knit up for commercial purposes or reproduce the pattern without first seeking permission.
Copyright © Ingrid Murnane 2009. All rights reserved.