Knitting News: Is That a Scarf Tied Around That Tree?

10929024_10152695917758262_2448200790972217037_nNo, it’s not a yellow ribbon, it’s probably not even yellow. Neither is it another form of yarn bombing, which is sort of wasteful when you think about it. Rather, there’s a new trend spreading across the country. People are tying scarves, handmade or store bought, around trees is urban areas, parks, and neighborhoods. They’re labelled with messages like, “No, I’m not lost. Please take me with you if you’re cold. Hope it helps.” Since the trend started in Seymour,Indiana, church groups, schools fundraisers and kind random strangers from almost every state are pitching in to make sure a good portion of the 1.56 million homeless Americans are a little warmer this winter! A bit of good news in this most difficult of months following the elections. A fuller version of this heartwarming little story can be found on Facebook or at HeartlandEternal.com.

Going down right now to my stash of handknits to find a couple to share.

Round Yoke Poncho

This pattern caught my eye immediately when it was posted. It’s by Lion Brand, and though they’re calling it a poncho, it actually has cuffs, so it seems to be one of the new sweater-shawl  designs that have been cropping up lately. I ordered the yarn, LB’s Amazing, which is a single strand, wool acrylic blend, in the Strawberry Field colorway. The set up is a bit tricky, because the increases depend on moving markers every row, but after a few false starts, I got it right and it’s now working up quickly, on a size J-10 (6 mm) hook. Free pattern can be found here.

Knitted Poppy

Memorial Day 2016 come and gone , but this little poppy pattern would be perfect for next year, or  for Veterans’ Day, which is coming  up fast.   Most knitted or crocheted flowers tend to be fluffy or floppy, but Lion Brand’s poppy is smooth and simple. Nice by itself  for a pretty, summery pin, or for embellishing bags, hats, sweaters, or just to wear on special days to show gratitude to generations of vets.

The pattern is free, but you must be a member to access it. Free and easy to sign up.

Pattern

 

Oldest Western Knitting Images

 

Most representations of knitting in art have been produced from the 18th century on. The earliest ones are knitting Madonnas.  The Holy Family, by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, c. 1345, shows Mary knitting, but what she might be making is not clear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3c8e17f881dba2917b93bcdbb016c9f6This is a detail from a polyptich by Tommaso da Modena, whose dates are 1325-1375). Mary is knitting something in the round using four needles. I believe this is in Bologna.

 

The next painting, by Meister Bertram von Minden, Germany, was done c. 1400-1410, in
the right wing of the Buxtehude Altarpiece.  Titled “The Madonna Knitting Christ’s Seamless Garment”,  it represents the Virgin Mary making a tunic in the round, using 4 needles. The tradition of the seamless garment describes a scene at the crucifixion, when the Roman soldiers cast lots to win possession of it, not wishing to tear up such a valuable item of clothing. Two churches, the cathedral at Trier and the parish church of Argenteuil, claim to have possession of the actual garment. Trier claims that it was brought to them by the Empress Saint Helena, who also is supposed to have found the True Cross. The French believe that theirs was brought there by Charlemagne, the Holy Roman Emperor. Both claims date from the 1100’s. Most probably, Christ’s clothing was woven, not knitted. But it’s a lovely painting and a lovely thought.

 

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The Madonna appears to be knitting a sock in this altarpiece painted by Nicolás and Martín Zahortiga, c. 1460 for the Museo de la Colegiata de Borja in Spain.

Does anyone know what the other two women are working on?

 

 

Huntley Gift Bag

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If you love to crochet, head on over to Little Monkeys Crochet , a blog full of cool patterns in all sorts of categories. The one that caught my eye is this pretty bag, made with about 275 yards of  medium weight cotton using a couple of stitches on a size H hook. It’s a free pattern, and Rebecca gives permission to sell things made with her free patterns so long as credit is given. The finished bag is 9″L x 3″W x 6″H. It looks easy enough to make larger or smaller.

This looks like a perfectly portable summer project, especially for a plane trip. No needles to scare security. One summer I lost an $18 pair of knitting needles at Charles deGaulle Airport checkpoint…. Now I bring plastic. Or crochet.

Sigh. Here’s the pattern. Thank you, Rebecca!

Fiber Arts: How to Wear an 18th Century Pocket

Reblogged from that most excellent site, History Myths Debunked.

 

 

History Myths Debunked

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Thanks to Rose Linden for submitting this myth–and yes, it is a myth.

I found an MA thesis written in 1994 by Yolanda VandeKrol of the University of Delaware entitled “The Cultural Context of Women’s Pockets” that treats this topic thoroughly. According to Ms. VandeKrol, pockets were common from the end of the 17th century until around 1800, when the neoclassical dress styles (high waists and clingy lines) made wearing interior pockets impossible. Dresses with hoops or bustles more easily accommodated pockets. By the early 1800s, pockets had been replaced by drawstring bags called reticules.

Pockets were defined in 1688 as “little bags set on the inside with a hole or slit on the outside, by which any small thing may be carried about.” They were “not visible for reasons of orderliness, privacy, and crime,” says VandeKrol. “Women did not deliberately display their pockets,” but sometimes they were briefly visible…

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Dyeing and Those Blue Sugar Loaf Wrappers

This interesting article was posted a few months back and is of relevance to all fiber artists.

History Myths Debunked

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A sweet story, but experts in historic crafts say that no actual instances of this practice are known in America’s colonial era. Apart from lack of evidence, it is illogical. Refined sugar was an expensive, imported luxury—think caviar—that only the wealthiest could afford. Not the sort who are scrimping and recycling their wrapping paper or dying their own fabric. (If the family budget couldn’t stretch to include sugar, what did folks back then use for sweeteners? Maple sugar, honey, molasses, or muscovado sugar. Or nothing.)

But lo and behold, several household management books published in the mid-nineteenth century do mention this practice. In one of them, The American Frugal Housewife (1835), author Lydia Childs tells how to make various cheap dyes, including “a fine purple slate color” by boiling sugar wrapping paper in vinegar with alum and boiling it in an iron kettle. In another, Eliza Leslie’s Lady’s Frugal House-Book; a…

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