Display for the Seventies, Now.

IngridNation Buttonhole Bloom Brooches, image copyright Giles Babbidge

In visiting the Seventies exhibition at The Spring Arts Centre in Havant yesterday I was reminded that Giles had taken lots of nice photographs of the jewellery that I had made to go alongside the exhibition, and that I hadn’t ever shared them here. What was interesting about this commission was that I didn’t do the display myself, but just dropped them off at the gallery and came back to see what they had done with them later… Having previously worked in a gallery and being very much involved in presentation and display of work, I have to admit that I was nervous that someone else would be arranging my work, but Kate did a wonderful job of it, as you can see below.


The Seventies exhibition is still on for a while yet – if you’d like to see dishy men in mustard tank tops, Rolf Harris grinning out from the box for a Stylophone, a bright red Raleigh Chopper or a teenager’s bedroom complete with sulky-1978- teenaged-girl, do give it a visit.


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.

Merry Christmas!

How times change.

A very Merry Christmas from me to you! x

Music to Sew Up By

Yup. Exactly what it says in the title.

Sewing up, copyright Ingrid Murnane

I’ve been making this as-yet mystery item (on the off-chance that the recipient sees it here) as a commission, and after some epic knitting  last Thursday, finally got around to sewing up my efforts that night.

I have to admit that I need something calming, yet uplifting to sew mattress stitch by (and frankly it’s even more vital if kitchener is involved!)

Here is a taste of what I was listening to today:

Skinny Lister. Discovered them at Festibelly this year and I’m eagerly anticipating their debut album.

Sophie Madeleine – Wonderful ukelele music, including The Knitting Song.

Bishop Allen’s Like Castanets is just a beautiful song with subtle onomatopoeia in parts.

Thea GilmoreHeads will Roll is my favourite from her album Avalanche. The lyrics are scrumptiously gothic.

They all helped the night along, with a good dose of Belle and Sebastian to boot. I wonder if you have any more suggestions for music to sew up your knitting by?

Knitted Flower Recipe

I’m describing this tutorial not so much as a pattern as a recipe: I think that by following the instructions below and tweaking them to you own likes, you will be able to produce a variety of  flowers with just these instructions.

In order to make your own knitted flower, you’ll need to knit a long strip of fabric, which is wider on one of the long sides than the other. From this you can form either a single rose-type flower, or a double flower. Even within these parameters there is scope for putting them together in differing ways to make a tightly-furled or more open blooms.

Of course, you might like to make a leaf to go with your flower. As this can be a bit more complicated, I’ve given a couple of links at the end for different types of leaf too.

You will need:

Needles and yarn.

Any will do, but wool tends to work nicely. Something with a lot of drape like bamboo won’t work so well to hold the shape of the flower.

Really, as long as you use an appropriate size pair of needles to yarn, you can use any size. An easy way of making different sizes of flowers is to change to a thicker yarn with bigger needles, and of course vice versa for a smaller one.


Don’t worry about the gauge, as these don’t need to fit anyone, but as a general rule they need to be knitted to a firm fabric rather than an open one.


K: knit

P: purl

P2tog: purl two stitches together (to decrease)

K2tog: knit two stitches together (to decrease)


The basic recipe for making a flower is as follows, but you can jig it about as you like for different effects, much like a cooking recipe.

The flower is knitted flat, back and forth.

Cast on 80 to 100 stitches.

Knit three rows in garter stitch.

Next row: P2tog to the end of the row.

Next row: Knit and at the same time decrease by k2tog every 5 or 6 stitches.

Work in stocking stitch from here on, and on every second row (which will be a knit row) decrease by k2tog at appropriate intervals to pull in the work until your flower is almost tall enough for a brooch (I aim for about 5-6cm usually).

Next row: K2tog to the end of the row.

Cast off.

Tip: It is up to you how you’d like to decrease. You can do it in a uniform fashion by decreasing first every 7 stitches, then every 6 and so on, or you could decrease by k2tog every 4 in the first decrease row, then by every 2 in the next, but every 5 in the third decrease row.  Of course, your decrease rows don’t have to be every second row either. By playing with the decreasing and how often you space it, you will create differently shaped flowers.



Wrap the knitting around on itself to find how it sits best and for the appropriate flower look for you. Sew it into place using the tails of yarn from the knitting.

Of course, you might like to make a leaf to go with your flower. There are some great patterns available online for this. Here is a good pattern from Crafty Galore. This second one from TikkunArts is a pdf.

You can make them into brooches by adding a safety pin to the back, add them to cardigans or bags, or perhaps make a whole bouquet of them, which I’ll show you how to do in the next tutorial.

Please feel free to knit up the flower brooches to keep or as gifts/charity fundraising, but please do not knit up for commercial purposes or reproduce the tutorial without first seeking permission.

Copyright © Ingrid Murnane 2010. All rights reserved.

The Snowy Adventures of the Photo-Hat

As you might have realised, it has been snowing here in the UK. Very much more than usual for this time of year, and almost in one fell swoop overnight. Giles and I are lucky enough to work from home most of the time, so quickly rejigged our schedules to take advantage of the glorious powdery snow before it had time to freeze and turn to trecherous ice.

We donned walking boots and gaiters, neckwarmers and woolly gloves before venturing out to revel in the still-falling snow. We walked for about three hours past the village green, the not-so-gritted roads and along the even more beautiful than usual Saxon track in the woodland. We both took a lot of photographs: Giles on his Nikon D3, myself using the little camera on my blackberry (which is strangely better than my little point and shoot camera for sharpness, although guess whose photographs came out better overall?)

Here are just a few shots that I took including some inspiring bronzey-orange coloured leaves peeping out of the snow which might make their way into a fledgling making-idea that I have.

As the day’s official documenter of Giles-Babbidge-behind-the-scenes, I made sure that I got some good shots of his hat. During the summer he had asked me whether I could knit him a hat with his logo on it.

After some charting, measuring of head and pattern writing, it turns out that indeed I could. Although his logo is usually black on white, or white on black, Giles preferred to have a more earthy colour to wear. The finished photo-hat, as it is now called, is made from Sublime DK baby cashmere merino silk yarn, in white and mole (which describes the colour perfectly), and is gorgeously soft to the touch. It’s getting an awful lot of use just lately.

Pass it on: A Few Winter Warmers

I don’t know what it is like where you are, but here, today it is -3 celcius. Brrrr. We’re waiting for the snow that is forecast tomorrow and wrapping up warm in scarves and hats. In the meantime, here are a few links to interesting stuff that I’ve come across recently.

Baktus Bravado, image copyright Ingrid Murnane

Are you ready for advent? Do you have a calendar ready to go? No? Well, this is not strictly textiles… it’s not textiles at all in fact, but this gingerbread house tutorial by Pam Harris is hands-down the best idea I’ve seen this year for making your own advent calendar. So much more fun than sewing one.

Another great find, (via Kirsty) is the Ordinary Objects blog which features one woman’s quest to add knitting into everyday things. Not long started, this tumblr blog is an excellent use of the format, and both beautiful and fascinating to look at.

Now, apparantly what can only be described as ‘big knitted grannybashers’ are where it’s at for the winter, if you believe what’s been seen on the catwalks. So will you be wearing Tighty Aran Whities this season? Brenda Dayne’s Cast On podcast asks that very question in a recent episode which you can listen to here.(PS If you don’t subscribe to Cast On, then why not? You should – it’s always very funny and informative).

Lastly, one from me: my own latest endeavour is the opening of a small Etsy shop, so if you’d like to buy a little something as a Christmas gift, do head on over there and take a look. There are buttonhole brooches, knitting needle bangles, and perhaps more suitably for the current climate, snuggly neckwarmers too.