Everyone knows knitting is good for you, don’t they? I have an article about it in this month’s issue of The Knitter, featuring some of the recent books that have been written on the subject. I have a couple of books to giveaway to one lucky person, Knit Yourself Calm, by Lynne Rowe and Betsan Corkhill, and Crochet Yourself Calm by Carmen Heffernan. Sign up to the newsletter this month to be in with a chance of winning.
Just to prove a point I’m taking a knitting tent to the World of Wellbeing at Womad, Charlton Park, Wiltshire, where we will be quietly teaching knitting, crochet, darning and mending. We have some lovely old sewing machines to sew patches onto your broken clothes, and a calming environment to mend your frazzled aura (often needed after a visit to the chemical festival toilets, I find) so come and say hello if you are there.
There is Sarah Corbett’s new book How To Be A Craftivist: the art of gentle protest to look forward to this autumn, which is also about discovering the power of activism that can challenge that feeling of powerlessness in the face of world events that can threaten to engulf us. Time to get making.
“Don’t let your awkwardness worry you; or the sliding about of needles, you are their boss and they know it.” (Elizabeth Zimmerman, Knitter’s Almanac)
I’ve been getting ready for a new series of workshops at New Brewery Arts in February. The classes will be based on the throw that I designed for The Art of Knitting, using increases and decreases to make squares, except this time we’ll be using different colours and yarn, making it in Rowan Tweed’s muted palette. We’ll look at diagonals, entrelac and short-rows, all those things that can put you off before you even start. This course will make you more confident and in charge of your needles. I’m really looking forward to meeting a new group of knitters.
There’s been a change of dates, workshops now start on Wed Feb 22 and are every week until Wed Mar 22, 2017. That gives people more time to sign up, yay!
Tutor: Katy Bevan (that’s me)
Date & Time: Wednesday afternoons, 1:30pm – 4:30pm
Venue: Albright Studio, New Brewery Arts
Kate Jenkins, Ham and Mustard
Max Alexander, Merveille du Jour
Meet the Artists is a new series for The Knitter about knitters who venture beyond the sweater. So far I’ve written about Zandra Rhodes, Freddie Robins, Kate Jenkins in Issue 102. Max Alexander and Celia Pym are coming up, with more artists in knit to follow.
A few years ago when visiting the V&A I noticed that the textile archive was no longer there. The great wooden frames with pull-out drawers and panels containing embroidery samplers, lace and knitting samples had been there as long as I can remember, a familiar touchstone. It was reassuring to see one of the same wooden cabinets – looking rather diminutive in the cavernous space of the Clothworkers’ Centre at Blythe House. One of the original nine historic units has been restored to beyond its former glory. As is often the case the rosy-hued past was not always so glorious. With funding from Coats plc the frame units have been updated with acid-free backing and conservation grade perspex where artefacts were previously nailed unceremoniously onto wooden boards contributing to the untimely decay of their contents. As a cautionary tale for all nay-sayers Susanne keeps the nails in a jar.
Since writing an article for Rowan Magazine 57 about the Clothworkers’ Centre I’ve been asked to guide a tour. We’ll be going on 5 and 6 March to the Clothworkers in the morning, then on to the Knitting & Stitching Show at Olympia with VIP tickets. The Fashion and Textiles Museum have an exhibition on there as well as all the usual shopping opportunities.
Cost for the day is £80 and if you would like to come with us contact email@example.com to book a place
Tour of The Clothworkers’ Centre for Textile and Fashion Study and Conservation and visit to K&S show Olympia
5 and 6 March 2015
Moving the stacks takes two
Ancient shoes being prepared for a V&A exhibition
Experiments in mending by one of the curators
This is Dawn Cole at an In the Loop study day at Winchester School of Art. Her performance piece, The Silence of Knitting, is based on the life story of her Great Aunt Clarice Alberta Spratling, a volunteer nurse during WWI. Dawn showed us some slides of her solar plate etchings that make beautiful patterns out of the writing found in Nurse Spratling’s diaries and letters. Then she sat down and began to knit. The audience weren’t sure what to expect, some music perhaps or a narration, but there was only the ‘cacophony of silence’. The trouble with quiet is that you start thinking about what those women must have been going through as they made socks and clothing for the men folk at the front. All those unspoken messages and thoughts being sent to brothers, fathers and husbands, woven into every stitch. The audience felt rather awkward and there was some shuffling in seats. Dawn worked a shamrock lace pattern, and didn’t stop until she had finished a whole pattern repeat.
Men had eyes removed. Reading Between the Lines, Solar plate etching, Dawn Cole
This autumn’s Rowan magazine is out with an article about knitting in WWI by yours truly.
It has been a moving experience looking into the hardships of the period. You can recognise the same generous and stalwart spirits who inhabit the knitting world today.
“When you go home, tell them of us and say, For your tomorrows these gave their today.” John Maxwell Edmonds