Saturday, 16 June 2018

June's Fibre is here!

The postman delivered my fibre this morning and as I opened it I said to my eldest daughter "I bet it's mostly pink with other a few colours".  It was a pretty good guess.

Its got a bit of a "sheepy" smell about it at the moment, not in a horrid way, but in the same way that "new leather" has that distinct smell to it.  It's not the kind of colours that I would choose to buy but I do like it, it reminds me of a multicoloured squishy bouncy rubber ball I had as a kid.  I braided it up as I think they look pretty in the braids.

Its really sad that there has been a bad fire overnight in the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh building and it looks like it might be destroyed.  I hope that they are able to save it but I fear it will be pretty much a total rebuild.  If you've not seen the news about this here is a link to the BBC news page.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

June's Fibre Club Letter

I was only thinking yesterday that the Fibre club should be coming soon.  Today I got an e-mail with the theme for this months' fibre and hints at the colours and fibre blend.

This month's fibre is based on Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The letter reads:

"On June 7th 1868 Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born. He was a leading light in the Art Nouveau design movement, and in his home city of Glasgow his influence is everywhere. Outside of architecture it’s hard to set foot in a gift shop without there being an item with one of his designs emblazoned on it. 

I’m not quite what he’d make of the mass produced items bearing his motifs…one of the originators of what become the Art Nouveau movement was William Morris, and high quality, craftsman made items were a key part of his aesthetic. Walking round a Mackintosh building and you’re struck by the exquisite detailing, and the thought that is put in to making sure everything in the building, including the furniture fits together. 

One of the very clear things that become obvious the more you look at Mackintosh’s work; he was not afraid of colour. He used stained glass beautifully in his buildings, and his original rooms often featured a wall painted in some stunningly colourful shades. One of the most beautiful venues I’ve ever been to for a yarn festival was Glasgow School of Yarn, held in the Mackintosh church. The main hall is dominated by a window in the most vividly intense blue. 

He was not an easy man to work with, obsessed with detail, and not willing to compromise on his vision. In 1914 he moved to London, after a decline in commissions in Glasgow. Unfortunately this move coincided with the start of World War I, and his practise never took off. He moved to the south of France in 1923, and became a water colour painter. He died in 1928 aged just 60 years old. 

Also of note is the woman who Mackintosh married. Margaret MacDonald was a hugely talented artist and designer in her own right. Together with Mackintosh, her sister Frances and James Herbery MacNair they formed a group known as The Four. They met at Glasgow School of Art, and together they were the driving force behind what became known as the “Glasgow style”. 

I’ve chosen a colour palette for this month that features on one of the most widely re-produced Mackintosh images. For spinning tips head to the Ravelry group, and we’ll discuss how this fibre spins up. I also couldn’t resist using a Scottish wool. This is a properly fluffy, toothy blend"

I'm not all that familiar with Rennie Macintosh, other than with his "rose" design as my hall and stairs wallpaper features it so I am thinking pinks and greens with a hint of blue?

It should be here soon and so I will take photos and post again then.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

It's here!!!! May 2018's Fibre Club

Since being notified of dispatch I have been watching out for the postman and happy to say that my fibre club parcel has now arrived.

I'm really excited as its absolutely gorgeous, mostly purple with just a hint of green but lots of sparkle and it is oooohhhhhhh soooooooo soft as it is 71% Superfine Merino, 13% Merino and 16% Stellina (sparkle) and it looks like there are two colours of Stellina, gold and green.  I was a little disappointed that it didn't come as a braid but I soon rectified that to show it off to its true potential.  I can't wait to get spinning.

Friday, 11 May 2018

I've signed up for a monthly fibre club

I've recently signed up for a monthly fibre club from Hilltop Cloud.  I will get one parcel a month of a surprise blend and colour of spinning fibre.  This is a great way for me to try fibres I've never spun before and colours that I may not ordinarily choose myself.

Katie runs two different fibres clubs and I have chosen the "Time Travellers Club", which is historically inspired, taking a period of history to use as her inspiration for the colours and fibres.

Just before she sends the parcels of fibre to the club members she sends out an e-mail containing a "letter" explaining the theme chosen for this month and giving hints at the colours and fibre blend.

In case you're unable to read the contents of the letter in the image, this is what it says:

"May 7th marks the 300th anniversary of the founding of New Orleans.  It was established by Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville on behalf of the French Mississippi Company and was named after the Duke of Orleans, who was acting as regent of France at that time. Our fibre this month celebrates the most New Orleans of festivals; Mardi Gras. The culmination of the festival is on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. Mardi Gras means Fat Tuesday in French. In the UK we’re more familiar with it as Shrove Tuesday, or even Pancake Day. Lent in the Christian calendar was meant to be a time of fasting, and it was not permitted to eat certain food stuffs. They therefore had to be used up before Lent began, so Shrove Tuesday, or Mardi Gras ended up being something of a feast! 

The origins of the current Mardi Gras parade pre-date the founding of the city. Bienville established a settlement 60- miles to the south on Fat Tuesday in 1699, it was named Pointe du Mardi Gras. Throughout the area a form of Mardi Gras would be celebrated in settlements around the area by the Beouf Gras Society. Boeuf Gras refers to a fattened calf, which would be eaten on Shrove Tuesday. A Bulls Head would be pushed around on wheels, before people sat down to a pre-Lenten feast. In New Orleans the first reference to the Mardi Gras carnival appears in 1781, and by the 1830’s this has turned in to street processions with masked horse riders and people in carriages. The processions were lit by men carrying dazzling gas-light torches. Processions continued, and became ever more elaborate, with different krewe’s forming, and trying to out-do each other to produce the best parade. 

In 1872 a group of businessmen invited a King of Carnival called Rex, to reside over the first daytime parade. From this point the Mardi Gras started to use “official” colours of purple, gold and green. Popular legend has it that Rex picked these colours to honour the visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich Romanoff (the 5th child of Alexander II, who was the Grandfather of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia). He ordered that the balconies be decorated in banners of these colours. The legend states that Rex also announced the symbolism of these colours, but there’s no evidence to support this. What is true however is that a king and a kingdom need a flag. Most European states have flags containing 3 colours, so it makes sense for Rex to replicate that. Purple has long been the colour most associated with royalty, as is Gold. The final colour is probably simple colour preference… out of all the heraldic colours (Red, Blue, Purple, Green & Black) the only one that really “goes” is green. In 1892 a Rex themed parade gave each colour a meaning, and that symbolism has been around ever since. Purple Represents Justice. Green Represents Faith. Gold Represents Power."

This sounds like quite an exciting colour combination and from her club discussion thread, which she sends you the link to if you're a member, she has stated that its a lovely soft Superfine Merino.

Once it arrives I will post again with photos.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

"50 shades of grey" lace shawlette - Design F201

I've been waiting to make this pretty little shawlette for a while but I've been working through all the various patterns that I have.  This is the third and final yarn that I made with first Jacobs fleece that I ever bought and processed myself.  You can read about the yarn and fleece here.

I named this yarn "50 shades of Grey", because it does seem to have so many shades within the skein.  This is another "single ply" yarn and is of fingering weight, a tad thicker than the black and the white yarns.

The varied shades in the yarn made it difficult to see the pattern and I had to rely heavily on the stitch markers between each pattern repeat to keep me on track.

I didn't notice until I had completely finished knitting this shawlette and cast off that the two garter stitch sections along the bottom edge of the shawl are darker grey than the main section of shawl and darker than the section of lace between them and so creating natural "outlines".  How amazing is that, I could not have planned that in a million years and it all occurred naturally too.

I have to make one of these in a plain colour, maybe a white or ivory...

Thursday, 1 February 2018

White Mohair Old Fashioned Cape - Design D194

No rest for the wicked, straight on with the next capelet.  I chose some vintage white mohair for this one.  I seem to be favouring the handspun or the mohair lately, I don't know why that is.

This is some vintage Mohair yarn called Tahiti by Lister (UK) Ltd from around 1976.  Its double-knit weight and is 67% Mohair, 28% Wool, 5% Nylon.  Its not as high quality as I usual buy but at 67% Mohair its pretty close.

The only problem with working with mohair are the fly-away fibres that seem to shed as you work which make me sneeze and makes my eyes itch a little.  This one is lightweight compared to the green one, the yarn is nowhere near as dense.

Such a pretty capelet needs pretty buttons and I've chosen some silver coloured diamante/rhinestone buttons that I bought a few years ago specifically for wedding capes.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Good Old Fashioned Cape - Design D194

Staying with my own handspun yarn, this time I have opted for some lovely Falkand/Soy Silk that I spun back in 2012 and put that with a fairly simple little cape that just has lace along the bottom edge.  If you would like to know more about the yarn here is a post I wrote at the time of spinning.

I'm grateful to be knitting this right now as its really cold and with this lot sat on my lap as I work its keeping me warm.  Its got a good weight to it too.  Still needs to be washed, shaped and dried.

I decided that a vintage style cape needs vintage style buttons and these were only one of a couple of types that I have that actually 'worked' with the design and the colours of the yarn.

Yes, I think another one of these would be great in the shop, in a different colour of course!