Last night I took part in the Yan Tan Tethera event at the English Folk Song and Dance Society in Cecil Sharp House. It’s an exhibition exploring the connections between textiles and song. Read more here.
I was a part of the Prick Your Finger section of the event. We were creating a knitted mandala featuring charms based on traditional English folk songs. People came and knitted and crocheted chickens, flowers, ducks, sheep, windows, doors and tiny socks whilst two choirs sang folk songs related to textiles. There were also knot dances where people created knots by dancing with colourful ribbons on bobbins, similar to a maypole dance.
I loved listening to the song Tarry Wool as it has a lot of lyrics about carding wool. I’ve been doing a lot of carding recently and have fallen in love with the process of combing and combining different fibres.
The folk mandala was the work of Rachael Matthews (who runs Prick Your Finger). I did a lot of the knitting to create the background. That big circle of green took a little while…! We made a booklet to go alongside the project which contains patterns for the charms and words to the songs. It’s called Yan Tan Tethera’s guide to knitted meditation through folk song and it’s a beautiful object by itself. I was very excited to contribute patterns for tiny socks and naughty sheep.
The exhibition will be at Cecil Sharp House until September 25th 2014. So you can go and investigate all the different works. There’s also pieces by Freddie Robins, Stewart Easton and the Mcgrath Maker’s Group.
Also, in case you were wondering, Yan Tan Tethera is an ancient method for counting sheep and also stitches in knitting. Here’s the wikipedia page if you want to learn all the numbers. 15 is bumfitt which I think is a great reason to start using it to count everything…!
Five years ago today I opened an Etsy shop selling little earrings made from tiny balls of wool & mini knitting needles, two weeks later I sold my first pair. I couldn’t imagine then that it would be a full time job and I can hardly believe it now…! Slowly but surely I’ve expanded my jewellery range and started designing knitting patterns and I couldn’t have done it without the support of all of you.
To celebrate I have lots of lovely surprises!
I’ve designed these mini balloons so I could have a little party with my octopus and axolotl.
You can download the pattern for free here and make your own celebratory bunch!
They’re just 5cm (2″) tall.
Perfect for a mini gift!
My little knitting and crochet brooches are just £5 (usually £6.50) until the 30th April 2014.
These were one of my first products back in 2009 and they’ve always been a popular way to show your love of crafting.
You can win any piece of jewellery or pattern of your choice from my shop. There’s lots of lovely crafty earrings, necklaces and brooches to choose from!
You can enter via twitter, instagram or facebook.
Tweet or instagram about the birthday using the hashtag #maxsworld5 and tag me @maxsworld
Facebook: Just like and share the birthday post on my facebook page.
I’ll gather up all the entries on the 30th April and choose a winner the following week. Then I’ll send the item of your choice anywhere in the world!
Thanks again for following my little world of wool over the last 5 years. I’m looking forward to much more yarn fun in the future!
I’ve recently become quite obsessed by axolotls. I find there cute faces and human like limbs totally enchanting! I found myself returning to the Google Image search for Axolotl’s over and over and as with most of my obsessions I had to make a knitted version.
If you’d like to knit one too the pattern is available to download from ravelry now for £3.50
MC Hayfield Baby Bonus 4ply, Cream 100% acrylic, 466m (115yards), 100g
CC1 Bergere de France Lurex, Libellule, 650m, 25g. Iridescent thread.
CC2 Texere Yarns Spring Mohair, Blossom 220m, 50g
Small amount of black embroidery thread.
The body of the axolotl is knitted holding the lurex thread and 4ply acrylic yarn together throughout to give it an underwater sheen.
2.25mm/US 1 Double Pointed Needles (DPNs)
2.75mm/US 2 Straight needles
1.75 mm/US 00 crochet hook for hooking threads through for gills (optional) Stuffing / Fibre Fill
Gauge: 15sts and 24rows per 5cm/2” square
I have recently become obsessed with the magical objects that are hexaflexagons. In fact they have been my main topic of conversation for the last month as anyone who’s seen me recently will have noticed… (sorry about that!). Hexaflexagons are traditionally made from strips of paper. They are flat hexagons folded in such a way that they have more faces than you would expect. If you haven’t seen one before then I recommend watching these videos, they’ll blow your mind!
One of my goals for 2013 is to write at least one knitting pattern a month, although I had thought they’d all be animals in the vein of my knitting octopus, I couldn’t resist kicking off with one for a hexaflexagon. As I was designing and making a small one to play with I came up with the idea for a cowl version. It seemed appropriate to have one to wear as they’re on my mind so much!
The pattern contains instructions for the mini hexaflexagon and the hexaflexacowl, you can see details over on ravelry or jump right in and buy it now for £3.50.
Here’s a video of the mini hexaflexagon in action. I keep mine on my desk and flex it while I’m thinking/daydreaming!
Knitted Hexaflexagon from Max Alexander on Vimeo.
I hope you enjoy experimenting with hexaflexagons as much as I have! I’m excited to see what you will come up with. For now I’ll be leaving them alone and working on new patterns for crazy creatures.
One last thing… HEXA FLEXA GIF!!!
The first completed version of my knitting octopus appeared on ravelry recently. It’s so exciting to see someone else make one and put their own spin on it. This ‘knitting’ octopus is much more technically advanced than my original and is using his many tentacles to be a computer whizz on a laptop! It was made by Sarah of Bury me with my needles. Have a look at her website, she knits some amazing work. She’s also made a pattern for the tiny laptop so you too can have a typing octopus.
After posting a picture of my knitted knitting octopus a few weeks ago I got a huge amount of requests for a pattern. It seems that lots of people want an octopus to get on and do their knitting for them! So I’m pleased to say that I’ve written up the pattern and it’s now available to download as a PDF. You can get it via Ravelry or right here. You can see all the materials and tools needed to make it below.
Knitting Octopus Pattern PDF – £3
This pattern contains all the instructions you will need to make your own knitting octopus. It has a lot of parts and I don’t recommend it for complete beginners. It uses knitting and crochet techniques.
Jamieson’s Shetland Spindrift, 2-ply 100% wool, 105m (115yards), 25g (0.88 oz) fingering weight.
These are the colours I used, you will only need a very small amount of each CC so
consider using a similar weight yarn if you don’t want to buy full balls of each colour.
Octopus: MC: Sand (1 ball),
Scarf: CC1: Aubretia, CC2: Nutmeg, CC3: Buttermilk
Hat: CC4: Black laceweight (any brand)
Eyes: CC6: Blue laceweight (any brand) CC7: White laceweight (any brand)
2.5mm/US 1.5 Double Pointed Needles (DPNs)
1.75 mm crochet hook for eyeballs
2 Cocktail Sticks
2 x 6mm Wooden beads with 2mm hole (or any beads that fit onto a cocktail stick)
PVA glue / Wood glue
Stuffing / Fibre Fill
Please note: This is the first pattern that I’ve published so please contact me if there’s anything that doesn’t make sense or if you spot any errors.