Hello and welcome to our second 'quickie' of the evening. Snigger.
When I am not cooking or writing or shaming myself in front of others, I also knit. My first job was as a Saturday Girl in our town's wool shop, where I was known as 'Squirrel'. I gained this nickname as I was the youngest member of staff by a good sixty years and was employed solely on my ability to jump from beam to beam in the attic stock-room which had no floor, only the ceiling beams of the floor below. Health and Safety? Pah, it made me the woman I am today, which isn't a ringing endorsement, I grant you.
I am not a great knitter and I have a worrying propensity towards hats (mainly to cover up my car-crash hair), but a mainstay of my love of knitting is my addiction to Rowan pattern books. For the most part, I will never be patient or talented enough to be able to create the woollen wonders that they parade on the pages of their glorious brochures, but I can dream.
Rowan’s pattern books appear every few months and I love them with a passion because their art department seems to reach into my dreams and recreate the gloriously Pre-Raphaelite images.
But with knitwear.
I give you exhibit ‘A’….
Well, someone likes Ophelia. It’s not just the very obvious ‘woman looking a bit mad, lying around outside’, but also the deep, lush colouring of the images. The grass is so Willy-Wonka green, I want to bite it.
It was definitely this edition of the sublime, twice-yearly Rowan magazine that made me realise the Pre-Raphaelitism in some of their images, especially their Autumn and Winter collections. The head and shoulders of the young, red-haired lass above is pure Rossetti.
I always find it surprising to look through this particular piece of knitting-porn as I always forget what the girl is wearing as I’m normally just looking at how stunning she is.
Veering towards the Holman Hunt in this one, but it is such a fabulous image. There is a feeling of opulence in their iconography, that you can’t help thinking of the Venetian fancies of Rossetti’s 1860s.
Rowan aren’t the only ones who obviously love a bit of Pre-Raph. Yarn and knitwear designer Louisa Harding had yarns named Rossetti and Millais, which has to be one of the strangest cross-overs I’ve heard of so far.
|Millais yarn - for those having difficulties consummating their marriage|
|Rossetti yarn - luxurious, but ultimately unreliable|
Is there nothing that Pre-Raphaelite art doesn't leak into? No, probably not, but then the unending occurrences of it in my life means that I may never run out of things to talk about.
I am so sorry.