Thursday, 23 February 2017

Patterns in Magazines

Three of my patterns are in magazines this month! My new cowl design is in Simply Knitting Magazine and two of my designs from the Knitter Magazine have been translated into German and have been published in "The Knitter Deutschland".

The Knitter Deutschland 29/2017
with Little Paisley Cardigan on the cover
First published in The Knitter Magazine, Issue 95, my Little Paisley Cardigan is knitted in Cascade 220 yarn. I love "Paisley Pattern" and in this cardigan the Paisley motifs make up the front and back panels. There is a single Paisley motif at the cuff too. The motifs are made using cables and twisted stitches with moss stitch texture in the centre.

This issue of The Knitter Deutschland also features my Diamond Kites Sweater. The design uses twisted stitches to make a panel of kites with long tails on the front and back of the sweater. Diamond Kites was first published in the Knitter Issue 92.

Diamond Kites Sweater by Emma Vining
Image from The Knitter Magazine

I'm really delighted to see my new soft and cuddly Twists & Turn cowl in Simply Knitting Issue 156. I love exploring structure in knitting and this giant cable stitch creates big folds in the knitted fabric. This 'quick knit" cowl is knitted in Stylecraft Alpaca Chunky, shade Orchid.

Image from Simply Knitting Magazine 156
Cowl by Emma Vining

Friday, 27 January 2017

Josef Frank: Patterns - Furniture - Paintings

Josef Frank: Patterns - Furniture - Paintings has just opened at the Fashion & Textile Museum (FTM) in London. Attending the opening curator talk was the perfect introduction to this lovely exhibition about Josef Frank as architect, designer and artist. 

Tulpaner 1943-45
Josef Frank at the FTM
Josef Frank was born in Vienna in 1885. In 1925 he founded the design and furnishing company Haus & Garten. In 1933, due to growing anti-semitism, he went to live in Stockholm with his Swedish wife Anna and he gained Swedish citizenship in 1939. In 1932, he was approached by Estrid Ericson to design for Svenskt Tenn (Swedish Pewter). This was the start of a creative partnership that lasted almost 30 years. 

Our introduction to the exhibition began with an excellent talk by Onita Wass, the director of Millesgarden Museum, located just outside Stockholm. The museum collaborated with Josef Frank's family to create an exhibition bringing together Josef Frank's recently discovered watercolour paintings with his distinctive textile designs. The exhibition was held between March and October 2016. Having predicted around 43,000 visitors, the actual numbers were 85,000, clearly showing the popularity of Josef Frank!

Beth Ojari, the FTM exhibition designer told us that the FTM wanted to keep the same feel of the exhibition as had been achieved by Millesgarden. However, to introduce Josef Frank to a British audience who may be less familiar with his work, they decided to increase the prominence of some of the exhibition features. In particular, a distinctive room set by Svenskt Ten is one of the first displays as you enter the exhibition.

Svenskt Tenn Room Set
Josef Frank Exhibition at the FTM 
Svenskt Tenn Room Set
Josef Frank Exhibition at the FTM
Another aspect featured at the FTM is the influence of William Morris. Through a previous collaboration with Walker Greenback PLC, the parent company of Sanderson and Morris & Co, the FTM are able to display two distinctive William Morris designs, Seaweed and Fruit. Josef Frank's Miracle design was inspired by Morris's Seaweed and it is fascinating to see the designs in the same exhibition. 

Josef Frank's Mirakel design from the 1920s has been influenced by 
William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. 

The watercolour paintings displayed upstairs were recently discovered by Josef Frank's family and they now number around 400! In some of the paintings you can see a resemblance to the textile patterns. Many of them feature buildings. Josef Frank's architectural background shows in his attention to the detail of the buildings. There is a beautiful accompanying book, written by Ulrica von Schwerin Sievert, that is illustrated with the paintings and tells Josef Frank's Story through five women in his life.

Josef Frank Watercolours

Josef Frank Watercolours

My favourite aspect of this exhibition as learning about how Josef Frank took inspiration from many diverse sources and then created new and original work. Although you can see the influences, Josef Frank has added so many new dimensions that his work also becomes an inspirational source for other designers. The FTM has included some of the inspirational references in the descriptions and I really enjoyed reading these! Here are a few of my favourites. There are many more to see in the exhibition. 

Anakreon 1938 was designed in Stockholm for Svenskt Tenn. The bird motif was inspired by a 3500 year old fresco in the palace of Knossos on Crete. 

Anakreon by Josef Frank

For Vegetable Tree 1943-45, Josef Frank's inspiration was from an Indian Palampore featuring the tree of life theme. 

Vegetable Tree by Joseph Frank

In Rox & Fix for Svenskt Tenn, Joseph Frank used little hills from his landscape drawings in the style, form and colour of Chinese ink paintings. 

Rox and Fix by Josef Frank

The exhibition has just opened and will be on until 7th May 2017. This bright and colourful "feel good" exhibition is so inspiring! There are lots of talks, workshops and events scheduled and every Wednesday and Friday at 1pm there is a curator tour of the exhibition (free with exhibition ticket).

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Ruby Cardigan in The Knitter Magazine, Issue 106

My Ruby Cardigan is in Issue 106 of the Knitter Magazine! My elegant fitted cardigan is knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Illustrious DK, a gorgeous blend of Falkland wool and British alpaca.

Ruby by Emma Vining
Image from The Knitter Magazine
A combination of eyelets and twisted stitches make a pattern of linked gem stones. The rubies are made by extending the lines of twisted stitches and adding a large eyelet centre. The linked gems are separated by long lines of eyelets extending from the cast on edge to the shoulders and neckline. The set in sleeves and the sides of the cardigan are knitted in stocking stitch.

Ruby by Emma Vining
Image from The Knitter Magazine
Each sleeve has a pair of ruby motifs at the cuff. The front bands are knitted at the same time as the fronts and then completed with the neckband.

Ruby by Emma Vining
Image from The Knitter Magazine
The lovely WYS yarn combines softness and great stitch definition and has a lovely drape.

Ruby by Emma Vining
Image from The Knitter Magazine
You can read more about all the beautiful designs in Issue 106 on the Yarn Loop Website and on Ravelry.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Jadeite Sweater on the Cover of The Knitter 105

I am so excited to see my Jadeite Sweater design on the cover of this month's The Knitter Magazine! Jadeite is knitted in West Yorkshire Spinners Blue Faced Leicester DK Yarn. The beautiful yarn really shows off the contrasting textures of the sweater.

Jadeite by Emma Vining on the cover of Issue 105
Image from The Knitter Magazine

The main body of my design is knitted in stocking stitch with the Jadeite detail featuring around the neck and the cuffs. Twisted stitches form the circular Jadeite Gems which drop down from the neckline and emerge from the cuffs.

Jadeite Cuff detail
Image from The Knitter Magazine

Jadeite neck detail
Image from The Knitter Magazine
As well as having a variety of solid shades of BFL yarn available, West Yorkshire Spinners have recently released gem inspired shades of their Wensleydale DK and any one of them would suit my gem inspired design!

Jadeite by Emma Vining
Image from The Knitter Magazine
I am absolutely delighted to have a design in this lovely issue of The Knitter as it has lots of wonderful designs and interesting articles. Alice Starmore's gorgeous designs and amazing sense of colour feature in an excellent article about her yarns. The photography by Jade Starmore shows how the Hebridean landscape has inspired the beautiful colour palette.

Knitting History features in this issue with Penelope Hemingway's fascinating article on Victorian knitting writers. I particularly like the delicate original illustrations that accompany this piece.

There is a lovely "Meet the Team" interview with Faye Perriham-Reed, the brilliant technical editor at The Knitter Magazine, showcasing some of her beautiful published patterns and giving insights into her day-to-day work at the Knitter. I can't tell you how much it means to me to get a mention in her reply about her favourite designs! Yay!

You can see the knitting designs from Issue 105 on Ravelry and read more about The Knitter Magazine on The Yarn Loop website.

Errata Update 21/01/17
Thank you very much to Sue K for alerting me to problems with the published charts and abbreviations for Jadeite. I will post a link here to The Knitter Magazine as soon as the updated charts and pattern are available on the Yarn Loop Website.
In the meantime, I hope the following explanation will help anyone who is currently knitting the pattern.

The Jadeite pattern errata relate to the abbreviations and chart symbols and are as follows:
All of the "Jadeite clusters" are knitted using either T2B or T2F twists. These twists are worked in 'knit stitch' only.
T2B is the abbreviation for "knit into the front of the second stitch on left hand needle, then into the front of the first stitch”.
T2F is the abbreviation for "knit into the back of the second stitch on the left hand needle, then into the front of the first stitch”.
Throughout the text of the published pattern, any abbreviation referred to as “Tw2B" should be worked as a T2B. Any abbreviation referred to as Tw2F should be worked as a T2F. 
Within the charts, the abbreviations and symbols should be T2F and T2B only.

Errata Update 23/01/17
Here is the link to the errata for Jadeite on the Yarn Loop Website, where you can download a PDF of the corrected charts.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Knitting History Forum Conference 2016

I always enjoy the Knitting History Forum events and this year's Conference was really good. Our host at the London College of Fashion, Professor Sandy Black, had arranged an excellent afternoon of presentations.


Our first speaker was Gieneke Arnolli, Curator of Fashion and Textiles, Fries Museum, The Netherlands and her two-part talk began with a fascinating exploration of "Typically Frisian Knitting, between fact and fiction". The second part of Gieneke's talk was about "Curating the Knitting Exhibition 'Breien!'". There is a great short trailer for 'Breien' on Youtube which gives a taste of the exhibition. I wish that I had been able to visit the Exhibition when it was on.

Gieneke was followed by Hanna Bäckström, PhD Candidate in Textile Studies, Uppsala University, Sweden on "The publication of knitting and crochet patterns in Northern Europe 1790-1870. Hanna represented her data on maps and it was fascinating to see the geographical changes in the concentration of publications in Europe during this "forgotten publishing boom". Hanna concluded with some "Brief remarks on recent knitting history research in Sweden".

Michelle Hanks is a PhD Candidate at the London College of Fashion and she presented her research on "The Hand-Knitted Gift: using knitting as a research tool". The discussion that followed was very lively! As well as members sharing their own experiences of giving and receiving hand knitted gifts, the issue of the "unwanted" gift was raised......

Roslyn Chapman PhD, University of Glasgow gave an excellent and very entertaining presentation on "Cultural Sensitivities: Debunking the myths of Shetland lace". This thought-provoking presentation challenged our definitions of some well known knitting terms and labels. You can read more about Roslyn's research with the Shetland Museum here.

Our final discussion topic covered reflections on knitting in the media - how would we represent the history of knitting? In particular, we all watched a documentary made last year, The Secret History of Knitting, to which several of our members had contributed. You can view the documentary here.

The Knitting History Forum AGM and Conference is held in early November each year. You can read about previous speakers and topics covered here. Annual membership is £25 and this includes the Conference. All are welcome to join us!

Monday, 17 October 2016

The Knitting & Stitching Show 2016

The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace is such an inspiring event and I really look forward to going every year. This year's Show was on from Wednesday 5th to Sunday 9th October. For the the last few years I have been volunteering on the Knitting & Crochet Guild (KCG) Stand and I am very proud to represent the Guild at the Show. 

The entrance at Alexandra Palace
Our stand showcases items from the Guild's Collection and this year we had seasonal display boards with motifs made from stitch patterns. The stand featured the Autumn and Winter boards with their gorgeous colour palettes. We were also able to show visitors designs from the Spring and Summer boards plus all the amazing background work in an excellent display folder. 

KCG Autumn Display Board

KCG Winter Display Board
A selection of lovely sample knits were also displayed on the stand and we had some interesting discussions about stitch construction as visitors looked through them all.

KCG Collection Knitted Samples
Visitors also stopped to chat to us when they spotted us in our smart new aprons: what an excellent idea by Tricia! The aprons were in white cotton with the Guild logo at the top and had deep front pockets for our yarn and needles. It was great to be able to stand and knit while talking to visitors. I was delighted to find that lots of people were interested in my short row shaping sample. One visitor from Melbourne, Australia even came back to see me on Sunday for another demo!

Short Row Shaping sample

This year the Guild had a whole afternoon slot every day for "Crafters in Action". We were able to demonstrate all kinds of knitting and crochet techniques as our volunteers had brought along lots of exciting projects to share. The table was decorated with beautiful knit and crochet designs and we had many visitors stopping for a closer look. There were plenty of questions and comments about crochet techniques and we had some great discussions, especially about Tunisian crochet. There were several happy visitors leaving with a successful sample. 

The Guild's stand at the show relies on members volunteering their time and skills and this year we had lots of helping hands. This meant there was time for everyone to have a look around the show! I was able to attend two excellent Japanese design events. On Saturday afternoon Katie from Japan Crafts demonstrated how to put on the many layers of a kimono. Katie dressed a tailor's dummy to show us the stages involved. Kimono dressing is a much more physically demanding process that I could ever of imagined, designed to firstly turn the wearer into a cylinder shape with many layers and much padding, then to precicely fold and drape the kimono over these layers. Finally a stunning obi is arranged and folded to compete the dressing. Katie's descriptions and commentary were fascinating and the kimono and obi were very beautiful. 

Kimono and Obi
Japan Crafts
Detail from Obi
Japan Crafts

On Sunday morning, I attended Katie's Sashiko workshop in the Learning Centre. Sashiko is a traditional Japanese stitching technique and the beautiful designs are very inspiring. It was great to actually try some stitching. Katie is an excellent tutor and explained clearly how to tackle these complex patterns. I'll be looking out for more talks and workshops from Katie and Japan Crafts (although Katie is in such demand that she is fully booked through 2017!). I can't wait for next year's show already!

Sashimi Stitching Samples
Japan Crafts

Sunday, 2 October 2016

The Forum: A New Norwich Wrap

From Saturday 1st until Saturday 15th October 2016, my hand knitted wrap, "The Forum: A New Norwich Wrap" will be on show to visitors at the Hostry, Norwich Cathedral. In "Norwich Shawls: Past Glory Future Inspiration", the Norwich Costume & Textile Association (C&TA) is taking a look back at the stunning shawls in the collection and then looking forward with interpretations and inspirations from the shawls. I am very proud and excited about my wrap being part of this exhibition! In this post, I would like to share some of my research and design development.

The Forum: A New Norwich Wrap
by Emma Vining
Norwich, Edinburgh and Paisley were all major British centres for Shawl production in the 19th Century and each centre had its own distinctive style. You can read more about Norwich Shawls in this Antiques Info article by Zita Thornton and more about British shawl production in Meg Andrews' article in Victoriana Magazine. A large number of original Norwich Shawls are held in the Costume & Textile Study Centre in Shirehall, Norwich. As part of my research for the Exhibition, I visited Shirehall for a Norwich Shawl Study Day. The chance to get up close to the wonderful shawls and to view the fascinating blue-prints of shawl designs from the Board of Trade Design register was not to be missed! I thoroughly enjoyed the day and appreciated all the fascinating insights shared by the curator. Sketching the delicate details on the shawls really helped me to understand the flow of the designs and patterns.

Detail from my sketchbook
Copyright Emma Vining
During my trip there was time to take a look around the beautiful city of Norwich and my visit to the Sir Michael Hopkins "Forum" building provided the present-day inspiration for my design. The seating in the public area in front of the building suggested a curved design with a smooth stepped surface to contrast with the delicate pine cone and leaf details that I had seen earlier in the day.

Seating outside the Forum Building, Norwich
Photo by Emma Vining
Further research took me to the V&A Museum's Clothworkers Centre where I spent a day surrounded by fabulous Norwich Shawls from the V&A's collection. The Clothworkers team were extremely patient with folding, unfolding and turning the shawls and I particularly appreciated being able to climb the ladder for an overview of the largest shawl! Reading books and publications in the National Art Library in the V&A Museum helped me understand how Norwich, Edinburgh and Paisley competed in the 19th Century for the market in printed and woven shawls. The wonderful books by Pamela Clabburn, The Norwich Shawl, and Helen Hoyte, The Story of the Norwich Shawl, were particularly insightful and helpful.

I spent considerable time thinking about all that I had learned and working on my own interpretations of the designs. Through drawing and sketching, then charting and knitting, I experimented with a wide range of designs. However, it was the combination of the elements of time and scale that became prominent. My final design, The Forum Wrap was inspired by details in a beautiful original 19th Century Shawl in the Shirehall Handling Collection, as well as the modern architecture of the Forum Building in the centre of the city of Norwich.

Detail from my sketchbook
Copyright Emma Vining 2016
My Forum Wrap is knitted in Rowan Silk Wool DK weight yarn that was perfect for this project. The yarn has excellent stitch definition and the elegant sheen of silk. This combination meant that the detailed twisted stitch sections stand out clearly and that the long curved lines inspired by the Forum building look smooth and ribbon-like. The wrap begins and ends with five individual knitted points. The pine cone and leaf twisted stitch design flows from these points and changes in scale as the wrap narrows. A gentle curve to enhance drape and fit around the shoulders is created by working more depth at one side of the wrap.

Detail of The Forum: A New Norwich Wrap
by Emma Vining
I hope that visitors to the Exhibition will enjoy viewing the beautiful Norwich Shawls as much as I have. There are several stunning examples displayed in their full glory in the Hostry and the new textile art that has been inspired by these stunning shawls is fascinating.

Exhibition Poster by the Norwich C&TA