Friday, August 31, 2007

Its a wrap!

Well its been taken down, folded up, packed in to brown paper bags, and handed over or posted to all you wonderful knitters who contribute to Knit1 Blog1.

Trudy Bunny was very sad and nostalgic and had one last sit in the empty space remembering her midnight rambles with Lulu....

And Alex got rid of all traces......

We would love to see Trudy and Lulu anytime they wanted to check out a new exhibition here at Craft ACT. Meanwhile I must on with my scarf, I was hoping to be further ahead by the end of the exhibition than I am. I came to the very end of Happy spider's wool last night and I was going over the triangles that make up the scarf and I think, although I may be mistaken that my tension might be increasing as my triangles seem to be decreasing and the spiral tightening. I this just a sign of the stress of closing the show, or is it my old problem with knitting, my tension. Well there is nothing for it but to persevere. I will let you know how I go.....

Friday, August 24, 2007

Return of work

Hello to all Knit1 Blog1 participants - yes it has come to the end of show sad but true.

Jas, Alex and I are taking down the exhibition on Monday and work will be available from Tuesday. To you wonderful folk from further afar, we will be sending the work to you in the next week or so.

In addition I'll be emailing you too.

Here's a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated, who took the time out to take their knitting out of the world of blogs and put it into our world here at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre. It has been great to getting to know you all and hear your stories and share your thoughts about knitting and blogging. I have learnt so much about knitting and blogging and now I am interested to see where I go with that. Still mulling over what to do with this blog - its become a bit of a friend, a bit of a chore and definitely a door to many other places.


Last knit in

Thanks quilting mick for letting me know that Friday has kept you desk bound even though it isn't the end of the month!

But never fear Wendy our other faithful knit-in attendee turned up to do a few more rows on one of the brightest and happiest shawls we've seen in a long time.When she first arrived we think it was only about 1/3 of the length it is now, so we have taken photo's to demonstrate how much it has grown. Wendy just informed me that she is 150cm tall and so we figure it is about 140-145cm long, which is fantastic. The shawl is a special gift for her daughter who is getting married in November.
Well it is the last weekend of the Knit1 Blog1 the exhibition and on Monday the works will be packed up and sent back home. What then? Well this is the question - what will we do with Knit1 Blog1 the blog after Sunday? Any idea's?
I will be mullinh it over on the weekend.

Emily Howes

This is my first blog entry ever, which is extremely lax as I really like blogs. In fact I'm interested in them to the extent of devoting three years of my life on a PhD on the subject of what I refer to as "renegade craft" (after a fair in New York + Chicago of the same name). To me, at this early stage, my awkward definition for renegade craft is: an internet-based craft revival, mostly driven by young people who adopt hand-making as a means to circumvent the consumer cycle. Essentially, how does one disrupt a dependence on consumer goods from multinationals, the mass, the dodgy, the unethical? Make the stuff yourself. The objects they make are often quite street-based, contain pop culture references, are quite ironic, recycle materials and meanings. I'm still trying to put my finger on it, but the morbidly curious could check out to learn more.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

More pics & stories

We have had our professional photographer in to document Knit1 Blog1 and I tell you it always makes a difference. You should have seen the many poses of Lulu, the demands, the angles, the non stop badgering - but the effects were worth it! Never underestimate the cost of having a professional document your work, it always pays for itself, and for Lulu, the fashion world for lambs awaits.

Pics and stories all coming together.

I’ve dabbled in knitting at various times in my life, my mother and both grandmothers having taught and re-taught me as a kid, but it’s really taken off for me over the last few years. There are so many amazing creative people sharing their work online, not just the finished products but techniques, patterns, pitfalls, failed experiments, advice and encouragement. This broad community and these resources have made it possible for me and many others to try new things and broaden our skills.

I started my blog at in 2003 as a way to publish short pieces of writing. Slowly it has come to be more and more focused on the things I make, particularly knitting and felting.

I’ve been felting my knitting (this technique is more properly called fulling) for quite some time but feel I’ve only just scratched the surface in terms of the possibilities. I started out making small protective cases for cameras and ipods. Then I made bowls (both crocheted and knitted). These days I continue to experiment with various shapes of vessels, and options for embellishment.
Many people prefer to use a washing machine for felting, but I prefer hand-felting – seeing and feeling the transformation as it happens. The technique I use combines hot soapy water and agitation to open up the scales of the wool and make them shrink and cling together, with intermittent rinses in very cold water to ‘shock’ the wool into shrinking more. Under ‘Felting resources’ in the sidebar of my blog, there are links to several articles about felting and fulling.

Knitting is my natural resting state. It is always the same and ever changing. It challenges my creativity and feeds my soul.

Knitting has always been part of my life. My Mother and maternal Grandmother showed their love with the work of their hands. They are equally skilled knitters, sewers and embroiderers.

Knitting connects me these generations of other women.
Until joining out Stitch ‘n’ Bitch group, knitting was a solitary and often ill-regarded pursuit. Stitch ‘n’ Bitch and my blog brings into contact with other fibre freaks and textile terrors. It provides a community of acceptance- in the knitting blogsphere I’m not that weird.

The blog-friend who made these cats, Kate, has never met me (mainly because she lives in Perth and I am in Canberra), but we know a lot about each other from our blogs. She has a dog she loves and I have two cats, I love books and she loves writing. She wrote and excellent post one day about Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the vampire Slayer. I just happened to have picked up a Buffy comic at the Lifeline Book Fair, and decided, on a whim, to send it to her. She responds by knitting these cats for me. They are knitted versions of my own black cats, Mr Pooter and Mr Padge, whom I blog about regularly. I think I got the better half of the exchange!

My mother taught me to knit and crotchet when I was 8. The knitting didn’t stick, but the crochet did. Growing up in the tropics, woollen items of clothing weren’t often needed, but my mother usually knitted me a beautiful jumper to wear to the Townsville Show every July. Crochet was reserved for lacy tablecloths, dollies and the ever practical ripple rug. My own crochet skills were limited to dressing my Cindy and baby Alive dolls.

Fast forward to 1991 when I moved to Canberra. Mum sent be down here with my own ripple rug, but the loneliness and the need to be creative led me to crochet my own granny square afghan rug. Then I discovered sewing and quilting, a crotchet was once again put on the back burner.

A couple of years ago I took up the knitting needles again, but my frustration at not being able to “get it” was still there even though countless garter stitch scarves rolled off the needles that year. Then I found my crochet hooks and felt right at home again, crocheting scarves and hats and ripple rugs, tackling other designers’ patterns and creating my own designs.
My blog was created originally in 2004 to document my quilting and stitching, and it still does that. Currently my crocheting has taken over the blog- winter 2007 seems to have invigorated me to create extra warmth with my hooks and I am taking great delight in acquainting myself with different yarns and learning how crotchet stitches and different yarns will work together to create something truly amazing.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hi All,

I don't know about any of you, but with spring on the edges, it seems like the work just continues to buildup to keep your head from raising up to the sights and smells of wonderful spring. Can't wait.

Yet another hectic few days at the desk and no new knitting rows on my scarf, groan. Still one consolation I am posting today yippee.

Its bits and pieces today. I had a wonderful email from a good friend who is now living in the UK (not happy Jan) and she sent me a pick of a wonderful blanket that she made for her chick.
Isn't it beautiful, she's a natural for anything she turns her hand to and that in not in the least an exaggeration. She studied painting at the ANU School of Art, we were students there at the same time, and then went on to do a degree in Architecture and she just knits like that and changes the pattern to suit her needs. To read her funny story about pattern changing check out her fledgling blog warm jewel, its a delight.

A good friend of mine has a blog about the world of glass making and happenings. She is now reporting on other art happenings and she has global reporters dropping in many stories. For a good read (she can definitely write) and to see another view of the world of glass check out glasscentral.

Kevin Murray the Director of Craft Victoria is a very busy man, if he is not working on the Craft Victoria program, of the wonderful south project, he is probably presenting a paper at a conference overseas, or writing for the paper or producing a radio show or just writing an article for one of his many clogs - craft blogs - that feature on the Craft Victoria website. Check out this website for a wealth of information, their online publication Craft Culture is a great read too. Kevin was in Canberra recently and visited Knit1 Blog1 and now it has been featured in an article he wrote for the Craft Revival Trust. You can view it here and see how he connects the links about craft and the Internet age.

In the meantime here is another story from our participants:

I learned to knit as a small child and then as many do, cast it aside for other activities. In university I came back to the art and relearned the skill, my hand never really forgot but my mind needed a little coaching. When I was living in Asia I began a blog to keep in tough with my family and friends. Through that blog I discovered the wonderful world of knitting bloggers. Over the years my blog has evolved into a place to showcase my knitting, gripe about life, share events and perhaps most surprisingly a way of keeping in touch with the community of virtual friends that has developed.
asia adventure

I love being creative. Ever since I was a small child, I’ve done many things to express myself creatively but knitting came as a big surprise. I started knitting in January 2006. This was my fourth time attempt. Any previous attempt was an exercise of frustration. But this time I had the internet at my fingertips… literally and that made the difference. And thanks to free instructional videos, I learned long-tail cast on and continental knitting. But, even with these tools at my disposal, I still managed to find my own style of knitting, which I discovered later, could be called Combination (or Combined) knitting. And the rest… as they say is history,

I’m not sure why I started my knitting blog but I’m finding that I enjoy it. I’m very much a solitary knitter, so the blog give me a chance to share the joys and frustrations of knitting and commiserate with people who understand. To communicate about this highly challenging (and expensive) hobby with other people is very cool.

I’ve discovered the therapeutic effects of knitting, discovered a love of fibre, challenge myself in many different ways and met some very nice people in the knitblogging world. Its been quite the journey, this last year and a half…and I know It’s just begun …so stayed tuned!

Saffron Knits

Two years ago a dear friend encouraged me back into knitting, after a twenty year hiatus. She showed me She took me to Stitch’n Bitch – and suddenly something just clicked on inside. I was utterly hooked, and it shows no sign of abating! In the past two years I have become involved in the most wonderful group of women of all ages, and reconnected with the whole tradition of craft and female companionship (not that we don’t welcome men!). I find knitting relaxing, creative, challenging, and endlessly fascinating.

Part of this community has developed through my Blog, which I started because my friend started one, and she started hers because a friend had one… and so it goes. I didn’t really know what I’d say at first, but I’ve found it to be a great place to let my friends know what I’m up to, record my achievements, keep track of what projects I’m working on, ask for help, make friends, share knitting patterns, tips, recipes – a place to have a bit of fun, and forget daily hassles.

Jejune's Place

My mum taught me how to knit when I was young, but I started knitting obsessively when I was 14. I knit everywhere – on the bus to school, in class, at home. Recently I got a spinning wheel – well, actually, two spinning wheels. So now I can knit with yarn I’ve spun myself.

In 2005 Mum and I started going to Stitch’n Bitch, and I met my Yarn Sisters! I started my Blog in January 2006. I don’t update it that much, but I like to put up my drawings of kittens and yarn, and photos of my current projects. I like having a record online of what I’ve done, and getting comments and help from my friends even if I can’t see them.

Othlon's Demon Knits

Thursday, August 16, 2007

stories & mischief

Thanks Trudy for your very comprehensive coverage of my burgeoning knitting skills and inventive use of skewers - what can I say I only had one set of needles and I needed to start my short circuit served me very well in my time of need.

I have another story from the knitters in Knit 1 Blog 1:

My Nonna taught me to knit when I was about 7. I started with knitted items for toys including a jumper for my favourite teddy.

As a teenager I tackled a complex Aran sweater for myself- but I had not grasped the notion of gauge swatch at this stage so the jumper was more suitable for a child than me. I did the same with an emerald green jumper in beehive stitch - of which only a small square remains. I have only just realised the importance of the gauge watch after spending 6 months on a 4ply lace cardie which was then too small.

In 2000 I was working in Melbourne for 6 months and not knowing many people started knitting again. I knitted a long Dr Who inspired scarf in pink, green, orange and yellow, then a multi coloured jumper for my godson. Two years later back in Melbourne again- over winter I found myself at Sunspun in Canterbury. The amazing textures and colours seduced me into knitting with a passion. It was about this time I discovered and started browsing the web for ideas and inspiration.

I toyed with the idea of a blog for at least two years. My knitting community in both the groups I participate with and on the web inspired me to start blogging earlier this year. I was working on the Gold Coast. I need to feel connected with my community and share my knitting frustrations and elation's with more than my poor workmates. Kris at has encouraged me from the start and inspires both my blogging and knitting.

Dad’s rug was a project that I started for Dad when he was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease. I picked the colours he liked and felt that this was something that I could do for him. I could think about him with every stitch I made. It was his mother who had taught me to knit. Dad only used the rug for about 4 months before he passed away and I was happy that he had all my stitches with him for some time at least.

Knitting is for me a meditation process. I enjoy planning what to knit, the colour and texture. Researching and discovering new techniques and patterns, then the actual process of knitting is very meditative. I definitely need to knit everyday. And at the end there is a finished item.

Justine is not my first design but one where I combined the rhythm of a lace pattern with a simple garment. I wanted a simple lace pattern that knitted up to a rhythm, one easy to memorise and knit. I was inspired by a children’s song, Watermelon written by Justine Clarke and the languid nature of summer.

Anna-Maria has been knitting on and off since she was a child.
She rediscovered the knitting obsession in January 2006 after a 10 year break.
Her obsession with craft blogs started soon after when she stumbled across an article about Loobylu ( in an old Wired magazine.
Within 6 weeks The Shopping Sherpa (the blog) was born and had been demanding to be fed ever since.

I think Trudy's reporting excursion inspired some rebellion in the gallery last night

The camera flash caught them enjoying themselves on missyfee's blanket

Too much wine and cupcakes is a dangerous thing for a lamb and a bunny, slurping from the jug and then two satisfied, one might say soaked gals, contemplate what the stars might look like if it weren't for the gallery ceiling

Recruiting one of Bev's rabbits, Lulu bonds straight away, and Trudy is contemplating the funnel...

Longing for the city lights, bright nights and the end to community service, I don't think Lulu's ways will change.....

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The knitting lesson (by Roving Reporter Trudy Bunny)

The Shopping Sherpa came to visit Barb this afternoon and I was allowed to go for afternoon tea with them as long as I promised to behave (of course! Don't I always?!) and not interrupt the private knitting lesson needed as Barb had missed this week's Stitch n Bitch.

But they graciously allowed me to pass on the important knitting stuff to know that was discussed.

Important knitting stuff to know number 1:Don't point out your mistakes. Other people probably won't notice them unless you show them.

Important knitting stuff to know number 2:

If you don't notice your mistake until you've knitted too much to want to frog, simply incorporate it into your design.

In this case, one backward scarfy bit (I'm a rabbit, not a knitter!) 4 repeats back could be skillfully made to look deliberate by working the next scarfy bit backwards and continuing to do the same every fifth repeat. Thus producing a unique, one of a kind creation. Mistake? What mistake?!

Important knitting stuff to know number 3:

This is NOT a knitting needle. It's easier to knit on knitting needles than on skewers especially if you're a beginner!

Important knitting stuff to know number 4:

How to join on another ball of wool (and not need to darn in the ends later)

a)Knit (or purl) using the first ball of wool until there is about 8cm left (of the width of the hand you're holding the wool with.) Take the new ball and place the beginning of it against the wool you are about to knit the next stitch with.

b)Knit with both strands of wool until the old wool runs out (usually about 5 stitches) c) continue knitting with the new ball of wool(On the way back, remember to knit into both strands of the five stitches otherwise you'll have some sudden unexpected increase action happening) And remember, although metal knitting needles make fine skewers and cake testers in a pinch, the opposite is not usually true...

Love and carrots


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Knitting Stories

Once you start talking about knitting, knitting starts talking to you. I have heard many stories about knitting, it often sits within the realm of nostalgia as something one used to do, a bonding session between child and parent or grandparent, something that is reminiscent of growing up. Yet the reality is that it is very much a here and now activity, not new to you knitters out there, but something I like to suggest to those people who think it is someething about the past. Knitting is about skill, hand making, the joy of sharing and being productive in the world at large.

One of our members was inspired by the show and shared a story about a knitted doll and its maker that was an inspiration to this artists career. Here it is:

I have a beautiful little knitted teddy made by Eileen Keys called Dolly. Dolly was a member of The Teddy Bears Picnic knitted by Eileen from wool that she had spun by hand and dyed with natural dyes that she had sourced locally. When I saw them all together, I fell for Dolly and I think she is very beautiful. I met Eileen when I was at art school in 1988, at that time I was a ceramics student and I interviewed her for an essay. She very kindly came to visit us at the ceramics workshop. Her work has influenced my art practice as she explored what was available to her in her immediate environment.

For Knit1 Blog1 we asked the participants if they would share their stories about knitting and blogging. They are diverse, unexpected, illuminating and worth reading. So here are a few to start the ball rolling;

I used to write novels. In 2004 I made the decision to give that up and found myself feeling a bit lost without a strong creative outlet. I picked up knitting needles for the first time in more than a decade and within a year I was obsessed but fairly isolated.

Online searches led me to blogs and to information about Canberra knitters who met regularly. Eventually, I got the courage to show up. Soon after, feeling left out of the blogging fun, I started Bellsknits. Sometimes I think blogging is almost as fun as knitting and it’s opened up a world of new friends to me.

Blogging is a dairy of sorts, but once words are placed in a blog, it is no longer private, personal or secret as it would be in a diary, though some write as if it is- you are sharing with the world and they read it and comment…and so it is that I blog about my passion- hand knitting.

I stumbled into blogging two years ago and discovered a plethora of people who are as passionate about this ancient craft as I am. I cannot remember when I began… I’ve been knitting from an early age and always enjoyed the process, and it is a process. With an end result that always amazes. Stich by stich, row by row, hour by hour, but exciting at the same time… The completed piece is usually something you cannot purchase, a one off… something that is uniquely you!

Blogging is the same - uniquely you, but in words and pictures. As any blogger knows, once you read one knitting blog, it inevitably leads to another and another. Before you know it, hours fly by in seconds…stich by stich, word by word.

I’m a designer/ knitter living in Sydney, with a library that would rival most book stores and a stash that has now become embarrassing.

In 2003 I wrote and published a knitting book- an exciting time in my life.

At home in my studio is where dreams and designs originate.

My secret life only knitters understand and acknowledge. We meet and laugh, nibble, sip and knit, review and discuss patterns and yarn, model each knit as it is completed… exciting, inspiring, rewarding… it is friendship… it is a world I will never tire of.

My non-blogging/knitting friends and family know nothing of this life.

Blogging is a seriously satisfying and demanding action and medium. It fulfils many things for people as the stories will show.

wonder what miss lulu has been up to lately.........

to be continued

Monday, August 13, 2007

Time to do everything

Tonight was the first Bitch'n'Stitch at the Front Gallery in Lyneham. I missed it.

Instead of catching up with a bunch of fabbo knitters I was at a function to welcome the new arts editor for our local newspaper, the Canberra Times. Diana Streak was appointed to this position at the end of July and Canberra Arts Marketing hosted a networking event for arts administrators and artists to meet with her and other representatives from the Canberra Times. This was a great opportunity to meet Diana face to face and allowing her to put names to the numerous emails that come across her desk.

But I would really have liked to have been at the Stitch'n'Bitch and there are a number of reasons for that. 1 - it would have been good to finally sit down with these fabbo knitters at a place that isn't my work and where I am not compelled to jump up and attend to other business during our Friday knits ins. 2 -I am running out of wool on my short circuit scarf (I can hardly believe it) and need to learn how to join another ball of wool to my knitting - this is crucial. 3 I haven't been to the Front for ages and I'd love to see their latest show there. Three great reasons and only one all compelling WORK reason kept me away.

Sometimes you feel like a big loose floppy stretched jumper that there is no tightness to your day, no neat endings, but rather an all encompassing need to cover everything, and all you want to cover is just one small thing, very well and very snugly. Lately there have been so many deadlines it feels as if I am traipsing from one meeting to the next and not getting enough time to sit down and do the job. Yes its great to meet Diana and make sure she knows some of the faces of Craft ACT, essential in fact if we want to keep getting print media coverage, but there is always something isn't there. It is important as we have not had print media coverage on this show, but we have had fantastic blog coverage, which I think has reached far more people than the print media - thanks for all your support out there. The radio has also really picked up on the Knit1 Blog1 show and all the antics that make up the Festival of Contemporary Art - I think I have done up to 5 interviews all in all. Phew at times it feels like a blur and then you pull out your knitting and keep going.

In my home we are usually a family of two with one cat and a dog. Recently Jane's sister has been renovating her house and so we are now we are a family of 6 with 2 dogs and 2 cats. Actually this is the second visit, they were with us in June and have come back after house sitting elsewhere. Louie the cat was left with us as he couldn't move into the other house and all was going well until we went away for a weekend, they came and fed him, but unfortunately he upped and left before we got home. At first we weren't too alarmed as he had made 3 journeys back to the renovation home and always made it back, but unfortunately he has been missing for 2 weeks. The family moved in on the Saturday just passed and who should turn up back at the renovation house but Louie himself, where he was whisked up by Ruth who just happened to be visiting and brought home again. So he is back and we are once again the Italian Family, as our good friend Megan likes to call us. It was a bit bleak for a while and on my short circuit scarf on that Saturday I did two triangles that went the wrong way, instead of the longest side being the outside of the scarf I accidentally made it the inside edge, I had my first taste of unravelling and promise to pay more attention next time. It has been teaching em to look and read my knitting though Jejune - so there is always an upside.

I was chatting to Bronwen Sandland today and she has started her first sock project after being inspired by the show and all the knitters in Knit1 Blog1. Yippee a new sock knitter. She is making knee length high socks, we haven't quite worked out why and she is just up to turning a heel which she said was a bit tricky, but she is really happy to be there after getting a wee bit bored on the length of the sock. She has promised to send a picture in and I will post it once its in. Apparently she and Sharon, who came to the short circuit scarf class and is a classy knitter herself, is also doing her first sock, another satisfied customer.

One of our members has been following the show and blog and she wrote to me a story of how she was inspired by a friend who knitted and how she came in possession of a wonderful knitted doll. I'll be putting her story up to with her photo of her doll its beautiful.

Also I have decided to put up all the great stories from the participants about how they came to knit and blog these are beautiful stories and just a great collection of whys and what-for's.

I hope everyone had a good time at the Front tonight- no I am not jealous, just green with envy. Oh well, lucky they are regular happenings and I will be able to drop in on the next one. Apologies Shopping Sherpa.
Isn't he handsome - we are so glad he's back.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

ON UR Blog

With ways of communicating to one another multiplying by the day, it is easy to lose track of whats out there. One form I have recently found (and am now having a go at) is blogging. What is blogging? I am not even sure of the definition myself, other than another form of communicating, chatting and staying in touch with what you are interested in and those who are too. To find out more join me and Caren Florence for a how to blog workshop on Saturday 11 August at Craft ACT from 10am - 11:30pm. The workshop is a meager $15 and refreshments are served to keep up your blogging strength. Hope to see you there.


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Thanks for the advice on the socks - I think I will have to try it out for myself.

Knit1 Blog1 has been visited by so many people both virtually and physically and I love the way almost every visitor to the gallery loves to talk about "their" knitting project.

A common refrain I hear is: " I still have the baby jumper I started knitting for my niece who is now 22 years old", or "I just could never finish anything and my mother finished them for me", or "I haven't knitted for years I probably wouldn't know where to start", or "I still have a piece of knitting hanging around from 10 years ago".

Well as I have been telling these visitors and to anyone else out there who might be a reader and knit a knitting blogger, or you know someone struggling, we have the perfect workshop for you.

This Sunday 12 August from 10am to 1pm you can come along to the Craft ACT gallery and sit down with super duper friendly and supreme experts Denise and Penny who will individually start your knitting off again. Mend any gaps, untangle any knots, remedy bad sequences, translate the almost untranslatable for any one who has that bag with the knitting that has been there for well over 12 months or more, or less! Begin the end of the project today!

Lulu snuck out, grabbed some of my Happy Spider wool, a pair of knitting needles and said
"Piece of Cake"

Knicked my filofax and tried to cast on

Trudy came too for the action and knowing she could add some advice

Further consultation of the very limited notes

I know I know I know

I think....

Heated discussion

It's MY project

Help - knitting first aid...

see you there

Monday, August 06, 2007

Sock knitting

I have a question to ask all those fab sock knitters out there -

Do hand knitted socks stay up?

This of course then leads to another couple of questions:

If so is it the knitting stitch that provides the firmness or do you cheat and add elastic?
Are they bulky in your shoe at all? - taking into account the use of a fine wool

I have always been fascinated by this especially as once you start sock shopping there seems to be a great number of options and there is that slight consumer dread that the socks you are about to buy are going to be duds........

Friday, August 03, 2007

FOCA Happenings

It has been a busy week for the Festival of Contemporary Art.
Silvia Velez' project Cook's Creative Endeavour was launched and sailed away on Wednesday night. Silvia and the Cook Primary School community developed a project to negotiate the end of their school and its community - Cook's Creative Endeavour. Cook Primary School was one of the schools that last year was targeted for closure in the restructuring of the ACT’s education system. The Cook School students, teachers and community have been through a long year of fighting for their school and grieving its closure. As part of the Festival of Contemporary Art IN PUBLIC theme, Silvia Velez, as parent and artist, has been facilitating a community project that has enabled students to farewell this public school and move onwards to their next place of learning. The theme of the Endeavour is central to the process of travel and change, and around this the students and community have responded with a variety of creative works that symbolise how they are collectively dealing with the break up of their small community.

This photo was from Thursday's Canberra Times page 3.
Also on Wednesday some of the artists in the exhibition Proof which is the ANU School of Art Gallery gave a floor talk about their work as part of the ANU School of Art Art Forum program.
On Thursday I presented a talk on the Knit1 Blog1 exhibition. It went really well and I think it was enjoyed by all particularly as the very talented Christopher Chapman, who is the Art Forum co-ordinator did a wonderful job of jumping from knitting blog link to knitting blog link without back tracking once, as the visual display for my talk. We covered heaps of blogs. Here is an extract from the paper I gave:
Knitting has become what: a movement; a lifestyle; a passion; a new language; an art form. Since the late 1990’s there have been a number of knitting exhibitions – knitting has moved into the gallery and elevated itself to art. Recent forays and discourses into the world of non functional knitting, big and very small knitting and wearable art knitting includes: Blurring the Boundaries: Fashion Design Innovation in Contemporary Knitting, at Fairfield City Museum and Gallery, Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting, at the American Museum of Arts and Design, Knit 2 together, at the British Crafts Council, smaller exhibitions/events such as House Cosy, by Bronwen Sandland or the Big Knit by Caroline Love and many more.
A seasoned performer such has knitting has slipped off the craft needle and onto the contemporary art needle, and today artist’s move between these classifications just as easily. Larry Shiner in his book The Invention of Art, considers these classifications in the following terms: The assimilation of craft media into fine art began in the late 1950’s from two directions: from the side of artists, who began to take up craft identified materials, and from the side of craftspeople who began to take up the styles and nonfunctional aims of fine art.

And here it is in practice as Merryn Gates comments on Bronwen Sandland’s House Cosy:
For two brief, mercifully dry, weeks Housecosy transported Bronwen's neighbourhood out of the normal. Northbourne Avenue traffic had a new landmark which made Canberra a kind of Lilliput. Scale and materials were suddenly, gloriously, out of joint, and in that space we could imagine other possibilities: collective action, civic pride, the artist and the public in dialogue, play, a moral dimension to social policy.

And part of the literature for the exhibition
Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting writes: Artists employ a variety of media, from traditional yarns and laces, to found objects and video, and explore contemporary currents in art practice of socially engaged, participatory work. Radical reformers in the world of knitting and lace making have overthrown the status quo from the inside out. In the space of ten years, knitting has emerged from the “loving hands at home” hobbyists’s den into museums and galleries worldwide.

Knitting can simultaneously talk about gender politics, feminism, domestic issues, history, survival and nurture as much as it can reflect one of the wonders of the human world – engineering. It can throw out your usual expectations, and engage in topical issues of many political causes including the environment, identity, war and migration. It has as Jennifer Craik suggests
regained its place in the crafts and arts pantheon.
...This realm however is not dominated by the fine art knitting seen in carefully prepared exhibitions that focus on the unfunctional, the radical material uses, and the consciously determined context. The true world of knitting is the knitting of hundreds of thousands of people who love to knit, who love to wear what they knit, who love to knit quirky odd objects, who love to give it away to someone else, who love nothing better than a brand new ball of hand dyed yarn and two new knitting magazines in the post, who will join a knit-a-long, who will knit jumpers for children with aids, and panels for a House Cosy. The most common knitter who blogs, blogs because they are passionate about the craft of knitting, and it is these people that are in the exhibition Knit1 Blog1.
And finally tonight - The Beamers as I like to fondly think of them, otherwise known as BEAM are projecting onto 8 stories of blank building wall with their eclectic range of moving and static and extraordinary images. They are projecting right now in fact and will keep going until 10pm tonight. They will also be projecting onto the western facade of the National Library of Australia next Friday night 10 August from 6.30 - 10.00pm. Their work is really in the public realm, one minute you are trundling along the next minute an avalanche of snow is cascading above you, or a series of political truisms are talking to you or you'd swear that you just saw three people crawling across the face of the building. Catch it if you can!!

Believe it or not this is my short circuit scarf that I started at the workshop a few weeks ago. I know it is slow, but it actually grew at today's Knit In - with much help and big thanks to Jacqui Kempton who saved me from my mistakes as I was talking to much and not concentrating. I am such a beginner!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Today after my talk at the ANU School of Art Art Forum on this exhibition and blog Knit1 Blog1 , Annie Trevillian and Jennifer Robertson brought the textile students to visit. The following are words from the students themselves......

This exhibition has surprised and inspired me with the millions of different knit patterns possible. I'm not much of a knitter myself but could see myself getting into it more after looking at this.

... I wonder if this rebirth of knitting is an indication of a shift in society.

...this exhibition has made me realise im a truly talentless knitter but i aspire to finish the scarf i started 10 years ago.

my favourite pieces in this exhibition are the miniature cabled cushions; they are amazingly fine and intricate.

:) woo hoo

there is so much more to knitting than scratchy sweaters and scarfs. i wonder what those cupcakes taste like...

My thoughts on knitting have come a long way from the scarves that I used to knit for my toys when I was a child...I am truly inspired by the remarkable patterns and modern design that is possible!!

Today's forum and the collection of blogs was a very insightful insight into the huge world of knitting bloggers. I thought it was an interesting point that Chris Chapman made about the ratio of woman to men interested in knitting.

i like the little black rabbit i think it is a really good way of using the speciality wool which i don't normally like...

Never before have i seen such an amazing range of knitting techniques. This exhibition has really changed the way i originally looked at the craft. It has such talent!!!!

i have a jumper my mother knitted in the 70's that i love and wear all the time.. there is the question of knittings new popularity but to me its always had its place

My aunty Freda died and her best friend, my mother inherited all the unfinished knitting projects. Over a few years she completed all of the projects including a beautiful knee rug which I have in my studio. My mum used up every ball of wool knitting jumpers for children and donated them to charity. I still have the bakelite round container for the wool and her knitting needles and the fake red leather knitting needle holder and the bell shaped needle sizer.

I borrowed a book from the Dickson library about 10 years ago and I would love to know the name of it. It was about how to knit a garden including vegetables. When I showed this book to my sister she thought it was hilarious. She asked me why would you want to knit vegetables? Why wouldn't you just grow the real things? Well you know I would like to knit my favourite vegetables - like an eggplant and pumpkin. In this exhibition The ShoppingSherpa has knitted one dozen cupcakes. They are beautifully iced and decorated and would look fantastic on my kitchen bench. Thanks to all the exhibitors - it is a great show and a good jumping off point into blogsville.