Saturday, June 29, 2013

Wonder Wool Wales 2013!

I am five hours away from the closest sheep and wool festival, so I was delighted that Wonder Wool Wales was our first stop in Wales.  

Warning:  my photos were by and large quite lousy I don't travel with a computer for daily viewing and fixing..but maybe next time...

National Wool Museum Exhibit ...if you ever go to Wales I would HIGHLY recommend this museum which is in Dre-Fach Felindre, Llandysul, Carmarthenshire).

The Hattersley Domestic Loom (here's a nice read on this loom, while not a weaver I'm fascinated with this loom which I first met in Scotland on Harris)

Manx Loaghean

Wicker creations are local to Wales...this was a "weave some yourself" exhibit

This very talented woman was sporting a great hat which I got a very poor photo of...she felts birds and has added them to her chapeau...she gave me permission to feature this photo and her website ... of course I lost her card with her site information.  So sorry. 

Pembroke Poll Dorsets

Talis Kimberley, my new favorite fiber chanteuse (note the "Campaign for Wool" banner behind her)

Here's a youtube video of Talis and friends doing her big sea chantey style hit entitled "Can You Knit, Brave boys?"

Felting workshop (they will be mitts)

Fashion Show

Men in kilts and red tights 

And...the view behind the loo

Needless to say, I will be taking time off this year to get to SAFF in Asheville this year for some more local festivities!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Welsh Stockings

Hello, are your feet warm?

Why yes, I went on a trip last month...I was lucky to be able to join Joyce James, fiber-purchase-agent- provocateuse on her journey to Wales, along with 13 intrepid fiber loving companions, one brave husband, and an intrepid coach driver. (In case you don't know, "coach" is UK and Canadian speak for "bus.")

The first post that I am inspired to do is on traditional knitting in Wales, of which, I don't believe, there is a tremendous history for my first interest...shawls.  I didn't happen upon any, although that's certainly not to says that shawl knitting didn't happen in times past in Wales.  If I were interested in hats, there is a knitted hat that supposedly originated in Wales, the "Monmouth Cap."  

 However, the  Welsh were well known for knitted socks or "stockings." Here is a lovely painting by William Dyce entitled "Welsh landscape with two women knitting" from 1860.

A bit of internet research turned up information from a museum that we visited,  Ceredigion Museum in Aberstwyth. This was a fascinating place, full of treasures from the past and located in a repurposed Edwardian era cinema.   Some highlights regarding socks from the this web page include:

Funeral stockings were commonly knit, very sweet with with bereaved's name knit into the stocking. 

Further digging at this website revealed another fascinating read by a woman named Sara Minwel Tibbott who was a writer and collector of information about domestic crafts The link is here. After more internet research (which I've decided that I might be kind of good at...) I discovered that the link is a chapter  excerpt from Sara's book,  entitled Domestic Life in Wales, which is a sweet read on daily domestic life in pre and just post industrial Wales. 

According to Sara, during the 18th and 19th centuries, knitting stockings (socks) were an important and sometimes (for single women) a primary income in households. Most women and many men when not doing other work had knitting in their hands.  Socks were then sold to individuals and at fairs, often to "stocking men" who then took their purchases to London.

Stockings used natural white at the top (the "welt") and toe. Colored or dyed yarn was used for the body of the stocking. Blue grey from the home dyepot was for men, women wore black stockings.

This cottage industry was outdated by the mid nineteenth century when the railroad allowed quick transport of stockings and other knitted goods from the factories in England and Scotland throughout the UK, although of course home knitting lived on.

So of course, all of this left me in search of a pattern.

Here is a  photo of  Nancy Bush's "Welsh Stockings" and the Rav link to it below!  I plan to adapt a sock pattern to this color scheme...