60 years ago in 1951 the Festival of Britain was held, and the Royal Festival Hall (the clue is in the name there) was opened. Here and now in 2011 there is a festival of the Festival, and the RFH and the Southbank are all decked out to celebrate and commemorate. There are phrases that sum up a British Summer Holiday:
Anyone on a seaside holiday will have heard one of those unless they were very lucky.
(As far as I know no-one actually knows why they are called 99s)
And of course there is that homage to the Great British Classic, Fish & Chips:
(those people just would not move so I could get a better shot!)
There is bunting:
And there is a small but perfectly formed exhibition about the original Festival and all the design that went into it.
We went on Sunday and were charmed. If you can, get down there and have a look round, lots of the events are free and the Southbank is just a lovely place to wander around. There is plenty of opportunity for refreshment including a pop-up cafe by Dishoom who are producing Indian versions of classic Brit food (as opposed to Chicken Tikka Masala, which is a dish of dubious origins and probably a mash-up of several Indian classics produced to cater to non-Indian tastes, but a British classic all the same). We had a fried egg naan and a bacon naan ‘sandwich’ and very good they were too.
Posted: May 24th, 2011
Categories: general wittering
Comments: 1 Comment
Trueman first appeared in The Knitter, and when I saw the name it never occured to me that it was named for Fred Trueman, the Yorkshire, Derbyshire and England cricketer as the design theme for the issue was ‘Screen Sirens’ and I had assumed some glamorous, Hollywood / American naming and was mainly thinking of Truman Capote, of whom there are some terribly polished, glamorous photos (none of which had been in any way inspriational, however).
this pic was taken by Richard Avedon in 1955, and I love it.
and this one by Carl Van Vechtan in 1948
Anyway, it doesn’t strike me as being even vaguely like a cricket sweater. But in honour of Fiery Fred, as Trueman was known, we thought that as we needed to re-photograph anyway we’d go for a slightly sporty look. And the sun was shining, so there you go.
There are tiny cable details and eyelets too to lengthen the silhouette and bodyline (see, I’m getting the cricket references in now) which grow directly out of the ribbing on body and sleeves.
Trueman is knitted in Lang Merino 150 4-ply, which comes in a host of colours and is a fabulous, springy yarn that is a joy to knit, but you could probably sub Debbie Bliss Rialto 4-ply without too much trouble. Trueman would be equally at home in the pub or the office as well as lounging around a park or cricket pitch. It’s easily customisable length-wise, and would actually be very nice as a boyfriend-fit, girly sweater for autumn.
Find the Trueman pattern here.
Posted: May 18th, 2011
Comments: No Comments
Stonor is not (as I in my ignorance of all things north of Huddersfield thought) an island somewhere off Scotland, it seems that my ignorance of all geography much further west than Heathrow Airport is just as great and it is a village in Oxfordshire. Still, you live and learn (but doesn’t it sound Northern?). It is also the name that Jeni at Fyberspates has picked for my design in her new Scrumptious book.
Stonor is in the 4-ply weight of Scrumptious which is a 2-ply yarn (as opposed to the more roving-esq aran weight that Carmine was knitted in), and I like it better because of this construction. I do like my yarns constructed, if you know what I mean, but that’s just me. I like plys. Plies? Whatever. It’s knitted in the very shiny lovely Teal shade, so shiny it’s almost metallic.
You can’t really see from this photo, but there’s a cable-esq yoke to it over the dinky lace body – I say ‘cable-esq’ as it’s not a traditional cable, but you’ll have to buy the book to see more of it! The body has deep ribs and is then knitted in a dinky (and easy) lace stitch. It has to be an easy lace stitch as whilst I will attempt any cable going, I am generally bad at keeping track of lace patterns and if they’re not easily memorised then I just give up. Even on a swatch.
There are also 19 other patterns in the book, I am told, for garments and accessories and covering all available weights of Scrumptious so if you want to find out more visit Jeni’s blog here, or pop over to Ravelry to see the Scrumptious page here to see previews of the other designs and then you can dash off, wave your credit card and pre-order the book here, I believe (well, very soon).
Posted: May 17th, 2011
Comments: 2 Comments
Wildlife in the garden. Ev is not impressed. I heard her muttering ‘flea-ridden vermin’ under her breath, and she has ventured out for the first time in ages, presumably to claim the garden as hers. Could be interesting.
Posted: May 14th, 2011
Categories: weekend whimsy
Comments: 1 Comment
So, if anyone’s still interested after all this time (oops, a super-duper ‘holiday of a lifetime’ got in the way) this is how I bleached the denim for Mizu. You need yarn, bleach and if you’re being careful (unlike me) gloves to protect your hands, an apron to protect your clothes and newspaper / plastic sheet to protect the immediate area. I am cavalier with this as I’ve done it so many times and there’s nothing around really to get spoilt by bleach, but I know I am generally quite lax about such things and others, erm, aren’t. Whatever you prefer. This is not a full 50g ball being bleached or even the Tennessee shade, just a part-ball of Memphis leftover from something else so the quantities of water and bleach are reduced but the same ratio of water : bleach is used.
So, first of all make your yarn into a skein / hank (call it what you will). As you can see I wound it around a picture frame as I don’t possess a swift. It doesn’t really matter how big you make your skeins, this one is has a circumference of around 140cm, if yours is bigger then the final colour sequence will knit up over more rows of the pattern, if smaller then it will knit over fewer rows.
Secure the skein to prevent it tangling hideously, I’ve tied it in 4 places with a contrasting yarn to make it easier to show. 4 places is about the right ratio of not-tangling-obsession and laziness – you could do it more times if you’re particularly OCD but it’s not really necessary – certainly don’t do it less, though (ask me how I know).
Next, soak the skein in warm soapy water to make it easy for the bleach solution to penetrate. Now make up your bleach solution. For the 11 balls of yarn used for Mizu I mixed 500ml of bleach with 15 litres of water, a ratio of 1:30. So for this small skein I’m going to use 20ml of bleach to 600ml of water in a glass jug, swooshed around with an old knitting needle to mix. (600 / 20 = 30).
Arrange the skein in the bleach solution so that approximately 2/3rds of it is submerged. Swish it around gently and leave it to marinate a while to give the bleach time to work. Lift it out every now and then and have a look at the sort of colour you’re getting, you’re aiming for a mid-tone here. When you’ve got the blue you like, take it out completely and give it a good rinse under running water.
Now place the bottom 1/3rd of the skein back into the solution, swoosh about gently again and then leave until you’ve got the lightest shade of blue you want.
Again, keep watching it, different bleaches work at different rates and only you know quite what shade you’re aiming for. With this, the phone rang whilst the first 2/3rds of the skein were submerged and when I came back to it the skein had slipped further into the bleach solution than I would have liked so there is less of the original ‘Memphis’ blue left than I would really have wanted. When you’re at the 2 new, lighter shades you want, lift it out, chuck the bleach solution down the sink and give your yarn a thorough rinse under running water. Then give it a gentle wash in warm water with some sort of soap, dishwashing liquid will do. This is just to remove any remaining bleach solution so it doesn’t irritate your hands whilst you’re knitting. Rinse again, and then hang your skeins up somewhere to dry.
Once dry, wind back into balls and start knitting. If you keep all of your skeins the same way up (if you see what I mean) when you’re bleaching them (in other words, with the ends of the skeins out of the bleach solution) then when you re-wind them you should be starting each section at roughly the same point in the colour sequence so that your cushion will have a fairly uniform pattern of blues across it like mine. I would never bother doing this for socks with the self-patterning yarn you get (mind you, I never really bother knitting socks anyway, that’s what Marks and Spencer is for) but I would make the effort here. Mainly because really it’s not that much effort and it is a bit of fun. Confession: generally, I am a lazy knitter.
Posted: May 13th, 2011
Comments: 3 Comments