Monday, March 31, 2008

Knit against poverty

"We're searching for knitters to turn their knitting needles into lethal poverty fighting needles.

Staff in our Leeds office have just started a new campaign to create a giant baby blanket, with each square knitted representing a mother who did not survive pregnancy or childbirth to be able to care for her baby, because she couldn't access the medical care she needed.

We're aiming to get 250,000 squares by September, which is the number of mothers who could have been saved in that time if decent healthcare had been available.

We need knitters to make 9 inch squares for the giant blanket, which will be handed into the Government as a sort of 'patchwork against poverty petition', to demand a world where everyone has access to free basic healthcare".

More details

Rugs on the street

When asked "What would you do first if you were president?" Andy Warhol replied,
"I would put rugs on the street and distribute money."


Saturday, March 29, 2008

Butterfly and Blanket

"Coming back from an opera (madame butterfly) in which I played a baby in the taxi. I remember the blanket covering me and the streets illuminated by sodium orange street lights".

BBC Radio 4 Memory Experience

Eastbourne Festival

Almost 40 years after the first Brighton Festival took place and years after almost every town and village in the area has been celebrating an arts festival, this year finally Eastbourne has got its first art festival. It was supposed to coincide with the opening of the new Cultural Centre, but the building work is far behind schedule.

Last weekend I went around a few Open Houses. At Susanne Smith's studio I bought this little knitted purse - from Eastbourne with love.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

"I was sitting in my cot aged about 2 eating an easter egg. I can remember getting chocolate on the covers and being slightly concerned that I had made a mess."

BBC Radio 4 Memory Experience

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


"Colorless, crystalline, solid aromatic hydrocarbon with a pungent odor [...] Naphthalene is obtained from coal tar, a byproduct of the coking of coal. It is used in mothballs and gives them their characteristic odor. From it are prepared derivatives that are used in the preparation of dyes and as insecticides and organic solvents."

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia 2007, Columbia University Press

"A toxic carcinogenic hydrocarbon derived from coal tar or petroleum and used as a solvent."

The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company

Thursday, March 06, 2008

History Unravelling

"Pick any strand and snip, and history becomes unravelled. This is how Tony begins one of her more convoluted lectures, the one on the dynamics of spontaneous massacres. The metaphor is of weaving or else of knitting, and of sewing scissors. She likes using it: she likes the faint shock on the faces of her listeners. It's the mix of domestic image and mass bloodshed that does it to them…"

Atwood, Margaret (1993), The Robber Bride, Virago, London, p.3

Writing and Knitting

Knitting is often seen as something easy that anybody could do if they wanted to, not much of a special skill.

"The subtext," Montse Stanley argues, "is that knitting has no substance. If any dimwit can learn all there is to it in a few hours, the creative potential of knitting must be next to nil." But, she says, while it is indeed relatively easy to learn the basics, to master the art of knitting is a different matter.
"A certain parallel can be drawn between knitting and writing, in which we value literary achievement as distinct from daily usage. Although the initial mechanics of both writing and knitting are easily grasped, what matters is the use to which we put them and, in particular, whether or not there is an artistic intention. Writing covers a very wide spectrum, from epic novels, poetry and love letters to invoices, laundry lists and telephone directories. The range of knitting categories is nearly as wide and equally varied."

Montse Stanley, Jumpers that drive you quite insane: Colour, Structure and Form in Knitted Objects, in Schoeser, Mary & Boydell, Christine (eds) (2002), Disentangling Textiles: Techniques for the Study of Designed Objects, Middlesex University Press, p.24

Curtain lectures

Curtain lectures
private admonitions given by a wife to her husband

The phrase, though of earlier origin, is immortalized in the celebrated 'Mrs Candle's Curtain Lectures' by Douglas Jerrold, published in the columns of Punch, 1845

Curtains = bed curtains, the lectures being delivered at night.

'Beside what endless brawls by wives are bred,
The curtain lecture makes a mournful bed.'

Source: James Main Dixon, English Idioms, Thomas Nelson & Sons Ltd, London & Edinburgh 1944, p.62

Monday, March 03, 2008


"Gone are the days when any of us have either the money or the space to possess six of everything in our undies drawer. But you should try to have three of everything, one set on your back, one in the wash and one clean and ready for any emergency that might crop up. What you need is three brassieres, three nightdresses (or three pairs of pyjamas), three pairs of camiknickers (or vest and knicker sets) and three slips. These, made up in the best materials you can afford, carefully washed and regularly mended, should last from two and a half to three years before they need replacing. Buy them now a little better than you usually do, and they will need fewer replacements and therefore less expenditure of coupons."

"There are many excellent undies patterns on the market for all shapes and styles of garments, but owing to the paper shortage, it will become increasingly difficult as the war goes on to obtain paper patterns of any description. It is therefore as well to know how to make your own paper patterns."

Joanna Chase, Sew and Save - Gives expert help with the problems of clothes care, renovations, war-time dressmaking and rationing. Includes knitting patterns , and a four-year plan for the family wardrobe
The Literary Press Ltd, Glasgow, ND, p. 20 & 21

Saturday, March 01, 2008


"There is some real suffering out there. As the Duke of Wellington said when told that some noble families were forced to wash and re-use their table linen: 'My God, Sir, I never knew such poverty existed!'"

Martin Waller, City Diary, UK Business, The Times 28 February 2008, p.56