Thursday, 4 February 2016

On the Needles and On My Mind

The fish mittens are completed as of yesterday morning. Also, the second pair, with cats, are well started despite several tinkings (because I get distracted reading, and forget something crucial like colour changes). So definitely on track to get both pairs done and delivered for the 11th.

End results of the January spinning attempt to destash: 4 skeins alpaca-silk to Johanne, 1 skein mohair to Constance, and 4 assorted skeins in my basket - from top to bottom, a mouse-brown mohair/Romney x Leicester blend, some white Jacob, kid mohair, and yearling mohair.

February's goal will be to get the spinning done for a baby sweater on the list - the white fleece for the body is mostly picked but needs carding and spinning, then there are the dyed bits of fleece for the yoke to pick, card, and spin. That will be the focus after the mittens are done.

I have been bringing home copies of Vav magazine from our Guild library, less because I weave than because they have great articles and occasionally something way inspiring that could transfer to knitting. Right now I'm crushing on textiles from Skane, and a 3-shaft weaving from Bosarp which I think has some major possibilities as a knit:

I do love traditional textile patterns and history, and have a number of books and magazines with motifs and knits from many countries, mostly European. But it struck me the other day that there is very little from the Netherlands that I've seen. It would be nice to have more information on something more in my heritage. My mother is Dutch, and she knits, her mother knit, the relatives in Holland knit (and sent mittens to her family when she was growing up.) There is certainly a knitting tradition there - what little information I turned up in a few searches mentions guilds, and glove exports, and damask knitting, and old photos show people knitting (often what looks like socks, and hey, there's a Dutch Heel). I know I saw an article on knit lace caps also. One book mentioned in passing that colorwork motifs were limited, small and geometric. But with a plethora of books on Baltic and Scandinavian, and Shetland knitting, the only ones on Holland I could find are of fishermen's ganseys, which are nice - but where's the rest? Wouldn't a country with sailors habitually travelling to other countries with strong knitting traditions have brought back some souvenirs that might have been copied and elaborated on? And despite the stereotype of hard-working Dutch practicality, I can't see that a people whose folk costume has starched lace bonnets, gold ornaments, and ribbon trim would have only knit plain things. Where are the colourful mittens, the clocked socks? I need to do some investigation.

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