Monday, 15 March 2010

Crafting lethargy

Here we are almost mid way through March already and I have nothing (zero!) to show for it on the crafting front. I have had little enthusiasm for crafting since the turn of the year and that is v unlike me - can't quite put my finger on the reason(s) why. Could it be that the loss of my constant companion as I worked into the wee sma' oors, my trusty Roberts RD76, which has been gone for repair since January, might have something to do with it? Might it be that I need a break, a wee holiday, to finally throw off this eternal winter - to return invigorated and full of crafting purpose?

I'll find out soon because I finally picked up my much missed radio today and I head off for a week on Barra on Saturday - I am thrilled! Very excited at the prospect of flying up to Barra and landing on the famous Isle of Barra beach - seemed like a good idea at the time! Fingers crossed for a clear day; hoping for a pretty special experience and a not too bumpy landing!!

Thursday, 11 March 2010


I visited the Collins Gallery at Strathclyde University recently to see the Sashiko Textiles Exhibition and it is utterly beautiful. If you get the opportunity you should take a look, you won't be disappointed.

Kendo undergarment, 19th century, maker unknown, cotton
© Japan Folk Crafts Museum

Fire fighter’s coat with a matoi image (hikeshi hanten),
1850-1899, cotton © Japan Folk Crafts Museum

Donza, a fisherman’s coat with an asanoha pattern (detail),
cotton © Fukuoka City Museum

Farmer’s coat, 19th century, cotton
© Japan Folk Crafts Museum

"Sashiko is a techinique similar to quilting which evolved throughout Japan in the mid 20th century.

Japanese Sashiko Textiles is the new exhibition to open at Collins Gallery in the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. Originated by York Museums Trust and researched by Michele Walker, this is the first major touring exhibition of Japanese Sashiko Textiles to be mounted in the UK and the Collins Gallery is the sole Scottish venue for this visually stunning and comprehensive collection.

The exhibition focuses on the lives of the makers, working- class women who established this style from a need to re-use and repair work clothes, through items dating from the mid 19th century and includes over 70 garments and images by the renowned Japanese photographer, Iwayima Takeji (1920 – 1989)."

Hari kuyo, Temple Sensõ-ji, Tokyo © Michele Walker, 2005
Hari kuyo (Memoria l service for needles)

"The respect for needlecraft skills is observed in a special annual
ritual of thanksgiving for the services of worn sewing needles
and pins. The event occurs in Buddhist temples throughout
Japan on 8th February. This was New Year’s Day in the old
calendar and a time to rest. Hari kuyo brings to mind the past,
where women’s abilities and temperament were judged by
sewing skills and needles were important tools. The service
combines aspects of Buddhism with the traditional Shinto belief
that both living and inanimate objects have a spirit and soul.
Today, this ceremony is still regarded as special and an occasion
that brings women together. As the worn needles are laid to rest
in special trays of tofu, it is suggested that the user takes time
to console themselves and bury secrets too personal to reveal."

Monday, 1 March 2010

Rippin' ma knittin'!

I have never mastered the art of knitting, much as I would love to, although I can do some basic stitches - in fact my favourite stitch is the basic garter stitch. Apart from being easy to do, I like the simplicity of it.

Today I was looking at some wool and knitting patterns on the web when I remembered a seminar I attended recently - part of which was given by a psychiatrist who made reference to a fellow psychiatrist who knitted an anatomically correct woolly brain "The knitted brain"

- and here it is:

The woolly brain is now on display at the Boston Museum of Science.

Now that's impressive!

(Often wondered where "rippin' ma knittin'!" (slang for "at my wits end" /"driving me crazy") came from!)