Friday, 12 February 2016

... feeling like February......

February has arrived and for most of us it has brought with it wet weather, grey skies and a bracing wind after what had been a mild warm winter so far.

On the positive side, the time indoors will be spent productively dealing with those overdue sewing tasks, whilst making an early start on the spring cleaning chores before our workshop season arrives with Åsa Tricosa's Weekend Knitting Masterclass at the end of April. Something really exciting to look forward to (Åsa's workshop, not the chores, that is).....

Asa Södeman is never one to sit back on her laurels; she's off to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March where you will find her hosting a couple of three-hour demonstrations:  one on Collars and Cuffs, and the other on the Marlisle technique, a new system of creating decorative texture and colour shifts in handknitted fabric with a particular focus on seamless knitting in the round.  Her workshop here will concentrate on tailoring beautifully crafted, top-down garments, with special attention to all those details that make for an expertly finished, knitted garment.  As a moderately competent knitter myself, I'm looking forward to learning those professional touches Åsa is celebrated for, as well as assimilating some of her wonderful Scandinavian colour sense. 

Edinburgh seems to be the place to be at the moment for anyone into textiles, yarns, and all things  in-between. Fiona Rutherford, who will be leading her first workshop, Tapestry Weaving, with us in September this year, is starting her year with an exhibition of new tapestries at CONVERGE 2016 Visual Arts Scotland29th January - 20th February,  "I'm delighted that my triptych, "Familiar Rhythms", has been selected for this exciting mix of fine and applied art and design showing at the RSA galleries". She'll also be showing a selection of her tapestries under the theme "Fragments" at the Knitting & Stitching ShowRoyal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, from 28th April to 1st May, when she herself will be available to talk to.  Well worth a visit!

During Fiona's workshop here, participants will be using lightwieght wood frame looms and a vibrant range of her personal Swedish cotton and linen yarns to weave colour and shape. Whether you are new to tapestry weaving or you want to take time to expand your ideas and weaving technique further in a creative environment, Fiona will guide you through the steps of how to create a small tapestry mounted and ready for you to take home.
If, however, your neck of the woods happens to be Stateside, and Vermont at that, you might like to take the opportunity to view the work of innovative and talented "stitch artist", Emily Barletta whose work will be on view at the exhibition, Intimacy and Materiality,at the Helen Day Arts Centre in Stowe.  

We still have a few places remaining on Julie Arkell's Workshop here: Birds on a Table at the beginning of June. Julie's events here are always a joy, and participants this year will be encouraged to bring nature books they love, a favourite shell, dried flowers or any other nature find, all of which will be used to populate their unique nature table.  As usual, our regular workshop leader and firm favourite,Julie, will be sharing some her celebrated paper maché, knitting, stitching and collating techniques.

We know that Julie would just love the fabrics of Kekfesto Cotton, a small UK importing company run by the aficionado, Gilly Thomson, which sells dozens of Hungarian, indigo printed, patterned fabrics. Reminiscent of Dutch Delft, but also remarkably similar to traditional hand-printed textiles of Japan, these textiles originally came from India, delivered as presents to the French court in the C17th and immediately became fashionable among ladies and nobles .  By the turn of the C18th more than a hundred workshops were operating in Hungary with printing technology and patterns that were top secret within each particular guild.  Today only eight workshops remain, and whilst still producing  the traditional patterns they also experiment with modern ones.  Luckily for us, Gilly stocks most of them.   

Enjoy a fabric-full February!