In this KNITSONIK Minicast I introduce my amazing comrades of Tall Yarns’n Tales: Linda de Ruiter and Andrea Franklin. You can hear it below, download it directly from Internet Archive or hear it through your iTunes subscription.
I first discovered Tall Yarns’n Tales at Woolfest in 2012 when I saw lots of women walking about in their cheering pinnies and aprons with wellies underneath. I very rarely buy new clothes but when I got a one year post at Oxford Brookes University, one of the first things purchased out of my salary was a red linen spinning pinny. When my position at Oxford Brookes was drawing to an end I reflected on what might come next in this blog post where I also referenced the amazing pinny.
Here I am proffering a baa-ing, 100% Shetland-wool clad speaker to an audience at “Playground on Fire” in Oxford. I am explaining that the pillow is made of Shetland wool, and that there is a special map where one can hear this wool growing in the landscape and being loaded onto a lorry to be spun into the very yarns covering the speaker. I’m in my Tall Yarns‘n Tales spinning pinnie, with knitting + wool + sounds in my hands. The photo was taken by Pier Corona and I reckon it’s the most me I’ve ever looked.
One of the the wonderful, supportive comments on that post came from Linda, who said she wanted to support the KNITSONIK mission, whatever that was going to be. Later that year, she and Andrea created a very special signature garment; a wondrous tabard made of tweed left to me by my late and very treasured Aunty Hilary. It is the tabard I am wearing on the back cover of the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook and in my house most days, for knitting and gardening and field recording and fun and it is one of my favourite garments of all time.
It reminds me of the beautiful things Aunty Hilary used to make for herself and it is a flattering and comfortable shape. I know it will last me for years.
You can hear Hilary briefly in the podcast before we enter a rich conversation with Linda and Andrea about the genesis of their designs for pinnies, aprons and tabards; about yarn design; about slow wardrobes; about pattern cutting; and about creative friendship.
Things mentioned in our conversation include:
Dye One, Knit One by Helen Deighan & Linda de Ruiter
The importance of pre-shrinking fabric before sewing
The background to the Tall Yarns’n Tales smocks, pinnies and tabards
The development of Soliloquy sock yarn
You can learn of forthcoming Tall Yarns’n Tales public appearances here.
Later I mention the amazing gold-handled Ernest Wright & Son scissors which I purchased at the UK Knitting & Stitching Show in Harrogate; the sounds of blackbirds’ alarm calls in the evening; and the magic of being helped on my way in my mission by Tall Yarns’n Tales.
Reflecting on important collaborations and friendships in this rich world of textiles I mention Brenda Dayne’s essay – To be of Use – included in A Knitter’s Manifesto. Like the lovely conversation between Linda and Andrea, this essay reflects on a thoughtful and sustainable relationship to hand knitting our clothes. It was included on the CD release on which we worked together in 2011.
This minicast finishes with a reminder of the lineup for mine and Brenda’s amazeballs forthcoming long-weekend retreat, Gwlana.
spring knitting workshop
15 – 18 MAY 2015
This year our spring Gwlana workshop is all about colour. Over a four-day weekend you’ll learn how to notice colour, and find inspiration in the colours of your favourite objects brought from home. You’ll develop both palette and pattern from your inspiration sources, and learn to design a top-down yoked sweater that fits, because it’s based on your own measurements. Then you’ll make the fabric of your sweater sing with your own unique colourwork designs. You’ll leave the weekend inspired and energised, with your designs well underway and ready to work the techniques you’ve learned into new creations.
Experience level: This workshop is for you if you can knit, purl, increase and decrease with confidence, and are comfortable knitting with one colour of yarn while carrying a second colour across the back of the work. No previous design experience is necessary.
Come. It’s going to be wondrous!
Until then, I am yours in KNITTING + WOOL + SOUNDS,