We have a glorious day today. Yesterday was lovely in that there was no wind and no rain, but today we actually had sun… I have been able the sort The Shed, which was full of boxes and bags that had been flung in after the evening classes. So now it is tidy again.
And for once I have a new project in the pipeline that I CAN talk about. Yesterday I had a phone call from Karin Flatøy Svarstad in Norway. She is a felter and promoter of the ancient North Atlantic Short Tailed Sheep breeds. It was she who was one of the leading lights behind the conference on North Ronaldsay last April. There is going to be another conference this April, this time in Norway, and associated with it will be an exhibition of things using the wool from the different breeds in a manner based on historical items. It is difficult to put into writing but I knew exactly what she meant.
After the conference, the exhibition will be travelling to other parts of Norway and then to various other regions where there are sheep in the same group – the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, Shetland, the Hebrides and a few more I have forgotten!!
I knew almost at once that I would do an Orkney-type gansey. In other words, aran weight North Ronaldsay yarn. I also wanted to make use of the fact that Orkney is very good at ‘borrowing’ from all sorts of different traditions, and wanted to include this aspect.
After a bit of time browsing photos from the various island museums etc, and looking at the photos I have taken of some South Ronaldsay garments from just after WWII, I thought I would work on the interaction between knit/purl patterns and colourwork you get in Orkney ganseys. I charted some of the motifs from several sweaters knitted by the same person:
This is interesting in that all these designs have a 34 st repeat – not a usual number. The X and long O one is interesting because it is also widely used in Orkney for 5 ply ganseys as a knit/purl pattern as well as for colourwork.
While in the shed this morning I got out my North Ron aran and find I have all the yarn I need. I still haven’t decided exactly what motifs I will be using and how, but things are getting clearer. I have a throw to finish first, and a magazine design, but I am getting there.
It is lovely to be able to do a design where I don’t have to think up 10 sizes and do things which are easily explained. I can do my own thing without thinking by numbers!!