Saturday, May 21, 2011

This is not TV knitting!

Yes I’ve made a few mistakes and pulled out a few rows, but the Eriskay homespun jumper is growing slowly. Each row is different and within each row there are five different patterns that all have a different repeat length, so easy to make a few errors. However because this wool still retains some of its natural lanolin, at least the stitches keep their shape when a row is pulled down...a small mercy. The patterns are probably not as defined as they would be with more regular wool but the jumper looks very authentic in homespun so I’m pleased with the result. The zigzag symbolises the waves, the diagonal lines are marriage lines, and the diamond pattern is ‘the heart in the home’.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Autumn Mt Wilson

Mount Wilson is a small community in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney that consists of many historic homes and outstanding cultivated gardens. As the Australian bush is evergreen, the autumn foliage of the Mount Wilson gardens is very dramatic and colourful by comparison, and a delight for artists. This is one of my watercolours from Mount Wilson.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Adding some colour to the day

A friend recently asked me if I still did any silk painting and I had to say that I haven't done any for a while. Here are some silk waratahs and poppies painted some time ago. Silk is a lovely fibre to work with and this is just an extension of painting with transparent watercolours on paper as the techniques are similar, but using fabric dyes instead of water pigments. But the finished silk painting has to be steamed to set the dyes so is more complicated than watercolours.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Eriskay knitting

For those old enough to remember The Seekers, you might also remember Judy Durham singing the beautiful Eriskay Love Lilt,, a traditional song from the islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Eriskay is also famous for the unique knitting patterns developed for the fishermen’s ganseys or jumpers. Using simple diamond, chevron and herringbone patterns based on knit and purl combinations, repeating patterns become symbols of Marriage Lines, Tree of Life, Starfish, Heart in the Home and Fishing Nets.  These patterns are knitted into the jumper in a particular format that creates a unique garment. 

As I haven’t been able to find any knitting patterns from the Isle of Mull (the home of my ancestors) but as it forms part of the Inner Hebrides, I decided to use the Eriskay patterns to knit myself a jumper using my homespun wool. I think my g.grandfather, who was a lobster fisherman and a farmer on Mull, would have approved.

Here's another version of the Eriskay Love Lilt by the Corries, with superb photos.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Don't have problems with other knitting but I'm usually not satisfied with items that I make for myself. Made this jacket from wool from a quality Merino fleece that I spun some years ago but although it was soft and very warm, I wasn't pleased with the fit. So yesterday decided to pull it down and start again with something else. The skeins washed well and are like new again. Homespun wool from a good Merino fleece is a real delight.