Socks and fig leaves: knitted bliss

I am primarily a designer and quilt-maker, but I can’t resist adding in a knitting post because I am interested in all things textile-y and I have some lovely things to share this week.

In June, we were at a charity fund-raiser which took place in the evening and centred around strawberry desserts (what a great idea) and at the event there was a raffle. One of the prizes was a set of knitted socks from Latvia which were themselves strawberry-themed! We left before the draw was done and I was delighted to learn later in the week that the socks were mine.  They are a joy to behold.

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These hand-made items give me pleasure every day. Behind our house is a cricket-ground which is well used by the community for cricket, football as well as dog-walking. It is part of my routine to walk twice round the field each morning before starting work. I’ve found this really helpful for my work practice: I often spend the whole day sitting at either a lap-top or a sewing machine, so the exercise and the fresh air kick-starts my day. In the winter the field is muddy and in the summer there a lot of mown grass to walk through, so I wear wellington boots most days, along with my strawberry socks. I like the fact that a hand-made textile item can give pleasure day after day.

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And here’s another knitted treasure which came as a gift into this house some years ago. These socks were hand-knitted in Tajikistan. The surface patterns included here are astonishing and I enjoy the sizzling mix of colours.

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While writing about knitting, the knitted food competition at the Knitting and Stitching Show in Edinburgh 2016 deserves a mention, although very sadly the winner was not named. If you made this wonderful cooked breakfast, please get in touch as I would like to acknowledge your work.

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And finally, I have to draw your attention to the ‘Knitted Bible’. This is an extensive piece of work made by St George’s United Reformed Church in Hartlepool.  The project began in 2008, when members of the church attempted to knit a single scene. They were joined by friends and members of other local churches and the project grew.  It now comprises more than 30 scenes, in which every character (people, animals and even plants) has been knitted. I first saw this gem in Bellingham, Northumberland and was enchanted.

A bearded Adam luxuriating in a verdant Garden of Eden was particularly noteworthy.

the-knitted-bible-copyright-st-georges-urc-hartlepool-photo-by-amanda-ogden.jpgThe Knitted Bible, copyright St Georges URC Hartlepool (photo by Amanda Ogden)

The sheep were enchanting:

the-knitted-bible-copyright-st-georges-urc-hartlepool-photo-by-amanda-ogden-2.jpgThe Knitted Bible, copyright St Georges URC, Hartlepool (photo by Amanda Ogden)

The exhibition is coming to my home city of Durham in September 2017 and then goes to many other towns and cities. If you live in the UK, it is worth travelling to see it. You can see a list of places and dates by clicking here.

 

… and I’m taking up knitting again

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about needing a new hobby, since my hobby (patchwork and quilting) became my job. I also showed off a recently crocheted hat (click here if you missed it).

I also showed a picture of a beautifully knitted Swiss hat, created – in conjunction with the Innocent drink company – to raise funds for the elderly in that country.

I was intrigued and have since found out more. In the UK and Ireland last year the scheme (known here as the Big Knit) raised £200,000. With every smoothie bottle with a little hat, sold by Innocent, the company gives 25p to Age UK (or 30c to Age Action in Ireland). That means a LOT of little hats were made.

I found this quite irresistible, so of course I have made a little hat of my own and rather enjoyed picking up my knitting needles again.

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You could make one too. There’s a website: www.bigknit.co.uk which includes a gallery of quite dazzling hats and a good number of patterns. They all have to be completed by 31 July 2017 and sent to The Big Knit, Age UK, Fruit Towers, Canal Building, 342 Ladbroke Grove, London W10 5BU.

I followed the pattern in the ‘Knitter Knatter’ booklet published to support The Big Knit, which made the genius suggestion of making a tiny pom-pom by winding wool round a fork – great idea.

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Now, as it happens, I have a sock person with a head (if one can call it that!) just the right size for the small hat.

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The sock person itself was a gift at Christmas a few years ago when we had a £5 present challenge within the immediate family. I can recommend this: it was a very inventive year! Two small sock people came into the house at the time; the other one is wearing the Swiss hat mentioned in my previous post:

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The duo looks quite fetching in their hats.

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This week, in a completely different context I read about the Innocent drinks company’s charitable activities and about how they committed from the very beginning of the company to giving at least 10% of their profits to charity. I found that impressive. You can read more about that here. It’s a good model and one I am interested in following with Amanda Jane Textiles. Right now,  I clearly need to send off a knitted hat to the UK charity, so I’m getting on with knitting the next one…