Sunday, March 23, 2008

Kaffe Revisited

This lively jacket demonstrates the inventiveness of Kaffe Fassett at his best, in "Glorious Knitting."

It is shown again in "Kaffe at the Vand A", and really demonstrates how a simple stripe pattern comes alive with fluctuating colour ranges. I knit this for my sister many years ago, largely from the leftovers of the dark version of the Pompeii Jacket. I like Rowan yarns, but not the price of them , so this is entirely knit in oddments from a yarn shop in Tiptree - single balls of unusual eveningy yarns. And I do believe that there is enough still leftover to knit another whole jumper.

I do agree with whoever it was recently who called their stash a resource, rather than seeing it as a burden. Unless you don't feel able to buy new yarn until you have used up what is in store, I think stocks of yarn should be an inspiration.

A close-up of the toothed stripe waistcoat I was wearing for the Kaffe event. It was knit in Shetland wools from Jamieson and Smith, at least twenty years ago as a gift for my mother. What gives it life is not only the movement created by the flickering teeth, which are knit randomly, but also the addition of occasional bright blues and purples alongside the browns and greens.

I do think his new book, "Kaffe Knits Again", is a pale reflection of former glory. The sheer inventiveness of "Glorious Knitting" and the wonderful aesthetic feast of the V and A book really point this up. He may be right that throws and scarves are more likely to appeal, but surely the use of more subtle palettes would make the cardigans and jumpers more timeless and less obviously 80s.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Kaffe Fassett

Today to a long-awaited event with my friend, Alison. A visit to the Warner Textile Archive to see the collection of woven fabrics and textile pieces from the days of the silk mill in Braintree.
Then, a piece of astonishing luck. We were heading for a village hall not a mile from where we had lunch but became spectacularly lost, driving in a circle, so that we arrived with minutes to spare, instead of half an hour early as planned.
To our amazement, and the chagrin of those already seated, we were ushered to the front row, from where we had an uninterrupted view of the great man himself.
He gave a talk, as a commentary on a series of slides of his work and what inspired it. Brendon Mably managed the slides.
At times gasps of amazement or spontaneous applause greeted particular items, pricipally the quilts. It was a great afternoon, competed by the book-signing. I hand over the book to a man who has given me great pleasure over nearly thirty years and I find I have nothing to say. He, however, tells me he likes the colours in my waistcoat, which is the brown Toothed Stripe, one of his most vibrant designs. Imagine that.
Piles of wonderful textiles were strewn across the stage, and more were pulled from a holdall.

Kaffe Fassett signing my book.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


On a day when we are forecast the worst storm of the year: two scarves.

The first for my husband, in Jaeger Luxury Spun, an e-bay buy of a discontinued yarn. We had gone up to London on a rare visit, on a bitterly cold day, and stood outside Liberty's waiting for my sister who was delayed. With half an hour to kill, we browsed Lberty's menswear dept, checking out scarves since it was so cold. We were astonished to see one, with a designer name, but also a price tage of almost two hundred pounds. It was knit on one side and silk-lined on the other, a very appealing item.

We bought a navy lambswool scarf for fifteen pounds, but the idea stayed with me. This one is in a diagonal rib, lined with silk from the silk mill in Sudbury, just up the road. The silk makes it smooth against the skin, instead of itchy.

Secondly, a feather and fan scarf in Colinette four-ply, bought at Allie Pallie, one of those buys which has to wait years for its hour to come.

Both are being worn by the wall fruit trees in our garden: the espaliered pear just coming into bud.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Sunday' Best

Perhaps I'll try posting once a week and see how it goes. Somehow I can't get into the Work-in-Progress groove - half-finished socks, one front of the Arwen cardigan, more hours than I like to think of on the Icarus shawl...

I like things a little more finished.

A treat just before Christmas: a card from the Innocent Smoothie organiser commenting on the hat in Sanquhar knitting. Then, some days later, this.

Now, nothing on the site reveals that there were rosettes - how many, for what? My design was not chosen as Hat of the Week. But I was really gratified to have this rosette, the first I've ever been awarded, even if thousands of others also received them.

Next some mittens with a tale behind them. For some while I read Blogdogblog, finding the links from there intriguing. There, I first saw Sanquhar gloves and a Japanese rendering of them. Sanquhar is less than a hundred miles from my birthplace, but I'd never heard of it until then.

I also saw knitted braids there too for the first time. These mittens are a mixture of Komi patterns from Charlene Schurch's book "Knitting Marvellous Mittens".

These were knit on two needles in Shetland 2ply wool. I thought they would be interesting but unwearable but, in fact, they've been in constant winter use.