Estonian Knitting I: Traditions and Techniques

Years ago, I wrote the occasional piece for Selvedge. I pitched a few ideas to them for short features which combined the history of knitted textiles with some account of how they were actually made, but was told that any sort of technical instruction was verboten “we aren’t interested in how-tos.” But why not, I… Read More

Journal des Dames et des Modes

Over the past few months, while working on the project that has now become The Book of Haps, I’ve examined countless images of wrappable textiles. I’ve encountered many ways to wear such textiles, and also reflected on the many different contexts for their wearing. Some of these groups of images were very useful for me,… Read More

In the steps of Jane Gaugain

Wow, everyone! Thankyou so very much for your comments and emails in response to my last post. I’ve been really overwhelmed (and very moved) to read the diverse experiences of so many people who have knit that pattern, or had it knitted for them. Reading all your messages reminds me just how much I love… Read More

Miss Rachel’s yoke and gauntlets (a closer look!)

As discussed in the previous post, this design is inspired by an early nineteenth-century shawl, collected by Rachel Kay Shuttleworth, and now part of Gawthorpe Textile Collection. The colourful, ribbon-like bands of the shawl immediately reminded me of one of my favourite colourwork motifs, a small, simple pattern which resembles an interlocking vine. The pattern… Read More

Inspired by Gawthorpe

You may remember that, a couple of years ago, I was involved with a project to create a design inspired by the wonderful textile collections at Gawthorpe Hall. I designed the Richard the Roundhead tam, inspired by a crewel-work coverlet that Rachel Kay Shuttleworth had embroidered over several decades, in memory of her parliamentarian ancestor,… Read More

in which I discover Scottish Madras

The other day Brenda, my lovely neighbour, appeared with a piece of paper in her hand, a gift for me. When I unfolded it, the piece of paper turned out to be a rather interesting and very beautiful hand-painted floral design, which I could immediately tell was some sort of pattern repeat. But what sort… Read More

Lopi & Band interview

Today I want to share with you a conversation I recently had with Margret Linda Gunnlaugsdóttir and Ásdís Birgisdóttir – two of Iceland’s most important and influential designers of hand-knits. I knew of Ásdís and Linda’s work with the 1990s Icelandic magazine Lopi & Band, and was fascinated with their designs, which seemed really distinctive… Read More

A day at Sanquhar

Have you been to Sanquhar? I am ashamed to say that I hadn’t — until Saturday. Sanquhar Knitting Workshop was part of Glasgow University’s Knitting in the Round project and was held at A’ the Airts, a lovely community arts centre at the heart of Sanquhar. At the workshop May MacCormick, who has knitted literally… Read More

Great Tapestry of Scotland 60 – 92

There have been some interesting questions in the comments on my previous posts about the Great Scottish Tapestry. Elaine and Deborah asked what materials had been used in the creation of the tapestry – well, the stitchers used Peter Grieg linen and Appletons crewel wool throughout. Terry asked why it was called a tapestry at… Read More

Great Tapestry of Scotland 1-23

On Sunday I finally got to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland. I was completely blown away by the vision of Alistair Moffat (who produced the tapestry’s historical content and context), Andrew Crummy (the superb artist who designed these 160 panels) and perhaps especially by the skill and beauty of the work of the thousand… Read More

A Hap for Harriet

I have a new pattern out today! This is A Hap for Harriet. I recently heard that my friend, former colleague, and doctoral supervisor, Professor Harriet Guest, was about to retire, and I thought it might be nice to produce and name a design in her honour. Before I began, I had some discussion with… Read More

A conversation with Hélène Magnusson

(Hélène, Hiking and Knitting between Fire and Ice, against the spectacular backdrop of Eyjafjallajökull.) When I visited Iceland I had the very great pleasure of finally meeting Hélène Magnusson, whose research and designs I have admired for many years. I visited Hélène in her lovely home in Reykjavik, where we drank tea, ate some delicious… Read More