A History of Hand Knitting

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I recently read the book, A History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt, the former, Bishop of Leicester. He also knitted since the age of seven. I love to knit and I am interested in history so I thought it would be interesting to read. I am also interested in textile history. If you are interested in knitting history it is worth reading but others may lose interest. The book was well researched, but very dry. The author clearly did extensive research. The book is organized in chronological order. The book covers the following time frames: before the 1500, the Restoration, the Victorian age, World War 1 up to the 1980s. The book also covers the history of kitting traditions in parts of the British isles, North and South America, Slavic countries, Greece, then India, Africa and Asia.

 One interesting fact from the book is that knitting stockings was a way for people from England to make extra money starting in Elizabethan times. You can tell the author extensively researched the book. He constantly mentioned books he read and people he talked to for the book. If you are interested in vintage pattern books, you will find several names of books and authors to read and collect. At several points in the book he point out assumptions from history and debunks them. However, I felt like he got too bogged down in detail. He would mention a piece of knitting then describe it in exhaustive detail. I did learn a lot from the book and I think it is worth reading if you care about textiles and history.

 

 

My Vintage Pattern Books

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A few weeks ago, I went to a library book sale with my mom and found some great vintage books. I found 2 needlework guides from 1973 called Make it Yourself and a McCall’s Needlework Treasury from 1964. I also found a book on making rugs from scrap yarn and a book on freeform crochet. I enjoy looking for vintage knitting books at thrift stores and library book sales. I don’t have the space to constantly collect books but I like occasionally seeing what I can find. I have always liked history and I also like reading vintage patterns.

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 Just last week or so, I happened to find The Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework by Therese de Dillmont at a local thrift store. When I first saw it, I didn’t buy it. However, I thought it looked familiar so I went back home and googled the book. Once I googled the title, I realized it is a piece of textile history. I nervously drove back to the thrift store the next day hoping it was still there. Luckily, it was still on the shelf and I bought it. It is a very thorough guide to needlework and people use it as a reference even today. I am excited to have a copy. You can read this book on Gutenburg.com but it is nice to have a printed copy. I just read the book A History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt. From that book, I got a list of other authors and books to look for when I am out looking for other vintage books.

My Crochet Goals

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I recently wrote about my knitting goals. I want to give equal time to both knitting and crochet on this blog so I also wanted to write about my crochet goals. Lately, I have been more inspired by knitting than crochet. Until I started the blanket I am making right now, I have been knitting more than I crochet. However, when I thought abut it there are many things I want to crochet. Here are the crochet projects I want to do in the future. I look at this list I made and realize I could be busy for a long time.

Crochet more garments

In the past, I have struggled to find crochet garments I want to make. However, I have found a few  patterns I like. I really like this Convergence Top pattern. I found out about it when I asked for advice on crochet garment patterns on a Ravelry forum. I have been eyeing the Northern Dreams Pullover for a long time. When I first saw the pattern years ago, I thought it looked like a difficult pattern and never thought to attempt it. I recently looked at it again and realized it was a crochet version of a yoked sweater. Now I really want to make this sweater. However I am on a tight budget right now and would have to buy yarn to make both. I have also been eyeing this pullover by Dora Ohrenstein. 

Make a dress

A friend of mine designed this dress and I really want to make it at some point. I also love this dress by Lily Chin. Both would be a challenge for me and a big project I know I want to make these at some point but I am not sure when I will get around to it.

Make a ripple blanket

This past winter, I was reading about temperature blankets and came very close to making one. I decided to make the blanket I am working on now instead. A friend gave me some red heart yarn that should work well for a blanket. I like the way the rippled blanket looks and I like the idea of having a colorful blanket to use during the winter.

 Freeform crochet

I have been reading about freeform crochet for years and am intrigued by the idea. If you don’t know what freeform crochet is, this article describes freeform crochet pretty well. I really like the idea of being creative and freewheeling with crochet. I have read about the work of Prudence Mapstone, and Jenny Dowde and would love to explore freeform crochet further. I have thought that it would be a fun way to use some of my scrap yarn.

 Make some of the design ideas I have sketched

I keep a sketchbook and write ideas for projects that I could design.I want to get in the habit of working on some of these ideas on a regular basis.

The Good and Bad Sides of Social Media

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One topic I would like to write about on occasion is the good and bad sides of social media. I am fascinated by social media. I have used Twitter and Facebook since 2009 and Instagram since 2015. I have seen both good and bad sides to social media. In recent years I feel like I am seeing more and more online harassment and that really bothers me. Leslie Jones and Anne Wheaton have both faced horrible harassment on Twitter. After watching what Leslie Jones went through, I almost deleted my Twitter account. Anne Wheaton stayed away from Twitter for several months because of the harassment. Here is a blog post she wrote about that.  Here is an article that outlines the harassment Leslie Jones received. I have also seen other women on Twitter attacked viciously for posting an opinion. It is easy to get misinterpreted on social media because it is very hard to read intent. I have seen some terrible misunderstandings and fights from this issue.

On the positive side, I have also received good advice and met some lovely people on social media. I regularly chat with people I consider to be friends on Twitter and Instagram. On social media, it is much easier to see different points of view. I follow people from around the world on both Twitter and Instagram. Hearing other points of view has expanded my horizons and enabled me to hear viewpoints I wouldn’t hear in my everyday life. I learned most of what I know about knitting and crochet from Ravelry. I found most of my blogging advice from people I follow on Twitter or Ravelry Forums.

Social media hasn’t been around that long and I am fascinated by how much it has changed things. Before social media, the main way to keep up with people was phone calls, in person meetings and email. It was a lot easier to fall out of touch with someone. Now you can easily find old classmates from years ago and know what is going on in their everyday lives. It also fascinates me how quickly information moves these days. If you are on Twitter you can see a big news story unfold in real time. You can see responses in real time by people at the event. Thanks to the internet I can interact with people all over the world. On Ravelry, I have chatted with people in several countries and discussed how their customs are different than American customs. That type of conversation was much harder to come by before the advent of social media. On Instagram, I once watched a live video of a lamb being born in Iceland while I was in Washington State; that is incredible when you think about it.

Current Projects

DSC_0006 (1)-1I am still working on the blanket and I am about halfway done making squares. I have started to work on sewing the squares together. I decided to start sewing the squares together now so that I am not left with a huge amount of squares to sew up near the end. The blanket pattern is a series of diamond shapes with different color combinations and I want to see how they look as I go. I didn’t know what technique I wanted to use to sew them together so I did a little research. I found this blog post and decided to use the mattress stitch and I used this tutorial of the mattress stitch. 

DSC_0011-1I am also still working on this lace scarf. I am almost done and then it needs to be blocked. I have really enjoyed working on this project. I like the lace stitch and once I got going, it isn’t hat difficult to knit.

DSC_0004-1I am still plugging away at the Herbivore shawl. I have been working on the lace scarf more than this shawl so I don’t have much progress to report.

DSC_0004 (1)-1I decided to challenge myself and see if I can make a tank top without a pattern. I saw some crocheted tank tops on Instagram I liked and decided to try making one myself. I am making it using Patons Grace. I decided on a white, lavender and pink color scheme. I am still in the swatching and planning stage. I want to make the top out of square motifs I sew together. I know what shape I want to the top to be but haven’t found a motif I like. I like the lacy stitches but I am concerned that a lacy stitch would look busy since I am using 3 different colors.

My Knitting Goals

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I thought I would write a post about my knitting goals and what I want to make next. As we start a new month and go into a new season, it felt like a good time to think about how I want to build my skills and what I want to do differently with my craft projects. These are the knitting techniques and projects that have been on my mind lately.

Learn to knit socks

I have wanted to learn to knit socks for a long time. I even bought a couple of books on sock knitting and a few skeins of sock yarn. I am not sure when I will get around to it but I want to learn at some point.

 Knit a sweater using the percentage system

The percentage system is a way of making a sweater without a pattern that was devised by Elizabeth Zimmerman; it is described in her books. A couple of her books that describe it are Knitting Without Tears and Knitting Workshop. I have read couple of books by Elizabeth Zimmerman and I am a big fan. I love how she encourages her readers to be more creative and knit without a pattern. I am hoping to start this project this fall or winter.

 Make more garments

I have realized that I haven’t made a garment in 2 years and I really want to change that. I am thinking my next knitting pattern will be a summer top. I want to start it once I finish the scarf or shawl I am knitting right now.

 Make a cardigan

As I stated above, I want to make more garments.  I also want to make items for my wardrobe. I wear cardigans constantly and my favorite cardigan is wearing out. I am thinking I want to make a cardigan instead of buying one. I am eyeing a couple of patterns to make for this winter. 

 Use up some of my older yarn stash

I have had some of the yarn in my stash for years. Some of this yarn sits in my stash because I don’t know what to do with it. I started the lace scarf I am making to use up the yarn I had leftover from a sweater I made. I had a little over a skein left and I wanted to use up the yarn. I would like to do similar projects to use up odd bits of yarn in my stash.

An Update on Bead Crochet Projects

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About a month ago, I wrote about getting back to bead crochet and beadwork after not doing either for a long time. Since then, I finished the bracelet I was making. This time, it came out the right length. I then had to figure out how to join the rope together into a bracelet. To join the rope, I used the instructions in this book. I joined it together and am happy with it for the most part. A little later, I did a google search on joining ropes and found another way to join the ropes that may be better. Here is a video of that technique. I want to try this technique on the bracelet I am making now.  

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 I started making another bead crochet rope and decided to use a pastel color scheme. I had trouble deciding between red, blue, grey and ivory or pink, grey and ivory. I really liked the pink beads and so I decided to go with the pastels. I am using a different thread this time. This book recommends Jeans Stitch or Gutermann 100% polyester top stitching thread. I used Jeans stitch for the previous ropes I did and now I am trying the Gutermann thread. I would like to make a project using each type of thread to see how they work.

More Stash Busting Projects

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Recently I wrote about the scrap yarn in my stash and the projects I have done to use up the yarn. One night I looked up stash busting patterns on Ravelry and found some beautiful patterns. There are a lot of lovely and creative ways to use up yarn. Here are a few of my favorites.

 1: A lot of people like to make blankets out of mitered squares. I have seen a lot of pictures on Instagram of people making blankets made out of mitered squares using fingering weight or worsted weight yarn. I used these instructions to make a scarf but a lot of people use these instructions to make a blanket.

 2: I like this winter hat pattern that has been in my Ravelry queue.

 3:I absolutely love this beautiful pillow pattern. I love the bright colors.

 4: This is a cute pattern for a snake.

 5: I almost have to include a pattern for a log cabin blanket. I love how they look and want to make one at some point. This is another pattern that is in my Ravelry Queue

 6: This crocheted lace shawl would be a good pattern for summer

 7: The designer designed this knitted shawl to use up her scraps of fingering weight yarn.

A Link Roundup

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Happy Friday everyone. I  thought I would share some interesting links that I found.

 1: This  is a lovely video of an artist in  Fair Isle, Scotland .

2: An interesting article about a pair of handmade socks made in Egypt a very very long time ago.

 3: The BBC’s original instructions on how to knit a Dr Who Scarf.

4: An online calculator on how to shape a crown when making a hat without a pattern.

My Thoughts On The Book Big Magic

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I read the book Big Magic and thought I would write out some of my thoughts on the book. I had wanted to read it for a long time. When I would read reviews of the book people either seemed to love it or hate it. I ended up really liking the book. Before I read the book, I would read interviews of the author and would not always agree with what she said. I found that some of her ideas sound different in the book where she had more room to express her ideas.

 A couple of things stood out to me. In the book she really stressed how important it is to consistently work on creative ideas. She stresses that having a creative life where you enjoy the process is more important than success. I think that point gets lost a lot in today’s world. At the start of the book,she writes about how she thinks ideas have a life of their own. She writes if you get an idea, you need to stop and decide if you are going to do it or not. If you decide to work on the idea you need to work right away and not let it get away.

She also has a section that states that you should support your art and not the other way around. She points out that just about everyone struggles with how to make a living and do their creative work. She stresses to not quit your day job and to take your creative work seriously . I liked that point. I think many others miss that distinction. There is an an assumption by some people that a person who has a day job isn’t serious about their art. It is easy to get in a mindset of “I can’t make a living at this” and that can make a person really limit themselves. This is an example of a idea that I would hear in an interview and not agree but end up changing my mind when she had more room to express her ideas. In the Interviews, I would only hear “just get a job” and get annoyed and disagree. I thought she was criticizing people who dreamed of making a full time living at their art. Once I read the book I could see the point she was making and I agree with her. I think the book is well worth reading if you are interested in creativity and/or consider yourself to be a creative person.