Friday, 27 July 2012

Summer Knitting in Art

Leisure Moments (1874)
James Lawton Wingate
Oil on canvas
Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling, Scotland

This painting has the hazy light of a bright summer day although I wonder if the colours are brighter in person.  In this image, from, there is so much brown, in the clothing, boots, and knitting, that it makes me think of late summer with a suggestion of the golds and browns that are to come with the next season.  The version found here,, is sharper, and has more of the green of summer.

Of great curiosity is, of course, the knitting. It looks like – well, a stocking with rather odd shaping and a white toe section? A sleeve, perhaps an undersleeve with a white cuff, then a wide lower arm section, followed by an elbow section and then the narrow, tighter top section which is on the needle section? There seems, however, to be a brown/grey section under the white one. So is that a toe section or a brown cuff on the lower part of the white?

Or is just more fanciful, artistic knitting?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Extinguisher Penwiper

 As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I like playing with ink, pens and paper as much as I do with yarns, fabric, threads, needles, stitches and frames. Here is another knitted penwiper, this time from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 125, Thirty-First Series (1896). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 11, Interweave Press, 2004.
The original pattern calls for “Strutt’s No. 8 knitting cotton (any colour but white) and four steel pins No. 16” (modern equivalent 1.75mm/US 00.) The handle is knit separately and sewn on. A small amount of tapestry/needlepoint yarn is also needed for the interior, and a ribbon for decoration. The penwiper’s outer shell, in the shape of a candle extinguisher, is knit from the wide rim upwards and rolls backwards on itself.

I used the pattern’s needles’ size at a gauge/tension of 12 stitches to the inch, and two skeins of DMC Mouliné Spécial 25 embroidery floss, No. 208 which is a mint green. The shaggy interior, made up of a tassel that is sewn to the top, is in Patons Kroy Socks 4 Ply, Black. The pen’s nib is inserted into the extinguisher and the excess ink wiped off, or, the extinguisher wiper could be used before or after swiping with a rag. Either way, this little object is a decorative addition to one’s desk.

The penwiper measures 3” long from top to bottom and about 1 ¾” across the bottom rim. A five stitch band of 3” in length (for which instructions are given in the pattern) makes up the handle.

This was one of the most delightful historical patterns I have ever worked on. I don’t know why it lay abandoned, rim only, on its needles for over a year. It knit up very quickly and was finished off quickly, too, unlike three or four lacy, larger items that are doomed to languish on their needles for some time to come as after the first forty repeats or so of the pattern, they have become unbearably dull. Nevertheless, I like knitting lace in cotton in the summer – or so I keep telling myself……………….

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Non-Historical Summer Knitting

This little fellow was great fun to knit and is so adorable. I made the body two summers ago and the legs this past June – another project completed! I have to admit that six of the same leg and then the two front claws were a tad tiresome but they knit up quickly once I set my mind and needles to them.

The pattern comes from Knitty’s issue of Summer 2009.

I used one skein each of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Solid in Scarlet and Beige, and 3.75mm/US 5 double pointed needles. The mouth was embroidered with a double strand of KnitPicks’s Palette in Black.

This particular crab measures 5” cross the body. The front legs, with claws, are 4 ½” long, and the back legs are 5 ½” long.

He looks quite happy at the beach, doesn’t he?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Small Lace Sampler Shoulderbag

I have made quite a few things using the patterns in this lace sampler examined and reworked in the book Knitting Lace – A Workshop with Patterns and Projects by Susanna E. Lewis*
Tams, scarves, mittens, handbags, a card case, historical reproductions, etc., and now this dainty little bag using two repeats of Pattern Number 48.

The yarn, Cravanella, in an ivory shade,  is a blend of 75% wool and 25% rayon, and, most likely, twenty or more years old.  I remember buying it, a slightly unraveled skein, in a remnants’ bin a long time ago.

 I knit the bag in two pieces on 3.00mm/ 2 ½ US needles, with a series of four rows of stockinette stitch and one row of purl at the top. The gauge/tension is 7 stitches to the inch. The interior of the bag is lined with a double layer of muslin. The shoulder strap is made of strong white synthetic cord, by lucet, and then run through a spool-knitted cord in Cravenella. The lucet cord was made for me by a young friend, two years ago, his first project made with a newly acquired techinique and tool.

The bag measures 6 ½” wide and 6” high, and the cord Is 36” long.  Two buttons with an I-cord loop fasten the bag at the top.

*Knitting Lace – a Workshop with Patterns and Projects, Based on a Sampler from the Brooklyn Museum,  Susanna E. Lewis, Newtown, CT: The Taunton Press, 1992