Thursday, 30 October 2014

Kagome Jacket Colourways

My Kagome Jacket design in The Knitter Magazine Issue 77 is knitted using two shades of a variegated yarn with a long colour change. I love the way the shades blend when similar colours are next to each other. The different width of stripes on the jacket means the blending is not uniform, but is balanced. Having sampled several different variegated yarns for this design, I would like to share my exploration of this type of yarn for this design.

Detail of Kagome Jacket
copyright Emma Vining
Kagome Jacket
Image from the Knitter Magazine
The original colour way and yarn for my Kagome Jacket was on display at the Knitting & Stitching Shows at Alexandra Palace and in Harrogate last year as part of the 2013 UKHKA Knitted Textile Awards. This jacket was knitted in Patons Colourworks Aran, which has unfortunately been discontinued.

Kagome Jacket
Copyright Emma Vining
I originally chose the Patons yarn as it was lightweight and variegated with a long colour change. The yarn colour range included two colour ways that had some shades in common. Using these two shades meant that the 'hard edged' geometric Kagome motif that the design is based on, is softened with slightly blurred edges. You can see the shape, but it is subtle.

When I was designing the jacket, I sampled several alternative yarns, but these were either too brightly coloured, had colour changes that were too 'short' and, most importantly for this design, finding two shades with similar colours of the same weight of yarn proved difficult. When the Knitter Magazine commissioned the jacket and asked me to change the colour way and the yarn, I knew it was going to be a challenge! A big thank you to Kirstie, the commissioning editor at the Knitter Magazine, for all her help in finding King Cole Riot Chunky.

Here are the results of the two Riot Chunky colour ways that I test knitted. Each ball of King Cole Riot Chunky weighs 100g. I had to knit at least half a ball to find a full colour change as the the colour pattern repeat is a 'mirror image'. The final garment was knitted in the lighter, warm colour way shown in the first sample. The darker, cool colour way version is closer to my original design, but with bright highlights. 

Sample 1 (below) knitted in King Cole Riot Chunky

Peach/ Orange/ Grey for outer section: Shade 663, Potash
Brown/ Peach for inner shape, border and collar: Shade 655, Sand Dune 

Sample 2 (below) knitted in King Cole Riot Chunky

Grey/ Green/ Black for outer section: Shade 651, Domino
Blue/ Pink/ Green for inner shape, border and collar: Shade 657, Monsoon

There is great debate about matching up variegated yarns in patterns and although I like the randomness of just knitting with whichever part of the colour repeat you are at, in this case I wanted all the start points to be the same. To achieve this, I wound the balls to the same point in the colour changes for all the garment sections.

I'd love to hear about other knitter's experiences with variegated yarns. Please leave a comment!

Friday, 24 October 2014

'A Year At Clothworkers' Conference

On Thursday 23rd October, the V&A Museum held a one day conference to celebrate one year at the V&A's Clothworker's Centre for the Study and Conservation of Textiles and Fashion, located at Blythe House in West London. I have visited the Blythe House and the Clothworkers Centre on several occasions to view some of the amazing collection of knitwear and textiles, so I jumped at the chance to attend this conference to hear more about this fabulous resource. 

Detail of flag from the Fabric of India Exhibition, V&A Museum

Suzanne Smith, Clothworkers Centre Manager, gave us an excellent overview of the year at Clothworkers. There are over 100,000 objects in the collections. Over the last year there have been 2,700 visitors to the Clothworkers Centre. These visitors have viewed 7000 objects from the collection. Visitors are either individuals, groups or pre-arranged tours, with the majority being individuals who self select 6 to 10 items using the online collections database.  Suzanne emphasised that you don't need to be a specialist to visit: the Centre is open to all! 

Dries Van Noten and Dragon Robes
Oriole Cullen, Curator Modern Textiles and Fashion V & A and  Anna Jackson, Keeper Asian Department V & A described how several well known fashion designers have used the resources at the Clothworkers Centre to inspire their collections. It was fascinating to hear more about these collaborations. Dries Van Noton, took inspiration from the Dragon Robes, a woven tapestry panel and a Japanese hanging in the collections. High resolution images of the objects were digitally printed onto fabric, which was then abstracted into ensembles, The V&A subsequently acquired 4 of these ensembles from Dries Van Noton.

Dries Van Noton, V&A Museum

Dries Van Noton, V&A Museum

Dries Van Noton, V&A Museum
Other designers who have been inspired by the collections include Erdem, who also used the Clothworkers Centre for the fashion shoot.
Erdem pre-fall 2014 at the Clothworkers Centre
                The next three talks were a series of examples of the way the Clothworkers Centre has been used for in-depth research and, in the case of Angela Jensen, added to by research.

                The Fashion and Translation Project: engagements between theory, history, industry and objects
Sarah Cheang, Royal College of Art and Elizabeth Kramer, Northumbria University looked at the way fashion has developed and transferred between countries and continents over time. This was illustrated by some fascinating examples such as the Qipao and the 2014 Kimono Jacket trend.

The Wardrobe of Kenneth Tynan 
Ben Whyman, London College of Fashion aims to add to the biographical detail of Kenneth Tynan by studying the clothing he wore. Researching banal and everyday objects such as belts, ties and shoes can add immense detail to the life of the wearer.

Contemporary Moroccan Fashion 
Angela Jansen, London College of Fashion gave us an excellent overview of 14 years of research. There are very few items of Moroccan fashion in the V&A Collections. By firstly identifying previously unknown Moroccan designers and then re-looking at more well known names, such as Naima Bennis, Zina Guessons, Zhor Sebti and Tamy Tazi,  Angela Jansen was able to track down garments that they designed. Having persuaded the owners to donate the garments to the V&A, Angela Jansen has created a new resource that will be available to students and individuals to study at the Clothworkers Centre.

Indian Textiles Cataloguing Project 
Sonia Ashmore, Research Fellow, V & A, told the conference how the 10,000 items in the South and South East Asian Collection originally arrived at the South Kensington Museum from the Indian Museum (1879-80), previously owned by the East India Company. The detailed cataloguing process was carried out between 2012 and 2014, when three people catalogued 3040 textile objects.

Indian Textiles Exhibition Research
Rosemary Crill, Senior Curator Asian Department V & A , provided an exciting overview of the content that will be on show in the Fabric of India Exhibition that will be at the V&A Museum in 2015The Indian Textiles Cataloguing Project has helped with the selection of these items. Now I can't wait to see the actual items!

Items that will be on show in the V&A Exhibition, the Fabric of India, 2015

Items that will be on show in the V&A Exhibition, the Fabric of India, 2015
Items that will be on show in the V&A Exhibition, the Fabric of India, 2015

Grand Designs: Accessing Persian Carpets at the V&A 
Moya Carey, Curator Middle East, V & A told the conference how the Clothworkers Centre has provided the opportunity to view the collection of Persian carpets in natural light, in great detail and side by side with other examples. This has meant new discoveries and insights. The description of photographing the large carpets from above was fascinating.

Details of a small section of carpet at Clothworkers Centre

Daylight and x-ray vision!  The Pattern book series at Clothworkers
Susan North, Curator 17th & 18th Century Fashion V & A, described the process of working out how some of these historical garments were constructed. For more detail, see my earlier post on Susan North's V&A lunchtime lecture, The Secret Geomerty of Seventeenth Century Dress
The next book in this excellent series is 17th Century Men's Dress Patterns.

V&A Books 
London Couture 1923-1975
Edwina Ehrman, Curator of Textiles and Fashion, V&A described how this new publication will look at London as a centre for Men's and Women's fashion. Many of the key garments were studied in detail at the Clothworkers Centre and the importance of also being able to use the Art and Design Archive, also located at Blythe House, meant that the actual garments could be studied alongside press commentary and documentation.

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Knitting History Forum AGM and Conference

The Knitting History Forum AGM and Conference is on Saturday 8th November 2014 at the London College of Fashion, 20 John Princes Street, London, W1G 0BJ. As always, non-members are very welcome to attend. Tickets cost £20 and can be booked in advance or on the door. The price of a ticket is included in KHF membership which is £15 annually. (Members may renew or subscribe on the day.)

The speakers are excellent and this is a great opportunity to hear about some interesting knitting history!

Here is the programme for the day:

10.30  Doors open for registration.  

10.30- 11.00  ‘Show and tell’ -  please bring items to show 

11.00 -12.30   AGM  for members – see separate agenda 

12.30 – 1.45   Lunch  break  (food not provided, bring or buy your own locally). 

Please return promptly.

2.00 - 2.30  Angharad Thomas  - Textile  Archivist for Knitting and Crochet Guild

Piecing together a history of two-colour knitted gloves - from medieval times to the present

2.30 - 3.00  Tom van Deijnen   -  Practitioner in knitting and mending

Old techniques and new cardigans: a case study in traditional repair techniques

3.00 - 3.30  Amy Twigger Holroyd  - Post-doc Research Fellow, Leeds University School of Design

Keep and Share - amateur knitting practice as a sustainable strategy - PhD research and practice

3.45 - 4.15  Barbara Smith   - independent scholar

Useful Work for Anxious Fingers - Knitting & Crochet in the First World War

4.15 - 4.45  Joyce Meader   - The Historic Knit

Knitted Comforts for the Soldiers – from the Boer War to WW1

4.45 - 5.30  Questions and discussion

Further details about the conference and more information about the Forum can be found on the Knitting History Forum website.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Kagome Jacket Pattern in the Knitter Magazine 77

My Kagome Jacket Pattern is in this month's Knitter Magazine! My copy of Issue 77 arrived today and I am delighted to see my Kagome Jacket design photographed so beautifully. The two shades of King Cole Riot Chunky yarn look great together in the geometric intarsia motif.

Kagome Jacket copyright Emma Vining
Image from the Knitter Magazine Issue 77
Kagome Jacket copyright Emma Vining
Image from the Knitter Magazine
Inspired by Sashiko, traditional Japanese quilting, this oversize, loose fitting cardigan is made in three pieces. It is knitted in King Cole Riot Chunky using the intarsia technique. The colour blending is achieved by using two different shades of this variegated yarn with some colours in common.

I am so pleased to see my pattern in print in the Knitter Magazine. My design was part of the UK Hand Knitting Association's Knitted Textile Awards, Open Category in 2013. It was commissioned by the Knitter Magazine last year after being seen in the UKHKA Exhibition at the Knitting and Stitching Shows at Alexandra Palace and in Harrogate. Unfortunately the original yarn has since been discontinued, but I am delighted with the new look with King Cole Riot Chunky yarn.

I am excited to say that I have a few more design mentions elsewhere in The Knitter Magazine 77.......

A photo of my hand warmer design for the lovely new Yarn company, Yarn Stories is on page 12.

Handwarmers by Emma Vining
Image by Yarn Stories for the Knitter Magazine
My Sugar Kelp Cable Sweater design from Issue 55 is featured in the "selection of the best cable projects" from the Knitter Magazine archives.
Sugar Kelp copyright Emma Vining
Image from the Knitter Magazine
.......and last, but definitely not least, my Devereux Sweater can be seen on the cover of Issue 75 in the "missed an issue?" section!

Image from The Knitter Magazine 77

Thursday, 9 October 2014

The Knitting & Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

I had a great afternoon at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace today!

My first stop was at Stand K12 to see the wonderful Yarn Stories! I was delighted to see my hand warmers design displayed on the stand with other lovely designs from some of my favourite designers. It was great to meet the Yarn Stories team in person too. More about Yarn Stories in my next post.....

My hand warmer design for Yarn Stories is top centre!
Gorgeous colours from Yarn Stories
I can't believe a year has passed since I was a finalist in the UK Handknitting Association's Knitted Textile Awards and I was excited to see this year's finalists. There is a lovely selection of extremely creative knitting on display and I highly recommend a visit. A big shout out to the very talented Nicky Barfoot who has been selected two years running!

The Coats Crafts UK fashion show in the Great Hall was a good way to see some of the trends for this season and my favourites were these amazing ponchos from Rowan Yarns.

Zandra Rhodes has designed fabrics for the new Free Spirit Range that were inspired by her time in Australia.

When I was in Harrogate last year, I visited the Baa Ram Ewe Shop and was very impressed with the selection of yarns and patterns available. It was a real pleasure to meet Jo and Katherine this afternoon and just look at this colour pallet of Titus yarn! Can't wait to start knitting!

Titus Yarn by Baa Ram Ewe
I will be back at the K&S Show on Sunday, as I am helping on the Knitting and Crochet Guild Stand, RCF11. Please come and say hello if you are at the Show!