There is a project that makes my mind boggle at the sheer time, dedication and mastery of the craft that will be required to create it?
You already know that generally I do not knit fair isle. I have created a sweet little pinafore with a row of hearts – which were created with yarns stranded across the back – a very simple Fair Isle. My boats on little boys sweaters were done with intarsia. When I had a knitting machine eons ago – I did manage to create pieces with Fair isle designs.
You also know that I attended a workshop in Amsterdam with Danish knit designer and artist Christel Seyfarth
Christel lives and works on the Danish island of Fano. The changing tides, the special light and the sky are all important source of inspiration for her special and unique knit designs. She is fascinated by traditional clothes and takes the old patterns and designs and translates them into modern creations and her creations are in Fair Isle. She showed us at that workshop in Amsterdam that although it looks complex it is in fact simple fair isle. Her work is amazing in its construction, colour use and the finishing is just superb.
I was gobsmacked on that day and I still think of it with a great deal of pleasure – for all sorts of reasons. We both love the sea and light, our environments, colours, and yarns. There is pleasure in all of those things – but I simply cannot imagine myself with the skills and patience and the dedication to create one of her truely amazing pieces and I am terrified of steeks. Piffle you say! No it is not piffle.
It is not the Fair Isle, that seems to be as easy as Christel has said. It is not the colour – I am in love with colour. The pieces are made in rectangles and triangles – easy. It is the techniques including the steeks, and the dramatic finishing of each piece.
Do I have the patience, the skills, the confidence? I don’t actually know.
So my challenge is to knit a piece designed by Christel Seyfarth. On my “to do” list for me, that is the finished piece which will be created by me will also be for me. It will have to wait until we have settled back in New Zealand. So the winter of 2012 on New Zealand – that will be July to September 2012 – my big project will be a Christel Seyfarth design. It will include steeks – which as I have said already, quite frankly terrify me.
I am no longer going to be a scaredy cat regarding steeks. So there.
Am I a fibre enthusiast?
Well, yes and no. It entirely depends on the creation.
If, like me, you play with colour and create using needles, hooks and pins then it is possible that any fibre will do as long as the colour works for you. So it could be that being a fibre gatherer could really mean that you are a colour coordinator and that what you create just happens to be of a fibre.
Now even though I adore 100% wools, mohair, Angora, cashmere, silk, cotton, alpaca, bamboo, soy, ribbon, fun faux fur, possum and all the betwixts and betweens my first real step to fibre use was the need to create garments for babies as cheaply as possible. I used the yarns I found in the bargain bins and the techniques of knitting and crochet were the means to that end. What did happen for me was that I acquired a great range of yarns of many colours but with very few or only one ball of each – hence colour work became my norm very early on. The fibres were whatever I could purchase cheaply enough and I did not aim to create with any specific yarn type other than the yarn needing to knit at the same tension. I did avoid where possible the early acrylics which were very nasty yarns indeed.
Does that make me a fibre enthusiast or a colour enthusiast?
While I knitted and created pieces of many different yarns I am desirous of having the opportunity of working with the wonderful silky Qiviut fibre from the downy undercoat of the musk ox so it seems I could also be a fibre enthusiast whatever it is that I have said here.
A cautionary tale is a tale told in folklore, to warn its hearer of a danger.
My cautionary tale is that should you feel the need to create with yarn – if you follow my path of buying all and everything by colour you will end up with a stash of many many yarns. They will be of many many types, of a range of thicknesses and you may also end up always knitting and crocheting with many colours in one piece to enable you to work through that stash. It could be dangerous.
For me this is a good place, for others who have viewed both my stash and my work, they are of the opinion that it belongs with me and they will just purchase exactly what is required to create exactly what they wish to knit or crochet.
Yes I didn’t like the early acylic yarns and I would love to knit with Qiviut – so I am probably a fibre and colour enthusiast.
I recently did a bit of a rave about Grannyg. She, that is Grannyg has a mission to save the world – one craft at a time, and she is doing very well at it, even on her own – she knits, spins, weaves, sews and bakes (I am told gloriously well). Oh, and she drinks coffee. I guess she must also drink tea given that the website is called Crafternoon Tea with Grannyg or maybe the name was a decision born to fill a rhyming need as Crafternoon Coffee with Grannyg does not work at all well.
Well Grannyg and I had a long talk a couple of weeks ago and today the podcast is up and ready so if you are at all curious about podcasts on crafts in, or to do with New Zealand and New Zealanders then do listen to it.
Now I am Danish born, but I certainly sound like a New Zealander as you will hear. It is not so surprising as I have lived in New Zealand since December 28th 1948. Of course it is possible that it was the 29th, I just can’t quite recall, it being a wee while ago and at that time I was of an age where dates were not quite so important to me.
We established I have a long history with New Zealand including the craft / art / knitting world and as such am qualified to be interviewed, and what a fun interview that was. It did run on a bit, as it does when you are discussing stuff dear to your heart and it was great fun. Fortunately Grannyg being a very technically au fait granny, she has edited it a bit.
And if you think I laugh and sound like a smoker – believe me I am not and have never been. I spoke to Best Beloved about that and he reminded me that on the day I had a bad air day. What do you think of that – he noticed my bad air day, never ever notices my bad hair days. He was downstairs while Grannyg was interviewing me, or was that while we were talking about stuff we both love. No, it really was an interview.
Isn’t technology great – we spoke across the airwaves, and now I can, and I hope you do as well, we can listen to it over the airwaves – clear as day.
Sorry – I forgot say – we are living in Haarlem, in the Netherlands, In North Holland, which is why this was an interview via the ether. I am calmer about ether today you will note. We have been here in the Netherlands just over 2 years and will return to New Zealand late next year. In the meantime my Best Beloved is working, and I am designing and knitting, just filling in the days with yarn, ideas, colours and even patterns.
I hope these patterns and I probably have several hundred partially written or connie knithand notes that will become patterns. These here patterns are to be sold so I can continue my passion for yarns. I will quietly curl up my toes as the New Zealand pension is unlikely to be sufficient to cover my yarn needs.
Please go look and then listen. It will help Grannyg with her quest and with luck it will also help me with mine – and please forward the link.
When we spoke; Grannyg and I, I didn’t manage to tell her of all my crafty exploits over many of my years, but I do thank Grannyg for reminding me or encouraging me to recall the crafty and sometimes arty things I have done.
The first and only recognition of my mainly suspect skills in floral art was a design on a sand saucer. I was probably about 8 or 9. I won a certificate for a little decorated saucer of sand. The only flowers I recall using were “Love-in-a-mist”. This I knew because our wonderful next door neighbour was a Mrs Mosely, and she had given to me a wonderfully illustrated little book of plants and those illustrations were painted. WOW! what I would give to own that little book now. Digressing again, sorry.
Mrs Mosely allowed me to pick flowers from her beautiful garden, hence I won a certificate.
Knowing her probably began my love of gardening as she and my Moster Maria were the most amazing gardeners that I knew as a child. Giving to me this wonderful book, which sadly I no longer have, helped me early on to know and love plants and flowers.
I should mention that my mother also gardened, but she had my father to contend with, he mowed everything. Whoops, they were freesias you say. Looked like grass to me.
And of course loving flowers and nature helps one to know just how colours work together. You have heard the phrase can’t wear blue – there are hundreds of blues, one of them will be right for you. Can’t use red and green together in a piece. Huh! why not – nature does. Do you walk outside and say “help! I can’t cope with the colour combinations”. I don’t think so – there are surprises out there so use the surprises in your own creative work.
You just have to play with colours and yarns and fabrics and embellishments – and there will be something just perfect for you to discover. So go and play.
**** “Freesia alba ‘Burtonii’ arose in New Zealand and is very widely grown there. The flowers are creamy yellow and lack the purple flush in the top petal. The photo above is of a naturalised clump in a garden in Whakatane, NZ, taken on 11th September 05 by Peter Richardson” ****
****if you follow the BBC link and are gardening in the Southern Hemisphere – Love in a Mist is a summer flower in the UK, and flowers in spring in New Zealand****
Another story for another day though – I did a floristry course with a wonderful florist in Pt Chevalier (NZ) some years ago and I loved it.
Refined sophistication – buttoned up collars
Military / aviation
Lingerie as outerwear
the cut out / cutaway – with the cut out pieces worked directly on top of skin or ‘filled in’ with sheer fabrics, detailing can be subtle to sexy
Knee high socks or over the knee socks, or even thigh high socks
Women’s camel coat
Neo double breasted jackets
Sheer clothing /cut outs – mixed with fine laces, the sheer trend mixing elegance with sex appeal
Thigh high boots
Shoes with socks
Socks under heels
Fur boots & mukluks
I know fashion is fun, I absolutely love fashion, but I don’t wear fashion. How bizarre is that. I guess it is that fashion clothing like all clothing should be fit for purpose, and is not the purpose to keep warm in colder times?
I want wool, mohair, alpaca, knitting, crochet, weaving, colour, color, yarn, garn, woll, felt, filt, layers, and I want warmth, pleasure, comfort, and a little usefulness. I am going to create something for WoolOn that will be fit for purpose, created mainly of wool, and in many colours, and a style or shape or design which is edgy and out there. It must also be in Vogue – Somehow.
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Art, Craft & Fibre Art Connections and other interesting sites
- A Gallery of Artists
- Craft Site Directory – Your Guide to Arts and Crafts on the Internet
- Crafternoon tea with Grannyg
- Creative Knitting Online Magazine
- European Textile Network
- Fiber Gypsy – Gallery of Fiber Artists
- Florence Biennale
- HotHive Textiles – the world of creative textiles
- Interweave Knits Magazine
- Jamie R. Morhaim – Paintings
- Japanese Knitters and Designers website
- Knitter's – The Knitting Universe
- Knitter's Graph Paper
- Lisa's Handspun Designs
- Lucire – The Global Fashion Magazine
- Marian Towns – Artist
- Melanie Ferdon
- Mishi Yarns
- Naughty Knitterz – The Internet Fiber Collaboration
- New Zealand’s Information Network
- Old Fart Expats
- Textile Arts – Resources for the textile arts community
- Textile Fibre Forum – The Australian Forum for Textile Arts
- The Big Idea Te Aria Nui
- The Knitting Guild Association
- Top 50 Knitting Sites
- Twisted Thread
- Visit New Zealand by TravelIndex
- Vogue Knitting
- World arts & artists – An arts portal
- WTA – World Textile Art Organisation