From today, IngridNation is moving to amalgamate with my other website, IngridMurnane.com for a more streamlined blogging experience. You’d just as well read about knitting, textile history and textile art all on one site, right?
Thank you very much for reading my posts and leaving friendly and useful comments over the past couple of years. I do hope that you will continue to do so over at IngridMurnane.com.
Happy knitting and researching
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My ongoing series of art socks is currently having its second solo show, this time in a local art gallery, The Spring in Havant, Hampshire. As well as those pieces that I showed at Prick Your Finger last spring, there are three new additions to the series.
The Sherlock Holmes sock, as it was then called was in its infancy last April and has grown somewhat and been rechristened ‘The Gathering Mystery of the Silk Sock’.
Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book was the inspiration behind the smallest piece in the show, ‘The Progression of Nobody Owens’.
The most recent new work is Hodbins-All! which if you are a fan of the works of Connie Willis, you might have more than an inkling about already.
I will be sharing a little more of the stories behind the three new pieces over the next couple of weeks, but if you are local and would like to visit in person, the exhibition is on in the Sadler Gallery at The Spring until March 24th. If you are coming to the Stitch and Craft show at Olympia on Saturday 19th March, I will be giving a talk about the Mrs Miniver series at 10.30am too.
Last weekend I visited the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef at Salisbury Arts Centre while the reef was on its tour of Britain. Having caught it just before the end of its stay before its subsequent move to Gloucestershire, I was lucky enough to see all of the fabulous new pieces of crocheted coral to be added in this particular location.
It took me a while to find the arts centre, not being very familiar with Salisbury. It’s a gorgeous city with the tallest Cathedral spire in Britain, along with a beautiful river and markets. Tucked away in what was formerly St Edmund’s Church was the arts centre.
Born out of the collaboration between American sisters, the work on show was nothing short of beautiful.
The story behind the coral reef is an interesting one. Margaret Wertheim, a mathematician and her sister Christine who direct the Institute of Figuring in Los Angeles, California started a project in 2005 to re-create the creatures of the coral reefs using a crochet technique invented by a mathematician. It both celebrates the amazements of the reef, and explores the hyperbolic geometry underlying coral creation.
The British crochet coral reef is a satellite of the worldwide Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project which resides at the Institute of Figuring. The British leg of the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is presented in partnership with the Crafts Council. It is a large-scale art work that consists of thousands of brightly coloured crocheted coral and associated creatures created by craft makers all around the world.
One of the main attractions for me (as well as the technique) is the narrative element of the work, that the reef grows as it tours. Participants at each location learn to crochet and add their coral to the reef, and it is then restaged in a different configuration with the new additions at the next exhibition venue.
The techniques used in the reef are a mixture of crocheting in the traditional sense along with freeform and experimental crochet using recycled materials such as plastic bags and wire. All of the sections are apparantly models of hyperbolic planes, meaning a geometric pattern resembling real coral that is made by increasing the stitches on each row of crochet in equal numbers. There were instructions that you could take with information and patterns for making your own hyperbolic coral in crochet too.
I believe that the next venue for the reef will be in Gloucestershire, and if you’re in the area, I’d strongly recommend a visit. It is inspirational.
Here’s some more about how the reef came into being in a really interesting TED video of Margaret Wertheim talking about the reef, its history and its future.
The knitter whose work you saw in the picture above used a contrasting cotton crochet thread, so it would both be easy to see and also to remove from the knitting afterwards. Linen thread and waxed dental floss are also good to use. If you don’t have any of these handy, just make sure that you use a yarn that is a lighter weight than the main yarn you are knitting with and that it has a smooth finish.
All you need to do to rip back to the lifeline is to slip the knitting from the needles, carefully unravel the knitting (this may be more difficult if you have something which has mohair in it, like Kidsilk Haze). Once you get to the lifeline, you won’t be able to unravel any further. This is the point where you will need to put the knitting back onto your needles. Carefully insert the needle into the first stitch that has the lifeline through it, and pop it onto the needle. You can either take the lifeline out of each stitch as you go along, leave it til the last one is done, or just leave it in to continue being a lifeline (I prefer leaving it in, especially if I’ve gone wrong once!) Move on to the next stitch, popping it onto the needle and continue until you get to the end of the row. You will be left with a correctly knitted row which will have no dropped or twisted stitches.
Basically then you continue on as you were before, and if you make another mistake that warrants frogging a few rows, you have a lifeline there still.
I’m very pleased to announce that I have a new pattern available. I designed and knitted it up just before Christmas because I wanted a hat that would cover up my rather large hair (have you seen it when I leave it curly?) However, as not everyone wants a big slouchy hat, I have included a smaller version which makes a great beanie (or a child’s slouchy hat).
Knitted in the round on a circular needle, it has an unfussy textured pattern. Even the large size can be knitted from just one skein of either Cascade 220 or Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted so it makes for good stashbusting too. You can see the hat’s pattern page on Ravelry here.
The Peapod Sloucher is available through Ravelry as a pdf download for £2.50, and the good news is that you can buy and download the pattern on Ravelry even if you aren’t a member.
I’m going to be teaching a range of knitting and textile classes at the Mary Rose Museum in Portsmouth in February and March 2011.
If you’re in the Portsmouth area, you can learn to knit (or refresh your skills) with me on either February or March 5th (or both if you’re keen!)
There are only 10 places on each course, so if you’d like to book one for you or somebody else, please do get in touch with Fiona, pronto, as detailed above.
The classes are running as part of the education programme that goes alongside their latest exhibition The Tudors Courtly Couture Collection. If you’re a fan of The Tudors tv series, this is a really great opportunity to see the original costumes up close. I went to see the costumes when they arrived at the museum and the detailing even on the costumes is amazing. They really were the Kings of Bling.
There will also be two more classes on 12th February and 26th March, where I will be teaching how to make knitted bouquets and buttonholes for a Winter Wedding, and the Scroggers from Glee, respectively (scroggers were Tudor leg or arm warmers).
If you’d like to book up, please do get in touch with Fiona Harvey on 02392 750521 or email her at f.harvey[at]maryrose.org
The pattern for the Peapod Sloucher will be available next week in both child and adult sizes. In the meantime, here is a very sneaky peek.