Mrs Miniver

Mrs Miniver Returns!

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.

All photographs taken by my lovely chap, Giles and copyright Giles Babbidge Photography.


The Countdown has Begun

The Spring Arts Centre in Havant, Hampshire have just listed my forthcoming exhibition on their website. Suddenly the exhibition seems REAL, you know? This time there will be new additions to the Mrs Miniver series of art socks including the Sherlock Holmes silk sock that I’m knitting from clues sent to me by my own sock-knitting Moriarty, Susan Crawford. It will be displayed as  a work in-progress as the mystery can’t be solved all in one fell swoop.

Here is the decoding so far. You can just see the start of some long-stemmed flowers in the heather colour.

Pictured below is Katie‘s half of the friendsocks that we made last year. It has winged its way back from Boston, Mass, where Katie now lives to be part of the exhibition. It will return after its tour.

Mrs Miniver ’s Socks
By Ingrid Murnane

1 Feb – 24 Mar
This exhibition takes its name from Mrs Miniver’s Problem, a concept in geometry concerned with overlapping circles. According to Jan Struther’s wartime character Mrs Miniver, a relationship of two people should share exactly two thirds of their interests. Ingrid has combined these ideas through a series of hand knitted socks.

The Gathering Mystery of the Silk Sock

The first email arrived on a chilly February morning.

Subject: To my Arch Nemesis

Coded clues are within { }

The Clues

recommended colours – { country singer formerly married to Julia Roberts: Lyle __ }
& {A one legged EX? __ Mills}

4 double pointed needles, sizes {__ days of christmas} or {Psalm __ – How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever?}

To begin:

Cast on 4 score & 10 sts .

Work 6 rounds with Lt in a rib of K2, P1.

The Code

1st Round – * K4 Lt, 1 Hr, 4 Lt, P1 Lt. Repeat from * to end.
2nd Round – * K3 Lt, 3 Hr, 3 Lt, P1 Lt. Repeat from * to end.

Solve the puzzle before the daffodils bloom or a hideous fate awaits….

…with thanks to my friend and nemesis in this project, Susan.

Keep a look out for the mystery’s progress.


Friendsocks (finally)

Remember the Friendsocks?

Remember how originally we were going to make two Mrs Miniver style double ended socks: one each to keep once they’re done and Katie returns to America? If you’ve been following the story, you will know that in the event, a pair of ordinary socks seemed to fit the bill. We knitted them up concurrently, swapping them over at our knitting group, taking over where the other left off. We didn’t follow the same design or use the same yarn, but knit in a way that is typically ‘us’ and independently showed the way we individually like to knit. We helped each other when we needed it and didn’t worry if we didn’t knit them for a couple of weeks either. That’s the nature of our friendship, thus it was reflected in the socks.

They even were exhibited at Prick Your Finger in London, where Katie and I did a small performance to just finish them at the Private View.

In knitting this fraternal pair of socks we are decided to mark, in the knitting, significant (or not so significant) events which take place in our lives as we made them. Katie came up with this idea from a lady who she knew that marked events that happened whilst she knitted a shawl. This lady wrote a note on a piece of paper and attached it in the appropriate place with a safety pin. This idea very much appeals to my geeky museum-collections-management side, so we did indeed catalogue events in our lives during the sock-making with labels.

It certainly was a journey!

All photographs copyright Giles Babbidge photography.

Jeeves and Wooster Socks

One of the Jeeves and Wooster socks. Image © Giles Babbidge Photography

This pair of socks is part of the Mrs Miniver series. I decided to branch out on the original Mrs Miniver concept, and to knit a series of socks that would encapsulate the essence of literary characters and talk about their relationships. As I’m sure you are aware, Jeeves is the ‘gentleman’s gentleman’, the idle-rich 1930s playboy Bertie Wooster’s valet in P.G. Wodehouse’s series of books. Bertie can certainly be a bit of a prat, rather unable to look after himself and getting himself into all kinds of mischief. He is constantly reliant on Jeeves to sort everything out for him from the daily basics, on up.

I found a great pattern in the Knitting Reference Library for a 1930s Wonder-Sock which really is a marvellous thing. The toes and heels of the sock are knitted separately and joined on in order that they could be easily replaced and thus saving on darning time. I think Jeeves would approve.  His part of each sock is, of course, knitted in black wool. None of Bertie’s ‘jolly purple socks’ for him!

From P. G Wodehouse’s The Inimitable Jeeves, p94-5

He started to put out my things, and there was an awkward sort of silence.

‘Not those socks, Jeeves,’ I said, gulping a b it but having a dash at the careless, off-hand tone. ‘Give me the purple ones.’

‘I beg your pardon, sir?’

‘Those jolly purple ones.’

‘Very good sir.’

He lugged them out of the drawer as if he were a vegetarian fishing a caterpillar out of the salad. You could see that he was feeling it deeply.

You can see the exhibition Mrs Miniver and the Plateaknits at Prick Your Finger yarn and haberdashery shop in Bethnal Green, London until the end of April.

Mrs Miniver and the Plateaknits

Friendsocks © Giles Babbidge Photography.

I currently have an exhibition on at Prick Your Finger which is a brilliant and quirky yarn and haberdashery shop in Bethnal Green in London.

I’m showing both the Mrs Miniver series of socks which talk about relationships between people, and also the final pieces from the #plateaknit performance in January.

Setting up the Plateaknits © Giles Babbidge Photography

I went up to London last Wednesday to put the show up with lots of help from Giles who was also kind enough to document it all for me. Rachael and Louise and their shop staff were lovely and made us very welcome with cups of tea throughout the day and put on a great private view in the evening.

Mrs Miniver and the Plateaknits © Giles Babbidge Photography

I will be posting over the coming weeks to give a little more insight about  some of the Mrs Miniver socks and the #plateaknit project, so look out for those blog posts.

The exhibition is on for the rest of April, so if you are in London, please do visit and let me know what you think.

PS My lovely chap, Giles took all of the photographs for me. Please do visit his site here.


Katie and Inny

Katie and I have been great friends for just over a year. Having both moved into a new area, we made contact on a Ravelry board, looking for a local knitting group. Well we found one, which we still attend weekly, but the best thing was that we immediately clicked as friends. On the face of it we are very different: Katie is an American living for a couple of years in Britain and works as an instructor at an outdoor centre: I am a Brit who works in a museum.  There is the odd cultural misunderstanding, such as that which is now known as ‘The Water Butt Incident.’ Whoever knew that my asking her to help water my garden would cause such linguistic hilarity! Not me…

So, I bet you’re wondering why I’m telling you all this. Remember Mrs Miniver’s Petulant Sock? Remember how I said I’d like to do a whole series of them?

Well, now I am.

To start, Katie and I are to make Friendsocks together. She and her husband return to the US next year and we will no longer be able to hang out and trade craft skills and make cookies. We have learned lots of things from each other: I taught Katie to magic loop and introduced her to the marvel that is Spaced, and she taught me to spin on a wheel and play Cranium. I think we’ll miss each other a lot once she’s back in America, so in the meantime we have hatched a plan.

We’re going to make two Mrs Miniver style double ended socks: one each to keep once they’re done. We plan to knit them up concurrently and swap them weekly at our knitting group, taking over where the other left off. We are not going to follow the same design or use the same yarn, but knit in a way that is typically ‘us’ and will independently show the way we individually like to knit. We’ll help each other when we need it and won’t worry if we can only fit in a few rows some weeks. That’s the nature of our friendship, thus it will be reflected in the socks.

Although in the early stages, I have started the first of the Friendsocks. Using some Rico Design Creative Poems Aran I have cast on a lace-patterned slouch sock. For the ‘me’ part of the socks I wanted to try a new technique: the lace in socks and a new yarn. That’s typical of me really: I don’t like to repeat what I’ve done before if I can help it. I like to keep learning something new each time. The yarn is a multicoloured pure wool aran. I particularly like yarn with a long colour change, and this changes from purple through to green and back again making wide stripes as it is knit up (below).

Friendsock, begun

You can read Katie’s blog here: I’m sure she’ll have something to say about the Friendsocks too as they pass between us.

We’ll keep you updated.