tisdag 22 september 2015

"General directions for knitted articles"

from "Knitted Articles Officially endorsed by the American Red Cross"

General directions for knitted articles

Stitches should not be cast on too tightly. Knitting should be done evenly and firmly, and all holes (caused by carelessly slipping stitches from one needle to the other) should be avoided.

Joining should be done by splicing or by leaving two or three inches at each end of the yarn to be darned in carefully.

To make an even edge always slip the first stitch of each row when knitting with two needles.

All knots, lumps or other irregularities should be most carefully avoided, especially in socks, as they are apt to blister the feet.

When taking measurements lay work smoothly on table. Do not stretch.

(from "Knitted Articles Officially endorsed by the American Red Cross")

Lucinda Gosling - Knitting for Tommy
I have read two books on knitting during WWI. Lucinda Goslings book "Knitting for Tommy - Keeping the Great War Soldier Warm" is a very interesting read about the almost unbelievable amount of knitting that was done during WWI to support the British troups. 

"Knitting for soldiers and sailors in 1914 became a national pastime - perhaps even a mania. ... Appeals were published in the press, working parties were formed and women's magazines published patterns, often known as 'recipes', for a whole range of knitted garments to provide succour and comfort to men at the front. Knitted comforts soon began to be collected officially by various charities and organisations. Queen Mary's Needlework Guild, which produced an estimated 15.5 million separate items during the war, many of them knitted, requested that all donations  be sent to the collection centre at Friary Court, St James's Palace"
Lucinda Gosling - Knitting for Tommy
Everyone that could (or could learn to), was encouraged to knit for the front. Knitting was going on everywhere; at the theatre, at work during breaks, on the bus, at dinner parties and so on. Not only women knitted. Men at home knitted, children knitted, wounded soldiers at the hospitals knitted. Just about everyone knitted! Poems about knitters were published in magazines. Songs about knitters were composed and played on the radio. Competitions in knitting socks took place. Yarn companies published patterns with instructions and basic information about how to knit.

Before reading this book I knew that there had been knitting for the front during WWI, but I had never understood the amount of it. In many ways I find this book moving. It is impossible to read about this without imagining how tough a situation it must have been both for the men at the front and all the people that for various reasons were still at home. Lucinda Gosling's text is rich on information but apart from that the book also contains loads of pictures of high interest. There is also a chapter on Great War knitting in other countries.
The Priscilla war work book ...
The other book that I read was "The Priscilla war work book, including Directions for Knitted Garments and Comfort Knits from The Americam Red Cross, and Knitted Garments for The Boy Scouts"

This book is a scanned version of the two books referred to in it's title. The quality of the print is not very good, but it is as the publisher says: "We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide."

The Priscilla war work book ...
It is a pity that the quality of the print is not better. But it is possible, with some effort, to read the patterns. Typical patterns are for mufflers, helmets, socks, mittens, gloves and sweaters.

I find the book very interesting and there are items here that would be fun to knit and equally useful today as they were then.

tisdag 15 september 2015

Yarn from Latvia

Big package from Latvia
Today a big package sent from Latvia was delivered to our house. When we were in Riga in August we bought a couple of hanks of the yarn that was used in the knitted mittens that were for sale at Tines.  About a week ago I placed an order for more yarn at their web shop.
Yarn for mittens and hats
There are colours here that I normally would not choose. But they are part of the Latvian tradition and I know that they all have an important role in the knitted mittens. The yarn is a thin 2-ply wool, 350 metres per 100 grams.
Many colours
It is nice to know that all these colours will brighten the dark and cold winter that is coming.
Lots of colours
Autumn in our garden - Winter is coming

söndag 13 september 2015

Pot-holders in Tunisian Crochet

These are very big and sturdy pot-holders made in Tunisian crochet. The yarn I used is thick cotton in three colours. I made four squares and the crocheted them together two and two to get a good thickness. With these, even very warm oven pots can be handled without the risk of getting burned.
I also made a pair of crocheted pot-holders that can be used when handling smaller items. These are also made in thick cotton, but they are not doubled. All pot-holders in this post were made for my mother who has moved to a new apartment, and lost her pot-holders in the process.

fredag 4 september 2015

Our Fulling Boards - Swedish names: valkbräda, tovbräda, tovträ

Our fulling boards
Fulling is a process used for making e.g. knitted woollen material thicker, more durable - and warmer. The fulling process also shrinks the woollen material, so if you plan to full a pair of mittens you should knit them bigger than the desired finished size. Nowadays many people use their washing machine for fulling. It is an effective and non-laborious way of fulling. But you have to be careful since you can´t see the finished result until the machine´s program is finished. Using a fulling board gives you much more control over the process, and makes it possible to get a really god fit. You will also get a work-out as a bonus!
I also find it exiting to feel the process taking place in the material when the wool´s fibres intertwine and mat together. 

Here are two posts about when I used a fulling board:
Fulling mittens in the machine - an experiment
Nalbinding 2011

Our new fulling board
This is our new fulling board. It is made by a man whom I met during the Österbybruk Wool market. It is the largest of our fulling boards and also the heaviest. I do look forward towards testing fulling with this one.
Sturdy and effective fulling board
This is the fulling board that I have used for fulling until now. It is a sturdy piece of wood and I find it efficient to work with.
Old fulling board from Dalarna
This one was given to us as a gift. We were quite taken aback since it is probably at least a hundred years old and from Dalarna. I have never dared to use this because of its age, but I think that it is a fantastic old tool showing marks of being thoroughly used.
Fulling board from Leksand, Dalarna
This fulling board that we bought in Leksand, Dalarna is also at least a hundred years old. It is on the smaller side and I have not used it. The surface of this one is so very smooth, it must have been used a lot.

As with many other of the old tools for working with wool I find it really exciting to hold and feel them. Imagining the makers and users and the fabrics that have been created with their help.
Signature on the fulling board from Leksand