Softer

Last week a new textile exhibition called Softer opened at the Mill. A follow-up to last year’s Soft show, Softer  showcases the variety of textile talent in E17 and includes a crocheted reindeer head, an applique wall-hanging, a patchwork piece and a book of children’s stitches, to name a few. Oh, and our knitting group’s piece, Softer Light is proudly on display in the window!

Take a look at the Mill’s website for more info, or, better still, come and see the show in the flesh fabric.softeropening1 softeropening4softeropening5softeropening2softeropening3 softeropening6 softeropening7

The Weekend

millfete02         This weekend I helped out at my local community centre’s Midsomer Mill Garden Fete. With the theme of Midsummer Murders in mind, I put on my most saccharine sweet flowery dress (no pictures of that, thankfully). millfete01millfete06millfete03millfete04millfete07millfete05millfete08millfete09millfete10millfete11millfete12millfete13To the tunes of The Moodswingers, we sold plants and knitted goods, ate cakes, drank tea, painted faces, blindfolded local police officers (yep – and charged them 20p for it) and generally felt like we lived in a sweet little village. Thanks to Kate and Isabelle for masterminding the day!

Group Knitting Project

This morning I’m busy sewing together our Softer Light group knitting piece. Over the past couple of months us knitters at The Mill have made squares for this ‘stained knit window’, to be featured in an upcoming textiles exhibition, Softer.

To do these beautiful squares full justice, I’m knitting a mile (well, not quite) of i-cord as ‘leading’ to hold the ‘panes’ of knitting in place.

The i-cord was made on two double-ended needles by casting on two stitches, knitting them, and, after knitting the second stitch, pushing the stitches from the left to the right-side end of the needle, transferring the needle back to the left-hand and continuing as a round by bringing the working yarn around the back. This forms a very tiny tube of knitting with four sides formed by the two stitches.

 

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Mitred squares

Here’s my (slightly) modified version of Aunty Penny’s pattern for a mitred square. These measurements are specifically to make a 10x10cm square in Debbie Bliss ‘Angel’ mohair yarn.

Debbie Bliss kindly donated this and lots of other beautiful yarn to The Mill, so we’ve been putting it to good use for our group piece for the forthcoming Softer textiles exhibition.squares

Abbreviations

k – knit

k2tog – knit two together

sl1 – slip 1

psso – pass slip stitch over

Cast on 31 sts on size 5mm needles.

Row 1 and every following alternate row: Knit.

Row 2: k14, sl1, k2tog, psso, k14.

Row 4: k13, sl1, k2tog, psso, k13.

Row 6 and all following alternate rows: Continue reducing in the same way, with decreased stitches forming central diagonal line, until 3 stitches remain.

Following row: sl1, k2tog, psso.

Cut yarn and pass end through loop.square

Many thanks to Aunty Penny for putting me on to this. Here’s her original, excellent advice:

20th April 2013

“I just discovered an interesting way of knitting squares, where you decrease a stitch in the middle of each row, forming a diagonal, as follows.
Cast on an odd number of stitches, 2n+1
Row 1: knit n-1 stitches, slip 1, k1, psso, knit
Row 2: as row 1
Row 3: knit n-2 stitches, slip 1, k1, psso, knit
Row 4: as row 3
Continue until there is only 1 stitch. You can either pull this through, or start on a new square by picking up n stitches along one of the edges of the first square and casting on a further n.”

24th April

“Re my comment of 20th April on diagonal squares, I’ve just been trying different decreases, knit 2 together or knit 2 together through back of loops, and for garter stitch it doesn’t seem to matter which one you do as long as it’s always the middle stitch and the stitch before that you knit together and you are consistent. These squares are particularly fetching in rainbow yarn.

I’ve also noticed that it’s a way to get a scalloped edging. Instead of carrying on decreasing until you’ve got one stitch remaining, you stop sooner and then just knit straight.”

Softer Light – A Group Knitting Project

Right now we’ve got an exciting group knitting project at The Mill. Inspired by the light shining through some pretty pastel-coloured baby clothes in the window recently, we’re knitting up a wooly stained-glass window to be exhibited at the next textile show Softer.

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Here’s the work done so far. The beautiful thing about collaborative knitting projects is seeing it grow so quickly. I’m looking forward to seeing how much we can do in one week, two, three..

The Mill

It’s high time I paid my respects here on my blog to a favourite local hub of mine – The Mill, on Coppermill Lane, Walthamstow. mill

A former library that was closed down, the building was rescued and revived by local residents determined to maintain a space for neighbours to meet, play cards, read the paper, exchange language skills or do anything they liked. Over a year on, there’s an exhibitions programme, children’s activities, a book club and, very importantly, a twice-weekly knitting circle. After a long period of absence I made a return to Friday morning’s session, to find a hive of activity, ready for a craft sale tomorrow afternoon. If you’re in the E17 area..

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Click here for more information about The Mill and its programme.