Archive | October, 2010

Wool e-motion

If last weeks spending cuts have brought a chill to your bones, this may be a comforting little antidote. Take a look at this beautiful stop-motion animation of wool spreading it’s cosy warmth around a home. I love the water from the shower running through the fingers.

I made the girls watch it this morning and after much amazed cooing they decided to try making one of their own. Here’s their animation effort, with myself supplying the knitting.

Not a bad way to spend a wet half-term morning but makes you begin to realise the sheer number of hours that must have gone in to crafting just a few seconds of aesthetic pleasure. The original version of course was filmed by frogging the fully knitted articles and then running the film backwards. I can think of a few projects I’d gladly frog for the making of a film but not this one.

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A cautionary tale

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Sheffield) there lived a knitter (me) and her other half (OH). Being further north than we are now we could afford to rent a bigger flat than we can here. It had two bedrooms, a whole kitchen, a bathroom with a bath (can you believe it?) and a vast expanse of cream carpeted living room.

Our story begins the morning after my birthday. OH was in the shower and I was sat on the sofa in pyjamas and dressing gown with a big cup of tea, happily reading my birthday present from my parents: Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook. This is a hefty tome of a cookery book by one of the best cookery writers around, covering everything from how to bone a chicken to baking bread. Think of it like a volume of the Encyclopaedia Britannica and you get an idea of the size and weight.

All that reading about food was making me hungry and I put the book down to do some knitting. I was attempting to knit a jumper from a ‘Learn to knit’ book – it was a unisex stocking stitch raglan jumper made from 4 ply cotton on 3mm needles. This was before I started knitting with circular needles and I had some long, metal, pointy, 3mm needles. Just before I picked up the needles I took a quick peek into my mug and realised I’d run out of tea. Knitting without tea is not something I ever do and was not something I was about to start doing then. I got up to go make us some more tea, tripped over Mary Berry and landed on – have you guessed it? – my knitting.

My left foot landed on the end of one of the needles and then the somehow the end wasn’t under my foot but in my foot. It went in between my big toe and my next toe along (index toe?), just under the skin, about 2 inches deep. Now, I wear spectacles but I wasn’t wearing them at that moment. Without them I can’t see things as thin as that knitting needle when they’re as far away as my foot. I just felt pain.

I start screaming, OH hops out the shower to see what’s going on (also without his spectacles, also unable to see anything) and manages to understand that I have a needle lodged in my foot. There’s blood dripping and I’m actually screaming that we can’t get any blood on the amazing cream carpet, but he ignores me and pulls it out. The needle was bent in a right angle so it must have gone in with some force. OH can’t drive but we decide having a large stick of metal in your foot probably requires a visit to the hospital and since it was my left foot and I drive an automatic I could actually drive myself. OH gets dressed and then spends 20 farcical minutes trying to help me get dressed while I hop about crying and worrying that my hair is all over the place.

By the time we have done all this the bleeding has stopped and though very swollen my foot doesn’t actually look too bad. I can still wiggle my toes and I have stopped crying. We decide not to go to the hospital after all. OH helps me hobble back into the living room and plonks me on the sofa. He brings me a cup of tea. I sit there. I look at the tea. I look at the TV. I look at my foot. I look at my mangled knitting now safely out of harm’s way on the table. I realise that I can’t walk on my foot or go anywhere or do anything other than sit on the sofa with a cup of tea. Normally, this would be great, normally I could knit away for a whole weekend and be happy. But one of my long, pointy, metal, 3mm needles is bent and I am unable to knit.

OH, valiant man that he is, takes the bent needle, washes the blood off it and tries to straighten it with some pliers. It doesn’t work and only scrapes off the paint. I was most unhappy that this hadn’t solved my no needle issue and OH, realising he was stuck with me in the living room being this grumpy all weekend unless something was done, headed down the road to our local knitting shop and bought me some new needles.

I spent the whole weekend knitting and finished a section of my jumper. It turned out once I’d done all the sections that none of them were the same size and even when I re-knitted them they still came out different sizes. In the end I kept it hidden for 4 years and then finally gave it away to another knitter on the understanding they could do whatever they wanted with it as long as they didn’t show it to me.

My foot was fine and still is, though when I swim front crawl the toes nearest to where the needle went in move of their own accord. I can live with that.

The End.

Oh, no, wait, I’ve forgotten my moral. And the moral of the story is… don’t leave your knitting lying on the floor, instead put it away in a bag and then you won’t tread on it by mistake. Or maybe it’s don’t knit anything involving thin cotton yarn when you’re a beginner knitter? Or perhaps make sure you live with someone who’s willing to source needles for you if you can’t knit and can’t get to a yarn shop? Nope, I know what it is – don’t live somewhere with cream carpet.

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olek for abc no rio

Just a few people who inspire me.

Just a few People that  inspire me…….crochet seen in different ways and not the traditional.

Blog first


Aka Denise Litchfield and hound. (Couldn’t find name, sorry)

Australia’s best known knitted graffiti artist, an artist in her own right pre street knit, she shares her beautiful sketch books every now and then.

She began to use knit and crochet to brighten up her local area at a time when it was just simply unheard Of.

From decorating sign posts to knitting a public convenience, Im listing but a few of her many community projects.

Her posts are always bright fun and extremely heart felt for the craft she has a huge passion for.

Crochet Artist


How did I discover her, She was a random goggle hit that simply intrigued me, titled as New York’s most prolific crocheter, using only Crochet for Art.

I think if the TV, person, dog is still for to long Olek covers it in a blanket of crochet.  Quiet a character in appearance little is known about her.

Her style is basically using the same stitch and colour themes for each project, army combat best described but not in traditional colour, bizarre but I like it.  In her Most recent projects she has begun to add lettering, another big plus in my book;-).

Olek quoted

Due to the labor-intensive nature of my work, I often find myself alone for hours and days… creating a desire to connect with other artists, thus collaborations are always a welcomed opportunity.  The 2nd floor exhibition Tied by the Yarn.

(Olek’s Collaborators), is a product of sweat, alcohol, arguments and friendship.

Picture taken from…..Christopher Henry Gallery

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Nuit Blanche

Nuit Blanche

Counting down to Nuit Blanche…. the outcasts will be in the ArtPad knitting nightcaps…

Nuit Blanche is an exciting “cultural all-nighter” presenting contemporary art events from dusk to dawn. It enlivens cities all round the world such as Paris, Berlin and Toronto, and 2010 is the debut for Reading. This first year will be a small but magical series of indoor and outdoor events on the night of 15/16 October.

The Nuit Blanche Reading website will list the program organised by partners OpenHand OpenSpace, jelly, Whitley Arts Festival, Rising Sun Arts Centre and arjeea21, with activities in the Town Centre, Whitley,
and the Keep on Oxford Road supported by Reading UK CIC and Reading Borough Council. New events will be added as people join in, so keep checking back to and prepare to become cultural night owls.

A taster of the evening includes:

Sunset Walk, Restoration Centre, Dawlish Road, Whitley, Friday 15th October, Meet from 5.15pm, leaving 5.40pm

Join the sunset walk, with artist Jo Thomas from The Restoration Centre to the Water Meadows in Whitley (20 minute walk) to watch the sunset at 6.11pm. During the experience you will encounter the instruments and artifacts that artist Jo Thomas has created in the previous two months. After the sunset walk, a narrow boat will take you into Reading Town Centre where you can experience other events taking place as part of Nuit Blanche

Diamond necklace Affair, Mirren Kessling

Toile de Joi, Friday 15 October 6.00 -12.00, 173 Friar Street
Special creation by Mirren Kessling: “Toile de Joi” 15 Oct 6-12pm. Work will be shown there until 31 Oct. Gallery 3 is part of the Whitley Arts Festival and this year is being curated by jelly’s Open for Art Project, funded by Reading UK CIC. There will be no public access to the space.

Lit Forest, Friday 15 October 6 – 10pm, Market Place, Reading
The Lit Forest will be a light installation in Market Place; supported by Blachere Illumination (UK) Ltd
Blachere are the provider of the town centre festive lighting displays, funded by Reading UK CIC through the Business Improvement District. Blachere is supporting a drawing activity being delivered by the jelly team where participants will be invited to create their own light design

photgraphy by Salvo Toscano

Night Photographers, The Artpad, 3rd Floor, 42 Market Place, Reading 6 – 8.30pm A special photo studio where photographer, Salvo Toscano, will be photographing 100 visitors to the Nuit Blanche event using a medium format camera and roll film. Salvo will then lead one of the artists talks around Reading at 8.50, bring your camera along and join in. Any photos taken that night can be added to the Nuit Blanche Reading flickr group.

The Artpad 3rd floor, 42 Market Place Fri 15 Oct 6-12pm An evening of creativity up at jelly’s artpad, including spoken word workshops, knitters knitting night caps, sound workshops, projections, a creative space. Art walks will leave the artpad at 6.50pm, 8.50pm and 10.50pm. Pop up for an update on what’s happening and where. Please note there is limited access to the space

Hereabouts Fri 15 Oct, 6.30 – 9pm, Reading Town Hall. Projections and interventions by Jo Thomas as part of her Hereabouts exhibition, WAF’s major art commission for 2010

St Marys Project
, Friday 15th October 9.00pm – 10.30pm, St Mary’s Church, Reading Town Centre

In its second year Chris Lambert (MFZ Productions) and visual projectionist Porij re-vision the iconic St Mary’s Church and its surroundings with music and visuals that challenge and illuminate the historic building. The project is curated by Whitley Arts Festival, supported by the Open for Art Project

Parcel Fever, From 6pm 15 October until 5am 16 October
, Event takes place on the ground floor of the Keep, 571 Oxford Road, Tilehurst, Reading RG30 1H
An art exhibition celebrating the anticipation and enjoyment of unwrapping parcels. Instead of the usual procedure where submitted work is unwrapped and installed beforehand, the whole process will be enjoyed by all. The evening/night is likely to consist of artists and visitors hanging out together, unwrapping art, setting it up, looking at it, playing with it, eating and drinking, trying to keep warm and not to go to sleep!

The Dawn Chorus, Sunrise Market Place/ Forbury Gardens

See in the sunrise by joining the dawn chorus.
The Retreat Singers are absorbing guest singers for the Dawn Chorus @ Reading Nuit Blanche. Rehearsals at the Jelly for two weeks, culminating in a dawn chorus, 6am on Saturday 16 October

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Rejection of the knitting is not rejection of the knitter

I tried to get Bonnie to wear a jumper I knitted her. I knitted it 3 years ago, far to big for her, and every year it has fit her better.

This year she won’t wear it.

The fact that ‘Mummy knitted it’ wasn’t good enough.

I think she’s a clever little cutie sometimes!
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