Tuesday, 25 November 2014

No! they are not my knitting/sewing/reading glasses!

There was a time when we used to tease my Mother-in-law about her spectacle collection.  She would be cooking and searching for her glasses. Because there were pairs everywhere around the house, one of the grandchildren would quickly rush up with a pair 

'no no they are my television glasses'

'these grandma?'

'no they are for knitting'

And so it went on till about the fifth pair was produced.  This pair was usually pretty ropey, often had an arm missing and certainly scratched lenses.  She had a system you see. Once a year she would visit the optician for new glasses for embroidery, strong magnifiers that enabled her to make the finest cross stitch for wall hangings, Christmas and Birthday cards.

This is some of her work

part of a sampler made for my second daughters birth day

Then the older glasses would be passed down the supply chain, knitting, reading, television and lastly cooking.  Now I'm older and need my own battery of spectacles, it's not quite so funny.  I may buy them off the peg these days but I still need one pair for screen, one for reading, one for knitting etc and now I understand. And now I am for ever searching for the right ones.

So, when I saw these from Which Glasses Are Which in the National Maritime museum shop


I sent out a cheeky tweet "Great idea but where are the knitting glasses?" and guess what?  They were in production.  It is so lovely when you make friends with someone on twitter, progress to e mail and when you meet for coffee you really like them and a proper friendship begins.  Hilly is the graphic designer behind these fab glasses and the reason she began with musicians glasses is she plays the viola and noticed she was not the only musician who had more than one pair of glasses with taped labels on them (in her case four!)

So here is the big TaDa!! moment, the sewing and knitting glasses case is here!

sewing and knitting

Hilly has sent me two, so I can show you the lovely velvety black lining (there is a high quality polishing cloth in there too).

mine, all mine

You can also see them in the wild with my own knitting and glasses

In the wild

If I did not already have a case I would be hoping for one in my Christmas stocking.  There are now six designs (reading, driving, cinema and gardening as well as music and sewing/knitting).  We always found it so hard to think of what to give, not just mother-in-law but all the grandparents, for presents.  We wanted something that was pretty, useful and not just a gesture, something like these would have been brilliant, although no cooks glasses case yet MIL was also a crossword fiend so the readers case would have been good as well as the sewing & knitting and TV & cinema ones.

You can buy them from the Royal Maritime Museum shop of course but much more conveniently (unless you live in Greenwich) from Not On The High Street or (if you live in Australia) from hardtofind [edit] they are on Etsy tooThey have all the different designs there and I have also put photographs of them here, below. You can have them personalised too







PS This is not a paid for post.  While I may in the future carry advertisements in the right hand column for which I will charge if I write about a product in the blog itself it will always be because I personally like it and wish to chat about it

Monday, 17 November 2014

WW1 Knitting update

Do you remember my April post about knitting for a community film project? Well, a couple of weeks ago I (and JTH, the cast, crew and over 100 knitters) went to the premiere.  There was such a sense of excitement in the cinema, in fact, so exciting it was that I forgot to take any photographs, so I have borrowed this one from Stewart

I talked about how the film (documenting real lives and losses in a Lincolnshire village during WW1) came about and how I became involved in my April blog post it is a lovely story and as well as reading about it in my previous post you can follow links from there to the film company's website which has been considerably updated since April.

I think that there are still discussions going on about how widely the film will be shown and whether it will all be available on line, but you can watch three little clips on YouTube. The film, focusing on the lives of the Crowder family, is beautifully drawn, the music wonderful and there are moments of real sadness.

But this is a knitting blog and I want to tell you about the work done by the huge team of knitters. Nearly all were recruited by word of mouth after the costumier of the film tweeted a plea for knitters. Elizabeth Lovick of Northern Lace and many other knitters responded and a Facebook group was formed.  Elizabeth with her encyclopaedic knowledge of knitting led the group of knitters who could make costumes for the film project.  The list of knitters on the film's credits was the longest list of all, well over 100, making things from tiny dolls clothes to coats. Practically every item worn in the film is on show in The Collection, a museum and exhibition space in the centre of Lincoln until 6 December

There are literally dozens of sweaters, (you can just see the brown waistcoat I knitted on the left of the third row back)...
sweaters and cardigans in all sizes
over 20 shawls, I also made the dark pink shawl in the middle on the right (more of that later)...

All the shawls
and entire outfits displayed on mannequins

Manequins in full costume

Although as a knitter I felt that the knitting was the star, there are some other lovely things to see at the exhibition, like  Violet's diary, below.  She was a VAD, nursing wounded soldiers in the local hospital, marrying one of the Crowder brothers after the war.

Violet Crowder's war time diary

Not all the costumes were made new for the film, these stunning blouses are vintage

fabulous lawn blouses with beautiful lace and hand stitching

I loved these small items, can you see the rifleman's gloves in the bottom right hand corner, that have thumb and trigger finger exposed?

Hats and gloves made to army regulation patterns

And now, for more excitement,  over 70 of the patterns that were developed for the film are available in a fabulous book, Centenary Stitches.  My copy arrived yesterday!

All our work, in print

But it's not just a book of knitting patterns, it also tells the story of the Crowder family, central to the  story, and lots about the making of the film and the search for contemporary knitting patterns.  I love the way the photograph below of Grace Crowder, the star of the film and the narrator... 

Grace Crowder

 led to Elizabeth Lovick designing a new pattern which closely follows the design of the original

Close up of Grace Crowder's cardigan, designed by Elizabeth Lovick (I love the collar detail)

There is a lovely photograph of the shawl I made in the book too

Pine cones shawl

If you buy this book (and I hope you do) a proportion of the proceeds will go to Combat Stress, the veterans mental health charity and the restoration fund for Thimbleby Church, the church at the centre of the village where the Crowders lived and one of the sets used in the film. You can buy it directly from the Northern Lace website and eventually (when a couple of glitches have been sorted) from Amazon UK as well as in the USA, In fact please do buy it from Northern Lace as this will mean more money goes to these two worthwhile charities

I have loved joining in with this project, it has felt so worthwhile, and lovely to be a part of something big.  Nice too, to see all we knitters acknowledged in the credits of the book as well as the film.  We intend to keep the Facebook page up for a while so that we can show off the projects we have knitted for ourselves from the book.  I am beginning with a hat.



Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Brighton Weekend

Don't you just love it when one of your nearest and dearest (perhaps the least likely one) buys you the perfect present?  Our no 2  son, the youngest in our family of four, is quite funny about birthdays. He regards cards as pretty much a waste of money (he once gave me a beautiful card on a birthday but did not write on it saying he knew I liked getting cards but thought I might like to keep it and send it to someone else one day).  He is delighted to receive presents yet not at all put out if he does not but if he does buy someone a present it is usually very carefully thought out. So as I was away for my birthday this year, and for several weeks afterwards, I was not at all surprised only to receive a text message, three days late, wishing me a happy birthday.

Then after a weekend away with his girlfriend staying with her father in Brighton about four weeks ago he handed me a present, saying he had realised he had forgotten back in August. The present was these four lovely balls of Rowan Fazed Tweed, an alpaca and wool mix.

I don't think R understands the concept of stash and so I wanted to knit something straight away. But, what to make?  It's chunky, I wanted to use every bit of it and blend the colours so it had to be a cowl or infinity scarf, didn't it?  I found a stitch pattern I liked and pretty much winged it, guessing the number of stitches, estimating from my swatch that 162 would be enough to wrap around twice.

I have to admit to a hefty bit of guess work but it worked!  I used every inch of yarn and even had to unravel my swatch to have enough to cast off. And it fits!

When I finished we were in the middle of the Indian Summer called September (hence I am modelling it with a sleeveless tee shirt!) so I have only just begun to wear it but it is just fab, soft, fluffy, warm and BIG!

The pattern, or perhaps I should say very brief instructions, can be found on my Ravelry page HERE

If you do make one, and they are super quick to make, do please leave a comment on my project page I would love to see how other people interpret the design