This and That
I've not had much time to update the blog lately so there's lots to tell. Maidstone Knitters met again last Saturday and we're gradually growing in number every month. I think this looks a half way decent amount of people considering we've only been going for three months. From left to right there are Jan, Sharon, Cecilia, Holly and Mary-Lou (not counting me as I was acting as group photographer at the time).
Sharon gave us a demonstration in bobbin lacemaking. The lace is made on what is called a pillow (below).
Doesn't it look lovely with all the spangles on the ends of the bobbins!? Here's another shot which shows the spangles a bit better.
This pillow is made of polystyrene and has a rolling section for use with long pieces of lace. Sharon also has two round lace pillows stuffed with sawdust and shaped a bit like a mushroom top and a bolster shaped one stuffed with straw.
The bobbins have the spangles on the ends to provide weight for the tension of the thread and also to help to recognise worker bobbins and to distinguish other important bobbins from the rest. There are three types of bobbins, the normal English type which can be made of wood, brass, bone, or plastic; the Belgian type; and another English type called Honiton bobbins which don't have spangles and are more like thin wooden needles.
There are only two stitches to remember; whole-stitch and half-stitch, and
only four bobbins are worked with at any one time. So, although you may be confronted with a pillow which has 48+ bobbins on, you can concentrate only on the four that you're working with and all the others will be used in succession. All of this information was kindly provided by Sharon who also assures us that, although it looks difficult, once you've mastered the stitches and got used to the terms of pinning up and covering the pin and are used to twisting the threads in a certain way, you will gain confidence and speed. Sharon goes on to say, however, that speed is not the goal. What is more important is accuracy in creating lace which looks pleasing and without any mistakes yet is able to be handled and perhaps worn without falling apart.
Here's Mary-Lou having a go and looking very diligent as she's being guided by Sharon.
In other news, I've got involved in some charity knitting in our village. Another Sharon, who did the food for DH's 50th birthday party, saw my advert regarding Maidstone Knitters in the village magazine and rang to ask if I and/or any knitters in the group would be interested in doing some charity knitting in support of Breast Cancer and Cancer Research Charities. The knitting will be sold at a craft fair to be held in November and all of the yarn has been donated so next week I'll be visiting to choose yarn for projects. I also purchased 6 skeins of Kid Silk Night (two each of black, grey and white) at 25% off normal price from Burford Needlecraft. They're relocating so everything in the shop is available at 25% off. I'm going to use the Kid Silk Night to make three evening stoles as a donation and I've already knitted a scarf and some wristlets (photos to follow when I get a chance to take them in daylight) in yarn which was donated to our group by one of the members of Freecycle .
I started the Fickle Fingers Scarf which is looking lovely but, after knitting up one ball, I quickly realised that two balls isn't going to be sufficient as one ball has resulted in only 17 inches of scarf. Apparently, others have had the same problem and I think that the two balls recommended in Interweave Knits should have, in fact, been three balls. I found the yarn on a few German sites and have emailed one of them to see if they have the same dye number.
Next Saturday, I'll be back at the Knit Tin for the "Style a Knit to Suit You" workshop with Jane Crowfoot (the lady who wrote that excellent book "Finishing Techniques for Handknitters").
Lastly, I acquired this vintage yarn for £7 (approx. 650g of it).
There are twelve 2 oz skeins of the darker one which is labelled English Lady Huski Knit (colour - Blend) and one 2 oz skein of what is labelled Marshgrove Huski Knit Pure Wool (colour - Sungold). Although only the single skein is actually described on the label as being wool, I believe that they all are as, apart from the difference in colour, they feel and look the same and they were all described as wool when I bought them.
My understanding is that they were bought at Marshall & Snelgrove, a department store which was part of Victorian London and which closed in the 1960s. The photo below from this website , shows on the left the corner of Marshall & Snelgrove in Victorian times.
I'm not sure if the yarn is DK or aran weight and would also be interested to know more about the yarn, e.g. exactly how old it is, etc. Apart from the historical interest, I was attracted to it because of the colour as I'm enjoying Project Spectrum and next month's colours are orange and yellow.
I'd be really interested if anyone can tell me more about this yarn and also any suggestions on what I might knit with it? Orange is not a colour I can wear as a top or anything like that. Or, perhaps, I shouldn't knit anything with it and just preserve it as it is for it's historical interest? What do you think?