Knitter on the Go (Day 2): Inspiration is Everywhere!

(Day 2 - In London)

Authored by: Phyllis Howe

Over the summer months, when lots of people are on the road, it is good to remember that we crafty types (aka those who love making things) can find inspiration in a variety of places. We subscribe to the belief that everyone is creative – it’s simply a matter of finding the medium that allows you to best express it. If your passion is fiber crafts – such as knitting and crochet – you might find the following of interest.

Finding Inspiration in Museums

The most obvious places for inspiration are museums – and not just in the textile department.  A recent visit to the Tate in London found this Sargent exhibit which revealed the beauty of the painter’s talent as well as his intense interest in styling and wardrobe design.

Take a look at this costume. It was first created and then painted by the artist.  He designed for an actress with whom he was acquainted. She wore it for her role as Lady Macbeth.

Inspiration is Everywhere!

See the detail on the “mantle” or shawl that drapes her arms? It’s a crochet stitch. It is intended to have the look of a supple metallic material. Luna, the silk and merino yarn from Symfonie yarns, would be the perfect choice for this striking garment.  Imagine this in one of these mineral-like colors:

Honey &  Silver Bangle

Honestly, any one of the Luna colors would yield beauty. It is the silk content that creates the shimmer, making it particularly suitable for shawls, trims and accessories. To see the entire range, visit here.

England’s Rich History of Fiber Arts

England is a rich treasure trove for those who love the fiber arts. Those riches are not just found in the museums, although they are an obvious source. The Royal School of Needlework, founded in 1872, is a non-profit educational resource that teaches a wide variety of embroidery techniques.

Lightweight fingering wools, such as Terra, might be appropriate if you have an interest in crewel work. This lively yarn provides over 46 inspirational colors. Created as a sock yarn, it has a small percentage of polyamide (25%) spun into the yarn. While not noticeable, it gives the yarn a bit of body which can make it stand out in the best way.

Terra Symfonie Yarns

Courses in Yarn Crafts- Knit and Design

Two Universities in London offer BAs in knit and design: Nottingham Trent University and the University of the Arts in London. Each is a suitable educational venue for someone desiring a professional career in the world of knitwear and design. Check out each of the universities for information on courses that may be of interest.

Finding Inspiration in the Streets of London

It’s not just your eyes that will serve you when it comes to inspiration. Keep your ears open for overheard conversations or friendly tips from friends who might live in an area you are visiting.   A recent visit to the Leighton House in Holland Park, London, led to the discovery of an exhibit of women’s fashions that featured some wonderful ideas for dress trim and design.

Visit the link for detailed information on the crochet detailing pattern.

If you like Moorish tiles and over the top Victorian home decoration, this might be the place for you. Be sure to call or contact the day before to make sure it is open.  It’s a little bit of a journey on the Underground, but well worth the effort. (PS: Google Maps is brilliant in helping you get there.)

While there, make sure to drop by The Design Museum.  While there is not an exhibit on textile design up at this moment, there are a lot of ideas to be gathered there. An exhibition devoted to Enzo Mari, one of the great Italian designers of the 20th Century, is a case in point.  His spare but dramatic designs are sure to grow your appreciation of simplicity in all its forms.

On a less grandiose, but no less enjoyable note, a visit to a large town fair in Highgate, London, yielded some great “finds”.  While walking by the stalls, a gorgeous Indian Print was spotted. It was used for a luscious pair of roomy, harem-like, pants. Studying the harmonious interplay of these colors, on a light blue background is a crash course in color work alone.

These colors immediately brought to mind the colors in Viva, a DK weight yarn, a 100% merino wool yarn that is hand-dyed in India.  This versatile yarn comes in over 80 colors, all of which reflect the beauty of its homeland. Its generous yardage, affordable price and fabulous range of color options, lends itself to indulging in as many colors as your creative self might like.

Viva Symfonie Yarns

One of the many joys of travel is indulging the love of your passions, whatever they may be. It’s well worth the time to check out what’s happening in the area you are visiting before you leave.  In doing so, you are sure to increase your pleasure and broaden your horizons.