brown is the colour

I’ve been reading lots of knitting / textile-related tomes recently, and thought I’d write about them over the next few posts. First up is a book I had few expectations of: Bruce Weinstein’s Knits Men Want. Weinstein set himself a difficult task here — designs for men are notoriously hard to get right, not to…

Read More

stitched up

Though I love the Gainsborough films, Tony Richardson’s Tom Jones and Michael Winterbottom’s A Cock and Bull Story, I am not generally a fan of contemporary cinematic takes on eighteenth- and nineteenth century literature. This is probably because of what I do: a generation of students who have grown up with the unshakeable idea that…

Read More

Henry Moore Textiles

It has been a very busy week! But one of its real highlights was visiting the newly refurbished Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh with my friend Melanie, and seeing their superb exhibition of Henry Moore’s textiles. Looking at his designs, and the 1940s upholstery and clothing fashioned from them, I got about as excited as I’ve…

Read More

Wool 100%

Needled reviews: Mai Tomangi, Wool, 100% (2006) Really, what’s not to like? In a Japanese cross between Bagpuss and the Wombles, two elderly sisters, armed with pokey sticks and shopping trolleys, collect furniture, toys, and other discarded items from surburban rubbish bins. Their house totters and teeters under the weight of their gathered spoils, and…

Read More

troubled

Needled reviews Louise Bourgeois, Nature Study. Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Until July 6th. I like Louise Bourgeois. I like what she stands for. She’s a woman whose early work challenges and outlasts so many of her surrealist contemporaries, with their ludicrous, dick-swinging excesses. I like her investigative, excavatory treament of sexuality and power. I particularly…

Read More

Brian Sewell and the Bluestockings

“Brilliant Women: Eighteenth-Century Bluestockings” National Portrait Gallery, until 15th June. On Thursday evening I stood in a packed room at the National Portrait Gallery. Men and women of all ages jostled to get a look at a three-quarter length portrait of an eighteenth-century writer. This was Catharine Macaulay, author of a radical history of England;…

Read More

jaunt

We went on a jaunt to the National Museum of Costume outside Dumfries, to see the “Hip Knits” exhibition. In the Museum’s permanent collections, there were some fabulous nineteenth-century dresses and shoes on display, but my favourite thing of the day was this: incredibly fine linen whitework, backed with pink silk, and made by one…

Read More

functional poetry

I have been making a start thinking about Belle’s quilts. She lived near Blackpool, and the first quilt will be a jolly sea-side-y affair, made up entirely of her stripey tops and T-shirts — of which she had over thirty. In the summer she was always in stripes. I’ve been looking at different methods of…

Read More

for “Him”

needled reviews: Debbie Stoller, Son of Stich ‘n Bitch: 45 Projects to Knit and Crochet for Men (Workman, 2007). Wendy Baker and Martin Storey, Classic Knits for Men (Rowan, 2007). In the 25th anniversary issue of Vogue Knitting, Trisha Malcolm speaks of the “grief” she received in 2002 for publishing a special issue of the…

Read More

critical knitting

needled reviews: Sabrina Gschwandtner, KnitKnit: Profiles and Projects from Knitting’s New Wave (STC, 2007). In a recent Q & A, New-York artist and KnitKnit creator, Sabrina Gschwandtner, remarked on the weird gap between the world of contemporary craft practice and that of critical debate. Since at least 2002 and the appearance of the first issue…

Read More