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Patterns Everywhere : Barcelona part 3

5 Nov

Palau de la Música Catalana

We popped in to this wonderful building for a bite to eat and a drink and were so impressed by the entrance and small section we saw ,and I really wanted to see the stained glass ceiling in real life, that we booked a tour for the following day. I must admit I know very little about music halls and they’re not somewhere I’ve ever spend much time. However I do have an appreciation for amazing buildings and this really way spectacular.


CROSS pockets cardigan

9 Sep The beginning of Cross Pockets - Nettynot Blog

Well I had hoped to be writing a blog post about my wonderful and FINISHED cross pockets cardigan, but the fact is, it’s not going well! I’ve got really fed up about it too, I really want it to be finished, it feels like I’ve been knitting it for so long. My friends Knit In Notts seem to be finishing things left right and centre since I cast this on, including Jem’s lovely Kaneshon Cardigan by Sarah Hatton and Eleanor and Toni’s onesies (aren’t they great), to name a few.

Knit Nottingham 5th Birthday - Nettynot BlogI know I don’t spend as much time as the others knitting, and it’s not a healthy thing to compare yourself to others, but honestly I’m just feeling jealous and frustrated. I have not finished anything that I’ve started yet this year and we’re in to September and that makes me a little sad. I had a disaster earlier this year with my Bláithín cardigan, which ended up being frogged and is now currently hibernating! This was due to me having unintentionally knitted almost the entire thing on the wrong sized needles *hand smacks forehead*! I will complete this someday, but I’m not ready to tackle it again yet.

Blaithin so far - Nettynot BlogThe beginning of Cross Pockets - Nettynot BlogI had been making good progress with the my Cross Packets cardigan, it’s constructed very cleverly and I was really enjoying learning new techniques. As a lot of processes were new to me I have followed the 8 page instructions to the T. But after the long I cord cast off, I decided to sew the pockets in place before knitting the sleeves, I was a little dubious as the inside of the pocket really didn’t look like it would fit and it didn’t, even pinning into place and sewing the top edge didn’t help, as you can see here, it looks baggy and awkward.

Odd cross pockets - nettynot blogSo now I’m left knowing I’m going to have to do some ripping back, urgh. I think the problem is that the lovely basket weave stitch on the edge of the pocket is quite firm and structured where as the moss stitch inside of the pockets it quite loose and the two aren’t matching up, despite having the same number of rows.

Cross pockets i cord cast off - nettynot blogI think what I’ll end up doing is ripping back the cast off I cord, and the decorative edging, so that the pocket front and inside are separated again and continue knitting the pocket front until the length matches up and just ignore how many rows there are. This seems like the sensible thing to do right? I think I’m also going to change the I cord Cast off, I will experiment first, but it is very time consuming and curls up a lot – I don’t want anything to detract from the lovely edging. So maybe just a simple straight forward cast off could work.

I need to discipline myself to ensure I finish this project before I start my next, as I’m very keen to cast on my Puffin jumper, for which I’ve had the yarn for, for a year or so. I might do something a little bit mad and set myself the challenge of completing the puffin in a month, just get myself back on track (and happier – I’m always happy when I’m being productive).

I also booked myself on to a knitting a workshop with the lovely Eleanor while I was at Knit Nottingham’s 5th Birthday party, I will be learning to do Entrelac knitting – something new and exciting to look forward to!
I apologise that this is not the most positive or up beat post, however writing about my knitting frustrations has helped alleviate the disappointment as well as give me a little perspective to how to solve the issues. Hopefully my next knitting related blog post will be full of finished items and accomplishments.

If anyone has any helpful suggestions, please share them with me.
Thanks for reading!

A Shoal of Ganseys

15 Jun

After my boyfriend took a trip left to chance and ended up in Norfolk earlier this year, which you can read about it  on his blog here, if you like. While in Norfolk he visited a little Museum in Sheringham, called The Mo, he was so impressed with the museum he dedicated a whole blog post to it. In fact Martin liked the area as a whole so much that he decided he’d have another little holiday there and take me with him, which coincided with an exhibition of Ganseys at The MO!

knitted bunting at The Mo - nettynot blog

The Exhibition: A Shoal of Ganseys – The Knitting Legacy of the Fishing Community

Ganseys in Sheringham Museum - nettynot blog

I found the exhibition very interesting, the sheer volume of Ganseys on display was very impressive. I’m going to try not to ramble on about it too much, however there were several things that piqued my interest. I think everyone who’s interested should try and visit this exhibition, it’s definitely worth it.

Sheringham Gansey's, it was traditional to only have patterns on the yoke.

Sheringham Gansey’s, it was traditional to only have patterns on the yoke.

What struck me when having a closer look at the Ganseys, was the way they were made, having knitted a few garments in the round before I was surprised by the way they seemed to have been constructed. They were very boxy with very little shaping, which I can’t imagine would have made them overly comfortable. Then reading the information boards all became clear; they were made in a specific way, partly to make them easier to knit, but they were mainly designed to be very hard wearing. The body of the Ganseys were knitted on double pointed needles, often in the round, however I spotted a few with side seems, and then the arms were knitted from the body, with an added gusset at the arm pit to allow easy movement for the wearer. By knitting the arms from the top down it meant the cuffs could be ripped back and re-knitted when they were wearing out. All very practical and clever really.

All the Ganseys were nicely integrated into the Museums permanent life boat exhibits.

All the Ganseys were nicely integrated into the Museums permanent life boat exhibits.

There were a lot of superstitions around knitting Gansey’s. Green was not a good colour, the colour of land, supposedly meant you’d always be seeking solid ground. If a fisherman died before his Gansey was completed the knitter, usually their wife or family member, would not finish it as it would be bad luck to give it to another fisherman. Instead the yarn would be ripped out and balled up and left for a year. After a year, it would be re-used – wool was too expensive not to use.

I was surprised to read that many fishermen back in the day couldn’t swim and even more taken aback to read that they purposely didn’t teach their sons to swim, in the event they went overboard into the cold sea their deaths would be fast.

Ahoy there! Nettynot blog

Fishermen usually had a working Gansey and a Gansey for best, worn for Church and family weddings. I’m assuming the cream Ganseys in the exhibition were ‘best’ Ganseys as I can’t imagine they would have stayed that colour for long at sea.

Sunday Best Gansey - nettynot blog

I was interested to read that there aren’t many Ganseys left intact in the country, several of the Ganseys on display were recently knitted using original patterns. Yarn was expensive so Ganseys would have been regularly unravelled and re-knitted when they started to wear out, once the yarn was too worn out it would be used for blankets.

Herring girls - Photo from A Shoal of Ganseys Exhibition.

Herring girls – Photo from A Shoal of Ganseys Exhibition.

Herring girls – something I knew nothing about before attending this exhibit. Herring girls, travelled port to port, gutting and packing herring. During the day they had to wait hours for the boats to come in, they spent this time knitting! They had the opportunity to share ideas and many herring girls prided themselves on being the first to knit a pattern new to their area. Patterns were often recognisable to specific areas, however some patterns also symbolised life events, like zigzags for marriages.

Examples of the patterns used put in to a neat little index box.

Examples of the patterns used put in to a neat little index box.

A small display of knitted items inspired by ganseys .

A small display of knitted items inspired by ganseys .

I must admit I do find social history quite fascinating, so finding out about the lives of the fishermen and their families was as interesting as the actual Ganseys. If you ever find yourself in Norfolk, anywhere near Sheringham, I would highly recommend a visit to The Mo. Ganseys or no Ganseys it’s still a very interesting, albeit it small, museum. Find out more on their website.

Many thanks to go to the museum for allowing me to take photographs of the exhibition.

A creative jump start

24 Jul

Once a year I get roped into helping my Mum out with one of her many jobs/duties as the secretary of the Lunesdale Agricultural show, it’s usually a little frantic the day before and there’s lots of ticking things off long lists, the show itself is quite traditional and the actual day is quite fun with a great atmosphere with the odd person telling me ‘you must be Gill’s daughter & that they knew my Grandparents’ – it feels quite homely despite having never lived in the area myself.

Despite the slight bit of work involved with helping out, I do look forward to the show each year for a couple of reasons, firstly working in a city it’s delightful to escape for a few days to a place that is so far from my ‘Norm’, to a world where people are chatting about sheep passports, cattle and farming. And secondly the home industries show!

Some of last years winning items

Some of last years winning items

Every year since my Mum has been involved (I believe this is her 4th year) I have entered items into the homes industries show, usually bits and piece I’ve made throughout the year. Previously I’ve entered beadwork, a crochet rug, patchwork, felting and jewellery, on average maybe 4 or 5 pieces a year. Chatting to my Mum last weekend I suddenly felt all creative & determined, having had a little bit of a creative lull, mainly to do with the hot weather I think & the fact I’ve not being able to face tidying my craft room, so I pulled myself together, got tidying and started making lists & sketching ideas!

re-discovereed skirt to finish

I do find that tidying and having a sort out of stashed items can in itself lead to some great ideas as well as some great re-discoveries. For example I found a half finished skirt that I started making last year (but then the weather turned & so the skirt got put into hibernation, where I forgot all about it).
liberty print fabric strip

I also discovered the Kumihimo disk that I bought several months ago with the intention of having a play with braiding with different textured thread. So here came my first idea, and a perfect excuse to do what I intended to do in the first place. So I rummaged around to find some suitable fabric I could braid with and found an off cut of some thin Liberty print fabric I used for a previous project that was already in a thin strip (& also cut on the bias which makes life much easier). Using different materials I thought it best to stick to a simple pattern and one that I already knew that uses 8 threads.
Pink Kumihimo conbination
I created this pink and green braid first – picking out threads to match the colours in the fabric.
I liked how the braid turned out, I just wasn’t so sure about the colour, mainly as their not my usual cup of tea & the fabric was a little swallowed out in the overall kumihimo braiding

Version two I used a thicker strip of fabric and added in a few more beads and chose coloured I much preferred, mainly blue and turquoisy-greens.
blue kumihimo braiding
However once I’d done this braid I discovered I much preferred the original one, I liked the twisted effect it had and I decided it wasn’t the end of the world that you couldn’t see much of the fabric – the designs & colours worked well together & I may not wear it myself, but it will serve its purpose in the show and I will no doubt find someone to give it to.

If you’re interested in learning Kumihimo braiding there is a free sheet of downloadable instructions on The Bead Shop (Nottingham)’s website, where I also got the disk. There are loads of variations of kumihimo braiding on pinterest, once you’re set up with your disk & threads the braiding is quite therapeutic.

Although my blue deign didn’t work out as well as I anticipated, all it not lost. With some of the excess bits I cut off, I simply plaited together the left over fabric strip and 2 different ribbon pieces and finished them off with fold over ends and a clasp to create a simple & effective wrap around bracelet, I left the fabric ends attached, so I could tie them to disguise the clasp. It shows off the fabric and it’s perfect for summer.
Wrap bracelet clasp
Wrapped bracelet

I have loads more ideas up my sleeve for the home industries including this wire work necklace I created this week. Based on a workshop I teach at The Bead Shop, herringbone wire wrapping, I thought I’d play around with colour and created this bold necklace.
Herringbone wire wrapping

Look out for more posts about my entries.

Cute little Knits & a trip down memory lane!

14 Nov

Last Saturday night the lovely Jem Weston held a book launch for her first book published with Rowan. So as soon as I finished work I dashed across town to Tilt, a wonderful cocktail bar in Nottingham, to join in the celebrations. Tilt is the perfect venue for a party like this, the atmosphere was great & the settling perfect for all of Jem’s ‘cute little knits’ on show!

Collection Of Jem’s Cute Little Knits!

Close up of the knitted Hearts…trying to figure out which one I helped knit…

It has been an interesting journey to be a spectator, having shared some of the moments when Jem was excited about a new idea as well as a few frustrated when something hadn’t gone quite to plan, it’s so great to now see the finished printed book, it obviously it went down well, all 24 books brought along by Yarn sold in less than half an hour! I’m very impressed & proud of Jem & her achievement. I can’t wait for (hopefully) many more books!

Nottingham’s Knitting Celebrities. Jem Weston (left) & Eleanor Burke of Knit Nottingham (right)!

Close up of the Lovebirds Cushion

So after a not too late evening on Saturday, I was up at a reasonable hour Sunday morning, to head over to my Grandparents bungalow where I was meeting my parents & sister to retrieve valuable & sentimental items from their home before it is sold. Although we were supposed to be collecting up my Gran’s vast collections of handmade Embroidery and textile work (for which another blog will be dedicated to), we got massively side tracked by some fantastic photos we discovered, having never seen them before! I’m sure my little sister will not appreciate this, but I think she looks ever so sweet!

What a great combo – dresses & wellies! (I’m in the red ones)!

I love this! I think we thought we were very grown up with Gran’s hats & bags!
I love my sisters cheeky chops in this photo!



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