interesting stuff

IngridNation is Moving!

From today, IngridNation is moving to amalgamate with my other website, 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

Happy knitting and researching

Ingrid x

PS Don’t forget to update your feed reader if you use one!


A Reprieve, and an Explanation

So, last post I said the following, and at the time I really thought that it would happen…

Huzzah! is fully up and running, and IngridNation will be going into stasis, so please do come and join me over there instead.

The key bit, the ‘IngridNation will be going into stasis’  part, well… by the fact that you’re reading this you can perhaps guess now that that is no longer true.

green knitting, red needles

Green-ish, copyright Ingrid Murnane

I have been struggling for a while with the parallel threads (for me) of textile history, and textile art designing and making. For my practice, it isn’t very often that the two worlds entirely collide. I have tried cajoling them into better alignment, wondering whether I should designed a hat that is inspired by the movies of the 1930s, or make more work investigating the domestic interiors of the interwar years. However the problem with this is that it is forced. I’d much rather be experimenting on my spinning wheel, or adding to my exhibition plans with the Sherlock Holmes socks. Try as I might, I can’t get that excited about making anything which comes out of the ideas and areas that I get so insanely excited to research and write about. Anyway, Susan does vintage design so much better than me!

So, in explanation for the future… for textile history of all kinds, craft skills acquisition research, and general museumy stuff, go to For textile art, making, patterns, techniques and tutorials, stay here with IngridNation. Or maybe (and I’d really like this), read both!

I’ll be posting to both blogs a couple of times each week, as well as to the knitonthenet blog which is up and running again after a bit of a sabbatical, so I do hope that you come along for the ride.

It’s been a big decision and a long time coming, so after biting the bullet, I’d love to know what you think about the split and this new set up. Let me know in the comments.

Guest Post: Knittage Simply Knit by Giles Babbidge

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to start updating the look of IngridNation, the brand. A couple of the things that I needed were a new banner for my Folksy shop and images for new Moo Cards. My chap, Giles Babbidge is a photographer. After discussing the look that I was after, he took the photographs and helped me to put the designs together. In this post, he tells how we achieved it all.

When Inny needed some snazzy new shots of her knitted wares recently, for use on her blog and online shop, we used the absolute bare-basics approach of ‘one camera, one lens, one light’. The location/studio arrangement was also just about as simple as you can get – a living room coffee table table.

What you see in the picture here is the lighting set-up… A single SB-800 with Pocket Wizard (for wireless connection to the camera); attached to the front is a diffuser panel (for nice, soft, even light). A Magic Arm was used to support the rig just off to camera right, positionable back and forth, left to right, as required.

The camera, incidentally, was hand-held.

You’ll notice daylight striking the ‘set’ from the front – this was taken out of the equation not by closing the curtains, but my letting the flash be the sole light source (and adjusting settings accordingly). Flash light is perfect for close-up detail work, as it is very clean and crisp.

As many of you know, I don’t believe in relying on post-production in order to ‘save’ poor technique – clearly, it makes far more sense to get things looking the way you want them at the time of capture. Case in point – the image you see up top is essentially unaltered.

The most Photoshop work that was applied here was to the image which ended up as Inny’s banner – a simple case of choosing the crop and superimposing her logo, to end up with this:

Photo shoots are expensive, time consuming, stressful affairs, right? Nope. This little lot took all of about 10 minutes from setting up to taking everything apart, including time to arrange the object (a Spring Greens scarf, no less!), discuss framing options and, of course, sip a nice cuppa.

All images copyright, Giles Babbidge Photography.

This post was first published on the GBP Blog.

Learning a Lesson

A couple of days ago I was rooting through my freezer for something to defrost for yesterday’s lunch. I fancied some soup and after looking for a little while found what I was sure was a little container full of yummy miso soup with mushrooms and sweetcorn.

So, yesterday, at lunchtime I was all set to eat said soup (with the addition of some fresh beansprouts – yum). Well. Except what I thought was the lovely miso soup was actually some kind of vegetable and unrecognisable meat stew combo. Really not what I was expecting.

I bet you’re wondering why I’m telling you this, aren’t you?

Well, I did somewhat the same thing with a UFO a little while ago. ‘Yes’, I thought, having stashed away this particular cardigan for a year because I found more new and exciting things to knit, ‘this cardi is just the thing and I have lots of the yarn left, so let’s get on with it.’

That bit there, the ‘I have lots of the yarn left’ part… well, I had lots of yarn left that looked like the same yarn. In the semi-darkness. While I was watching TV and not paying a huge amount of attention.

You can’t see it so well from this picture, but the bottom half and part of the arms are a rather different shade of red. Not just a different dyelot, but an entirely different colourway. To add insult to injury, I realised that I’d knitted another cardigan for my Mum in the yarn left from this one, instead of the newer, differently-shaded yarn that I had bought especially for it. The upshot of it was that my red cardigan was frogged.

This is the point where you say, ‘…but Ingrid, you seem like a quite well organised person. Don’t you keep a little notebook with all the details of each project, or do the same on Ravelry?’ Er, well I do now! Quite obviously I didn’t before, but the Red Cardigan of Doom has taught me a lesson. It is one that I’ll be extending to my cooking life as well now.

Without sounding like a public information advert, if this is a problem that you have yourself, Ravelry has great options on their project pages to add in the yarn and needles you are using and even the shade and dyelot. Brenda Dayne also gave some great advice on how she keeps record cards for each project she makes a while back on Cast On (I’m really sorry that I can’t find the actual episode).

Another extra, but really useful thing that you could do alongside keeping ‘real life’ notes in a book or card system is to keep some of the yarn that you used for mending. Even better (and to follow a wartime tradition) you could make the buttons for your garment by knitting them and stuffing them with the yarn, so there is always some available and it will have been washed to the same extent.*

So, after the fiasco of the miso soup and the frogging of the Red Cardigan of Doom, the moral of the story is: keep proper records of your stuff, people: you won’t regret it!

(cross published from the knitonthenet blog)

*Thanks to Jane Waller and Susan Crawford for that great advice!

PS I ended up having a marmite sandwich and a banana, if you were wondering.

Who wants to be an Intern?

So, are you or is anybody you know looking to do an internship over the summer? Arbour House (who publish and lots of fab vintage craft books like A Stitch in Time) are looking for interns. There’s one in web design and one on the publishing side of things. Work will be done remotely, so you don’t even have to be in the area.  Have a read of the press release below and if you’re interested, get in touch with me at Ingrid(at)arbourhousepublishing(dot)com.

Arbour House Publishing is offering two unpaid internships to work independently on fixed term projects this summer. Each 6 week placement will start after 25th July, and end by 26th September (details to be confirmed).

Location is not important because attendance on site is not required. Virtual interviews will take place by phone or skype on the week beginning 19th July.

We are looking for enthusiastic entrants into the web design and publishing sectors and are committed to helping them develop valuable skills for their chosen career.

Web Design Intern

Project: Building and populating two/three websites to a specified brief. Existing website construction skills are required and a knowledge of Drupal would be a particular advantage.

Publishing Intern

Project: Book Design. To include production of sample book covers, text editing and manipulation, image correction and replacement, and index creation. Graphic design skills are required for this project.

Requirements for both of the internships are:

Ongoing undergraduate education.
Unlimited computer/broadband access with relevant software.
Availability throughout six week period.
Minimum 15 hours per week.

Please note, these are unpaid positions. Full credit will be given for work undertaken and references provided on completion of projects.

In the first instance, please send a CV and cover letter to assistant editor Ingrid Murnane at ingrid(at)arbourhousepublishing(dot)com by 15th July 2010.


GBP: Workshop

Digital SLR, image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography

If you, like me are not making the most of your digital camera, Giles’ SLR Startup workshop might be just the thing for you.

He’s running four workshops this summer to help improve your photography using a simple, hands-on approach. Using your own camera, Giles will help you to master its key functions so you’re able to consistently get the great results that you want.

He says:

The premise is simple: Beginners’ guides assume too much knowledge, which means people reading them often end up none-the-wiser. They don’t want to be bombarded by photo-jargon – they just want to know what they should be doing in order to improve their image making. Is that really so much to ask?

As we know, it is so much easier to learn to knit from a real person and it is just the same with photography. The great thing about these courses is that there is ongoing online support afterwards too, so you can keep in touch.

Please visit the GBP: Workshop page on Giles’ website to find out more and to book your place (be quick – they’re going fast!)

Beauty in Storytelling

I love narrative art. I love book art.

This stop motion animation from the New Zealand Book Council makes me very happy indeed.

(via allaboutPapercutting)