Fabulous Felting Books

I adore felt, not just for its tactile and visual appeal, but also its versatility, its organic nature and its history and romance. In fact, when I was studying a Diploma of Textile Art at Box Hill TAFE, I based my main exhibition piece (postcard format) on the reverse appliqué technique of the Kyrgyz shyrdaks of Central Asia, learning so much about felt and its history in the process!  Here are two photos of my work from that exhibition: BlogFeltBooks50%nov 2010 295BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 07.41.25I first saw these beautiful appliquéd felt rugs, which are traditionally used to furnish nomadic yurts, at Ada’s Place in Millthorpe, New South Wales, and fell in love with their bright bold colours and symbolism. Here is a photo of Ada (taller) and her sister Kathleen in front of one of their shyrdaks.BlogFeltBooks50%midmay 299Unfortunately, the gallery closed in 2013: https://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/1804338/ada-closes-iconic-millthorpe-gallery/.

You can see more examples of this beautiful craft at:

http://www.feltrugs.co.uk/

and   http://kyrgyzfelt.blogspot.com.au/.

Felt can also be used to make clothing, hats, bags, cushions, flowers and toys and you will see some of my felt creations throughout this post. I have also attended a number of workshops, which I will also describe along the way, but first the books!

 

History

Nomadic Felts by Stephanie Bunn 2010

https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/dept-seminar-power-felted-cloth-through-time-and-space

I came across anthropologist Stephanie Bunn’s name a number of times during my internet research for my exhibition piece, so this book was a must! In it, she describes the ancient history of felt, its traditional production and use throughout the world and the cultural beliefs and symbolism behind the patterns.

Felt has existed for thousands of years and felt fragments have been found in grave chambers in Çatal Höyük, dated 6500 BC; felted hoods and socks on the Urumchi mummies of the Tarim Basin, China, dated 2000 BC; and appliquéd felt wall hangings, coffin linings, clothing, saddle cloths, blankets and bridles and swan pillows stuffed with deer hair, found in the grave chambers of the Pazyryk Kurgans of the Altai Highlands, Siberia, and dated from 600 to 200 BC.

It has played a central role in the lives of nomads from Central Asia, Mongolia and parts of the Middle East, the lightweight, portable and highly insulating wool being used for tent walls (yurts), floor coverings, decorations, bags and clothing.

After the Medieval period, felt became a well-established tradition in Europe with felt boat caulking and other felt objects from the 9th to 13th Century found at Haithabu on the German-Danish border; British felt hats from the 15th Century; and Scandinavian gloves and socks and Russian valenki (felt boots) from the early 20th Century.

Traditional feltmaking is still practiced by Central Asian and Mongolian nomads, as well as practitioners in Turkey and Iran, while experimentation by contemporary artists is producing some wonderful garments and toys.

This fascinating book looks at its extensive history, the science behind felt and the wide variety of feltmaking techniques and traditions. She particularly focuses on the Turkic and Mongolian feltmakers of Krygyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekitan, Turkmenistan and Xinjiang, as well as Mongolia, Tibet, Bhutan and South-East Asia, and the closely related styles from Afghanistan and the Caucasus: their influences and their belief systems and symbolism. With fabulous photos and illustrations supporting the text, it is such an interesting book, not only for feltmakers and textile enthusiasts, but anyone interested in archaeology and history, anthropology, different cultures and the Silk Road!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-57

Production

If you only have room for one felting book in your library, the following book is an excellent reference guide.

Uniquely Felt: Dozens of Techniques From Fulling and Shaping to Nuno and Cobweb. Includes 46 Creative Projects by Christine White 2007

This highly comprehensive book covers all aspects of felt making.

The introduction defines the different kinds of felt (fulled knitting, wet felting, needle felting, nuno felting, cobweb felting, carved felt and yarn felt); history; suitable fibres; the chemistry behind felting; and the whole process from fleece to felt. It also includes instructions for a simple needle felted ball and a Featured Artist page, an inspiring inclusion, which is found at the end of successive chapters.

The next chapter covers tools: wool; soap; screens; rolling mats; plastic resists; scales; water; templates; and felting machines, as well as notes on designing a studio and  working posture.

Chapter Three introduces beginner projects like making cords (photo below) and spikes; loops and beads; jellyroll trivets; buttons and balls.

Chapter Four: Learning the Basics covers working with roving; making prefelts; wet felting; calculating shrinkage and a Frequently Asked Questions page, as well as projects like place mats and table runners, blankets and cushions.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-92Chapter Five really examines the raw material, wool: where to find it, how to test its feasibility and materiality; making felting samples and the types of fibres and sheep wool, including a swatch gallery. Projects include math mats, place mats, carved coasters, upholstery yardage and a boot tray.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-85After mastering simple 2-D items, developing felters will be keen to try out making 3-D seamless felt, which is the main topic of Chapter Six. Two flat halves are separated by a resist, the fibres at the side being joined in a seam during the felting process. The different types of resists (open/closed) and materials used, seam considerations and shrinkage rate and template size are discussed in detail.

Pillow covers, book covers, slippers and boots, vessels, sculptural objects (like the photo above and below made using an old butter cooler as a resist) and a myriad of creative bags can be produced in this way, not to mention hats, the subject of Chapter Seven, from berets and head-hugging cloches to hoods, wide-brimmed hats, fedoras and some very artistic and creative examples. Hat sizes; making hat templates; using hat blocks, and stiffeners and embellishments are all discussed. Anita Larkin is a sculptor, who uses felt to create some amazing 3-D vessels and objects. https://timelesstextiles.com.au/artist/anita-larkin-2/.

late sept 047Felt can also be very light and airy with the inclusion of silk (Chapter Eight: Nuno Felting) and holes (Chapter Nine: Cobweb Felting). Both chapters include definitions and detailed notes on techniques, as well as projects like scarves and shawls, vests, hats, cushions  and curtains.

My first experience with felting was helping a friend make a raw sheep wool floor rug, using an old bamboo blind as a roller and Chapter Ten on larger projects would have been very useful, though the emphasis of this chapter is really more on making felt garments: tops and vests, tunics and dresses, and skirts, as well as including  notes on garment patterns and templates. Jorie Johnson (http://www.joirae.com/)  makes some beautiful contemporary clothing and is the featured artist in this chapter. Another wonderful felt garment designer is Norwegian artist, May Jacobsen Hvistendahl, whose work can be seen at:  http://www.filtmaker.no/eng/index.html.

It is really fun making felt with others, as it can be a time-consuming process and it’s a great way to bond not only the fibres, but also community and friendship ties, as discussed in the final Chapter Eleven, along with teaching feltmaking, community projects like rugs, felting weird and wonderful creations for theatre, and framing and finishing felt. There is an extensive glossary and list of artists, resources and relevant websites in the back. An excellent book!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-60

It is also well worth joining a felting group like Victorian Feltmakers http://www.vicfelt.org/ or the Feltmakers of WA: http://www.feltwest.org.au and attending a few workshops to master the practical aspects. I belonged to the Victorian Feltmakers and some of the memorable workshops I attended were:

Phyllis Hoffman: Felting a Scarf July 2010 / Felting a Hat August 2010.

BlogFeltBooks50%midjune 051Great fun, as I did these workshops with some of my fellow students from my textile course at Box Hill TAFE. BlogFeltBooks50%late july 2010 029 I was so impressed with my friend Heather’s hat!BlogFeltBooks50%july also 002 Phyllis is a great teacher too! You can find out more about her at: https://www.stonehousegallery.com/phyllis-hoffman.html.

Elizabeth Armstrong: Felt Art Dolls August 2010

Like me, Elizabeth LOVES colour (see her fabrics below) and I absolutely adored this inspirational workshop!BlogFeltBooks50lt 014BlogFeltBooks50lt 017She is so enthusiastic and fun! Here she is behind our workshop dolls. The grey bird dolls are samples of her work.

 

On the first day, we made our material using prefelts, roving, yarn and even chiffon ribbon, then the next day, we had to take a deep breath and cut into our beautiful precious homemade fabric, then assemble and embellish the dolls with embroidery, appliquéd felt pieces and hand-painted faces. Below are photos of my fabric pre- and post-felting.BlogFeltBooks50lt 015BlogFeltBooks50lt 016 I loved my earth goddess Gaia, even though I forgot to sew in a base!BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 19.40.37BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-98 Elizabeth’s website is: http://elizabeth-armstrong.blogspot.com.au/.

Sue Pearl: Crazy Felt Critters  February 2012

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Sue Pearl gave a workshop at the Victorian Felters and  we were very lucky to be able to attend. My strange alien creature left a bit to be desired, but gave me a feel for creating 3-D toys.BlogFeltBooks50%IMG_9937

Sue’s website is at: http://www.feltbetter.com/. But now,  back to the books…!!!

Felt To Stitch: Creative Felting for Textile Artists by Sheila Smith 2006

Another excellent guide covering similar topics to the previous book: Hand-rolled felting; making prefelts; nuno felting, 3-D hollow forms; cobweb felting and needle-punched felting, but also has a big section on design with detailed discussions on colour, texture, line, shape and pattern.

There are instructions on colour mixing; using acid dyes; rainbow dyeing; making fibre paper; shibori; low-relief designs; using Markal Paintstiks; stencilling and printing. Projects include book covers; bags; cords, toggles and balls.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-58

Felted Bags, Boots and Other Things by Cendrine Armani 2007

Making bags and boots are so well explained in this book with step-by-step notes, supported by excellent colour photographs of all the tools and each stage of each process: Flat felting; felting with a template; mixing colours; cutout motifs and insets; lining bags; inserting magnetised clasps and eyelets, embroidery; and making balls and pendants, and that’s just the first section!

The rest of the book is devoted to 56 bright and colourful projects from pencil cases, pouches and purses to jewellery, felt flowers, slippers and bags. It is certainly a very inspiring and practical book and makes you want to leap out there and start felting!!!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-69

Felted objects can also be needlefelted using a dry felting process or stitched from flat felt pieces and/ or embroidered, as showcased in the next four books. The first book describes dry felting, which uses felting needles to work wool roving into shapes, while the other three books create flowers and toys from patterns cut out of sheets of wool felt, stitched together and embroidered.BlogFeltBooks2017-08-28 18.04.28Sweet Needle Felts: 25 Projects to Wear, Give and Hug by Jenn Docherty 2008

While I haven’t done much needle felting (it’s a bit too time consuming for me!), it is good to have a book, which describes all the tools and techniques, as well as a number of small projects from flower pins and gumdrop rings to belts, coasters, book covers, purses and toys like the cute ones on the cover. A good book for crafters, who love felt, but don’t want to work with water!!!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-64

Felt Fresh Flowers: 17 Stunning Flowers to Sew and Display by Lynne Farris 2007

A very useful book for the middle of severe Winter, when the garden is fast asleep and nothing much is happening in the way of blooms! We are very lucky here in Australia in that many of our native plants flower in the Winter and our milder warmer climate still allows for the blooming of camellias, violets and Winter honeysuckle. We still get heavy frosts in our garden though, so I am still attracted to the bright colours of the felted flowers in this book, though I am more likely to use them to embellish bags and hats!

Basic tools, materials and techniques are covered before detailed instructions for a range of blooms from African violets, gerberas, geraniums and daffodils to lilies, roses, iris and sunflowers. I particularly liked the tulips, nasturtiums, magnolias and tropical anthuriums!

BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-62

Felties: How To Make 18 Cute and Fuzzy Friends by Nelly Pailloux 2009

A sweet little book on making felt toys. Starting with brief notes on tools, templates, stuffing, sewing and embroidery, it contains patterns for some very cute and obscure creations from the sweet little Babushka Doll, the Mushroom Girl, Sleepy Fox and Pensive Rabbit to the Pirate Mouse, Hoodie Wolf, Retro Alien and Sun-Loving Rat!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-63

Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects by Salley Mavor 2003

Salley Mavor (https://weefolkstudio.com/) is well-known for her imaginative fairy worlds and creative appliquéd and embroidered felt purses, bags and brooches.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-61

I made my daughter a felt bird purse using one of her patterns.BlogFeltBooks2015-04-04 09.49.18 I also love the appliquéd felt work of artist Renee Harris. See:   http://www.reneeharris.net/Pages/GalleriesMenu.html.

Here are some photos of my felt appliqué work, which you will no doubt recognise from previous posts: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFeltBooks2517-12-06 08.18.25Steiner education is big on felt for all the same reasons that I love it. It’s a natural organic material, has wonderful colours and texture, is easily worked by children and makes imaginative and creative toys! I recently visited their shop, Winterwood Toys, in Warranwood, Victoria, to check out their beautiful felts.BlogFeltBooks2518-03-19 11.39.05

It is always a wonderful and inspiring experience, as is a digital visit to their website: https://www.winterwoodtoys.com.au/!

BlogFeltBooks2518-03-23 17.16.40They stock wet felting supplies and a huge colour range of hand-dyed and commercially dyed 100 percent pure wool felts (photo above), as well as toys, patterns and kits and books, many of which hail from Germany, the birthplace of Steiner education, as well as the origin of some wonderful felt designers and creations like the toys and Christmas decorations sent to us by our daughter Jen, who has been teaching in Germany for two years.BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 19.41.16Here are three felt books, which I have bought from Steiner shops over the years.

Creative Felt: Felting and Making More Toys and Gifts by Angelika Wolk-Gerche 2007/2009

Another good basic guide to felting, but with an emphasis on felting with children and imaginative play, a key tent of Steiner education.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-59 The history of felting, different fibre types, setting up the workplace, preparing the wool, natural dyeing, the basic felting process, creative possibilities (mixing colour, collages and felt pictures, modelling and embroidery) and felting with children are all topics covered in the first section of the book, followed by lots of suggestions for felt projects: Hats and jewellery; slippers and hot water bottle covers; felt envelopes and gift wrap; book covers and treasure pouches; juggling balls; dolls and accessories; toy animals and puppets; and Easter rabbits, seasonal toys and dioramas and Christmas decorations.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-112Feltcraft: Making Dolls, Gifts and Toys by Petra Berger 1994/2001  

More Steiner toys and child-oriented projects are included in this book.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-67 They include wooden and felt gnomes, angels, flower children, fairies and dolls, jesters, finger puppets, ducks, butterfly mobiles, snails, dogs and cats, horses, mice and balls, as well as felt pictures and books, jewellery, bookmarks, boxes, egg cosies, purses and cases. Here are some egg cosies and felt toys, made by my children when they were young, as well as some finger puppets.BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.35.35BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.34.43BlogFeltBooks3016-01-01 01.00.00-79I love making felt toys and would not be without the next book, which I have used to make camels and pigs for my daughters!

Sew Soft Toys : Using Natural Fibres by Karin Neuschütz 1996/2007

After a brief discussion of sewing with natural fibres, stuffing materials, and tips for sewing and stuffing toys, it gets straight into instructions for the toys themselves: Dogs and cats; mice and rabbits, farmyard animals, marine animals, African animals, and bears, foxes and weasels.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-65 They are lovely patterns with excellent clear instructions and illustrations and the toy animals are just so cute! Below are photos of Jen’s camel and Caro’s piglet, which I embroidered as well!:

BlogFeltBooks25rly march 2013 012 BlogFeltBooks25rly march 2013 014I could easily make every animal in this book! And perhaps over the years I will, gradually recreating my husband’s old family Christmases!BlogFeltBooks2515-10-13 15.06.45Over the years, I have also made embroidered birds and fruit, Christmas angels and dear little felt mice, as seen in the photos below.BlogFeltBooks2015-04-22 08.55.47BlogFeltBooks2015-10-13 14.34.34BlogFeltBooks2015-10-13 14.31.53BlogFeltBooks50%midjune 046BlogFeltBooks3015-04-22 08.56.18 - CopyAK Traditions (https://aktraditions.com/pages/about-us) in Prahan, Melbourne, Victoria, is another source of wonderful Central Asian felt toys, some of them featured in the photos below:BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.37.41BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.37.19And finally, some of my favourite books for felting inspiration! These books are wonderful and showcase the imaginative work of two contemporary European feltmakers, as well as showing the enormous creative possibilities afforded by felt!

Filz Spiel: The Felted Play by Annette Quentin-Stoll 2010

Annette is a German artist (born 1978), who was introduced to felt in Finland, and she produces the most amazing sculptured hats, bags, costumes, vessels, games, toys and puppets, based on cones and spheres, concertina folds and pleats, elastic structures and even the incorporation of marbles.BlogFeltBooks3016-01-01 01.00.00-70 I just loved her Rainbow Worm, her Dragon and Elephants, her mouse finger puppets, snail and star rings, animal bags and spiky swim hats and seed pod vessels. She has also written three other felt books: Filz Ornament (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzornament/); Filz Experiment (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzexperiment/) and Filz Geschichten (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzgeschichten/).

Gentle Threads: Felts of Judit Pócs

Judit Pócs (born 1976) is a Hungarian artist, whose work I simply adore!  She dyes the raw wool before felting and like the previous artist has a fabulous sense of colour and fun!BlogFeltBooks4016-01-01 01.00.00-73 She too makes weird and wonderful sculptured hats, exotic colourful bags and fabulous toys, all featured in this book, as well as in the gallery on her website: http://pocsjuditstudio.hu/gallery2/.

I also own her inspiring video:

Video: On Gentle Threads About Feltmaking by Judit Pócs and István Rittgasser 2007.

It is a wonderful accompaniment to the book and is spoken in Hungarian and English.BlogFeltBooks4016-01-01 01.00.00-72 In it, Judit generously demonstrates the making of a rug, based on the felt origin myth of Noah’s Ark, as well as a scarf, a bag, two of her amazing sculptural hats and a wonderful stylised crested lizard. She makes the magical process of felting all look so easy, even though her work is incredible skilful! There are also delightfully quirky animations and the catchy music of Krulik Zoltán, the founder and leader of Hungarian ethnomusic band Makám (www.makam.hu).

To view stills from  the film, see: http://www.filmkultura.hu/regi/2008/articles/films/szelidszalakon.en.html.

I  will finish with a gallery of my felt cushions, which you will recognise from previous posts.BlogFeltBooks2016-08-22 14.53.46BlogFeltBooks2017-03-28 14.02.24BlogFeltBooks2518-04-25 12.07.18BlogFeltBooks2016-11-15 12.55.50BlogFeltBooks2016-02-23 13.13.36

 

Green Cape: Whales, Wombats, Wildflowers and Wild Woolly Winter Weather!

The period between Late Winter and Early Spring (August/ September) is one of the best times to visit Green Cape.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.28.23 While the weather is certainly cold, wild and windy, as seen in the photo above, the wildflowers are starting to come into full bloom and the whales are just starting to return south from their tropical Winter breeding grounds, with babies in tow.BlogGree Cape4017-08-29 15.56.38I have touched on Green Cape in previous posts (See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/16/ben-boyd-national-park-part-1/

and  https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/23/ben-boyd-national-park-part-2-photo-essay/).

It is the southernmost point of the Light to Light Walk, as can be seen in these maps from the NPWS interpretive boards.BlogGree Cape2515-06-28 13.01.23BlogGree Cape4015-03-31 14.57.57Green Cape lies at a latitude of 37 degrees South and longitude of 150 degrees East and because it juts so far out into the Tasman Sea, it is a wonderful spot to see humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) closeup, as they hug the coastline on their journey back home to their southern Summer Antarctic feeding grounds.BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 14.43.04BlogGree Cape3016-09-07 14.42.58BlogGree Cape2517-08-29 16.02.24The Yellow-Nosed Albatross (Diomedea chlororhynchus) can also be seen in Late Winter/ early Spring off Green Cape, though I have yet to see one, while the Short-Tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus tenuirostris) head south in long black clouds from late September to early November on their annual migration from the North Pacific to their breeding burrows on the islands in southern waters.BlogGree Cape3017-09-07 19.07.42BlogGree Cape5015-06-28 15.03.29BlogGree Cape5015-03-31 14.46.39We have however seen plenty of other birds: Australasian Gannets (first photo above), Ospreys and White-Bellied Sea Eagles (2nd photo above), Nankeen Kestrels (3rd photo above), Cormorants and Pacific Gulls (first photo below), Crested Terns (2nd photo below), and Sooty Oyster Catchers (3rd photo below).BlogGree Cape3015-03-31 14.49.17BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 16.08.28BlogGree Cape2016-09-07 14.10.17Dolphins and Australian Fur Seals (Arctocephalus pusillus) are also often seen, the latter forming bachelor rafts just off the point and lolling about in the surf with the odd Queen’s Wave!BlogGree Cape3015-06-28 13.24.02BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 14.49.59BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 15.45.13And on land, there are wombats, usually fast asleep in their burrows during the day, but sometimes surprised grazing on the tough wiry grasses, especially in more remote areas.BlogGree Cape2015-06-28 13.52.05BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.14.07 More commonly seen are the quiet Eastern Grey Kangaroos (first photo) and Swamp Wallabies (2nd photo), which graze near the lighthouse.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.33.39OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the coastal heath, there are Southern Emu Wrens (Stipiturus malachurus) and Grass Parrots. I would love to see the latter, which are best observed on first light.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love all the wildflowers of the rugged coastal heath, which is adapted to cope with the salt-laden winds and sandy soils of Green Cape.BlogGree Cape2016-09-07 13.53.02BlogGree Cape2015-06-28 14.25.41 I have organised them into colour ranges and identified them by their genus only:

White: Clockwise from Top Left: Westringia; Hakea; Leucopogon; and Leptospermum;

Yellow: Clockwise from Top Left: Hibbertia; Banksia; Senecio; and Pomaderris;

Reds: Clockwise from Top Left: Kennedia; Correa; Epacris; and Grevillea;

and Pinks: A beautiful Epacris impressa;BlogGree Cape2516-09-07 15.15.11Blues: Clockwise from Top Left: Patersonia; Comesperma; Dampiera; Hovea; Glossodia; and Hybanthus;

and Purples: Tetratheca and Comesperma;

with special sections for wattles (Acacia):

and peas (numerous genera).

Green Cape is a stunningly beautiful area, as the following photos attest.BlogGree Cape2015-03-31 14.54.35BlogGree Cape2015-03-31 14.50.22BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.27.32 It looks south across Disaster Bay to Baycliff and the mouth of the Wonboyn River, to the tall sand dunes of Cape Howe, the Nadgee Wilderness area and the Victorian border.BlogGree Cape2516-09-09 11.03.45BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.07.52OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd then, there is the lighthouse itself- such beautiful architecture with a fascinating history!

BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.27.08 The East Australian Current flows south at 2 knots off Green Cape, which was great for ships sailing south, but difficult for northward-bound vessels, which would hug the coast to avoid the current, exposing them to the risk of being wrecked on reefs and promontories.BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 15.20.54 It is a very rugged section of the coast, which has claimed over 10 shipwrecks, including the Ly-Ee-Moon 1886, in which 71 people died, 24 of their bodies being buried in the cemetery nearby.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 16.23.15The decision was made in 1873 to build a lighthouse at Green Cape, the buildings to be designed by the then-colonial architect James Barnett.BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 18.58.19BlogGree Cape2017-08-29 16.27.33BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 17.51.39 Building supplies, as well as food and later supplies until 1927, were shipped from Eden to the storehouse at Bittangabee Bay, 7 km to the north, then were transported by horse-drawn tramway through the dense coastal heath and across creeks to the headland.BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 17.51.07BlogGree Cape5017-09-07 17.51.12 The lighthouse complex included the 29 m tall octagonal lighthouse and residences for the Head and Assistant Lightkeepers;BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.18.56 a Flag Locker (for marine and semaphore flags) and Signalling Mast and a Telegraph Station (Morse code from 1892 on); BlogGree Cape4015-03-31 14.57.30

and workshops, stables and garages; a tennis court; wells; a helipad and a garden.BlogGree Cape2515-06-28 14.11.26BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.01.49The light was first lit in 1883 and was originally powered, along with the resident quarters, by kerosene and coke coal and from 1962 on, diesel oil generators.BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.57.50BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 19.31.12BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.34.01BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.31.14 It operated all night every night with 4 hour shifts for over 100 years till 1992, when the lighthouse and weather station were automated, the power now supplied by solar panels.

BlogGree Cape5015-03-31 14.44.46BlogGree Cape2517-09-07 17.57.56BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.20.19We were lucky enough to do a tour of the lighthouse last year. I loved the spiral staircase and colours, as well as the curved verandah railings and the spectacular views from the top! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.54.25OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.18.32BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 18.19.18  It is also possible to stay in the lightkeepers’ cottages. See: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/accommodation/green-cape-lightstation-keepers-cottage.

BlogGree Cape2017-09-07 17.50.35BlogGree Cape2015-03-31 14.43.13It really is a magical spot, which is the reason that we make our annual pilgrimage every Winter. Next week, I am featuring some of my favourite felting books!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

Books For Winter: Crochet Books

A short post this time as I am not really a crocheter, though I still do own a few reference guides for those odd times I feel inclined! The basic technique is so simple really and requires so few tools and yet stunning effects can be achieved, like the beautiful super-fine scarves designed by Sophie Digard. See: https://www.dncinternational.com.au/sophie-digard and https://www.lilypond.net.au/collections/frontpage.

I have bought a tiny crochet hook and crochet cotton to try and make something like her amazing creations, but have yet to master the basics, so this first book is very useful for a beginner like me!BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-19 09.20.45Crochet: 20 Simple and Stylish Designs To Wear by Jane Davis 2001

As with all good craft books, it starts with the basics:

Tools and Supplies: From the simple hook in a variety of sizes, stitch markers and tapestry needles to an enormous variety of wonderful yarns of different types, sizes and textures;BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.04.14Crochet Terminology and Abbreviations; Gauge; Crochet Hook Size; and US and European equivalents. It can all be a bit confusing to the beginner, as terminology varies between the US and Europe. This is an American book, the basic stitches listed below being the American forms, so I have put their European equivalents in brackets.

Basic Stitches: Holding the yarn and hook; Making a slip knot and chain; Slip stitch (Single Crochet); Single Crochet (Double Crochet); Half Double Crochet (Half Treble Crochet); Double Crochet (Treble Crochet); Half Triple Crochet; and Triple Crochet (Double Treble);

Basic Techniques:  Crocheting in rows of stitches; Chain space; Joining into a ring or at the end of a round; Changing colours; and Variations and Advanced Stitches. I made a knitting/ crochet roll for all her hooks and needles for my daughter, who is a crocheter!BlogCrochetBooks2017-09-07 13.26.49The remainder of the book is devoted to projects, so the techniques can be learnt and mastered, from evening bags, granny squares and edgings to scarves, mittens and hats and larger vests and tank tops.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.01In the back is a Stitch and Pattern Symbol Library, showing the picture symbols, which often accompany written instructions. While I am sure they are probably very straight-forward and easy, I have yet to master these!BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.30

The Harmony Guides:

Volume Six: 300 Crochet Stitches 1986/ 1998

Volume Seven:  220 More Crochet Stitches 1992/ 1998

While I do not own any of their knitting guides (Volumes One to Five), I do possess the last two volumes, which are both devoted to crochet. Published by Collins & Brown in London, they use the European terminology and abbreviations: Chain stitch (ch); Slip stitch (sl st); Double Crochet (dc); Half Treble (htr); Treble (tr); and Double Treble (dtr).

Volume Six covers all the basic stitches, as well as lace patterns; motifs; filet; clusters; shells; textured stitches; spikes, stars and relief stitches; puff stitches; knobbles and bobbles; loops; openwork and lace patterns; filet crochet; motifs, edgings and trimmings and an introduction to Tunisian crochet, while Volume Seven includes all-over patterns; more edgings and trimmings and motifs; and Irish style and Tunisian crochet.

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In both books, the Introduction covers:

Basic Stitches;

Making Crochet Fabric: Working in rows; Joining in new yarns; Fastening off; Changing colour; Working in rounds; and Joining motifs;

Stitch variations: Groups or shells; Clusters; Spikes and stars; Raised (Relief) stitches; Bobbles; Popcorns; Puff stitches; Picots; Lace loops; Corded crochet; and Crossed stitches and Linked stitches;

Techniques: Placement of stitches; Working into chain spaces; Working around the stem of a stitch; Working between stitches; ; Right side and wrong side rows; Starting chains and pattern repeats; Working in colour; Tension/ Gauge; Shaping; Joining seams;  and Pressing and Finishing;

Following Crochet Patterns: Terminology and abbreviations; Working from a diagram; Filet crochet from charts; and Colour work with charts.

All the stitches are well described and supported by stitch diagrams and colour photographs.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.49

99 Granny Squares To Crochet Published by Leisure Arts 1998

Granny squares are fun and a great way to practice your crochet skills, as well as having a wide application from vests to bay rugs and throws.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.30 While published by an American company, the stitch guide refers to treble rather than triple crochet, further confusing the beginner. My best advice is to use the terminology specified by the particular crochet book! But fortunately for me, all instructions are written with no fancy stitch diagrams! There are colour photos of all the motifs on the middle pages and the front and  back covers.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.37

200 Crochet Flowers, Embellishments and Trims: Fresh Looks For Roses, Daisies, Sunflowers and More by Claire Crompton 2011

Being a keen gardener and floral arranger, it was inevitable that I should be attracted to this book!! And it is certainly a lovely addition to the crochet library!

It starts by describing the wonderful variety of natural, blended and synthetic fibres available these days, as well as examining colour palettes and different yarn textures and weights, before discussing tools and equipment, including a crochet hook conversion chart; and gauge and swatches for fabrics, trims and motifs.

Basic stitches are illustrated and described, using US terminology, though again here, they use the term treble rather than triple, followed by more complex stitches including shells and fans; clusters; puff stitches; popcorns; and picots.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.41There are sections on:

Following written crochet patterns (including abbreviations and US/UK equivalents) and crochet charts with symbols for fabrics, trims, and motifs and flowers;

Being creative with colour : Inspirations; Changing colours; and Working in stripes;

Making Crochet Fabrics: Foundation chain; Working into loops or chain stitches; and Working in rows;

Making Crochet Motifs: Inspirations; Motif centres; Shapes of motifs and flowers; Joining motifs; and Sewing or crocheting seams.BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 08.03.50

The book is then divided into four major parts: Flowers, Trims, Fabrics and Motifs, each introduced  with inspirational ideas for their use and containing a large variety of patterns, each accompanied by colour photographs, keys and stitch diagrams. For example, flowers can be made into bunting like in the photo below, which is based on the pattern for Six-Petalled Flowers, as well as necklaces, corsages and decorative pieces to embellish bags or hats, while trims can be used to edge scarves, blouses and skirt hems.BlogCrochetBooks2017-07-16 12.24.22 Crochet fabrics can be assembled into cushion panels, scarves and lavender sachets and motifs can be used for Christmas decorations; jewellery, decorative collars and embellishments for clothes and bags. In the back is a list of contemporary suppliers, complete with websites.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 11.03.42

My final book completes both my knitting and crochet book posts, as it addresses both art forms.

Freeform: Serendipitous Design Techniques for Knitting and Crochet by Prudence Mapstone 2002/ 2004

Once all the basic techniques and principles are mastered and understood, experimentation is possible and the rules can be broken in the interests of promoting creativity! Any stitch or technique from either art form can be incorporated in the one work and the work grows organically, governed only by the moment or the availability of materials in your yarn stash, resulting in a truly unique and creative piece.BlogCrochetBooks3018-04-17 12.25.20

It is such a great way of using up all those odd balls of wool or spur-of-the-moment single purchases, because you were seduced by the colours or texture and couldn’t resist! Ply, gauge and dye lots are totally irrelevant with freeform artwork and fine lightweight yarns can be doubled, tripled or combined with another thread.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 09.19.25

It is also a lovely way to explore colour combinations. Prudence provides detailed notes on colour and yarn choice and fabrication, as well as helpful hints for success,  instructions for aftercare and an appendix of abbreviations, yarn equivalents (for Australia, UK and USA), knitting needle and crochet hook size conversions (Imperial or Old UK/ Metric and USA).BlogCrochetBooks2518-04-18 13.47.23She includes some patterns for elements that can be joined together, as well as lots of inspirational colour photographs of garments and goods made with her freeform techniques from hair bands, hats and bikinis to vests and jackets and  footstools, cushions and bags. While you wouldn’t necessarily wear all of her garments, there are some colour combinations that are quite lovely and it certainly does show you the vast potential of the medium! Be adventurous and take risks and above all, have fun!!!!

Next week, we are off to Green Cape on the Far South Coast of New South Wales for our annual Winter pilgrimage for the Four Ws: Whales, Wombats, Wildflowers and Wild Woolly Weather!!!

Books For Winter: Knitting Part Two

Continuing on from last week’s post, I am now featuring books written by knitting designers and containing some fabulous patterns.

Passion for Colour: Designer Knitting With Natural Dyes by Sarah Burnett 1990

While I could have included this book in my post on Natural Dyeing Books, I decided to reserve it for this post, as it has some great patterns, one of which is a Fair Isle pattern for a child’s cardigan, which I started for my toddler daughter, but unfortunately never completed! However, I had so much fun with colour combinations during its pursuit! It is a delightful book, even though a little dated now, and was one of the first to really showcase designs against their sources of inspiration.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.06.17The first section titled: Cooking With Colour describes the natural dyeing process: Equipment, mordanting, natural dyestuffs, dyeing methods and how to produce a range of colours from reds, pinks and wines to navy, greys, ochres and walnuts, yellows, greens and indigo blues of varying shades and hues.

I didn’t actually dye my wool for the cardigan, but bought some very fine four-ply Rowan yarns in a range of colours from Mostly Mohair in Richmond, Tasmania. I couldn’t decide between the brights and the pastels (a perennial problem for me, as well as probably being a major frustration for the patient, long-suffering saleswoman!), so I bought both colour ranges, including a wide variety of blues: navy, deep turquoise, royal blue, jacaranda blue, soft blue and aqua blue, as well as olive and full green; rust red and deep red; gold and bright yellow; and cream. Here is a photo of the back of the cardigan.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.06.32 I loved experimenting with colour combinations in practice swatches like this one in the photo below, before making a final decision on the next row of the cardigan. I probably should undo it all and reuse the wool for another project, unless a grandchild comes along first!!!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-18 07.42.40In this book, there are also some very feminine patterns with blowsy full sleeves, frilled edgings and peplums, and bold patterns and brilliant colour. I particularly loved the Paisley Jacket and the Fritillary Jacket, both of which I could still easily wear and knit (though perhaps not so easily!). I also loved the pattern of the Rambling Rose Cardigan, though would probably try to combine its rose pattern with the longer style of the Paisley or Fritillary Jackets. The Sunflower Jacket is also very attractive with its bright happy colours and bold design.

The glossary at the back includes notes on needle size, knitting in the round, tension, using charts, Fair Isle technique, blocking, different grafting methods, ribbing, pleats and making those beautiful Dorset Crosswheel Buttons used in the patterns.BlogKnittingBooks3018-02-07 15.25.30

Sarah continues to knit and design ad her more current work can be seen at: http://www.naturaldyecompany.com.

Kristin Nicholas: Kristin Knits: 27 Inspired Designs For Playing With Colour 2007

A good book for all those knitters, who are seduced by all those lovely colourful yarns in the wool shop, but don’t necessarily feel super-confident about improvising with colour! It’s a lovely bright colourful book with some terrific projects from easy garter stitch scarves with pompoms and tasselled mitre-cornered stockinette scarves, embroidered with flowers, to bold bright Navajo-inspired afghans, a variety of colourful striped hats, socks and boot toppers, gloves and mittens, and jumpers and cardigans.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-18 09.00.22She has a great sense of colour and makes your fingers start itching to begin one of her projects! Also included are notes on colour and design; experimenting with swatches; Fair Isle techniques; steeking; mitred corners; tension and gauge; duplicate stitches; decorating with embroidery; making bobbles, tassels and pompoms; stitching seams; sewing in zippers; and blocking and finishing garments. I am so tempted to stop writing and go and make her Autumn Leaves Socks instead!!! You can learn more about her on: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwghwh9_4dM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TI9SRIVJNg.

.Kaffe Fassett (1937-):

Glorious Knitting: Over 30 Exclusive Patterns 1985

Family Album: Knitting For Children and Adults 1989

Kaffe’s Classics: 25 Glorious Knitting Designs 1993

If you love colour and pattern, you will definitely have come across Kaffe Fassett’s name in your knitting journey! He shot to fame with his first book Glorious Knitting in 1985 and proceeded to write further books on knitting like Family Album and Kaffe’s Classics, all of which I own, as well as delving into the equally colourful worlds of needlepoint, patchwork and quilting, painting and ceramics, and even mosaics.

This man is so enthusiastic , energetic and inspiring and a wonderful ambassador for colour and craft! He has designed knitwear, tapestries, quilts and fabrics, costumes and stage sets, and was the first living textile artist to have a one-man show at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 1988, the exhibition so popular that it went on to tour nine countries: Finland, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Australia, Canada, the United States of America and Iceland.

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He has written more than 40 books and has hosted a number of craft-related television and radio programs for the BBC and Channel Four, including his own show Glorious Colour. He has also featured in a a large number of videos, which can be seen on his website at: http://www.kaffefassett.com/publications/videos/.

It is also well worth reading his biography Dreaming in Colour: An Autobiography 2012. See: http://www.kaffefassett.com/2831-2/, a brief précis of which can also be found at: http://www.kaffefassett.com/about/.

But back to his books, though I must admit that I have not actually knitted any of his patterns, which are probably a bit too complex for me- in fact, I am probably more likely to stitch one of his needlepoint designs, as embroidery is more my forté!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.00.21

Glorious Colour features patterns for garments based on Stripes, Steps and Zigzags, Diamonds, Stars, Squares and Patches, Circles and Flowers, while Family Album features: Squares and Plaids; Circles and Dots; Stripes and Boxes; Brushes and Combs; Stars and Mosaics; Flowers and Bows; Cables and Flags; Turks and Harlequins; and Diamonds and Patches.

Kaffe’s Classics revisits 25 of his classic originals, inspired by Japanese art, Chinese landscape paintings, Islamic tile work, Turkish kilims and Spanish architecture and originally published in Rowan Collections, rather than his own books. They are beautiful garments, though very much a product of the 1980s and 1990s.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.00.29

Kaffe has designed knitwear (see: http://www.kaffefassett.com/gallery/knitwear/) for Rowan Yarns (https://knitrowan.com/en/) for more than 30 years to showcase their beautiful yarns (https://knitrowan.com/en/yarns). They produce seasonal pattern collections, as well as a large number of publications and patterns.

Jo Sharp :

Knitting Emporium 2000

Knitting Heartland: Children’s Handknitting Collection 2001.

Australian Jo Sharp also produces beautiful luxury yarns in wool, silk, cashmere and cotton in an extensive range of natural shades. See: https://www.knit.net.au/.

She has also published some wonderful patterns and pattern collections and books, two of which I own: Knitting Emporium 2000 and Knitting Heartland: Children’s Handknitting Collection 2001.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.25.50

I love her sense of colour! Knitting Emporium has some lovely patterns, especially Solstice, Tashkent and Millefiori. I made my husband his one and only jumper (knitted by me! He does own more jumpers!!!) using her pattern Antipodean, though the shoulders probably should have been adjusted slightly for him.  I also used her hat pattern for Balthazar as a basis for the hats below, though using a mixture of yarns I owned.BlogKnittingBooks30%DSCN1488BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1508BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.39.30 Even though they are not Jo Sharp yarns and I incorporated stripes as well, I think the hat still reflects the exotic essence and colour of this pattern.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.02.39

Knitting Heartland  is equally inspiring with some beautifully coloured designs for children, which I will definitely try when I become a grandma!!!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1499 I did use the pattern Phoebe’s Bag when making crochet flowers for my hat and scarf ends (photos above and below).BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.38.38Zoë Mellor

Another well-known and successful knitwear designer, who has written a number of books, including:

Head To Toe Knits: 25 Colourful Accessories For Your Home and Children 1998

Animal Knits: 26 Fun Handknits For Children and Toddlers 2001.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.26.06

Again, wonderful bright colours and a great sense of fun! I loved making her Wee Willy Winky Hat  in Head to Toe Knits and could easily knit some of her other patterns, especially the Cat Hats with their striped ears, the colourful bags and cushions and the Reindeer Scarf and Hat.32271755_10156215149454933_8570604297115402240_nI adapted her pattern for the Harlequin Hat, enlarging her basic pattern and knitting stripes instead of harlequins.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.24.46Animal Knits is also great fun with some very appealing patterns like the Animal Bootees, based on rabbits and bears; the cute Farmyard Cushion; the sweet Ladybird Hat and all the delightful jumpers, jackets and toys. I could easily knit all the patterns in this book!!!BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.01.30Louisa Harding : Knitting Little Luxuries: Beautiful Accessories To Knit 2007

Another favourite book, to which the last statement also applies. This is a delightful book, especially for gifts and smaller items.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.01.22 I have knitted quite a few of the patterns, including: the Embellished Mittens; Victoria Fingerless Mittens (three times!); and Cecily Beanie (below in order) !

Very soft and feminine, her designs often use cashmere wool and more of her patterns can be found on her website at: https://www.yarntelier.com. Below is a photo of my daughter in her Alice Beret and Victoria Fingerless Mittens, both from the book.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-23 13.13.01

Cat Bordhi: A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting 2005/ 2007

I love trying knitting patterns, which look like they are difficult and couldn’t possibly work, and yet if you trust the process, do work out and end up being really quite easy, once you get the hang of them! Cat Bordhi’s Infinity Moebius Cowls are a case in point!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.57 It’s all in the cast-on technique, but once that is mastered, it is just a matter of circular kitting to the end. Fortunately, there are some excellent YouTube clips to support this book at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVnTda7F2V4.

BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.25.40Having made this cowl three times, my most successful was with a soft mohair wool with a fair amount of give, so it stretches easily as I twist it twice around my neck and it feels so comfortable and soft!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1493 The cowl can also be worn with one twist round the neck and one over the head if it is particularly cold!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1494The basic technique can also be used to make needle cosies; magical baskets; sling bags, including a Jester Tentacle Bag and Hat, Moebius Bowls and Cluster Bowls, and Feline Bliss Beds and Kitty Nests, all patterns given in the book!

Curly scarves are also a pattern, which looks like it couldn’t possibly work, but does and is really very simple. See: https://knitting-crochet.wonderhowto.com/how-to/knit-spiral-ruffle-scarf-0133365/.

BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.04 My next challenge is this teapot cosy, knitted by my friend Heather. I love the colour combination of hot pink and orange, but I have chosen more natural greens. It involved learning and mastering a new casting-on method for me, working out how tight to pull the carried thread to achieve the correct density of folds and then making absolutely sure that the thread was always carried to the back side of the work! I’m currently on my fourth attempt!!! While I cannot find the original source of my pattern, it can also be found at: https://www.the-knitting-wool-store.com/grannies-tea-cosy-pattern.html.BlogKnittingBooks2518-03-21 12.31.25

Another challenge I would like to try one day is body knitting with arms rather than needles! See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FapvTEjbR9M and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sF6vj_JnWy8.

Finally, some knitted toy books…!!!

Kath Dalmeny’s World of Knitted Toys 1998 features animals from all over the world: the Jungle; the Australian Outback; Down on the Farm; The Deep Blue Sea; Forest Friends; On Safari; and the Snowy Regions. Patterns can be knitted in two sizes- ‘clutch’ for a child’s hand and ‘cuddle’, big enough to be hugged.

Patterns can also be adapted to produce other animals. For example, the polar bear pattern can be adapted to create a panda, while a sea lion can be made using the walrus pattern. There are even patterns for humans, complete with an entire wardrobe and accessories. I made a pig for my daughter and would like to try some of her other patterns. The koalas and kangaroos and joeys are so cute and I would love to make the turtle and penguins!!!BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 11.03.16

Amigurumi Knits: Patterns for 20 Cute Mini Knits by Hansi Singh 2009  is another very inspiring book. The term was originally coined from the Japanese words ‘ami’, meaning ‘knitted or crocheted’ and ‘nuigurumi’ meaning ‘stuffed doll’, and while big in the crochet world, it was adopted more slowly by the knitting community, with very few patterns on knitted amigurumi. This book goes a long way in addressing this shortfall with lots of fun small creations like vegetables and fruit; hermit crabs , octopus,sea stars, jellyfish and black-devil anglerfish; snails, praying mantis, ants and spiders; and weird and wonderful cryptids-krakens, jackalopes and the famous Loch Ness monster, Nessie! They are certainly very cute and appealing, even though some of them look fairly challenging!!!BlogKnittingBooks4018-04-17 11.03.09Hopefully, some of these books might have inspired you to start knitting for the season or maybe you are a crochet fiend, in which case my next post will feature my favourite crochet books! In the meantime, Happy Knitting!!!32501206_10156215149564933_5986553767691026432_n

Books for Winter: Knitting Part One

Now that it’s Winter, it’s an ideal time to get out those needles and wool, cosy up in front of the fire and start knitting! While I am definitely no expert in the art form, hence I suspect my large number of books on the subject, I have still managed to make quite a few scarves and hats over the years, which I will feature throughout this post, including the odd challenging and stimulating technique! I actually did do a brief course in knitting at TAFE years ago, some of whose samples are also featured in this post!

Here are some of the knitting books in my craft library, which I have found particularly useful! Because this post is quite long, I have divided it into two posts: General Knitting Books (Beginners and Advanced) this week and Designers and Patterns (including toys) next week.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.47.42General Knitting Books

Beginner Knitters

How To Knit: The Definitive Knitting Course Complete With Step-By-Step Techniques, Stitch Libraries and Projects For Your Home and Family by Debbie Bliss 1999

An excellent book for the beginner, the Introduction covers yarns and equipment and instructions for working from a pattern and knitting a tension swatch, to holding the yarn and needles, making a slip knot, casting on and off, increasing and decreasing, the basic stitches and the first of a number of simple projects throughout the book to familiarise the reader with the techniques.32476691_10156215149529933_7249506115308748800_nChapter Two covers single and double rib, picking up stitches, making a stitch and cast-off buttonhole, as well as a simple stitch pattern library.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.34.37While Aran knitting, with its intricate cables, twists and bobbles creating amazing textures, is the subject of Chapter Three, personally I was more drawn to the colour workshop in Chapter Four with its emphasis on Fair Isle and Intarsia techniques. Joining in yarn, securing ends, weaving and stranding, working from a chart and working in the round with circular needles or a set of four needles is also covered.BlogKnittingBooks2518-05-13 13.38.47Chapter Five focuses on lace knitting, with instructions on yarn overs, additional decreases and making lace edging, as well as a lace stitch library of pretty lace patterns. While I will probably never do the complicated -looking entrelac knitting, it is still good to know that I can learn how-to in Chapter Six! I am more likely to use Chapter Seven, which discusses all the decorative details like embroidery, Swiss darning, loop knitting and fringing, the use of sequins and beads, making pompoms and cords, and finishing a garment with a decorative hem.

For more experienced knitters, there is a Design Workshop in Chapter Eight, which discusses design  principles and how to design a simple sweater, making sweater calculations, patterns and motifs, edgings and designing for children.

The final chapter appropriately focuses on finishing the garment: Making up and joining pieces, seams, picking up dropped stitches, unravelling, finishing fabrics by blocking and pressing and caring for knitwear.

Standard knitting abbreviations and yarn weights are included in the appendix, along with a list of stockists.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.58.27

The Encyclopedia of Knitting: Step-By-Step Techniques, Stitches and Inspirational Designs by Lesley Stanfield and Melody Griffiths 2000

Another excellent book covering the basics, it is divided into three parts:

The Essentials: Materials, basic skills, and essential and additional know-how, including four different cast-on methods, knit and purl, garter and stockinette stitches, seven cast-off methods, picking up dropped stitches, shaping a garment with increases and decreases, picking up stitches, reading patterns and charts, understanding gauge, making up, hems and facings, fastenings, grafting, turning rows and bias and chevron knitting.

The Stitch Collection advances from basic knit and purl and ribs through cables, twists, bobbles and leaves and lace to stranded colour knitting, intarsia and special effects like cross-stitch and embroidery, incorporating beads and sequins, loops, slipstitch colour knitting, motif entrelac, tucks and pleats and circular knitting. The chunky cowl below was knitted in seed stitch on circular needles to a free pattern called Marian by Jane Richmond. See: http://www.janerichmond.com/products/marian-cowl.

BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1507BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.37.49Design and Inspiration covers the fundamentals of the design process: Measuring and number crunching, planning repeats, motifs and patterns, combining colour and cables, circular yokes and designing a cardigan, as well as a gallery of vintage patterns from the 1920s to the 1960s, multicultural influences, contemporary designers, colour and texture and knitting for kids and for fun.

In the back is a key to chart symbols, needle sizes and abbreviations and a glossary and index.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 10.58.18Knitting: Over 20 Exciting Projects For you To Make For Home and Family  Published by  Treasure Press 1986

This simple old book was my introduction to knitting back in my early married days and I am including it, because it was the source of my very first completed project and introduced me to the art of Fair Isle Knitting.

There is a brief history of knitting at the start, followed by information on different types of yarns and needles, needle sizes, basic skills and shaping, advanced techniques like cables, bobbles, buttonholes and colour work, reading patterns, tension and abbreviations and stitch symbols.

Stitch patterns include ribs, Aran patterns, colourwork, lace, slipstitch colourwork and lacy edgings.

There is also a small section on finishing off, laundry symbols, aftercare, design and decorative finishes.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.01.37

The rest of the book is devoted to patterns for a variety of sweaters and dresses, baby layouts, cushion covers and bedspreads and a beautiful Fair Isle trio of socks, gloves and hat, the latter which I knitted for my two girls- the book’s bright version for Caro in the photo below and a softer version in pastel blue, pink and green mohair for Jen.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.27.30

And lastly, for the kids…!

Fun With Wool Published by the Australian Wool Corporation 1981

An oldie, but a goodie, from which my children learnt to knit. It starts with Finger Knitting and  French Knitting with a homemade nancy, though we used the old wooden cotton reels with four nails in the top, as well as plying, plaiting and twisting cords and making wool collages.BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-18 07.42.53Basic Knitting is next with easy  illustrated instructions for casting on and off, knit and purl stitches, stocking stitch and rib, increasing and decreasing, joining seams; reading a pattern, tension, pompoms and tassels and embroidery stitches.

There are many suggestions for knitted projects from jewellery, finger puppets and toys to pencil cases,tennis racquet covers, patchwork throws, scarves, hats and mittens, and simple jumpers made out of squares and rectangles.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.22.43

There are also chapters on basic crochet; simple weaving using cardboard looms or picture frames, forked branches and even cross of two sticks to make a God’s Eye; and basic spinning using a pencil or spindle. Here are two photos of my children knitting scarves- 14 year old Caroline knitting a bright colourful scarf for the Armidale Winter (above) and our 20 year old university student Jenny, who made us all long red scarves in the even colder Canberra Winter.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.44.46 She also commemorated her knitting forays in this cute illustration and even her own song- ‘The Long Red Scarf’!BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 11.44.52More Advanced Knitters

The Handknitter’s Design Book: A Practical Guide To Creating Beautiful Knitwear by Alison Ellen 1992

While probably a bit advanced for me, this book is perfect for knitters, who want to create their own designs! It starts by examining the precedents of knitting- its history and traditional techniques; different kinds of yarn: wool, alpaca/angora and cashmere, cotton and linen, silk, synthetics and more unusual material like string and ribbon, rags and waste packaging; the properties of stretch and drape; choosing needles, tension and basic knitting techniques with all the possible variations including casting on and off; picking up stitches and colour knitting. The swatches below feature in order: Simple Cable Ribs (Cable to the left; Cable to the right); Horseshoe Cable; and Plaited Cable.

Texture, colour and patterns (horizontal/vertical and diagonal stripes; grids and checks; dots and repeat motifs; geometric; motifs; pictorial/floral and abstract/ random) are examined in great detail in Chapters Four to Six, while Chapter Seven focuses on shapes and details: block patterns; calculations and measurements; adjustments for different body shapes; shape variations-chevrons; waisted shapes, peplums and frills; skirts; sleeves and cuffs; armholes; necks; collars; openings; buttonholes and loops; pockets; and joins and seams. Below is a photo of a beautiful Broken Cable Pullover, which I bought thirty years ago and which still attracts admiring comments every Winter!BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1491The Stitch Library is an excellent reference guide to over 50 different types of knitting stitches and is followed by a few projects, which can be used as a starting point for your own individual designs, with basic patterns for triangular and diagonal shawls; simple jumpers, cardigans and hats; and cushions.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.58.35

Alice Starmore’s Book of Fair Isle Knitting by Alice Starmore 1988

While designing my own garment from scratch is probably beyond my capabilities, I do love colour and am much more prepared to take up the challenge of Fair Isle knitting, with which I have had a lifelong love affair! In fact, we even spent a weekend staying at a bird observatory lodge on the Fair Isle, when we visited the United Kingdom in 1994. While we were there, I bought a beautiful warm polo neck jumper from some local knitters, featured in the photo below.BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1498BlogKnittingBooks20%DSCN1497Alice Starmore is a foremost authority on Fair Isle knitting and I own two of her books, one of which I have already featured in my post on Design Books. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/01/23/craft-books-colour-design-and-inspiration-part-one/.

BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-17 10.58.41

While Charts for Colour Knitting has a distinctly multicultural feel with traditional and adapted patterns from all over the world, her Book of Fair Isle Knitting is specific to this beautiful little isolated island, with the first chapter giving a brief overview of the island’s history, as well as the origins and development of its unique style of stranded knitting.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 08.28.33

In Chapter Two, she discusses Pattern: the different types; reading pattern charts and creating patterns with a pattern library for Peerie, Border, Large, Allover, Norwegian Stars and Seeding patterns. Chapter Three focuses on Colour: its effect on and use in design with a gallery of different colour combinations for inspiration, while Chapter Four really gets down to the nitty-gritty with an emphasis on Technique: Circular knitting; Tension/ gauge; Casting-on; English and Continental knitting methods; Weaving in strands and corrugated ribbing; Increases and decreases; Steeks (the Scottish word for bridging openings like cardigan fronts or armholes when circular knitting); Joining knitting; Trimmings (buttonholes, pompoms, fringes and cords) and the care of Shetland wool garments.BlogKnittingBooks2518-04-19 08.29.24

The Wardrobe of Patterns contains patterns for ganseys, sweaters, cardigans, jackets, vests and accessories (tammy, gloves and mittens), so the readers can gain confidence before embarking on the final section titled: Creating Your Own Designs, definitely a section for the more advanced knitter than myself!!!

It discusses measurements, drawing a plan, gauge, calculating stitches and rows, fitting patterns into widths/ lengths, centreing patterns, and  progressing from design to working instructions.

There are notes on designing tammies and caps; a gansey with a gusset (love the phrase!); gansey variations; cardigans; and variations in the shape and style of necklines, sleeves and lengths.

BlogKnittingBooks3018-04-17 12.26.17

An excellent reference guide for anyone interested in developing their knowledge and skill in Fair Isle Knitting!

Next week, we will feature books on knitting designers and their patterns.

Feature Plants for June: Australian Natives in Our Garden

Even though the garden slows down in the cooler months, we are lucky here in Australia that many of our native flora bloom in the Winter, so it makes eminent sense to include a few Australian native plants in our garden for their colour, scent and bird food to tide us all over till the garden awakening in Spring!BlogOzNatives2017-07-07 09.25.12 Some of the plants, which we are growing, include  iconic Australian native species like Wattles and Eucalypts, Banksias and Grevilleas, and Correas and Westringias.BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2442 That splash of gold provided by the wattle certainly lifts the Winter spirits (photo above), especially in our garden against the backdrop of bare trees ! BlogOzNatives2017-08-11 13.31.09I will be featuring each plant group with a brief introduction, followed by more detail on the particular plant specimens in our garden. The Eastern Spinebill in the photo below loves our Lady O grevillea flowers, which bloom all year round!BlogOzNatives20%IMG_1351Most of them are planted in the garden on the southern side of our house, bound by some very tall old cypress on the fence line, which form a contrasting dark green backdrop to the flowers of the native species. The photo below shows the view from the street with the Banksia in the agapanthus bed in the centre and the main native area to the left on the hill above the Tea Garden.BlogOzNatives2017-01-17 14.49.36This photo is the view of the native area from the house with a hedge of grevilleas on the left and a waratah on the right.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-16Wattles

Wattles and gum trees are two of the most iconic Australian symbols.BlogOzNatives2015-07-29 15.54.35 The Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha, is Australia’s national floral emblem, our sporting teams are instantly recognisable in the famous green-and-gold, and Wattle Day is on the 1st September every year. I love their golden display and their distinctive scent!BlogOzNatives2017-08-08 17.46.04 Wattles belong to the genus Acacia and the family Mimosaceae, with 1350 species worldwide, 1000 of which are Australian. It is in fact the largest genus of vascular plants in Australia and has a wide range of habitats, leaf forms, flowers and blooming times. Wattles are very fast-growing, but short-lived, being very effective pioneer plants in disturbed or fire-ravaged areas. The photo below shows a selection of Acacias, which grow on the Far South Coast of New South Wales.

While we have seen many different species in our local area, one species which is indigenous to Southern NSW is the Cootamundra Wattle, A. baileyana. It is a hardy evergreen with silvery-green fern-like leaves and golden-yellow fluffy spheres of stamens in Winter. It has a magnificent display and its pollen-rich golden blooms are highly attractive, not only to birds and bees, but also florists.BlogOzNatives2016-05-27 15.54.08BlogOzNatives2016-05-27 15.54.13We are growing the purple-leafed form, Acacia baileyana purpurea, which has leaves with a bright purple to burgundy tint, being another very attractive foliage filler in vases. See: http://www.thetreeplantation.com/afgan-pine.html.

It is a good screening plant, 5 to 8m tall and wide, which is very tolerant of soils, extremes in temperatures and coastal exposure. It is also frost hardy and can be grown in full sun or part shade. BlogOzNatives2518-05-16 16.04.34BlogOzNatives2518-05-16 16.04.41We are growing it beside the house, whose purplish-pink walls should contrast well with the darker foliage. It will also screen the carport and car and be able to tolerate the afternoon sun.

Eucalypts

Eucalypts or gums are another symbol of Australia, being the main food source of koalas; the reason for the blue haze of the Blue Mountains in NSW; and the source of the antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and decongestant eucalyptus oil.BlogOzNatives25%IMG_0796Eucalypts are immortalised in popular songs like ‘Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree’ (http://alldownunder.com/australian-music-songs/kookaburra-song.htm) and ‘Home Among the Gum Trees’ (http://alldownunder.com/australian-music-songs/home-among-the-gum-trees.htm) and the paintings of Hans Heysen (1877-1968) and Namatjira (1902-1959).BlogOzNatives20%midMar 2014 026Old gum hollows are so important for providing homes for our native fauna and birds. The Guildford Tree (photo 1) in Victoria was already a giant when the early settlers arrived in the 1840s and hosts a variety of birds from kookaburras, magpies, wood ducks, honeyeaters, rosellas, boobook owls, lorikeets (photo 2), corellas (photo 3) and parrots, as well as insects, native bees and possums.BlogOzNatives50%late sept 251BlogOzNatives50%late sept 262BlogOzNatives50%late sept 268Eucalypt trees  are also an important food source for honeyeaters and lorikeets like this varied lorikeet at Riversleigh, North Queensland.BlogOzNatives25%IMG_2786The Eucalyptus genus belongs to the family Myrtaceae and has over 700 species, most of which are native to Australia and which vary in height, plant form, foliage, flowers and seedpods. Here are some photos, showing the diversity in their flowers and gumnuts.

Eucalypt identification can often be quite challenging, as their taxonomy is always changing, and often, gums share common names in different states. The Blue Gum is a classic example and can be any of a dozen species, depending on where you live (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_gum)!

Another case, shown in the photos above and below, is the eucalypt we grow, E. cinerea, which goes by the common name of Argyle Apple, Blue Peppermint or Silver Dollar Tree, the latter also the common name of E. polyanthemos.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-9 The silver dollar describes the decorative soft blue-grey round leaves, which makes it so attractive to florists! It makes a great filler, which is the reason that I am growing it. I also love the smell of eucalypts!BlogOzNatives50%late sep 2011 092It is a hardy fast growing evergreen tree, up to 10 m tall and 7 m wide, which retains its lower branches to near ground level, making it an excellent screen or windbreak.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-12 It bears masses of creamy-white flowers in late Winter and Spring, attracting plenty of nectar-feeding birds and bees. It is tolerant of frost, wet or dry conditions and salt-laden winds.

Banksias

Known as Australian Honeysuckle, the genus Banksia belongs to the Proteaceae Family and includes 173 species, ranging from prostrate woody shrubs to trees over 30m tall.

They were named after Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), who was the first European to collect them in 1770 on James Cook’s first voyage in the Endeavour. He collected four species on that first trip: B.serrata (Saw Banksia), B.integrifolia (Coastal Banksia), B. ericifolia (Heath-Leafed Banksia) and B. robur (Swamp banksia). All but one living Banksia species is endemic to Australia, the exception being the Tropical Banksia B. dentata, which occurs throughout Northern Australia, as well as Papua New Guinea and the Aru Islands.

South-Western Australia has the largest biodiversity, as seen in the photo above, with 60 species only occurring there from Exmouth in the north to Esperance on the Southern coast. Eastern Australia has far fewer species, but have widespread distribution of B. integrifolia (Coastal Banksia- seen in the photo below) and B. spinulosa (Hairpin Banksia).BlogOzNatives2016-06-26 16.53.23 The fossil record includes pollen 65-59 Million years old; leaves 59-56 Million years old and cones 41-47 Million years old.BlogOzNatives50%IMG_3434BlogOzNatives25%IMG_4171Banksia foliage varies with the species from the tiny 1-1.5 cm needle-like leaves of Heath-Leafed banksia (B. ericifolia) to the 45 cm large leaves of the Bull Banksia B. grandis. Most species have leaves with serrated edges, though B. integrifolia does not. The next two photos show B. integrifolia (entire leaf margins)and B. serrata (serrated leaf margins).BlogOzNatives2016-06-18 17.32.56BlogOzNatives20%IMG_5987Banksias all have long flowering spikes and woody cones, which were immortalised in Australian children’s book, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs, where the Big Bad Banksia men were based on the cones of Banksia serrata (Old Man or Saw Banksia).BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0192BlogOzNatives2016-06-01 15.06.57 The flowering spikes are mostly yellow, but also orange, red, pink and even violet.

All are heavy producers of nectar, so are very attractive to a wide range of birds (honeyeaters, lorikeets, wattlebirds and cockatoos), mammals (antechinus and bush rats, honey possums and pygmy possums, gliders and bats) and invertebrates (Dryandra moth larvae, stingless bees and weevils), which also act as pollinators. The Noisy Miner below certainly was enjoying its feast on the flowers of the Acorn Banksia B. prionotes. BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2122Indigenous Australians even used to soak the flowering spikes in water for a sweet drink. Rainbow Lorikeets love drinking the nectar of the flowers of the Coastal Banksia, B. integrifolia,BlogOzNatives2015-06-14 11.23.05while Baudin’s Black Cockatoos enjoy breaking open the banksia cones on the southern coast of Western Australia.BlogOzNatives25%IMG_5361BlogOzNatives25%IMG_4178Most banksias grow in sandy or gravelly soils, though B. spinulosa can often be found in heavier, more clay-like soils.BlogOzNatives50%Image (9) - Copy Most are found in heathland and low woodlands, while B. integrifolia forms forests.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_5984Banksias are adapted to bush fire, the latter stimulating the opening of seed-bearing follicles in the cones and the release of seeds, which quickly grow and regenerate burnt areas. Some banksia species can also resprout after fire from lignotubers.BlogOzNatives2016-06-26 15.34.24While we have a number of different species growing wild here in Southern New South Wales, as seen in the photos below from our recent Winter visit to the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney,BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2231BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2333BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2337BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2339I believe our specimen is probably called ‘Giant Candles’, a naturally-occuring hybrid of B. ericifolia and B. spinulosa collina.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-46 (2) It will grow to 5m tall and bears 40 cm large bronze-orange flowering spikes from late Autumn to Winter.BlogOzNatives2017-07-07 13.46.16 It likes well-drained soil in full sun, both conditions which are fulfilled in its position and it is certainly thriving!BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-13 I love banksias for their golden candles and attractive seed cones and this hybrid is a real beauty!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.14.18BlogOzNatives2017-07-07 13.47.23Stenocarpus

A member of the Proteaceae family, the Stenocarpus genus has 25 species of trees and woody shrubs, 10 of which grow in Australia in the Subtropical Eastern Rainforests of New South Wales and Queensland and the northern tropical monsoonal forests of Queensland, Northern Territory and Western Australia.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-1One of the most well-known species in Australia is the Wheel of Fire, Stenocarpus sinuatus, which originates from Nambucca, Northern NSW to the Atherton Tablelands, Qld. It is also known as Firewheel Tree and interestingly White Silky Oak, due to its widespread planting as an ornamental street tree in subtropical, tropical and temperate climates.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-2Growing from 10 to 30 m tall, this evergreen tree has dark green leaves and large ornamental bright red flowers in Summer (February to March) in the form of umbels in a circular arrangement, hence the name. The flowers are followed by 5 to 10 cm long boat-shaped pods with many thin seeds.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-49A slow grower, it can be grown in full sun or part shade, and is hardy to frost once established, so it is important to protect young trees. We have lost two specimens to frost, so this time, we have bought a more mature tree and are crossing our fingers! I just adore the decorative flowers, made so famous by printmaker, Margaret Preston (1875-1963). See: https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/204.1977/.

Pittosporum

We are also growing a Pittosporum undulatum, as well as an exceedingly slow cycad (Macrozamia communis), but I have discussed both plants in detail in my post on Bush Harvest. See: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/03/01/march-feature-plants-bush-harvest/.

BlogBush Harvest20%Reszd2016-02-10 10.12.09BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-10Grevilleas

Named after Charles Francis Greville (1749-1809), a close friend of Sir Joseph Banks, Grevilleas or Spider Flowers also belong to the Proteaceae family and are the third largest genus in Australia.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0102 (2) It includes 365 species and 100 subspecies, with 350 species endemic to Australia, and has a huge range of habitats, sizes (from ground covers and prostrate shrubs to 35m tall trees), and flower colour and a long flowering period. The photo below features a grand old Silky Oak in our local park at Candelo and a dwarf grevillea growing in coastal heathland at Green Cape on the Far South Coast of New South Wales.BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-10 11.28.43BlogOzNatives2017-08-29 15.03.19Birds, especially honeyeaters, and the larvae of Lepidoptera love their nectar-filled flowers, which are basically a long calyx split into four lobes. They are such attractive flowers! Below are photos of a Rainbow Lorikeet, an Eastern Spinebill, a Helmeted Friar Bird and a Bar-breasted Honeyeater all enjoying Grevillea feasts!

Cold and frost tolerance varies between species. They do best in well-drained soil in full sun. They interbreed freely, making extensive hybridization possible and resulting in a huge number of cultivars.BlogOzNatives25%IMG_0947 Many cultivars can be seen at Grevillea Park, Bulli, NSW, just north of Wollongong, but opening times are limited. See: http://www.grevilleapark.org/ and http://www.grevilleapark.org/GrevilleaCultivars.html.BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2239BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2237 The Australian Botanic Garden at Mt Annan, just south of Sydney (https://www.australianbotanicgarden.com.au/) is also an excellent place to see Grevilleas, as well as a huge range of banksias and other Australian natives, and is open every day of the year. BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2286BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2242We grow three types of grevilleas in our garden. The photo below shows a hedge of Fireworks on the left and Lady O on the right.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-20Grevillea robusta, the Silky Oak tree, is the largest Grevillea species at 35 m tall. BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-24This fast-growing ornamental evergreen tree, which grows on the East Coast of Australia, has ferny green leaves and orange-gold bottlebrush-like honey-laden blooms.BlogOzNatives2017-06-05 15.00.42Lady O, a cross between a G. victoriae hybrid and G. rhyolitica, is a hardy medium evergreen shrub, 1 to 1.5 m tall and 2 to 2.5m wide, which flowers most of the year with 5 cm long terminal clusters of spidery red blooms, rich in nectar and a magnet for honeyeaters like the Eastern Spinebill. It requires minimal care and is cold- and frost-tolerant.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.51.07BlogOzNatives2016-09-14 11.36.09Fireworks is a slightly smaller, more compact shrub, 1 to 1.2 m tall and wide, with blue-green foliage and attractive red and yellow flowers from Autumn, through Winter and Spring. It was bred by introducing the pollen of G. alpina to flowers of Grevillea ‘Pink Pixie’.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0192Other grevillea cultivars, which I would dearly to grow include:

Honey Gem’ (http://anpsa.org.au/g-honey1.html);

‘Peaches and Cream’ (https://www.gardenia.net/plant/Grevillea-Peaches-and-Cream);

and  ‘Pink Surprise’ (https://www.grevilleas.com.au/grev31.html).

Waratahs

Another very well-known Australian symbol used in decorative art and architecture, with T. speciosissum being the State flower of NSW, and not to be confused with the name of a prominent New South Wales rugby team, Waratahs belong to the genus Telopea and the Proteaceae family.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Telopea comes from the Greek word meaning ‘seen from afar’, referring to the bright red dramatic flower heads, which can be seen from a distance. They are so spectacular and always exciting to see in the wild!BlogOzNatives50%Image (7) - CopyBlogOzNatives50%Image (8) - CopyTelopea are large shrubs and small trees, endemic to South-East Australia, with 5 species:

T. aspera, the Gibraltar Range or New England Waratah, which we saw in the wild on a Spring camping trip. See photos above;

T. speciosissima, the New South Wales Waratah, the species name deriving from the superlative form of the Greek ‘speciosus’, meaning ‘beautiful’ or ‘handsome’. See next three photos below;

T. oreades, Gippsland or Victorian Waratah;

T. truncata, Tasmanian Waratah; and

T. mongaensis, Braidwood or Mongo Waratah.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll are long-lived woody perennials up to 4 metres in height, with dark green alternate leathery coarsely-toothed leaves and small red nectar-rich flowers, densely packed into rounded compact heads, surrounded by crimson bracts, though there are white and yellow cultivars.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0078 (2) They bloom from September to October, are pollinated by nectar-loving birds and butterflies and produce woody seedpods, packed with winged seeds in Autumn.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0074 (2)Good drainage and aeration is essential. All five species readily hybridize in cultivation.BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2573BlogOzNatives20%DSCN2095We have recently planted Shady Lady, a crimson hybrid of T. speciosissima and T. oreades. A hardy vigorous dense shrub 3m tall and 1.5 m wide, it has grey-green foliage and spectacular large red flat flowerheads from late Winter to Spring.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-48 It likes well-drained acidic soil in sun or part shade, with protection from the afternoon sun, so should do well in front of the large pine trees, as well as dramatically contrasting with their dark green foliage.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-21 It has moderate frost tolerance once established,  though we may have to protect it from the frost while still young. It makes a great bird attracting screen plant and is an excellent cut flower. I am very excited to see the opening of its first flower!BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-22Correas

Named after Portuguese botanist, Jose Correia de Serra (1751-1823), Correas belong to the family Rutaceae (along with citrus fruit), with 11 species and 26 subspecies, all endemic to Australia, and hundreds of cultivars.BlogOzNatives20%IMG_0191 There is huge variability in size (from ground covers to large shrubs) and colour (from white to deep burgundy), the nectar-rich flowers falling into two types:

Bell eg White Correa, C. alba, and cultivar Dusky Bells; andblogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-09-41Fuchsia eg Chefs Hat Correa C. baeuerlenii and Native Fuchsia C. reflexa (red and green).Blog Summer dreamg20%ReszdIMG_9021BlogOzNatives2017-08-29 16.54.20Perfect for the temperate garden, they provide lots of nectar in the cooler months for nectar-loving pollinating birds and are frost hardy, pest free, low maintenance and tough, their wide shallow root system allowing them to survive under trees, including gums, as well as drought. The hybrids are more compact and heavy flowering than the wild species.

Maria Hitchcock holds the National Living Collection of Correas. See: https://www.gardenclinic.com.au/how-to-grow-article/star-of-the-season-correa and https://correacollection.weebly.com/.

I love their dainty bells and am growing a cultivar called Dusky Bells, which is thought to be a cross between C. reflexa and C. pulchella.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-17 This attractive evergreen shrub is 1m high and 2 to 4m wide and has pale carmine pink 2.5 cm long bell-shaped flowers from March to September (Autumn to Winter), though it still flowers sporadically at other times of the year.BlogOzNatives7016-01-01 01.00.00-17 (2) It likes moist well-drained soil and prefers shade to full sun and is drought and frost tolerant, so should thrive in our garden. We have planted our correa to the left of the grevillea hedge in the photo below.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-26Westringia

Named after Swedish lichen authority and royal physician, Johan Peter Westring(1753-1833), Westringias belong to the Lamiaceae (Mint) family, has 31 species and is endemic to Australia, growing in all states except for the Northern Territory.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-5An identification key to the different species can be found online at: http://plantnet.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/NSWfl.pl?page=nswfl&lvl=gn&name=Westringia.

Tough and hardy, this dense fast-growing shrub has grey-green foliage and mauve, blue-lilac or white flowers throughout the year.BlogOzNatives2518-05-16 16.04.15 Like other members of the Mint Family (eg Salvias), the upper petal of the flower is divided into two lobes. The upper two stamens are fertile, while the lower two stamens have been reduced to staminoides. Bees and butterflies love them!BlogOzNatives2016-06-14 17.36.29They are low maintenance, have very low water requirements and tolerant of drought, cold, frost and coastal conditions (salt-laden winds, sun and dry sandy soils).BlogOzNatives2017-08-29 16.26.09 They are also used for a wide variety of purposes in the garden from ground covers to formal hedges and screens, box garden edgings and ornamental shrubs.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-3Coastal or Native Rosemary, W. fruticosa is one of the most common forms, grows wild on the New South Wales coast and is used in many cultivars, including Westringea fruticosa ‘Wynyabbie Gem’, which we grow in our garden.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-24 10.44.41Hailing from Wynyabbie Nursery, Jindalee, Queensland, it is a hybrid between W. fruticosa and the mauve form of W. eremicola, the Slender Western Rosemary.BlogOzNatives2016-01-01 01.00.00-6A very hardy compact shrub, 1.5 to 2 m high and wide, it bears lilac flowers for most of the year, though it is most prolific in Spring. It can be grown in full sun or part shade and is tolerant of most soils and conditions, though it grows best in well-drained soil in a sunny open position.  I love using the dainty blooms in floral arrangements.BlogTinyTreasures20%Reszd2016-07-06 17.33.14I would dearly love to grow more natives over time- boronias, eriostemons and croweas for their beautiful flowers, hakeas for their interesting woody pods and tree ferns for their beautiful fronds!BlogOzNatives2015-12-14 18.12.50 I still yearn to grow New South Wales Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum), which bloomed briefly for one season, as seen in the photo above, and Native Frangipanis (Hymenosporum flavum), but having already lost two specimens of each, I will wait and see whether I have any success with my third Wheel of Fire!!BlogOzNatives2017-01-17 14.49.47 The photo above shows the position of my second Native Frangipani in the corner of the Tea Garden, where it was growing so well until killed by frost last Winter. BlogOzNatives50%Image (12) - CopyIt bears beautiful golden scented blooms (photo above) and attractive seedpods (photo below) from our tree at Dorrigo, New South Wales. I have seen tall specimens down on the river at Geelong, Victoria, so am very tempted to try a mature specimen in the future!BlogOzNatives70%Image (11) - CopyNext week, it’s back to the fireside with the next three posts featuring some of my favourite knitting and crochet books!BlogOzNatives25%IMG_5652

Oldhouseintheshires

 

Calligraphy Books

As many of you know from my post on history books, in which I discuss the historical development of languages (https://candeloblooms.com/2017/09/26/history-books-part-three-history/),  I have always been interested in this subject, especially the way in which we use symbols to codify oral expression with a wide variety of writing systems throughout time and place from ancient pictograms, Egyptian hieroglyphics and Sumerian cuneiform (wedge-shaped) writing to modern writing systems, based on word writing (Chinese characters), syllable writing (Japanese syllabaries) and alphabetic writing (based on phonemes or sound units). However, it is the practical application and art of writing or calligraphy, which is the subject of this post.

Calligraphy, sometimes known as the art of penmanship, derives from the Greek καλλιγραφία , ‘kalli’ and ‘graphia’, meaning ‘beautiful writing’ and refers to the design and aesthetic execution of lettering with a broad tip pen, brush or other writing tool eg quill or qalam (a reed pen used in Islamic calligraphy).

In fact, it is considered one of the highest art forms in the Islamic world, particularly during the Ottoman Era (1299-1922). Calligraphy was also the visual art form prized above all others in traditional China, especially during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). See: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/chcl/hd_chcl.htm and http://www.art-virtue.com/history/tang/tang.htm. I recently bought a lovely Chinese calligraphy set, complete with two brushes, an ink stick, grinding stone, seal and sealing wax, seen in the next two photos.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.56.28The heyday of calligraphy in the Western world was during the Medieval Period, when scribes in monasteries copied the bible and other sacred texts by hand, producing beautiful illuminated texts like the Celtic Lindisfarne Gospels ((715–720 AD) and the Book of Kells (800 AD).

With the development of the Gutenberg Printing Press in 1454, and its subsequent popularity, the production of illuminated manuscripts declined, but fortunately, the art of calligraphy was revived by William Morris, Sydney Cockerell and William Lethaby  during the Arts and Crafts Period at the end of the nineteenth century, with an English calligrapher, Edward Johnston (1872-1944), being credited as the father of modern calligraphy, along with German calligrapher, Rudolf Koch (1876-1934).BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.56.51I discovered calligraphy in the early 1980s before children came along and I still had unlimited personal time! I did courses with The Pen Shoppe in Brisbane, which has since expanded to include a second shop in Brisbane, as well as shops in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and a huge online store. The shop in the Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, also has a Vintage Pen Museum. For more about The Pen Shoppe, see : http://www.pensdeluxe.ashop.com.au/g/26656/about-us.html. It still offers calligraphy supplies (http://www.pensdeluxe.ashop.com.au/c/233763/1/calligraphy-.html) and courses (for dates, see: https://www.facebook.com/penmanshipworkshop/ and http://www.themodelshoppe.com.au/files/workshops-oct17-mar18.pdf ). Here are photos of my old practice pad and a very basic sample Christmas card from the 80s!

I loved the meditative aspects and beauty of this slow and aesthetic art form, but unfortunately, with the increasing pace of life and lack of free time and the development of computers with their digitised typefaces and desktop publishing software applications like AdobeInDesign, hand executed calligraphy is very much a specialised pursuit now, but I believe it is still very valid. There are certainly some beautiful sets these days!BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.55.43BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.54.32Given that my last post on my craft library concerned books on papercraft, I thought a good bridging book to this post would be my first book:

The Handcrafted Letter: Get Inspired, Find Your Voice and Create Unique Projects to Keep in Touch by Diane Maurer-Mathison  2001

Given that most modern communication is via email or text, it is often forgotten that ‘snail mail’ was the major form of communication for many years, especially over long distances before the age of the telephone or internet. In fact, it is quite a rarity these days to receive a hand-written letter or card, elevating its receipt to a very special event, so it is even more important to spend time on the selection of papers and cards and the presentation of the message.

In her book, Diane quotes Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), who described the arrival of a letter as being’ like the bright beams of the moon on the desolate heath’ (in a letter to his daughter Mary Jefferson on  7 Feb 1799 , sourced from the Domestic Life of Jefferson, as can be seen in: http://archive.org/stream/domesticlifeofth010719mbp/domesticlifeofth010719mbp_djvu.txt), a beautiful description, which is just as apt today for such an increasingly rare event!BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.58.28 I totally identify with Diane’s assertion that a handwritten letter is far more personal, special and intimate than an email or typed letter and reflects our personality, as well as being a valuable record for future generations. We really value old family letters from the 1850s, when Ross’s great grandfather John, as well as John’s brother Thomas and cousin Edmund emigrated to Australia from England, and correspondence during the First World War between those family members left at home and the boys who fought at Gallipoli and the Western Front. The last letter from Ross’s 25 year old uncle, Alf, who died at Pozières, France, on or about the 5th August 1916, was particularly poignant! However, I digress…!!BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 16.51.43In her book, Diane covers a variety of topics from simple italic handwriting and letter-writing tips to the materials themselves: Pens and writing implements; decorative stationary and artful envelopes, as well as a number of different decorative techniques including card making; handmade paper; pressed flower paper; puzzle letters; embossing; decorative borders; quilling; spatter painting; leaf printing; collages; stencilling; rubber stamping; Suminagashi marbling; and making paste paper. It’s certainly a very inspiring book with some wonderful ideas for creating beautiful letters!BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.48.17Now to the other sort of ‘letter’ with two interesting books on the development of the alphabet:

Alphabet: The History, Evolution and Design of the Letters We Use Today by Allan Haley 1995

This fascinating book tells the story of the Latin alphabet from the monumental capitals, inscribed on ancient Roman monuments, to the history of our lower case alphabet, numbers and punctuation marks.  In the beginning of the book, there is a System of Classification for Typefaces, based on nine basic groups: Old Style; Transitional; Modern;  Clarendon; Slab Serif; Glyphic; Sans Serif; Scripts; and Graphic, with descriptions of each type and examples of sub-types within each category. There is also a list of Typographic Terminology to enable understanding of the main text of the book.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 15.49.24After a discussion of the history of Capital Letters, each letter of the alphabet is described in detail, its evolution, as well as notes on its structure, design and practical presentation. Did you know that: the Capital Letter A is thought to have been derived from the Phoenecian alef, the symbol for the head of an ox, one of their most important working animals and main source of power, and that its width should be three-quarters its height, while our second Capital Letter B evolves from the ancient Egyptian hieroglyph signifying shelter, the second most important ingredient for human survival, as well as correlating with the second letter of the Phoenecian alphabet beth, meaning house, as in Bethel (House of God) and Bethlehem (House of Bread).BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 15.49.19The history of the lower case letters is equally fascinating from the development of three different hands by scribes for graphic communication (Square Capitals; Rustic Capitals and Roman Cursive)  to the rounded Uncial letters found in bible transcriptions and fine calligraphy from the fourth to the ninth century and Half-Uncials, an easier, more condensed and readable style for secular documents.

National Hands developed, specific to each geographical region, the Irish Hand being one of the most beautiful, as seen in the Book of Kells of 800 AD. Charlemagne further reformed writing styles in the late eighth century with the Caroline Miniscules, eliminating cursive forms and all ligatures and adapting easily to Gutenberg’s Movable Type in the mid-fourteenth century.

Again, the origin and formation of each lower case letter is described in detail. I was particularly interested in the ‘r’ and ‘s’, as I have learnt both letters in their two different forms (Cursive and Common Core) in the past and still mix them up within the same text! For younger readers, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EzdAFw2aWc and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tdmbYz0O7o.

The design development of Ampersands, Arabic Numerals from 0 to 9 and Punctuation Marks, including periods, commas, colons, semi-colons, quotation marks and exclamation and question marks, are also discussed in this informative source book for typographers and calligraphers.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.06Alphabetical: How Every Letter Tells a Story by Michael Rosen 2013

This highly entertaining and readable paperback also explores the history of the alphabet in a series of anecdotes covering different alphabet-related topics. Each of the 26 chapters starts with a short story about the evolution of the particular letter, its pronunciation and its use. For example, A is for Alphabet ; C is for Ciphers; D is for Disappeared Letters; J is for Jokes; M is for Music and Memory; N is for Nonsense; P is for Pitman; Q is for Qwerty; and Z is for Zip Codes. I hope these examples whet your appetite to read this very enjoyable book.

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In the back is a series of twenty challenges named The Oulipo Olympics, including Pangrams (a sentence using all letters of the alphabet eg ‘The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog’); Isopangrams ( a sentence 26 letters long using all the letters of the alphabet); Palindromes (words spelt the same forwards and backwards eg Mama or a more complex phrase: ‘A man, a plan, a canal – Panama’); Acrostics ( a poem using the alphabet letters as the initial letters of the lines of the poem) ; Word Ladders (transforming one word into another by changing one letter at a time eg Head to Tail: Head, Heal, Teal, Tell, Tall and Tail); and Homoconsonantism (a text with all vowels removed, then replace with other vowels, which still makes sense!)

For a theoretical guide to the alphabet, this is a really fun book! Now for some practical books about calligraphy in order of their publication!

The Art of Calligraphy: A Practical Guide by Marie Angel 1977

Marie Angel (1923-2010) was a British freelance illustrator, miniaturist  and calligrapher, who wrote and illustrated 25 books and was responsible for reviving interest in calligraphy in the 1980s. Some of her beautiful images can be seen on: https://www.pinterest.com.au/patsy01942/calligraphy-by-marie-angel/.

She focused on animals, lettering, and the spiritual, and her work demonstrated the very highest level of attention to detail, exquisite skill and the use of beautiful colours. If ever anyone could inspire you to take up calligraphy, she could! This photo shows some of the tools, with which I started: Pencils, brushes, fountain pens and holders with interchangeable nibs. BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 11.54.58This  guide starts with chapters on Tools and Materials (Drawing Boards; Writing Pads; Blotting Paper; Paper and Vellum; Guards; Rulers; Pencils; Metal Nibs; Fountain Pens; Inks; Watercolors; Poster Paints; Gouache; Compasses; Erasers and Pumice Powder) and Working Positions, followed by a discussion of Roman and Formal Italic Alphabets, before honing in on :

Planning a Book of One Section;

Practical Use of Calligraphy (posters; rolls of honour; certificates; greeting cards; invitations; bookplates; monograms; record books; catalogs; and decorative maps and travel journals);

The Layout and Decoration of Manuscript Books; and

The Binding of a Single-Section Manuscript Book.

Her final chapter discusses suggestions for more Advanced Studies: More complicated hands; Making versals (compound letters); cutting quills; and raised gilding, of which she was such a master!

In the back of the book are Appendices of Calligraphic Societies; Workshops and Classes; Suppliers of Calligraphic Materials and a Bibliography.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.18Using Calligraphy: A Workbook of Alphabets, Projects and Techniques by Margaret Shepherd 1979

I loved the presentation and style of this practical workbook, handwritten totally in Italic lettering. The first chapter focuses on the Five Ps: Pens, Pigments, Paper, Proficiency (the fifth one being Practice, implied but not included in the chapter title! It discusses quill pens; felt pens, Mitchell pens and fountain pens with interchangeable metal nibs of different sizes and shapes; inks (India Ink; coloured inks and water-based dyes); vellum; calligraphy papers; goldleaf; liquid paper and erasers; pencils; calligraphy books and societies; and basic calligraphy practices and workmanship.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 12.01.13The next section of the workbook, New Alphabets From Old,  reviews five basic scripts: Roman, Celtic, Gothic, Italic and Bookhand. It includes short lessons and master-sheets (guideline sheets) to copy for practising and attaining a firm grasp of these scripts, as well as easy experimental exercises for 50 alphabet variations.

The third section of the book explains seven different practical  projects: a Framed Favourite Quote; Artwork for an Announcement (Publicity); Designing a Logo, Letterhead and Cards; Two Designs for a Family Tree; Party Invitations and Seating; Diplomas, Awards and Scrolls; and Making a Large Poster or Standup Sign. 

The final chapter looks at Going into Business as a Calligrapher: Calligraphy Services/ Teaching/ Craft Fairs; Advertising and Promotion; and Pricing and Accounting.

It is a very useful book for both beginners and more experienced calligraphers.BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.49.27

Painting for Calligraphers by Marie Angel 1984

Another beautiful and inspiring book by Marie Angel, I bought this book in a little old corner bookshop in Rye-on-Winchelsea on my first overseas trip. I adore this book and would recommend it highly to anyone interested in calligraphy. Marie wrote this book after The Art of Calligraphy in response to an increasing number of requests for more detailed information on her method of painting miniatures, so she assumes a basic knowledge of calligraphy and focuses more on the illustration side. It is a truly beautiful book!

The first few chapters concentrate on:

Materials: Drawing Boards; Pencils; Erasers; Knives; Pens; Paint Colours (Tubes; Powders; Cakes and Gouache); Coloured Inks; Brushes; Shell Gold; Vellum; Paper; Stretching vellum and paper; Tracing Paper; Binding Media and Sundry Supplies (Palettes; Rags; Sponges; Tissues; Blotting Paper; Tape; Rulers; Compass; Dividers; Set Squares and T-Squares);

Colour: Colour Theory and Technical Terms (Hue, Tint, Tone and Brilliance; Warm and Cold Colours; Primary/Secondary/Tertiary Colours; Complementary Colours; and Induced, Local and Reflected Colours);

Pigments: Colour Permanence and Colour Testing for Fastness to Light; Selecting and Mixing Watercolours; Gouache Pigments; and Powder Colours.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 12.00.36The following section focuses on the Design Process: Page Design; Space; Margins; Capitals; Composition; Focal Points; Tones; Broadsheets and Broadsides; and Composition Methods, as well as Illustration Techniques: Drawing; Preparation; Watercolours; Line-and-Wash Drawings; Using Gouache, Dry Ground Pigments, Acrylics and Shell Gold; Decorated Initial Letters; and Painting Heraldry.

Throughout the text are beautiful examples of calligraphy by herself, as well as Celtic, Medieval, Islamic and contemporary calligraphers. In the back are technical notes by contemporary scribes. While this book was written pre-internet, I have included websites where appropriate. They include:

Irene Base: https://vads.ac.uk/learning/learndex.php?theme_id=cscu1&theme_record_id=cscu1well&mtri=cscu1calig;

Ida Henstock;

Dorothy Mahoney;

Sheila Waters: https://designtraveler.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/sheila-waters-a-link-to-calligraphic-foundations/;  https://www.calligraphersguild.org/SheilaWaters.html; http://www.thepensivepen.com/2014/12/foundations-of-calligraphy-sheila-waters.html and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0YM_EhfUCs. I adore her Roundel of the Seasons!;

Joan Pilsbury: https://vads.ac.uk/learning/learndex.php?theme_id=cscu1&theme_record_id=cscu1pilsbury&mtri=cscu1calig and https://sounds.bl.uk/Oral-history/Crafts/021M-C0960X0121XX-0001V0;

Wendy Westover : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/10742720/Wendy-Westover-obituary.html and https://www.smh.com.au/national/a-champion-of-calligraphy-and-illumination-20140411-zqthv.html;

Thomas Ingmire  http://www.thomasingmire.com/;

John Prestianni; and John Woodcock, as well as a list of suppliers of artists’ materials.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.37Sixty Alphabets: Selected and Introduced by Gunnlaugur SE Briem 1986

Another book, which introduces the work of sixty talented calligraphers. Each artist was invited to contribute one of their designs, along with an introduction to themselves, their artistic journey and their work. This book displays the huge diversity of styles and media used within this art form and serves as an inspiration to future calligraphers.BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.52.42

Calligraphy: A Handbook for Beginners by Beverley Amos 1989

This is a great book for beginners, teaching new calligraphers to use edged pens to produce letter forms in the basic styles of Roman, Foundational, Uncial, Italic and Rounded Gothic alphabets!

It begins with a discussion of Materials, common to the other books, but also specifying essential nibs, pens and inks. Also included in Part One are notes on Setting Up; Getting Started; Left-Handed Calligraphy; Handy Hints; Nomenclature; Ruling Guide Lines; and Pen Widths.

Part Two discusses Letterforms, the different lettering styles in detail: their history and evolution; letter proportions and spacings; and practice strokes and examples.

Part Three examines Design Features: Choosing the Right Style; Layout Tips; Decorative Layout; Common Errors; Texture; Backgrounds; Special Pens and Effects; Decorative Motifs, Borders and Flourishes; Decorated Letters; and Using Colour (Inks, Watercolours, Poster Colours, Designer’s Gouache, Stick Ink and Felt Pens).

The final section looks at practical applications in Part Four: Calligraphy For Every Occasion and  discusses layouts and guidelines for Posters; Letters and Envelopes; Greeting Cards; Certificates and Place Cards; Retail Tickets; Labels; Bookplates; Monograms and Ciphers; Logos and Letterheads; and Gift Ideas.BlogCalligraphyBooks3018-03-10 10.49.44

Calligraphy Stroke by Stroke: A New Illustrated Guide to Calligraphy Techniques With Eleven Calligraphic Alphabets by Annie Moring 1995

My final book on calligraphy, this is another excellent and comprehensive guide for beginners with Introductory Notes on Tools and Materials; Writing Position; Ruling; Stroke Order; Pen Strokes; Geometric Forms; Slope; and Serifs (the starting and finishing strokes of letters); followed by  11 of the most commonly used Alphabets in their upper and lower case forms. They include: Foundational Hand (Lowercase and Capitals); Italic Script (Miniscule and Capitals); Roman Capitals; Uncial Letters (Modern and Half Uncial); Gothic Script (Lowercase and Capitals); Italic Cursive; and the elegant Versal Letters, used in the early illuminated manuscripts of the ninth and tenth centuries.BlogCalligraphyBooks2518-03-10 12.04.22Each alphabet has an Essential Information Panel covering elements like letter height, pen angles, geometric form; slope and serif forms; Photographic step-by-step sequences showing the formation of each letter, including directional arrows and angles, as well as alternative letterforms, punctuation and numerals;  a Troubleshooting Section analysing common mistakes and a Gallery of inspirational professional work. Rulers, compasses and set squares, as well as erasers and sharpeners are very useful tools for calligraphers.

The final section of the book looks at Presentation: Letter, Word and Line Spacing; Margins; and Types of Layout. I would highly recommend this book as well.BlogCalligraphyBooks4018-03-10 10.49.50For more books about calligraphy, see: http://www.holoweb.net/liam/pictures/calligraphy/resources/books.html;

It is also worth exploring the following sites:

Modern Calligraphy Collection of The National Art Library at the Victoria and Albert Museum. See : http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/n/nal-modern-calligraphy/;

The Edward Johnston Foundation, a research centre for calligraphy and the lettering arts: http://www.ejf.org.uk/ejfcollectiona.html;

The Society of Scribes and Illuminators: https://calligraphyonline.org/about/, which holds annual exhibitions; courses and workshops, including correspondence course, study days and masterclasses; a list of suppliers; and an excellent Links section: https://calligraphyonline.org/links/ to further sites;

The Calligraphy and Lettering Arts Society, the largest Western calligraphy and lettering society in the world, which is based in the United Kingdom and holds regional meetings and a six-day Festival of Calligraphy over the Summer: http://www.clas.co.uk/ and http://www.clas.co.uk/pdf/CLAS%20brochure%202018%20Final.pdf;

International Association of Master Penmen, Engrossers and Teachers of Handwriting (IAMPETH), the oldest and largest penmanship organization in the United States:  https://www.iampeth.com/home;

The Craft Study Centre at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, Surrey, UK: http://www.csc.uca.ac.uk/calligraphy-and-lettering/;

The Pen Museum, Birmingham: https://penmuseum.org.uk/;

The Richard Harrison Collection of Calligraphy and Lettering at the Book Arts & Special Collections Center of the San Francisco Public Library: https://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=2000013701 and

The Calligraphy section of the Online Resource for Visual Arts: https://vads.ac.uk/learning/learndex.php?theme_id=cscu1&theme_record_id=cscu1calig&mtri=cscu1calig;

The Calligraphy Bookshop: http://www.calligraphity.com/;

John Neal Booksellers: http://www.johnnealbooks.com/prod_detail_list/calligraphy-illumination and http://www.jnbooksellerblog.com/;

Scribblers Calligraphyhttps://www.scribblers.co.uk/;

The Letter Exchange: http://www.letterexchange.org/;

Quill London: https://quilllondon.com/# and https://quilllondon.com/blogs/modern-calligraphy-blog#;

Art at Clevancy, Wiltshire: http://www.artatclevancy.co.uk/; and here in Australia,

The Australian Society of Calligraphers: http://www.asoc.org.au/ and Calligraphy Supplies Australia: https://www.calligraphysuppliesaustralia.com/. They even have a blog: https://www.calligraphysuppliesaustralia.com/blogs/news, which lists owner Kerry’s top ten Calligraphy and Lettering Instagram accounts.

There are also a huge number of calligraphy blogs online. See: http://www.webdesignschoolsguide.com/library/40-fantastic-calligraphy-blogs.html; https://blog.feedspot.com/calligraphy_blogs/ and https://thepostmansknock.com/beginners-guide-modern-calligraphy/, as well as Youtube tutorials like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3phzKsXpko8 and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8aXoFJ1I9A; and online courses like those listed at: https://www.skillshare.com/browse/calligraphy and https://learningcloud.com.au/courses/1295/calligraphy.

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