Friday, March 30, 2012

Old stuff (pt 2)

More photos of old things, taken with the borrowed camera. This set of photos shows tools for various methods of working with textiles,
from The Way We Wore exhibition at the National Museum, Collins Barracks.

Tools no respectable seamstress would be seen without.

This crochet hook is incredibly teeny tiny. According to the signage, tiny delicate hooks like this were made by splitting the eye of a needle (one assumes sewing needle) and then attaching to a home-made wooden handle. 

A small, hand-cranked sewing machine, and a gorgeous sewing box. I remember, as a child, having great fun rooting through the button tins, thread spools & other bits & bobs in my mother's plain, practical sewing box. Imagine having this wonderful thing to hold your  humble sewing needles etc. 

Bleeding massive shears. Really, these things were huge. I slightly regret not taking measurements. I suspect that using these regularly would be equivalent to lifting weights.

There isn't much on display in the museum that would be familiar to modern knitters & spinners (may have to go to leave Dublin for a bit more of that) but the exhibition does include hand carders, complete with traces of fluff attached to the bristles. 

Suspect I will have to go further afield to sate my knitterly curiosity.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Old stuff

 The fella recently picked up a new 50mm lens for his camera that is particularly good at taking clear photos in bad light conditions. (Dunno, something about a wider aperture I assume). I think he wanted this lens because he's been disappointed with low-light photos of his adorable niece (aka ''The Toddler"). Of course, I had to borrow the camera & lens & wander about my favourite low-light places.

First up; the museum at Collins' Barracks; Irish Country Furniture exhibition.

One of my ambitions in life is to have space for a kitchen dresser, so I can display my favourite crockery. I'm rather envious of this;

 A chest, containing photos & some delicate looking fabric things..
And, best of all...
It was all I could do to restrain myself from stepping over the barrier to see if this baby works. From a distance it looks like all parts are intact.

Of course, I took many many photos; too many for one blog post. 
Watch this space.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Several weeks later, my plans have become a reality. I started with 2 skeins of undyed Schoppel-Wolle Admiral Stränge & several pots of Ashford Wool dyes.
As per the dye instructions, I made up a dye pot using the blue & navy dyes & added the wet base yarn to the dye pot. I then added a few dashes of teal dye, to give a semi-solid colour. When the dye had dried I was not impressed with the teal highlights against the blue but decided to knit on.
Pattern; Toe-up Socks with a Difference by Wendy D Johnson, combined with Ringwood stitch pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks.
Needles; 2.25
Method; I knit the socks as in Wendy's pattern, but using the Ringwood stitch pattern for the stitches across the top of the foot.  After finishing the heel, I knit around the whole sock in the ringwood stitch pattern. After an inch or so,I added in two increases, one either side of the centre seam stitch at the back of the calf. I continued these increases every inch or so up the leg of the sock. I then changed to 2 x 2 ribbing for about two - three inches, and then cast off. I'm quite happy with the results. The ribbing is a little loose, so will have to see how these socks hold up while wearing. I may re-do the ribbing with fewer stitches.

This knitting project started with a book;
'Bluestockings: The Remarkable Story of the First Women to Fight for an Education' by Jane Robinson. I wouldn't say that I enjoyed this book. The tone of the writing was a little too conversational, and the book gives many many very brief examples of individual women & their experience of education. I would have preferred a more thorough description of a smaller quantity of women.
However, I was engrossed in the subject matter  & was thoroughly enraged by Victorian and early 20th Century attitudes towards women, both of male authority figures & of the women & their female peers. I am certainly relieved that things have improved here in Europe, where there are laws to protect our equality, even if some individuals' attitudes are still lacking. Although with the recent International Womens' day, we have been reminded that there are still many in the world where women are ignored, mistreated & abused by their family and society. 

This reminds me how good I've had it; with a third-level qualification, and a male companion who treats me as an equal. Different, but equal.