After many years of lusting over Fair Isle knitwear, Puffins and all things Ann Cleeves, I will be making the long journey to the Shetland Islands for Shetland Wool Week in September and I couldn’t be more excited. My Bousta Beanie is finished, my ferry, hostel, and classes are booked too, Lerwick, here I come!
It will be a long journey from here in Lancashire to Lerwick, 800 miles and 17 hours in total but it will be worth it to visit such a special place in the UK and knitting traditions. I will be taking my journal which was a Christmas gift from a very special friend last year as well as a travel journal. This is a first for me and I’m excited to journal and keep all of the postcards, my tickets, and photographs in one place.
But where do I start? My travel journal is from Paperchase The oversized A5 kraft multi-journal with dotted, squared and lined pages makes an ideal travel journal. I know it will be filled with mementos and inspiration for many new knitting projects and maybe a design or two.
The plan is that I am going to sew linen fabric to make a book sleeve for my cover so I can embroider the front cover of my Shetland travel journal. Pinterest has some amazing tutorials to make a composition book sleeve – like this one here
The Glasgow University knit forums is a wealth of knowledge and articles about the history of knitting and craft in general. This article from the Atlas Obscura includes accounts of remarkable women throughout modern wars who knitted messages into their knitting both on the home front and on the front lines.
Knitting became public property with War Office knitting parties to knit for the boys on the front lines. Unauthorised knitting patterns were banned due to rationing with the Make Do and Mend campaigns gaining momentum in the UK on the home front. Yarn companies such as Sirdar produced authorised patterns such as the one below to send out to loved ones overseas.
However, Knitting was taken to the front lines in many modern wars and used by female operatives to smuggle their messages past checkpoints and enemy guards to send their messages on to the authorities. from the American Revolutionary war to the Soviet Union, the old lady stereotype has been turned on its head by remarkable women using established codes. A far more secure method than pen and paper.
During WWII the Office of Censorship banned people from posting knitting patterns abroad, in case they contained coded messages
So next time you pick up a pattern, just think of the endless possibilities you have in your hand to create a secret message to your loved ones or other knitters in general, you will be carrying on a long line of espionage before you.
To all of those knitters who have gone before us. Ladies, We salute you!
Life lately here has been all about finishing projects. I have finished my Vintage Bullion crochet scarf from issue 7 of Pompom Quarterly. My new favourite magazine in Debbie Bliss’ new yarn for winter Roma, a merino alpaca chunky wool in teal blue.
Also featured is my Garter stitch hat bought from the Toft Alpaca shop during my visit to the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally last month. Knitted in grey and cream inter chunky yarn and alpaca.. yes! Alpaca pom pom.
Last Sunday I visited the sweetest coffee shop in my local area next to my new LYS. . Blyth Spirit emporium at the Wharf in Burscough, Lancashire. Nothing better then seriously good coffee and cake with my crafty friends.
Happy mail came Rachel at Tangled Yarn, My first skeins of Malabrigo Rios in Candombe and Arco Iris. This photo doesn’t do the colours justice.. Unbelievably soft and just as wonderful as people say they are. As you can see I have already started a new project. Wristwarmers in the Candombe. The arco iris will soon become a hat.
I never thought I would be writing this but here is the work in progress for Mattias. I have enjoyed doing this sweater more than I imagined. Colourwork knitting is addictive! my sweater has started to grow more that I imagined and a lot faster too. knitting on 5mm needles with Aran weight wool. I am knitting with Bergere de France Recycline yarn and its lovely! Really great soft wool and its recycled too, so good for the environment too.
Maybe a little ambitious for my first sweater but I want to learn something new from my projects. That is my knitting resolution for 2014. Over the last few weeks I have fallen a little more in love with Fair isle and the scandinavian knitting traditions than I had previously ( if that is even possible) . I love fair isle, cables and all those ‘complicated’ things to do with knitting.
Mattias has since grown a little bit more than when I took these photographs. I am hoping to finish the colourwork yoke soon and then begin the sleeves.
Great use of knitwear, stripes and denim.. I love this photograph because it really shows that traditional knitting and fashion go together like strawberries and cream. A true statement sweater jacket looks equally good with denim or a dress. What’s not to love..
Recently I have been drawn to colourwork knitting and the work of textile artist Kaffe Fassett. I have been inspired by his work although, there is no complicated ditches (yay!) It is simple enough for a beginner but really affective.
Simple stitches and beautiful colours. For me this is a winning combination. I hope to have my yarn delivered this week to work on the colour sequence for the Inspire cowl from Graphica. A free pattern from the Ravelry library. A simple shoulderhugging cowl in 3 weights 4ply/aran and chunky. I am going to do mine in 4ply. I am hoping to use up some of my stash.
I am currently in training for a new job this week so hopefully I will have some exciting news for you soon!
What are you working at the moment. I would love to hear from you!
Sweater weather has arrived in the UK and I am loving cable knits this season. I am loving the combination of cable sweater and leather trousers from street style. Jared Flood and his designs at Brooklyn Tweed are calling to me again.. My novice knitting skills aren’t good enough for the cables on Stranger cardigan from BT 11, yet but I am embarking on my Inversion Cardigan this week. I am hoping to have it finished for christmas. The Bray beanies are beautiful, I would love to turn my skein of Shelter in Hayloft into one of these..
All of these images can be found and more on my girlinknits board on Pinterest.