Thursday, 19 January 2012

Wonder of Wool

2012 being the year of wool (as well as the year of the cape etc etc), it was fitting that I attended the 'Wonder of Wool' exhibition at Rheged on the opening day, which was not intentional but an inspirational boost to start the year.

Although most of the exhibits were marvelous, a few deserve special mention:

Extravagansey by Annie Shaw
Extravagansey by Annie Shaw: dozens of tiny ganseys hanging from the ceiling, each one unique and beautiful. Hard to say which was my favourite because they were all lovely, but the one with the jumper knitted on the back tickled me. She used this project to soak up all the little bits and bobs of flotsam and jetsam that she had collected from the beach over the years - like a Bowerbird, one person's waste is another woman's art.
Celia Pym: Darning
Darning by Celia Pym:
On the same theme, this artist takes moth-eaten ancient but once beautiful garments and patches them up to make them wearable once again. The darned sweaters are in a curious way even more attractive than the originals. The child's fair-isle sweater (right) is displayed next to a photo of the original owner, wearing it when it must have been freshly knitted. I hate to think what happened to the Norwegian fisherman who wore this garment (below) - looks like he lost a fight with Moby Dick.
Celia Pym
Celia Pym
On this theme, I have a favourite pair of slipper socks received as a christmas present about 5 years ago. They were getting a bit holy (holey?) so I had a go at darning them with an odd ball of purple tweed. At this rate I may get another 5 years out of them!
Thimble: spot the darning
Finally and back to WOW, Knitted Homes of Crime, a piece by Freddie Robbins which combines 2 of my favourite things: wool (of course) and Victorian murder mysteries...except that there isn't really any mystery to these murders, and the stories really are macabre...
'Christiana' by Freddie Robbins

'Ethel' by Freddie Robbins

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