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Medicinal knit

Medicinal knit

What do you like to watch on tv/dvd when you’re curled up in bed ill? Do you remember The Clangers? – the friendly little pink creatures that conversed in whistles and lived a peaceful existence on a blue moon, creating wonderful machines from salvaged objects and welcoming all manner of strange creatures to be their friends? Along with Bagpuss in the early 70s, The Clangers were nourishment for my little mind and soul back then – and ever since (just like tomato soup which I don’t normally eat anymore) they are never more craved than when I am feeling really ill!

Well, I’ve had a slightly scary episode of illness this weekend but now thankfully recovering at home and the tomato soup is lined up. But where are The Clangers?

Well Small Clanger, Tiny or maybe Granny Clanger will be joining me very shortly as I’m propped up in bed with my knitting bag, scraps of pink wool (a little hard to find in my house but my amazing DH did a grand job of hunting through my stash without complaining!) and … THE CLANGERS KNITTING PATTERN that I found here! … slight squeeeeeee of childlike excitement

They’ll be a screening of my favourite Clangers episodes later too – my girls love it! so there’s still a lot to be said for shoestring-budget arts and good storytelling … I’m feeling so much better already.

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Most wanted sweater

Most wanted sweater

I have been absolutely hooked on Danish drama series ‘The Killing‘ on BBC4. My obsession even extends to the gorgeous Nordic sweater worn day in, day out, by Sara Lund (actress Sofie Gråbøl).

Apart from being a great design, I think it’s because of the ease and comfort with which it’s worn and it makes me long to have a classic wool sweater again. My last one originally belonged to my Dad but I commandeered it in my student days to wear to college. Like a faithful, loyal old friend, ‘sweater’ and me survived art college, starting up a new home and through those first daunting years of motherhood – twice. The many colours of paint embedded in the stitchwork and cables could tell you the very minutiae of my life between the ages of 17–30. At that point, wearing thin and unravelling, I am ashamed to say that I finally binned it. So, I’m on a mission now – to replace that beloved old sweater. This time it will be different though. This time it will be hand-made by me.

I’m really thankful to my Dad though for loaning me his sweater. It’s like he never left my side throughout those years and I think the same can be said for gifting someone a personally hand-made sweater. If you would like to learn to knit there are lots of helpful knitting groups in and around Reading. Contact us if you’d like more details.

Other links for knitting patterns and support if you’re lucky enough to be able to afford the original Sara Lund sweater

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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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Outside:Inside Festival

This weekend we are mostly recovering from last weekend which was the finale of the Outside:Inside Festival that had been taking place all month in and out around Reading.

The arrival of Outcasts on the scene last Saturday was heralded by a flurry of press activity; the terms “renegade knitters” and “GIANT picnic blanket” were used to whip up the festival goers in to a knitting frenzy.

We set up shop in Market Place with Outcastian Knitting for Art’s knitted graffiti hung around us and our GIANT picnic blanket being worked on throughout the day. It was very exciting with live knitting, crochet and sewing-up out on the streets.

There were lots of lovely people who stopped to say hello, or to rest their feet and have a quick knit. We were even given a bottle of beer by some fellow who obviously thought we needed it!

It was great day and very cool to be part of such a wonderful festival!

Checkout Outcasts on Facebook for further photos of the event.

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anyone for a beer?

anyone for a beer?

mmmmm, beer and sunshine – quick, only sunny for at least the next 36 hours….. want to meet at the pub tomorrow instead of inside?

You could always have a glass of wine instead or a cup of tea ….

So knit night is from 7pm, sat outside the 3b’s – sounds perfect

If only my special Ravelry beer glasses were here….. get them whilst you can on Ravelry!

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