WWW: Real Body Models; a Visit to the Wool Scourer’s; Helpful Knitting Cats

From the University of Southampton Knitting Reference Library.

University of Southampton Knitting Reference Library: I’ve written about this amazing collection of vintage knitting books before, but it never fails to bring joy, education, and amusement. It’s worth a scroll, just to admire the beautiful cover artwork of the older knitting books. (Some of the more recent books covers are great, too, but in a totally different way – 1970s and 1980s hairstyles never fail to amuse.)


We’ve seen some of these before, but I enjoyed Mental Floss magazine’s roundup of 10 impressive yarnbombing projects.


image copyright Rachel Atkinson

I was excited to read about the launch of Rachel Atkinson’s Daughter of a Shepherd, a new yarn company out of the UK using fleeces from her father’s flock of Hebridean sheep. I particularly enjoyed the gorgeous photos on this blog post  about one of the key steps in turning fleeces into handknitting yarn: ‘At the Scourer’s‘. More on the project here.


A real person, with real proportions and measurements. Image from the Tracing Real Body Models website.

Fantastic: The ‘Tracing Real Body Models‘ project. Clothing designers often use pre-made illustrations of bodies, known as ‘croquis‘, as the basis for the design sketches. The problem is that these croquis are typically built to fashion model body standards: unrealistically tall and thin. This project aims to produce croquis based on actual people, with actual measurements, taken from photographs.


Also happy-making: #helpfulknittingcats on Instagram.

Kicked off by Ann Shayne, this is all about showing the world how much our cats enjoy participating in our craft. My old cat Nathan used to enjoy batting at the ends of my needles – it’s because of him I gave up working on straights and switched to circulars.


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3 thoughts on “WWW: Real Body Models; a Visit to the Wool Scourer’s; Helpful Knitting Cats

  1. citricsugar

    Hi, love your blog but have to make a comment. I am not a fashion model, nor do I think that the vast majority of women have similar builds and shapes of the average fashion model, but my shape also doesn’t resemble what people lately have been calling ‘real’. I’m long in the body, short-legged, slender but with curves. It’s unique as all women are, but by labeling a shape that resembles the average woman as ‘real’ doesn’t change the mindset issue we have; it only shifts our concept of valuing one over the other to a different ‘norm’. You’ve now said that those who fall outside this new average aren’t ‘real’. People who are naturally thin or have troubles keeping weight on are disordered and wrong and potentially saying that they’re less valuable. This is not to say that some thin women do not have mental and emotional health issues – that’s true for many women across the body shape spectrum. Regardless of what you think of their bodies, fashion models are people, just as much as an average woman, or a woman who is much curvier than either. We need to show a variety of shapes and not vilify or idealize any one type as ‘normal’ or ‘real’, celebrate all shapes and watch what kind of language we use. I’ve heard nasty things said about a young woman who was quite thin for NO OTHER REASON than she was thin. She wasn’t a ‘real woman’, was a ‘skinny bitch’ and ‘too uptight to enjoy food’. None of those were true. The same women who said these things also complained a few days later about being called ‘lazy’ and ‘fat cows’, and being judged by someone who only saw their shape. We need to change the way we think and act and stop using terms like ‘real’ to define us.

    Keep up your wonderful work!

  2. Elizabeth Miller

    Criticsugar is quite right. If a person is slender she may be naturally that way or an athlete or even a (gasp) model or conscious of her health. Let’s not call slender abnormal.

  3. MaryB2

    I enjoy your blog in general but your information about the Real Body Models really excites me. I am 5′ 7″ and have a plus-sized figure. My oldest sister is scrawny (her description) with a 25″ waist. Our mutual problem is finding pants long enough in the stride and we both prefer waistbands at the waist. I plan to send in my measurements and if I can, will get my scrawny sister to do so, too.

    Thanks for sharing

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