Monday, 24 September 2007

Some hats are very hard to photograph

I always find this style of hat particularly hard to photograph, and this example even more so than usual.

This is a sixteenth century 'flat cap' based on some that I went to study at the V&A museum earlier this year. Its a little different to the standard pattern for these seen on the re-enactment circuit in as much as this has a single thickness brim with overlapping splits or 'petals' might be a better description worked into it. The single thickness stockinette tends to want to curl, so it needs very heavy fulling and prolonged pressing after knitting to get it to not curl up in wear, and I just can't get the photo to convey that at all.

When worn, these need to be very much perched on the head, and my glass hat stand is really a little small to show this off properly so its gone a bit floppy. Still, it was a lovely yarn to work with, a thick, slightly coarse undyed Welsh wool that appeared from the cone to be of some vintage but which washed up beautifully. I'm hoping to have time to make several more in this pattern before the National Living History Fair at Warwick in October.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Abandoning housework in favour of knitting

You will frequently hear me bemoaning how disgraceful my housekeeping skills are, and you probably won't believe that I really mean it, so heres a picture of the sock machine with plenty of assorted wreckage in the background.

I'm contantly embarrassed by just how much clutter I manage to generate, its not as if I never tidy up, it just doesnt seem to last more than 10 seconds. I lie awake at night and fantasise about waking up to a tidy house, but the house-elf seems to be on strike. I promise that the next time I take a picture of the sock machine it won't be against such a revolting backdrop.

On a tidier note, I've just pulled this hat out of the washing machine after its shrink cycle, it was an odd ball of Icelandic wool I had with a lovely dark kempy fleck in it, and I knit this one top down so I could just knit til the ball of yarn ran out. Its made avery nice simple roll brim cap which would probably work for some re-enactment outfits as well as being nice and snug for winter wear.

Spindleberry hat and socks

This week's knitting seems to have been inspired by the colours of spindleberries, Autumn must be on my mind!

The pixie hat is one of my stock patterns, I knit a lot of these for my shop but I love playing with colours. This started out as two cones of single yarn from a Scottish mill, each by themselves were nice shades but not inspiring, but knitted together I got a lovely chunky tactile yarn that was a true pleasure to knit, and which after a good fulling in the washing machine has tightened up into a hat I'm really pleased with.

Also on the needles are a slightly experimental pair of socks. My circular sock machine does have a ribber, but I can't quite get the hang of it, one day it works fine, the next day it doesn't, so for these I've hand knitted the cuff (kept me happily occupied on the train to work) then transferred the live stitches to the sock machine and cranked the foot using that.
I'm pleased with the first one, I still have ends to weave in, and it will need washing and blocking once the second sock is done, but again, warm, strong colours and a very nice yarn. This is some of teh Cygnet woolrich sock yarn, 75% wool 25% polyamide which wears and washed well and does come in very nice shades.

I'm also cranking out knee high wool stockings for the re-enactors market in a month, but I'll post more about them when I have a load of them worth showing off!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Yep, its another knitting blog...

I know I already scatter bits of my knitting all over the web, but I thought it would be quite interesting to try out a blog as a way to keep track of what I've got on the needles and to prove to myself that I do really use yarn almost as fast as I acquire it.

So, a little background. I mostly knit socks and hats, though I've been sorely tempted by this jumper and I think I may have just the yarn squirrelled away for it.

On the whole, I tend to fluctuate between attempting reconstructions of extant historical/archaeological knitting and a love affair with lurid, cheerful yarn that gets knit up into wild welly socks and pixie hats. Its almost always pure wool, though I'm not adverse to other fibres in theory, I just prefer the naturals.

I knit on the way to work, I knit in my lunchbreak, I knit whilst surfing the web. I'm resisting the temptation to start knitting in the bath, so far willpower is working on that one. I also have an antique circular sock machine so some of my socks are done using that.

That will do as an introductory post, more in due course, with pictures!