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I have not been wasting my time in London! One of my favourite excursions was a trip to the Workshop Missoni exhibition at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in Islington.

Missoni is one of my favourite design houses as a result of their bright and bold designs and innovative knit wear. The first room provided an excellent opportunity to get up close and personal with some key garments as well as watch innovative catwalks and acrobatic videos demonstrating the roots of the company in sportswear.

missoni clothes

The second room was dominated by a real time video of a Missoni knitting machine which demonstrated one of the reasons their cloth is so expensive – it is not a fast process. However it would be have been great to be given more explanation of why the process was so slow compared to industrial knitting machines in the mass market…

missoni knitting machine video

The other wall provided a colourful display of yearns wound onto large spindles in stripes:

missoni knitting wool

One of the highlights was being  able to get so close to a wide range of knit samples and designs, all in vivid palettes of colour:

missoni knit samples

Supporting material also provided a histroy of the family, emphasising Ottavio Missoni’s  sporting background including his participation in the 1948 Olympic 400 metres hurdles race final.

olympic diploma

Upstairs the exhibition sat side by side to the permanent exhibition including one of my favourite sketches by Italian artist Giorgio Morandi.

morandi drawing

In between the paintings there was also an array of knitted figures in Missoni cloth which provided a rather surreal feel:

missoni knit figures

Including this group under the stairs, dramatic in black and white:

missoni knit figures under stairs

The final room ended, as all good exhibitions should with a video narrated by the timeless Joanna Lumley, as well as a series of knitted portraits of the Missoni empire:

missoni knit pictures

If you are in London and into textiles and fashion, I would challenge you to find a better way to send an afternoon and £5 in London this summer…

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Inspired by my new favourite tea house Loopy Lorna’s here in Edinburgh (complete with hand knitted tea cosy with every pot and fairy cakes topped with every colour icing imaginable) I have been inspired to do some tea related crafts myself. It was fun to spend the weekend making up kits as I could just enjoy the making process without worrying so much about the end result. In fact these kits were my perfect Artist’s Date

First off a gorgeous strawberry tea cosy from Laughing Hens purchased from K1 Yarns. Knitted using Rooster yarn made from 50% baby alpaca, 50% merino wool it was a joy to knit and knitted up very quickly:

strawberry-tea-cosy

And goes very well with my new vintage rose tea cups and the spring sunshine:

tea-cosy2

I then made up this pretty fairy cake trinket box from Rex Crafts:

teacup-candy-box

The kit would be perfect for children who are interested in learning to sew as it comes complete with everything required (except the small amount of stuffing required) including a plastic sewing needle and pre-perforated holes for stitching. That said this inner child is pretty happy with the result…

Well not exactly a jumper, but a cropped cardigan. The idea was to do something that would knit up quickly using a thick wool so that I wouldn’t get bored and give up but would give me the confidence to start jumper knitting…

The pattern was from Kim Hargreaves Heartfelt The Dark House Collection, and did knit up pretty quick.

cherish-balero

The arms look long but once it is on the whole thing looks more in proportion. (Lady valet seems to have very narrow shoulders…). The pattern had the desired effect as I do now feel more confident. However I did not enjoy the sewing up process which seemed to take forever. So will go on the hunt for some patterns knitted in the round…

The weather has turned over the last week, demanding the cosiness of a warm scarf. I have been working on 2 scarves over the last few weeks (months in the case of the angora!) – one as a bus knitting project, and the other for knitting on the sofa.

I was given Kim Hargreaves Heartfelt Collection as a birthday present back in June and have been eyeing up the Haven Scarf pattern but was waiting for the colder weather to start… The scarf knitted up really quickly using Rowan’s Cocoon yarn and is in a gorgeous grey purple shade, which looks great with my red coat:

The pattern asked suggested 4 balls of yarn but I think that it is long enough with just the 3:

The second scarf made from Orkney Angora St Magnus 4 ply 100% angora has taken me a far while to knit, but was great for its repetitive quality on the bus – the pattern that came with the yarn from K1 Yarns used a two row repeat. The end result is incredibly light and fluffy and will look great with a grey jumper:

As a stepping stone to a full-blown grown-up jumper I have been working on a gorgeous hand knit  tank top – Audrey – from Louisa Harding’s Winter’s Muse Classics book. I have been knitting it up in a bright purple Kimono Angora Pure yarn which is sooo soft. I adapted the pattern to use circular knitting needles for the body and worked the body very quickly.

HOWEVER… once I had finished off the neckline I found that it was too wide around the waist – I was definitely going for more of an hour glass vintage look. As a result it has been sitting in my work in progress draw for sometime. Fortunately I then started reading Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting without tears and gathered up all my courage to reshape the garment with the aid of my sewing machine. This involved tight zig zag stitching along both seams and then taking a deep breath cutting off the excess, and over-locking the edge. Miraculously it worked:

plain-tanktop.jpg

The advantage of this approach was that I had the trimmings from the cut offs left to add extra detailing to the design. Apparently bows are coming back in so…

tank-top-with-bow.jpg