Monday, 28 October 2013

Close Knit - The Art of the Gansey - Hull Maritime Museum

Recently my thoughts have turned to all things fishy and then a friend mentioned an exhibition at Hull Maritime Museum called Close Knit - The Art of the Gansey.  For those of you who are now completely at a loss - a gansey is a knitted woollen pullover traditionally worn by fishermen - so there's both the definition and the fishy connection!  In fact ganseys, guernseys and jerseys are more or less the same thing although they may vary in thickness and colour.  They are typically seamless, densely knitted and fabulously patterned.  And it can take 100 to 200 hours to knit depending on the complexity of the pattern - so no chance of knitting one over the weekend!

Yorkshire Ganseys
Scottish Ganseys
River Ganseys

The exhibition included displays of ganseys knitted by volunteers from Yorkshire & Scotland and details about the patterning and its symbolism, typical features e.g. underarm gussets, how they were knitted and by whom, and why they have fallen out of use.  There is also a section by Di Gilpin, a knitwear designer from Fife, showing some gansey inspired modern knits and a fabulous contemporary piece by Alison Casserly, completed for her final collection at Nottingham Trent University for her degree in Fashion Knitwear & Knitted Textiles.  Students of both Millinery and Fashion & Interpretation at Hull School of Art & Design produced textile hats and jackets inspired by ganseys and the best of these are also part of the exhibition.

Di Gilpin's Gansey Inspired Knits
Alison Casserly's Knit
Jackets by Students from Hull School of Art & Design
Hats by Students from Hull School of Art & Design

The exhibition has been put together in partnership with the Moray Firth Gansey Project which aims to record patterns, keep traditional skills alive, celebrate it's local fishing heritage and find a contemporary context to use and develop these skills & patterns to generate income for its local population. 

Interesting fact gleaned from the exhibition: a skilled Herring Girl could gut 67 herring per minute (and that's when she wasn't knitting ganseys!) - the lives of fisherfolk were also covered!

Exhibition ends Sunday 24 November 2013.  Read more here:

Di Gilpin:

Alison Casserly:

Hull School Of Art & Design

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Wool Week Ends at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Rowan's PicKnit Blanket

During Wool Week - 14th to 20th October 2013 - the Campaign for Wool has been staging various events and initiatives to promote wool's natural, sustainable and versatile characteristics. I popped over to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park today for the last day of Wool Week.  Rowan were staging a PicKnit where you could join in and knit a blanket square - but not just a garter stitch or stocking stitch square (although you could do those too!) but moss stitch, cable, honeycomb, zigzag & blanket stitch and then you could take the patterns home afterwards.  Lots of people were having fun trying that out.  You could also join in and make pompom sheep and add yours to the flock already living there!  But, if you'd rather cuddle a woolly creature than knit one (and Rowan also had a very cute pattern for an Eco Ewe) then there was Donna Wilson's pop-up photo booth which was alot of fun - even for grown-ups.
Flock of Pompom Sheep

Donna Wilson's Pop-up Photo Booth
Fun for grown-ups too!

And if that's not enough there's all the fantastic sculptures and exhibitions that the Yorkshire Sculpture Park is famous for.  (Not to mention the cake!)

Coffee & Cake
 Campaign for Wool
Donna Wilson

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Ropewalk - Barton upon Humber

If you've never ventured to Barton upon Humber in North Lincolnshire now is the time!  And if you live north of the Humber you can take in a trip over the magnificent Humber Bridge on the way (a must for civil engineering fans & not quite as expensive as it used to be either!).  Facts of the day - open since 1981, the Humber Bridge is the 5th largest single span suspension bridge in the world.  

The Ropewalk - View from the Sculpture Garden
Let's get back to the point though - Barton has this fabulous place called The Ropewalk.  Housed in a former rope factory, the Ropewalk is a centre for the arts.  It has galleries including a gallery shop, a sculpture garden, coffee shop (which is extremely fabulous and not to be missed), a museum detailing the history of ropemaking at the factory, meeting rooms, artists studios, picture framing & Ropery Hall which is a venue for film, theatre, comedy & music.  

Ropewalk Gallery Shop


Scrummy cakes at the cafe

Ropery Museum

If that isn't enough it has a varied workshop programme too.  You can find out more about the Ropewalk and what's going on here...

I visited recently, which is always a treat, and delivered some new Hippystitch stock.  Here's a little taster...

Fabric Necklaces
Flower Button Bracelets

Button Brooches
Flower Button Necklaces

If you like wildlife, Water's Edge Country Park & Visitor Centre is just next door.  Go on make a day of it!

Saturday, 5 October 2013


Went to Yarndale - a celebration of crafting creativity - in Skipton.  Held at Skipton Auction Mart, it was a textile extravaganza rather like Woolfest in Cockermouth but slightly bigger and with yarnbombing.  It was a fantastic day out!

I arrived on the vintage bus shuttle from the station which was great fun and was decorated inside with pompom sheep and flowers.

Vintage Yarndale Bus

Once there all manner of fantastic vendors were displaying their wares and it was very hard to resist what was on offer.  I was entertained by the display of knitted Andalusian food...

...which as you can see included sardines skewered with a knitting needle - how apt! Was bowled over by the bunting...

...and enjoyed the yarnbombs especially the balls of wool and knitting needles - simple but effective!

Yarndale was also collecting yarn from all the creative visitors for the Skipton Oxfam shop who were going to transform it into lots of lovely stuff to raise money for Oxfam.  Promoted both in the Oxfam shop and at the event it was very successful. I think they'll be creating goodies for quite some time.  How great is that!

Yarndale & Oxfam working together!

I neglected to take photos of the vendors - too busy looking round but here are some of the stallholders who took my fancy...

Colourcraft - dyes, foils, angelina etc.

Eliza Conway - vintage bits & pieces and all sorts

Ingrid Wagner - big knitting & crochet
Jackie Lunn - fabulous felt creations 

Namolio - lovely linen yarns 

Textile Garden - amazing buttons & braid 

There were, of course, absolutely loads of fantastic vendors and lots of amazing yarns.  You can find out more about them and Yarndale here: