Wednesday, 13 February 2008
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Here is goes.....Week one
I meet up with a group of knitters every Wednesday. I've been going to knit night for almost 3 years now. It is very important to me and it is often the highlight of the week. We go on outings - to rock concerts and cocktails bars. Some nights knit night are very special - there is something very powerful about a group of women from different backgrounds, ages and life experiences coming together and offering support, advice and encouragement to each other.
BUT what has knit night got to do with my uni work. Well....it's good "time out". I say time out - that is not strictly true as it is 'KNIT' night afterall and I often take uni work with me to finish off - but it offers me time to listen to different conversations, see projects that the other people are working on and become more inspired. It's fun to talk about knitting that isn't related to my uni work and discuss the lastest pattern book someone has got off Amazon or marvel at which knitting stitch or project someone trying out this week or coo over someones yarn purchase. It sounds a little mad I know - BUT I love knit night and today is Wednesday - HOORAAAH!!!!
Tuesday, 22 January 2008
For the last 5 weeks I have been working on a project entitled 'Water Ways'. This project has been inspired by the colours, patterns and shapes associated with the British Water Ways in particular the ‘Narrowboat’ and canal life of the late 1800’s early 1900’s.
I have had many childhood holidays on canal boats and since then I have been fascinated by the many different colours, patterns, crafts and stories related to the canals. The canal folk would proudly decorate everything to do with their boat. Every panel on the boat would be painted in different colours. Enamel buckets, watering cans and other accessories associated with the boat would be embellished with fairytale imagery of castles and flowers (roses are the most predominant painted flower). Inside the cabins would be swathed in crocheted blankets, lace tablecloths and tatted porthole curtains. In this project I wanted to capture the Edwardian boatmen’s love of bright and bold colours and look at the fashion of the women who lived on the canal and look into their use of domestic crafts.
The shape of my garment has been inspired by the blouses worn by the boat women and decorated with red and black roses (taken from the enamel buckets). The pattern structure of the skirt has been informed by the patterns found in lace making and tatting. In keeping with the boatmen’s tradition of making the panels of the boat different I have tried to encapsulate this by making each section (the skirt, sleeves and neck pieces) different in colour and texture.
Designers such as Gudrun Sjoden, Kenzo, Saltwater, Eley Kishimoto, Balenciaga and Etro have helped inspire my work as I feel their collections emphasise with folkloric style to which I am so drawn.
Thursday, 6 December 2007
The colour blue has been a bit of an obcession for me this year. I am head over heels in love with it. Not just any old blue mind you.....it has to be a rich electric/indigo/cobalt blue.
Photo thanks to Ian
However I am a bit of a colour floozy....I don't just stick to one colour favourite - EMERALD green is working it's way up to my top 5 colours. I got this hat from crafty Oma on Etsy. My eye is now being attracted to anything emerald green. I know that 'blue and green should never been seen' but in my opinion emerald green and electric/indigo/cobalt blue go fantastically well together - especially with an accent of bright poppy red :) I'm making a garment at college at the moment with these very colours - watch this space.
Sunday, 11 November 2007
I am taking part in a craft fair next weekend with my knitting group Outcast. Come and find us and say hello. We'll be easy to spot. Look for us at stand 40 in the Wilde theatre which will be a riot of scrumptous knits and papermache manned by crafty colourful Outcast members in beautiful floral aprons (made for us by our friend Me Make.)
Also check out fellow Outcastian Jo Quinn on stand 62.
Tell your friends!!
Monday, 5 November 2007
My current work at college is a knitted interior project and is based on my own photographs and found images of Orkney. Orkney captured my imagination earlier this year during a work experience trip to the island during the summer. In this project I am interested in the juxtaposition of man made objects and natural materials and the colours and patterns found within a Orcadian seaside setting. I was inspired by the natural colours found in sea weather beaten wood and particallary curriosive rust colours caused by the natural deterioration of a man made metal objects in contrast with the indigo blues and scarlet red of plastic binsand buckets used by fishermen.
I attended a Spinner's Guild meeting I was saddened to learn that many british sheep farmers were burning their fleeces due to lack of demand from the British textile industry. Further research told me that approximately 80% of wool imported into the UK travels from Austrailia and New Zealand. This led me to think about the 'carbon footprint' of a product and decide that in this project I would only use yarn produced in the UK. This would not only reduce my carbon footprint but also (if this was to be manufactured) would support the local wool trade.
During a trip to the 'knitting and Stitching Show' in October I was able to source yarn from a company in Yorkshirewho specialise in Wensleydale Longwool sheep. From them I bought beautiful natural black combed tops which I hand spun into yarn and natural white non carded ringlets of fleece. Also in October I visited a lady in Oxfordshire (see previous blog) who breeds alpacas and from her I was able to obtain natural alpaca yarn. In this project I am also using yarn from Shetland.
It is difficult in the textile industry to produce 100% green/eco friendly products. I felt a compromise was required in order to produce a visually appealing item with a strong optimistic message of celebrating locally 'home spun' knits for interiors.
Friday, 19 October 2007
For my latest college project I am sourcing yarns from the UK. Today I visited a lady who breeds alpacas and spins their fleeces to make the most beautiful yarn. The yarn is so soft and silky .
* Young alpacas are called 'Cria' and adult males are called 'Machos'.
* Alpacas like to hang out with other family members. Young alpacas can get stressed if separated from their mothers.
* They live for 15 to 20 years
* Alpaca dung is good for the garden.
* There are two different breeds 'Huacaya' and 'Suri'. Suri alpacas have long silky dreadlocks and Huacayas look a bit like teddy bears.
* There are 22 different colours of alpaca fleece.
* They are amazingly super cute and if you look into their beautiful big dreamy eyes you are bound to fall in love with them - I know I did.