Shakespeare Knits: Act I

William Shakespeare was one writer who was familiar with the fiber arts, and he referenced them often in his work. Thinking about “the ravll’d sleeve” made me curious enough to look up more references. Here are the first few:

Antony and Cleopatra

II 2:

To hold you in perpetual amity,
To make you brothers, and to knit your hearts
With an unslipping knot, take Antony
Octavia to his wife
; whose beauty claims
No worse a husband than the best of men.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I, i:

HERMIA. My good Lysander!

I swear to thee by Cupid’s strongest bow,

By his best arrow, with the golden head,

By the simplicity of Venus’ doves,

By that which knitteth souls and prospers loves,

And by that fire which burn’d the Carthage Queen,

II, 2:

O, take the sense, sweet, of my innocence!
Love takes the meaning in love’s conference.
I mean, that my heart unto yours is knit
So that but one heart we can make of it;

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IV, i:

THESEUS Fair lovers, you are fortunately met:
Of this discourse we more will hear anon.
Egeus, I will overbear your will;
For in the temple by and by with us
These couples shall eternally be knit:
And, for the morning now is something worn,
Our purposed hunting shall be set aside.

V, 1 :

Thisbe
O wall, full often hast thou heard my moans,
For parting my fair Pyramus and me!
My cherry lips have often kiss’d thy stones,
Thy stones with lime and hair knit up in thee.

The Tempest

III, 3:

My high charms work
And these mine enemies are all knit up
In their distractions; they now are in my power
;

Macbeth

II, 2

Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!
Macbeth does murder sleep’, the innocent sleep,
Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care,
The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course

How many people realize that sleave, as the word was spelled in Shakespeare’s work, means, not part of a shirt, but a knot or twist of silk fiber?

Lovecats Cowl Kit

I hardly ever promote products here at Dances with Wools, but when I saw this cowl, I just had to post it. The designer, Caroline Sommerfield, is a dedicated animal rights activist. She created a line of cat and dog colored yarns called – what else? – Meow and Woof, and donates proceeds to rescue and adoption agencies, spaying and neutering programs, and trap-neuter-return programs that support feral cat colonies with safe shelter, food, and vet care. What a brilliant way to combine the love of knitting with love of animals! Those two things are also close to my own heart; hence, this post.

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This particular cowl is made in Silver Tabby Ursula, and features tabby style stripes interspersed with little  paw prints. Caroline’s company, Ancient Arts Fiber Crafts , features other kitty color ways in the Meow line, as well as an array of other yarns, patterns, and kits, along with a list of retailers.

You can order the Lovecats Cowl Kit , which is $39.99, here .

52 Dishcloth Patterns

imageFor some time now, Knit Picks has been posting a free pattern a week for dishcloths. I generally knit the same simple pattern over and over for mine, because after a few uses, a dishcloth tends to look, well, like a used dishcloth. But some of these are pretty enough to give as gifts. I like to use a nice one to gift wrap small items like soaps or shower gel. This site contains both knit and crochet designs.

So, without the proverbial further ado,

here’s the link

to all these great little free patterns. (Wait, isn’t ” great little” an oxymoron?”)

15 Homemade Swiffer Cloth Patterns

It’s so wasteful to use and discard those disposable  covers for the Swiffer mop, convenient though it may be. Solution:  TipNut has listed 15 different ways to make reusable Swiffer cloths; guilt free mopping. And great for using up leftover yarn. img_1002Yay!! I’ve been using the washable pads provided with my Shark floor steamer, and just toss them in the washer instead of the trash can (and landfill).

TipNut

Textile History: The Carpet

If you haven’t yet discovered the Atlas Obscura site, check it out. The writers over there cover all sorts of little known places, people, and things, and the newsletter almost always offers articles that I want to read. Today they posted about the history of carpets, which goes back thousands of years. The picture below is of the  Pazyryc Carpet, which was discovered in Siberia in 1947 and is now displayed at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. It is currently the oldest ever found.

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The carpet’s incredible state of preservation is due to the fact that it was preserved for 2 millennia within a block of ice.  According to Carpet Encyclopedia , it measures 183×200 cm and has a knot density of approximately 360, 000 knots per square meter, a higher knot density than most carpets seen in stores today. The pattern includes a central ribbon motif, border a procession with deers and another border warriors on horses. This carpet was probably manufactured in Armenia or Persia around 400 BC.  Head over to Carpet Encyclopedia for more info on this amazing work of art.

It is believed that the carpet was developed by nomadic peoples living on the plains of Central Asia, as a more easily portable source of warmth than animal skins. Their looms, in their simplest form, were made of two wooden ribs which were secured to the ground and between them the warp was fastened. Similar looms , which fold easily for transportation, are still used today by the nomads, as pictured below.

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Amazing, no?

Pivot Cowl

img_0985Some knitters find garter stitch to be tedious, and avoid it whenever possible. But as this cowl shows, garter doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it lends itself quite nicely to shaping, in a neat, tailored sort of way that stockinette or fancier stitches can’t quite match. This design combines short row triangles with rectangles, and one of the things that appealed to me when it caught my eye on the Purl Soho site this afternoon is the way it drapes without bunching up around the neck the way many cowls do. I also like the stitch definition that the yarn, Cashmere Merino Bloom, produces. Having now knitted several garments from Purl Soho kits, I can testify to the excellent quality of their yarns. Pivot is made on size 5 US straight or circular needles.

As soon as I finish the Purl Soho Drachenfels shawl that currently occupies my needles, the Pivot Cowl may just be my next project.