Archive | November, 2010

what is a knitter?

This post is devoted to the ideas that anyone can be a knitter and a knitter can be anything else too – being a knitter isn’t mutually exclusive to being a homemaker, or a stereotype of being old – hell, I think I am young (but that may be as my mind is permanently set at the age of 24 < it was a good year!) but if you ask my teenage children I am obviously geriatric in my years. In fact ticking any form and filling in a box further down the page fills me with the idea that no matter how young I feel, how much energy I may have, other peoples perceptions of my age group is probably not what I want it to be.

The same can be said of knitting, yes, it may have been having a resurgence in the past few years but isn't the idea of being cool, not even knowing that you are? I work in the arts, across many fields, in fact I am an artist by training but hearing at a meeting the other day about the organisation I work at (jelly) being mentioned in a derogatory way as *oh, they're the knitters* by someone made me see red. Firstly by the implication of knitting being somehow minor and not being able to connect with people (think of the project we recently did in Jacksons, new friendships, Outside Inside festival, developing creativity) and secondly that jelly works with so many people in so many artforms that it made me understand that the problem lay not with the knitting nor the organisation but with that particular persons perceptions of the value of the arts (but don't get me started there).

The definition of a knitter (n.) One who, or that which, knits, joins, or unites; a knitting machine made me smile, take away the activity and think about why we meet – it’s about joining in, sharing, uniting, being with people who’s paths you may be unlikely to cross for geographic, political, social or religious reasons. Sit at knit night and listen to different people talk, engineer, designer, geneaologist, mums, artists, HR, linguists, researcher, product development, new technology, student and the list goes on.

So here, go see work that’s by a *knitter*

Susan Clark, 27/28 Market Place Reading

Sue Clark’s work is inhabiting the window at 27/28 Market Place.

Bird House number 3

I tell stories through collected objects and my own drawings and textiles. I use my imagination to make up explanations for things that I don’t quite understand, and am inspired by museum displays, full notebooks, collections, travelling, writing and open spaces. I use boxes, rooms, bottles and cases to frame or contain my assembled objects. And then there’s a lot more collecting, rearranging and editing until a story begins to emerge. It might be a chance juxtaposition or an unexpected cropping that sets off a train of thought. And then I draw, sew, knit and print to bring it all together. My work rarely turns out to be a picture on a wall. It’s more likely to be a three dimensional, narrative piece with a strong sense of place

Susan Clark, Bird House no 3

All photos © Barbara Ghiringhelli 2010

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knit day

knit day

Every second Wednesday of the month between 1-2.45pm at Jelly.

Everybody welcome.

So far we tend to be retired women and stay at home mummies (little ones are welcome too). We love the age differences for chatting about knitting, parenthood and everything.

Outcast knit days would be ideal for working knitters who have a lunch break in town. Tea and biscuits and great knitting company -all for 50p!

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Winchester School of Art Knitting Reference Library

Just wanted to share with you some info on the wonderful knitting reference library at Winchester School of Art which is available to all knitting enthusiasts to use to source patterns and inspiration (booking a place is essential – more info to follow below).

The library includes a collection of magazines, photographs, postcards and books related to knitting. There is also an archive of knitting patterns dating as far back to the early 1800s. Some of the patterns from the 19th Century in the Richard Rutt collection are now available to view onlinehere. The reference library was founded on the collections of 3 knitting archivists – Jane Waller, Richard Rutt and Montse Stanley.

The Montse Stanley collection was accquired by Winchester School of art after her death in 1999. Many Outcast knitters will be aware of her book ‘The Handknitters Handbook’, first published in 1986. Alongside publishing books she also lectured and taught hand knitting. Her vocation was to share her love and passion for hand knitting and now can be viewed by all. The collection has been divided and housed in two different locations. Her collection of objects and garments can be viewed at Hartley Library on the Southampton University campus and her collection of books, magazines, photographs and postcards are available to view at Winchester School of Art.

To make an appointment to view the collection contact Winchester School of art via email: or telephone: +44 (0) 23 8059 8531

To visit the Hartley Library email: or write to:
Special Collections
Hartley Library
University of Southampton
SO17 1BJ

Don’t be shy – Winchester School of Art and Hartley Library welcomes all knitters. Winchester is a lovely place to visit and whilst you are there The Hambledon is worth a look.

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another animation

I found a hand knitted and stitched stop motion animation, made and edited by Emily Peterson Dunne on YouTube (I should have been working). I like the tiny room and books, and the woollen sea, and the fact that it always seems to be night-time. It’s seven and a half minutes long, and I’d recommend it if you want to escape for a few minutes.

Yankel’s Gift

More from Emily can be found here

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Craft fair this Saturday

There’s going to be a traditional craft fair at the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading this Saturday (06/11). I’m going to be there with my half+half cushions and bags. There are two other knitters involved who I don’t know. Also ceramics, jewellery, embroidery, etchings and painting. And also someone with honey and beeswax. Details about times, venue and cost are on the poster. It’s the first craft fair they’ve held there – all support welcome.

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Photo Walking

Hello knitters, I’d like to take a departure from our usual knitting-related fare to talk about some other arts around our area.

All sorts of important cities have groups sprung up with organised photo walks, from Toronto to London to Jo’burg to Santiago and on.  Why not have one in our own backyard? 

Starting this fall I will be organising a Reading Photo Walk for our area, with different routes planned for each trip.  Hoping to do this every 6 weeks or so, depending on interest. 

There’s a page but I warn you, it is not really set up!  (Don’t say I didn’t warn you :) )

I’m looking at all the different activities and areas we have around Reading and trying to come up with a plan, as well as for routes, themes, and groups to link in with.  To start with, I’ll be finishing up the website and planning a first trial day before Christmas. 

If anyone has any ideas or wants to get involved, please email me at

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