London Adventures III: Victoria and Albert Museum

Hello from Winnipeg!

I want to share this with you, It is a posting from a wonderful blog, ‘A Stitch Or Nine’.

She went on my dream trip to England, full of needlework, stately homes (and their textiles) and museums. I doubt I’ll ever get to the V&A in London but this was a wonderful glimpse into it’s wonders.

The best part IMHO, is the last section of her post, the Japanese textiles. It’s a chance to see kumihimo in it’s original setting, lacing Samurai armour together.

I recommend visiting her blog with a good cup of tea and some time to really explore. It’s worth the visit!

Enjoy!
Love, Baba StringThings

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The trip to London concluded to one of my favourite museums, the Victoria and Albert (V&A) museum. Whenever I’m in London, I always try and visit the V&A and I’ve still only seen a small fraction of the incredible collection they have.

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Everything about the V&A is fabulous – the building, the exhibitions, the entire scale of the museum. If you can think of it, they probably have a collection on it. I’ve seen everything from a collection of locks and locking mechanisms, to armour for animals alongside more traditional pieces of art.

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As it is a British national museum, entrance is absolutely free. You do have to pay to see the special exhibitions (tickets are around £15 for non-members) they have but that is it. They have an extensive gift shop and cafes if you want to support the work they do, which I would wholeheartedly encourage. There are…

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Finding Treasures

S0, as you Winnipegger’s may know, Wolsley’s Neighbourhood Bookstore and Cafe is closed (temporarily I am POSITIVE). I encourage action!

Anyway, I just read this wonderful post about finding fibre-love treasure in second-hand bookstores ad thought to share it with you.

Two of the best finds I ever made at the cafe were ‘Plain and Fancy: American Women and Their Needlework, 1700-1850’ by Susan Burrows Swan (found last week!) and the ‘Woman’s Day Book of American Needlework’, by Rose Wilder Lane. (Yes, Laura’s daughter!) It still had it’s companion box of patterns too!

Have you made any amazing finds second-hand?

A good second-hand book store is a pearl beyond price.:-)

The Sweaty Knitter, Weaver and Devotee of Other Fiber Arts

I enjoy roaming the aisles of used book stores.  Over the years I have found some amazing HandweaversWorkbookbooks for very little money.  Recently I came across a 1956 edition of A Handweaver’s Workbook by Heather G. Thorpe (originally published 1936, reissued in 1974).  Not surprising given its age, the book is hardbound, and the pages are printed on heavy acid-free pages. It is also in perfect condition, nary a pencil mark! What a find!

Browsing through it, I was impressed by its thorough yet not overwhelming approach to introducing weaving.  I learned some interesting facts I’ve not seen newer weaving survey books or learned in a weaving class.

Did you know (I didn’t!) that …

PorteeCrossThere are different names for crosses on warps made withe a paddle dependent upon their position:  The first cross at the end of a warp is called a porrey cross; the second cross is called…

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Chatelaines: The Original Multi-App Mobile Device!

My Chatelaine isn’t as pretty as the Victorian ones, but it’s just as handy.

Continue reading “Chatelaines: The Original Multi-App Mobile Device!”

What Do You Call Your Arts And/Or Craftsy Self?

In praise of all of the Craftivists, Textile Artists, Crafters, Embroideresses, Spinsters, and Needleworkers…

Image above is Alter Image by Alanna Tyson Her post on Art vs Craft is well worth reading

I am a craftswoman, not an artist. I am a Craftivist  too. Let me tell you why…

The Personal Is Political

Words can be unexpectedly powerful. The difference between a craftswoman, needleworker, crocheter, fibre or textile artist, and artisan, etc., may be only a matter of terminology, but what you call yourself  makes a real difference in both self and public perception.

As always, the personal is political.

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A Perfect Day, A Perfect Hook, A Perfect Book, And A Piece Of String.

Tea and crochet is a thrifty pastime, but good hooks, (and books!) are worth the money.

Today was one of the 10 or so perfect days of the year here in Winnipeg. It wasn’t too hot or cold, there were no mosquitoes to speak of, the sun was out and the sky was beautiful. In short, a perfect day to walk down to my local second-hand book store and coffee shop, the Neighbourhood Cafe, with my crochet.

I found and bought a wonderful book, “Plain and Fancy, American Women and Their Needlework 1650-1850” by Susan Burrows Swan.

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“Plain and Fancy, American Women and Their Needlework 1650-1850

It showed many of the tools our foremothers used, and it started me thinking about the tools that I use everyday.

Most of them are virtually identical. Any weaver from 1650 could sit down at my loom and be up and weaving in seconds. My spinning wheel may have a bike wheel instead of a wooden spoked one but it hasn’t changed in it’s essentials at all. And although my hoop, needles, threads and scissors are really wonderful, my very best needlework might be as fine as the average 17th century six year old’s!

Crochet in it’s present form is a very new type of needlework, only from the mid-1800’s, but people have been using hooks to pull loops of string through loops a lot longer. Netting is most likely crochet’s direct forebear. It really came into its own during Ireland’s Great Famine and then in North America, but that is a story for another day. Originally hooks were all very small, and were made of silver, pewter, bone, and ivory, and wood. A vintage hook is a real treasure today, but for everyday use, I prefer mine.

Continue reading “A Perfect Day, A Perfect Hook, A Perfect Book, And A Piece Of String.”

Antique Pattern Library Catalog

Hundreds of years of needlework and yarncraft patterns, all for free!

 

Here are some of the wonderful free vintage publications from the awe-inspiring Antique Pattern Library Catalog. I can’t recommend this site highly enough. Do yourself a favour; put your feet up, grab a cup of tea, and settle in for a good rummage through the patterns.

Antique Pattern Library Catalog

If, like me you are a huge fan of both string and history then this site is a treasure trove. It’s like a really old second-hand bookstore; you might have to do a bit of hunting around to find the gems but it’s totally worth it.

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Meet Dziparu Mate, The Latvian Holy Mother Of Yarn

“Dear Dziparina Mamulina, help me keep this damn yarn from tangling so I can knit another pair of damned mittens!”

I would like to introduce you to Dziparu Mate, one of my very favourite Goddesses. She is one of the Latvian Mother Goddesses or Mates, and She rules over Wool, Coloured Wool and Yarn.

Knitting was very important in the life of young Latvian women. Girls were expected to knit over fifty pairs of mittens before their wedding day, and the number of pairs a girl had made was one factor in finding a husband.

That made mitten-making a very serious business. Can you imagine the pressure of knowing your prospective husband’s family would be examining your mittens in order to decide if you were worthy of marrying their son? On the wedding day, the bride would give out the mittens she had made to her new in-laws. Hopefully, the mittens (and the bride)  would be a big hit.

Continue reading “Meet Dziparu Mate, The Latvian Holy Mother Of Yarn”