Friday, 11 April 2014

Precious Metal Cowl in the Knitter Magazine Issue 70

Inspired by the ripple patterns formed by the wind on drifting snow, my new cowl design in Issue 70 blends a light and airy stitch pattern with a chunky shimmering yarn. The dropped stitch rib pattern is reversible and uses short row shaping to form the ripples and drifts. The cowl can be worn in a big loop or wrapped around your neck twice for a cosy feel.
Precious Metal from the Knitter Issue 70
Precious Metal from the Knitter Issue 70
Precious Metal from the Knitter Issue 70
Precious Metal is part of the Knitter Magazine's Platinum Collection. These timeless knits in shimmering shades of grey are the first in a new series of seasonal collections. The designs include the cover cardigan, Pewter, by Fiona Morris; Ore by Sarah Hatton; Rhodium by Deborah Helmke and Argentite by Juliet Bernard.

There is also an excellent article by Sarah Laurenson about visiting Shetland and a great mini collection sock supplement with lovely patterns by Rachel Coopey, Faye Perriam and Elizabeth Lovick.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Knitting 1914 - 2014 Exhibition and Study Days

The Knitting 1914 -2014 Exhibition was organised by the Knitting Reference Library, Winchester School of Art and curated by Linda Newington, Head of Library and Archive Collections for Art and Design. Items from the Knitting Reference Library and Knitting Collections and work by Winchester School of Art knitwear students were featured.

As part of the exhibition, two study days explored a variety of related topics. Beginning on the Highfield Campus, University of Southampton, delegates also had an opportunity to look round the Exhibition in the Special Collections Gallery in the Hartley Library. This excellent You Tube clip gives an overview of the exhibition and highlights the Montse Stanley Collection items on show.

Swatches from the Montse Stanley Collection featured in the Exhibition 
Detail of swatch from the Montse Stanley Collection 
Linda Newington opened Day One with her talk, "Knitting 1914 -2014: Exhibition Concepts and Themes". She particularly emphasised the importance of connections; connecting resources such as objects, postcards, patterns and magazines and connecting people, including knitters, designers, researchers, students and alumni.

Anna McNally, Assistant Archivist at the University of Westminster, looked at the way that knitting, an activity that produces very few written records, has been recorded in the historical archives. Her excellent talk, "Loose Threads: hunting for knitting in the archives" was a fascinating insight into archives and included a slide of what may be the first knitting selfie!

Photo using a mirror - the first knitting selfie?
Jonathan Faiers, Reader in Fashion and Textiles at Winchester School of Art, considered editorial features and some wonderful adverts for wool and yarn in his talk, "Class Concious and Cosy: exporting British Knitwear in the Ambassador". The Ambassador Magazine (1946 to 1972) was a champion of British products and exports. It was great to look through some of the actual magazines held in the Knitting reference Library after hearing so much about them in the presentation.

Gill Clarke is Visiting Professor at the University of Chichester. Her presentation, "Home Front Woolies: art and knitting in the First and Second World War" referenced some wonderful illustrations and images of knitters and knitting. She also included images of knitting in beautiful paintings by Evelyn Dunbar from the Imperial War Museum Collections.

Victoria Walters, Senior Research Fellow at Winchester School of Art introduced us to contemporary fine artist Rosemarie Trockel in her talk, "Acting for the body of society: thinking through knit in the work of Rosemarie Trockel". Once again, having heard Victoria's talk, it was very useful to look through books about Rosemarie Trockel that are held in the Knitting Reference Library.

Deryn Relph, is a designer maker and a former Winchester School of Art BA(Hons) Fashion Textiles student. Her talk, "Repeat from *: patterns of reoccurrence and reinvention" brought the excellent first day to a close. Deryn included lovely images from the Montse Stanley Collection, focusing on the bags and purses. She then moved on to themes in contemporary knitted work, including Freddie Robbins.

Day two took place in the Gallery at Winchester School of Art.

Martin Polley, University of Southampton, explored the diverse ways in which knitting was part of the British experience of the Second World War in his talk, "Sweaters and the Services: knitting patterns and the military" He included Pathe film footage that illustrated his point about knitting being everywhere (such as in the queue for the air raid shelter) and having a sense of calmness and normality about it (knitting while listening to the radio). My favourite illustration of creative sourcing of yarn was this Pathe footage entitled "Very Doggy"!

Tom Van Deijnen's talk, "From piece work to a modern classic: the development of Sanquhar knitting" was very enjoyable. Begining with a history of Sanquhar knitting, he then discussed the construction of the glove and finally considered some modern day adaptions and patterns based on the Sanquhar tradition.

Alex Pengelly, currently studying at the Royal College of Art, began her talk by showing us a sweater knitted by her Grandmother. In her extremely thought provoking talk, "Future Heirlooms" she considered what made this sweater so special to her and how she could add this emotional value to her own designs and collections. In her consideration of knitwear's position within fashion and the media, Alex questioned how a range of design methodologies can be used to create the heirlooms of the future. As part of her presentation, Alex showed us a YouTube clip of the Mulberry knitters, "Spinning a Yarn".

Artist and independent curator, Dawn Cole, described how she uses the archive that she inherited from her Great Aunt, First World War VAD Nurse, Clarice Spratling to inform her work. The archive includes photos, diaries and handwritten knitting patterns and in her presentation, "The Silence of Knitting", Dawn showed us some of the beautiful prints she has created inspired by this material. The talk ended with a performance by Dawn that brought out strong feelings and emotions in the audience.

Speakers answering questions from the audience
The final talk of the day by Linda Newington was entitled "The Knitting Reference Library at Winchester School of Art: 10 Years in the making". It was very interesting to hear about the collections held by the KRL, including the Montse Stanley Collection, the Richard Rutt Collection and the Jane Waller Collection. Many of the resources and information about the Collections can be accessed though the Knitting Reference Library Website, including 19th Century knitting manuals and Sirdar menswear knitting patterns.

Linda Newington and her team had also set up a Pop-up Knitting Reference Library in the Gallery and we were able to look at many of the publications mentioned throughout the talks.

The conference ended with the launch of "Textile: Journal of Cloth and Culture" Special Edition edited by Jonathan Faiers from In the Loop 3, Winchester Discovery Centre September 2013.

The delegates also all appreciated the lovely goodie bags that had been so thoughtfully put together!