Monday, December 17, 2012

Spoiler alert

This is the little Trellis cardigan in Jeanie by Peter Pan ( pattern from Knitty)  This is a lofty cotton yarn of a chain construction, and it gives very crisp stitch definition, and a warm handle.  However, cotton does not stitch up easily, which may be why the pattern designer suggested grafting the shoulders.  The collar certainly sits very tidily.  I bought the spotted buttons at a boot fair at 60p for the card - they seemed appropriate for the toddler who will be wearing this.

Lynne commented on my tableware post.  One of my colleagues had a daughter who studied design.  For her dissertation she looked at trends indicated by wedding lists.  At first glance this seems rather trivial, but over time these lists must be revealing.  Do people have dinner services or casserole dishes nowadays?

In the early 70's I began to collect the Denby pattern, Romany.  This was because it was offered as breakfast sets on the pack of Alpen muesli.  Muesli and this design have a lot in common.  I have added pieces over the years and almost all of them are different, which I like but don't really understand, given that it is mass-produced.  I really like the rounded shapes, although it is very much of its time.

In the 80's my husband, a bachelor, was being gifted these very splendid table-mats by  his aunt, one per birthday.  These built into a grand set - they show prints of London scenes.

While browsing around a china shop, one of my oldest friends pointed out a set called Holyrood - even the name does it for me.  It was the exact complement to my husband's mats, so I began to collect it.  He often remarks on how lucky it is that my china just happened to match the mats.

Recently, we have felt the need for something less formal, lighter in style.  Doubtless, this follows a trend in the design world.  This is Azure, purportedly by Royal Worcester.

I have not succumbed to square plates or slate mats, but I think you could map some interesting social changes from these three sets.

Knitting:  I have finally sent off the collection of cowls.  The first two were knitted on a long circular needle, while the third was knitted as a scarf and then seamed, as the yarn was pooling over longer stretches.  Then there is a red scarf in an Aran yarn, and finally a neck warmer, knitted on a short circular, from Rowan Aran.  I think that the red scarf is the most successful of the lot.


Sunday, December 09, 2012

Shiny Things

On the sideboard in our dining room there are two canteens of cutlery. Like many objects, these carry many symbolic meanings.  The one on the right is mine, bought in the mid-80s when it was still the style to entertain with good china.  I thought that this silver plated set of cutlery would be just the ticket.  Not that I gave many dinner parties, you understand, but if the occasion arose I would be ready.  There is no doubt that it is showing its age now, even with minimal usage.

The one on the left, however, belongs to my husband.  He inherited it from his maternal grandfather.  Amazingly, this very canteen of cutlery was given to my husband's grandfather, George Johnson, for his twenty-first, in - we think - 1926.

This picture shows him on that occasion, along with the canteen, bottom right, and his other presents: a walking-stick, a suitcase, and what is almost certainly a box of fish-knives.  Perhaps only the suitcase would qualify as present for a young man these days. 

It has to be said that neither of these two sets is really suitable for day-to-day use, and we have been using an assortment of stainless steel which will go in the dishwasher.  However, since we have retired we have taken to actually dining in our dining room, as opposed to eating on trays in front of the television.  So it seemed time to upgrade.

In Chipping Campden there is the specialist cutlery shop, Robert Welch.  He was a designer who started out in 1955 in the Guild of Handicraft building just around the corner from the present shop.  We have bought a carving set and some serving items from there before, but now we bought a whole set, in the Radford pattern which seems to be their standard line.  It is very shiny, and has a lovely handle.  We added some round-bowled soup spoons - these are no longer in vogue apparently.  And I just had to have this spoon - especially when told that this is the "Gourmet spoon".  Gourmand, more like, I'd have thought.  We'll be dining in style now.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

Knitted Lace

Knitting has been absent from my posts recently, probably because I have been engaged on "Stealth projects", like many others.  I am still amazed to hear people announce on their blogs that they have fourteen gifts still to knit as December starts.  I don't even know that many people who would welcome a hand-knitted item.  Knitting for me is a stress-reliever, and this sounds like the exact opposite.

I have been knitting steadily on this little commission, for the daughter of a colleague.  It is the back of an Aran cardigan, knitted in Jeanie, an Aran weight cotton, as the recipient is allergic to wool.  The pattern, Trellis, is from Knitty, and is therefore free, for which I am grateful.  Just one or two points:  After the seed stitch border, no stitches are increased and the needle size stays the same.  Although the side "Cables" are in fact travelling twisted stitches, the diamond cables do pull in, so the hem is likely to frill in an unintended manner.  Just saying.

At the Loop lace knitting event, Franklin showed us a doiley knitted to a Niebling pattern.  The discussion touched on how such items might be displayed without covering every surface in a Victorian style.  Some years ago I bought this thing of beauty from a flea market in the Auvergne.  It was stitched to a round of backing paper which had become silvery-grey with age.  It cost me three Euros.  I have mounted it on blue card and used the simplest of clip frames to display it in our spare room.  I feel it has a graphic quality to it, which I love. 

On the opposite wall hangs a piece of bobbin lace made by my husband's aunt, Hilda Tye, from a paper chart which we bought in the lace centre in Puy en Velay on the same trip to France. 

Jean wrote on her blog of wanting to create something to remember the lace knitting class with Franklin.  I was very taken with his knitted samples, including a white strip sampler of lace patterns.  I am minded to make one of these, continuing the block knitted in the class and using the same cream yarn.  We'll see.