Friday, 30 December 2011
In a pair of socks, a work in progress. Fawkes socks knit in Violet Green's Socrates Supersock, colourway Duchess. I'm enjoying knitting these, watching the colours and pattern interacting. To me the colours are like looking into the heart of a fire, a good wintertime activity.
Sunday, 25 December 2011
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
However, I had reckoned without duplicate stitch. The socks themselves I knit up with comparatively few mistakes and thoroughly enjoyed myself, the second sock in particular went very fast. Then came the adornment. Duplicate stitch is essentially sewing, an art with which, even in the enlarged surroundings of yarn and tapestry needle, I am not entirely comfortable. Thus this duplicate stitch has become a true saga, after two weeks' I am almost finished but it feels like it has been far, far longer. I could have adorned a third sock with all the stitches I have had to take out and do again. Nonetheless this project will have left me fully conversant with duplicate stitch, faster and neater in my work, though my socks will not bear close scrutiny!
So on the saga continues, one weary stitch at a time, while my knitting needles sing their siren call reminding me how I miss their company. At least I have hopes of finishing in time for Christmas on current progress and I should avoid a 3am on Christmas morning finish. Dad will have more of the socks he loves, because he is worth it and I have gained fresh understanding of the phrase "a labour of love". And we shall all live happily ever after, or something like that.
Saturday, 3 December 2011
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Thursday, 17 November 2011
The Christmas story brings together many disparate people, a young couple from a small town and very ordinary background, foreign Magi come many miles from the east, shepherds living their lives on the edge of society, a Roman governor, even the Roman emperor plays his part and at it's centre, a tiny baby. Both Jew and gentile are represented, rich and poor, men and women, people who are the first in society and the last, educated and uneducated. The supernatural world comes into contact with the world of men, heaven touches earth and God enters the world as a vulnerable baby, bringing with Him hope.
If this isn't worth celebrating what is? I love this yearly reminder of Emmanuel - God with us, the reminder that change is coming into this dark world, that one day things will be different, that we ourselves can change. As well I enjoy the more secular sides of Christmas, giving presents to those I love, sending cards, decorating the house, preparing food, knitting Christmas decorations - there is nothing wrong with these things, but it is not all of Christmas.
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Thursday, 10 November 2011
Sunday, 9 October 2011
Friday, 16 September 2011
Thursday, 15 September 2011
I am frequently frustrated, when browsing Ravelry's immense database of knitting patterns, either while in search of something to knit for myself or while helping someone out on the forums, by the lack of Rowan patterns in the database. It frequently means that I simply do not knit the designs myself and do not have the opportunity to recommend the designs to others, a pity, since they have some extremely good ones. Rowan do have their own website on which some of their designs are pictured, but since the new site was launched it is no longer possible to view them closely enough to see the details, for example is it a dropped or set in shoulder? I have been lamenting this absence for a while now, but some interviews with Rowan designers, in their latest magazine (kindly lent me by a friend for me to read) have made me consider the subject again.
From what the designers were saying it was clear that Rowan are currently wrestling with how to approach the new realities of the digital age, where knitters from all over the world can communicate with one another instantly and self publishing has never been easier. Some of this phenomenon is not all that new - Elizabeth Zimmermann blazed a trail self-publishing through her Schoolhouse Press and her Wool Gatherings news letters as early as the 1950s. However, the realities of publishing, involving as it used to, the costs of printing and distribution, did mean that until the rise of the internet self publishing was not easy to accomplish. Now it can be done at the press of a button and yes, as Sarah Hatton cites "people like Ysolde Teague [sic] and Jared Flood... have just created themselves" and worked hard to create excellent professional brands and beautiful, stylish designs. These independent designers have used the internet to communicate directly with their customers and build up their brand, there is no reason why Rowan cannot do the same.
Indeed knitting always has been a very grass roots movement, passing from person to person and finding new ways to create. Knitters have always improvised, changed patterns to suit their circumstances and come up with innovative new designs - Kate Davies' excellent article on Shetland lace knitting a few pages earlier in the same Rowan magazine makes this point superbly. However, now instead of only being able to share their ideas with knitters in their immediate vicinity, or by post, we can share our ideas, our designs and put them out there. In terms of design there is little difference between the Shetland women's lace innovations of the early 19th century and a knitter today coming up with a design and sharing it for free or selling it via her blog or Ravelry. It is all part of the same creativity.
I can see how a more traditional company like Rowan could feel quite threatened by the internet, but actually it offers a great opportunity to interact with customers in a new way and to get your designs out there cheaply and effectively. And of course it is worth bearing in mind that important though Ravelry is to many of us, it is not the entirety of the knitting world. But at one and a half million members strong, it does represent a huge market for yarn and knitting companies and I feel it is a pity that Rowan has not yet made the most of this opportunity. Rowan yarns already have quite a profile on Ravelry, there are more than 15,000 projects listed using Kid Silk Haze for example. I have used the yarns far more than the designs and love their quality, a jumper I made in Rowan pure wool aran is still going strong after more than two years hard wear.
If more Rowan patterns were listed on Ravelry, together with pictures and tags to identify the techniques, used then more knitters would buy Rowan booklets and knit Rowan designs, very probably buying more Rowan yarn in the process. As Rowan is ultimately a company that exists to make money, this surely makes sense?
Personally I would also love to see at least some of the amazing Rowan back catalogue on sale as individual patterns, as Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting both do. Back copies of Rowan magazines and booklets often sell on ebay for eye-wateringly high prices, yet Rowan itself gets none of that money, why not put the back catalogue to work?
As the designers said again and again in the interviews this situation is exciting, things have been changing and bringing us all new opportunities and creative possibilities, so Rowan, please make the most of it!
Thursday, 8 September 2011
Friday, 26 August 2011
Wednesday, 24 August 2011
Sunday, 31 July 2011
Thursday, 28 July 2011
I know that soon Morris' masterpiece will be up there anew. But for now I feel sad.
Monday, 25 July 2011
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heavenEcclesiastes 3.1
Sunday, 10 July 2011
Sunday, 3 July 2011
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Friday, 17 June 2011
Sunday, 12 June 2011
Wednesday, 1 June 2011
"But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell." (Matthew 5.22 NIV)
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philipians 4.4-7
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
Sunday, 8 May 2011
There are more on my flickr page.
Monday, 18 April 2011
Monday, 4 April 2011
Saturday, 2 April 2011
Thursday, 31 March 2011
Where are they now? – 2KCBWDAY4Whatever happened to your __________?Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.
A long time ago now I made my first attempt at socks, a veil is best drawn over that first attempt, so awful were the results of that first pair. Unwearable is probably the kindest term for them. Nonetheless it seems I am not easily deterred and this pair was slowly joined by two further pairs of socks, one a bit big, the next finally just right, as Goldilocks would put it. The stage was set for my first foray into patterned socks.