Saturday 30 August 2014

Zen and the Art of Knitting

I've just been reading Zen and the Art of Knitting by Bernadette Murphy, which I was given for my birthday.  Its an interesting read, but the thing I found most interesting was that quite a lot of the knitters featured in the book, knitted because they enjoyed the process of knitting, not because of what they made.  Most seemed to give the finished article away either as gifts to loved ones or to charities.  

I found this so interesting because I love to make things too, but it is the making I love the most.  I don't mind what I am making as long as I am making something, but I also hate waste and a house full of rubbish, and so I either make things as gifts or to have a purpose.  I guess that's why I love bookbinding and paper making so much and why I've just started out on the knitting journey - at the end of all three processes you should have something of use.

I wonder what that means about beautiful works of art or things like my little hare?  Does the beauty of the item cancel out the need for it to have a use?  Its beyond me, but I know that I will continue to make stuff for as long as I can.

Sunday 24 August 2014

A felted hare

Years ago in February, me and my friend Katie when to Unravel, a festival of knitting.  It was amazing and full of everything you could possibly imagine that had any connection to knitting at all.  There was wool of every colour, needles of every size, buttons, kits, patterns and clothing.  I wouldn't have been surprised if there had been sheep outside.

As we walked around in wonder we came across Jenny Barnett and her wonderful felted creatures.  I fell in love!  But I couldn't really justify buying one of her ready made hares so I bought a kit instead, after all how hard can it be?

Actually felting isn't really very hard at all.  Its making something that looks like its really alive thats the hard bit.  Jenny's kits have everything you will need to create your creature - fleece and sponge and needles and instructions, its up to you to give it that spark of life.  I don't think I did too bad for a first attempt, although it doesn't come close to Jenny's work.  Defiantly something I will be trying again...

Sunday 10 August 2014

Making more paper

Last autumn while cutting plants back in the garden in our annual tidy up I deliberately kept some bundles and hung them in the garage to dry in the hope I would be able to use them to make paper with later.
Finally I have some more time for things like this so I had a go with the first lot - a bundle of Echinops ritro (globe thistles).

It's all very experimental at the moment so I wasn't sure what to expect.  My first learning curve was to find that the storks were just too hard to use.  Hours and hours of boiling did nothing so I settled for just using the leaves.  But I was pleasantly surprised by the out come.  A fine green paper with lots of small detail.  I used more cotton too which gave me lovely thick paper.  I can feel another book coming on.

Compared with the onion paper you can see its a totally different colour, but the texture and feel is different too.  I look forward to seeing that other garden fibres produce.