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Monday, 30 June 2014

Textiles in Hawaii


Hawaii is fascinating as culturally it perches somewhere between Hawaiian/Polynesian culture and the United States of America. There are, of course, all sorts of influences, from the British to the Japanese with South America and the various Polynesian cultures, including, Tahitian, Samoan and New Zealand Maori, also playing a part. Part of my interest in Hawaii was to search out the original Hawaiian culture that preceded Captain Cook landing in 1778, not that long after landing in Australia.

I was also interested as I have been reading that intrepid adventurer, Isabella L. Bird, who travelled for six months in 1875. Her book ‘The Hawaiian Archipelago’ (available online from the Gutenberg Project),is an account of ‘Six months among the Palm Groves, coral reefs, and the volcanoes of the Sandwich Islands’ and describes her time in a series of letters home to her sister in England. They are evocative and descriptive of the land, its people and while firmly grounded in the late 1870’s intrigued me.

On the whole Hawaii is pretty much a state of the USA, however, as we ventured to Hilo on the big island and to island of Kauai, you could get a sense of that older culture. There is a revival in pride of that heritage, and you could hear Hawaiian spoken, and a more in-depth interest in those crafts that are particularly Hawaiian, such as the making of leis, wood carving and tattooing.

Of course, my particular interest was in the textiles of Hawaii and I knew that it would be difficult to find.

Can I say, there’s not a lot of textiles of Hawaiian origin to be found. Even modern clothing is, at best, made in the US and lots is made is asia and south America. There is some and I managed to find a store that had Hawaiian made traditional dresses. Quilting plays a part and Hawaii has its own particular style.


I also managed to find some hand-dyed yarn by Hanalei Strings, again in Kauai, in the lovely town of Hanalei and included some buttons made of seeds. This, hopefully, will be transformed into a pair of mittens in a new design that might eventually be intended for TSB textile.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Another jumper finally completed!

Remember way back when....when I knit a jumper for my oldest son, Michael, I blogged about it as I was so pleased to be able to make something for my family. It doesn't happen very often and I'm so happy when it does.

Remember the jumper:

It was way back in 2011. He requested a new one, same shape, but could he have three coloured stripes down the back and twisted at the front! This is why you sample!

I first thought of cables, but that proved very complicated and would bunch up the fabric in a way I didn't want. It was all about the colour. That proved difficult and I ended up using colours from the range. It's a wool/angora mix and I've lost the labels!

Here it is:

I was meant to finish it before we went to Hawaii, but I set the sleeves and they turned out a little puffy at the top...not quite what a young man wants! So when I got back, pulled out the sewing and reset them. Happily.

The Front:


The Back:


Now, it seems, my husband wants a new jumper.....will take a little while before I tackle that, might have to wait for next Winter!

PS Can't tell if he's grown up much?

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Holiday inspiration

We were priviliged to encounter some amazing wildlife in Hawaii, the most amazing, green turtles, blue nose and spinner dolphins, all sorts of coral reef fish, have to reside in our memories alone, no photos were taken. There were, however, these wonderful cardinals, gorgeous and cheeky birds that were everywhere we went.


I discovered these were the northern cardinal and the other, equally cheeky birds we saw were Brazilian cardinals. Both are introduced to Hawaii, but they brightened up our days. I managed to find a couple of pictures of both birds on the net.


As nests are still a source of inspiration, I went looking for these birds nests and found reasonably traditiional looking nests. Full of all sorts of chunky materials and beautiful blue eggs.



 I've been trying to figure out another wall hanging and have wanted to use this yarn that I picked up a little while ago at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild textile bazaar. The red is amazing and now I have something red to work from. I think this is going to be suitable to weave in as short lengths with fuzzy ends.


I've done a bit of a yarn wrap to try and get an idea for the warp, and, I think this is just about right. Random warping with one side with a bit more red than the other with a strong bit of black.


These are the other colours I've used.


Tomorrow, I'll make a short 2m warp and do some sampling.