Limited Edition : culturally-inspired fairisle design : Frida comes alive : Salty wool : 15% off new yarns & new accessory kits
Bowral Public School Market
Saturday December 8th
8am to 1pm Bowral is in the heart of the Southern Highlands.
First day at the market with Signatur, along side fellow Australian quality designers and artisans Mark Honore (leather) and silversmith Christine Mija.
I love to travel, especially with my Aussie husband back to the UK where I grew up. For those of you who have my book, you'll know my earlier travels brought me from England to Australia via Africa.
My home town of Bradford in Northern England was the centre of the Wool industry for centuries. for nearly 200 years raw wool from Australia would travel 15,000km to be processed in Bradford. During the industrial revolution Bradford boasted more than it's share of wealthy mill owners. Amongst them was Sir Titus Salt and his family, whose story of creating a village away from the pollution of the old mills I'd like to share with you.
Centuries of woollen (& industrial) history alive in Saltaire
The Salt family grew wealthy processing from fleece to woven cloth in their Bradford mills. However early 19th century working conditions were poor, dangerous, crowded and polluted.
In 1851 the Salt family chose to consolidate all their mills for various processes into one new Mill in Shipley on the banks of the Aire river. So, Saltaire was born with mills, housing, schools, a community centre and hospital, as well as alms housing for retired workers.
It is no longer a mill but was saved from demolition on its beautiful location between the Aire River and Leeds to Liverpool canal. The mill is open to the public and houses artworks from Bradford artist David Hockney, who befriended Johnathan Silver, the 1980's entrepreneur who kept the Salt's renaissance style buildings and village alive along with the Mills history. The image left is a close up detail of the artwork below from UK artist Alke Schmidt and is part of her project "Wonder & Dread" exploring the politics & morality of the global textile industry.
Restored and resurrected with art and architecture
Alke Schmidt "the mill left such a strong impression on me: its remarkable history of vision, hope and hardwork; its visual impact and the people whose work have made Salts Mill a sucess then and now."
The map along the top of the art work connects threads to and from England, tracking the import of raw fibre and the export of woven fabric. Bottom right is the connection to South America and Alpaca fibre. Salts Mill was the first mill to produce high quality woven Alpaca fabric. Centre shows the fine fashion of the Victorian era, oozing wealth by the sheer yardage required for the dresses.
Right the flow of workers from farms to cities in the Victorian era, then my interpretation is of a young Indian girl in the 1970s seventies when the mills were still producing, and finally a white t-shirted waitress serving tourists and visitors in the Mill cafe today.
You will notice lilies, though I don't recall these mentioned during the Mill tour, they are mentioned by artist Alke Schmidt's "The scent of Lilies in the 1853 Gallery". These also seem to be reflected in the China vases, but may also be a reference to world trade.
Europe cheers up as seasonal events light up
After Salts Mill we drove south to Winston Churchill's childhood home of Blenheim Palace, where they were busy hanging Christmas lights as well as these fabulous poppies suspended from the trees.
Of course the wool industry wasn't just isolated to the north of England, travelling into the picturesque Cotswolds we couldn't resist a picture of Sheep Street and the Sign for the lamb Inn!
On our last morning we awoke to snow, a wonderful carpet of white.
Frida comes alive in living colour!
I love to travel: with my knitting of course!
But usually I travel with a far simpler piece than this Frida Jacket. Now back in the studio I am back on the needles and as excited as ever.
I still have the back to complete for 'Frida'. I showed the beginning of this labour of love in my last newsletter without giving the piece a name. I did make the buttons before I left, which were great fun to make.
Limited Edition Knitting kit: Coco Slub
Left Coco Slub in Blue HC10, centre Coco Slub Red HC60 there are just 4 kits in each colourway.
The photo in green (sold out) shows the shorter length in this design, the long version for the kits adds a full Mitre to the length with 5 chest sizes to fit 32"to 52"chest plus long lengths from 78cm to 88cm.
Coco Slub is knitted from written instructions and diagrams
The pattern includes written instructions and a diagram. The diagram steps you through the sequence and the colours per Mitre for the body and the sleeves.
For the body the number of stitches per mitre decrease from hem-to-shoulder, creating the A-line shaping which drapes beautifully. The sleeve mitres increase wrist-to-upper arm as part of the sleeve shaping. The pattern instruction includes standard length shown below right (green colourway sold out). The long length is shown in the Blue & Red colourways.
The more you Mitre the more you tailor sleeves and length
Mitre Knitting Youtube from my home page shows you the very simple steps to knitting mitres, and how simple picking up stitches from the stripes edge of a Mitre can be. Plus tips on knitting in ends to make this a seamless knitting project.
The Alhambra's beautiful, insiprational tiles
Fairisle pattern takes classical cultural cues
I love fairisle knitting & the patterns the technique creates. The rich tiles of the multicultural Alhambra fortress and palace in southern Spain are great inspiration for pattern and colour.
Fairisle's traditionally Scottish origins employ crosses and diamonds to create the pattern repeats. In the Madras (below) I created a lozenger shape and added a little texture, while my use of colour conjures the richness of the Silk Road countries.
The blue colourway on the right shows the wrong side of the knitting, with the out-of-action, or carried colours are woven/stranded across the back of the knitting. It is most important this carrying of the yarn is worked to the selvedge edge of the knitting to create even edges to the garment.
Cowls and scarves as knitting kits.
This range of accessory kits grow more and more popular so I just keep adding new colours to the range. With Christmas around the corner these make great gifts for knitters so we'll continue with 15% discount in the lead-up to Christmas. This includes the Pure Wool Gomiloto variegrated yarn in Green Olive shown left knitted into the Wave Wrap.
Plus the fabulous shades of Azteca, now in 2 weights/thicknesses; original Azteca is thicker 10ply knitted on 7.5mm needles, whilst Azteca Fine is 8ply/ DK knitted on 5.5mm needles. Of course these are larger needles for scarves and wraps, loose and soft, smaller needles are used for garments.
Azteca Fine in Washed Denim, Mixed Berries and Peachy Pink
Below Left to right: Circular Cowl in Washed Denim in Azteca Fine, Yurt Beret in Mixed Berries in Azteca Fine, new design "Two the Point" knitted in Azteca Fine new colour Peachy Pink, right Yurt hat in Azteca colour Red Velvet. All of these again require just 1 x 100g ball of Azteca Fine.
The Yurt hat pattern includes both styles below, the upright hat right and beret style 2nd left below. The Hat is knitted straight-sided, while the Beret (below) commences with increases, then decreased back to the original stitch count. Before working the top of the hat I have added Reverse st-st 5 rows which lets the knitting turn nicely before working the decreases into the top of the hat.
NEW Hat styles to choose from which require just 100g per hat.
Left Muffin Top hat in Horizon colour Natural. Centre and right: Wicked Hat centre in Dungaree with Reverse st-st as the right side of the hat; whilst right in Horizon colour Natural the stockiing stitch is the right side of the knitting - this simple change makes the hat sit quite differently.
Season's Greeting from everyone at Signatur
So, it's time to wish you all a Merry Christmas, or Happy Holiday depending on where you are in the world. In the Southern Hemisphere you'll be all rugged up in winter while downunder we'll be feasting on salad and prawns. The main theme is family and friends and of course, food. Love to all my family and friends, some of whom have had a tough 2018 which I hope we've helped each other through.
Travel safely and I hope you'll join me a new year or knitting journeys in 2019.
Above, chargrilled sardines, a simple picnic lunch and eggplant chips with Molasses drizzle from my recent trip to Spain.
If you'd like to discuss anything in this newsletter - or anything at all, please email Jane. Thanks for your support - Laura, Petra, Philippa, Helen and I look forward to seeing you in the knitting circle!