Friday 16 May 2014

Lee Mills open day

We had an open day this week at Lee Mills, to show off some of the collection to a small group of Knitting & Crochet Guild members and volunteers.  We had picked out some of the knitted and crocheted items, and handed out white gloves so that people could handle them.  One of the items was the huge bedspread knitted by Hannah Smith in 1837 (according to the name & date worked into it) - it's an impressive piece of work, but not easy to display because of its size.  But with a small group of people, it can be spread out between them  and examined closely.  

Angharad showed a pair of her favourite Sanquhar gloves from the collection.  

Some of the pieces in the collection are interesting for their faults. We looked at a gansey, constructed in the traditional fashion but with a stitch pattern that doesn't really work.  It's a design of interlocking arrow heads, but the alternating stocking stitch and reverse stocking stitch has caused the fabric to pucker up - an object lesson in how stitch patterns can behave differently in practice to the way they look on graph paper.  (Blocking might fix it I suppose - I might try a sample some time.)    

I showed a sample of publications, including some of my favourite knitting patterns (most of those have already featured in this blog).  And we had a small selection of tools and gadgets - at the moment  we have to make exploratory expeditions into the glory hole known as Knitting Needle Alley to see what we can find, but we are going to sort them all out during "Hook and Needle Week" in June. 

Bone knitting needles and early circulars

It was a wonderful day  - visitors are always really enthusiastic when they see the collection, and spending the day with half a dozen people who are fascinated and excited by what we can show them is a great experience for us too.  Several hours of non-stop talk about knitting and crochet - what could be better? 

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