Thursday, 31 March 2011

Transformative Knits

Day Four: Where are they now? Whatever happened to your _____?

In last year's Knitting & Crochet Blog Week, I wrote about how my creations ended up in the UK DIY exhibition.

I also briefly mentioned Marianne Jorgensen's pink tank cosy which was featured as part of the Craftivism section in the exhibition.

I'm happy to say I contributed a knitted pink square which went into that very same tank cosy! I know it sounds small and insignificant, but together with others who contributed, I like to think the overall result was thought-provoking and memorable. I made a short film clip of the video installation at the exhibition (excuse the awful sound quality):

Over 4,000 knitted and crocheted 15 x 15 cm squares from crafty types all over the world went into making the cosy for a combat tank which was used in WWII. The basis for this installation was a form of protest against Denmark's (also the UK & USA's) involvement with the war in Iraq.

The tank, complete with pink cosy and a pom-pom (!) hanging off the end of the cannon, was situated outside the Nikolaj Contemporary Art Center in Copenhagen in April 2006. As Marianne says, "When [the tank] is covered in pink, it becomes completely unarmed and it loses it's authority. Pink becomes a contrast in both material and color when combined with the tank."

Click to find out more about: Craftivism (definition) | Marianne Jorgensen | The UK DIY movement!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

(Dis)organised Chaos

Day Three: Tidy mind, tidy stitches.

I have to say, in all honesty, Ravelry is one of the best things to happen to my knitting! I can actually use it to keep an eye on how my projects are ravelry projects
...and it has several useful tools to help you keep tabs. There's a virtual bookshelf/library which is quite fun and a nice reminder of the books you own...

my virtual bookshelf well as a handy chart to record your knitting needles and/or crochet hooks. I quite like to keep track of my (ever-mounting) yarn stash and the Ravelry way is wonderfully visual, as you are able to upload photos of your fibrey finds.

my yarn stash
Aside from the virtual world, I have so much yarn, it barely fits inside a (dedicated) wardrobe! Part of the problem is that not only do I hand knit, I also machine knit - I own two domestic, vintage mechanical Knitmaster machines - which means, yep, you guessed it - more yarn. In cones, and larger quantities...not to mention other equipment that goes with them. It's small wonder that I have a storage unit too!

Crafting 365 Day 7: scarf in progress!

I have a couple of knitting bags which I absolutely love - both for storage and as a way of carting my projects about with me when I'm on the go (or even just around the house!).

big black knitting bag
This was an absolute find - a super-cute vintage knitting bag! A great size for travelling too, as it fits inside my suitcase if need be:

kittens vintage knitting bag
For my pins, I have two pretty knitting needle rolls...

knitting needle rolls
...and a little bag for notions that I made myself, like a giant purse or modified pencil case:

zippy handmade bag
...but where's the yarn, you say? I have rather a lot, but some is kept in a unit with big plastic drawers. One of my favourite drawers is this one full of Rowan Kidsilk Haze (with a dash of Kidsilk Night thrown in for good measure!).

I generally like to keep similar fibre types or weights together. Here is my 4 ply bag:

4ply yarn stash
I made the bag from one of my machine knitted fabrics, but I'm lazy and didn't line it! This is what the outside looks like:

Oh, and the kitten knitting bag is full of summery yarns too:

I have so much more yarn, in various bags and boxes but there simply aren't enough hours in the day! I think I might just have a *slight* yarn addiction, ha ha!

P.S. If you want to look me up, my Ravelry user name is catameringue :)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A Knitter's Progress

Day Two: Skill + 1UP

There was a project I had been working on within the last few months, and when I briefly looked over it (as I generally do with most patterns) before deciding to tackle it, I didn't see anything that I felt I couldn't "cope" with - then when I actually got down to knitting it, I was bewildered to see it actually called for a 'ssk' which is an abbreviation for 'slip, slip, knit' - help!

What really got me was that I have done plenty of lace knitting and things which involve increasing and/or decreasing but somehow had never actually come across this particular technique...and therefore didn't know how to do it. Minor panic ensued whilst I tried to use logic to work out just quite how exactly one is supposed to proceed.

Turns out it's not actually as obvious as it sounds, since the notation requires you to slip two stitches in a knitwise direction and then knit them together. Queue youtube to the rescue!

A great tutorial, simply explained and demonstrated, really makes all the difference when learing a new technique.

I'm also happy to report that I've started playing around with some cabling ideas in recent weeks and I'm pretty pleased with the results so far:

Crafting 365 Day 260

Monday, 28 March 2011

A Tale of Two Yarns

Welcome to Day 1 of Knitting & Crochet Blog Week (mark II!).

Day One: A Tale of Two Yarns.

I very much enjoy experimenting with different fibres and blends, especially as it can often spark off new ideas. Some fibres, however are just not made to work together...

Crafting 365 Day 35: WIP

Above you will see a quantity of knitting. Looks harmless enough, doesn't it? Well, that's what I thought... This yarn was called Silk Cotton - 47% cotton and 53% silk - twisted together and it just about made me go 'round the twist, argh! I only knitted part of a small swatch...urgh. It was like working with rope, *dry-clean only* (!) and to top it off, left blue dye all over my lovely Brittany Birch knitting needles. I was more than a little hacked off, unsurprisingly.

On a brighter note though, I found that wool and bamboo got on like a house on fire. You get nice stitch definition, as well as the elasticity of wool combined with the silken sheen of bamboo, which makes for a very happy marriage indeed!

Crafting 365 Day 157: The wee blue shoes

Monday, 14 March 2011

Thinking of Japan

orange lily
I am truly shocked and saddened by the events unfolding in Japan in the aftermath of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami. My thoughts go out to those affected by this, and their friends & families, it must be devastating.

Japan has been very much in my thoughts of late and so I have decided to try and make a little contribution of my own...something to help the relief efforts. (I've been inspired by Laura at Lupin, or the Bugs and Fishes blog and Mochimochiland's silent auction for Japan!)

green alien space invader badge
For the rest of March, I will be donating a percentage of the sales from any Space Invader item sold to the Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal.

[EDIT: I have extended this to include any Space Invader purchases in April too.]

If you buy one of my Space Invader scarves, in either style, I will donate £8 (per scarf) - and if you buy a Space Invader badge, I will donate £2.50 (per brooch).

space invader scarf v2.0
You can find these items on DaWanda, Folksy and also in my Bigcartel shop. Alternatively, you can always choose to simply donate via the Red Cross if you prefer.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Knitting & Crochet Blog Week 2011!

This phenomena (phenomenon?) began last year...and I'm pleased to say, thanks to the awesome Eskimimi, it's happening again this year! Hurray!

Needless to say, I will be wholeheartedly getting stuck in - I really enjoyed taking part last year and it definitely pushed me and my blogging skills forward.

It runs from Monday 28th March to Sunday 3rd April 2011 and will see crafty bloggers get with the knit 'n' crochet for a week full of fibrous fun.

If you wish to find out more, and/or get involved, check out the Knitting & Crochet Blog Week announcement on Eskimimi's blog and check out the discussion threads on the Ravelry group The Blog Hub, aka the place where it all started!