Thursday, 23 October 2014

Free Pattern Friday - more Home Chat

I picked up a few more Home Chat mags recently, so thought I would share one of the patterns with you.

This one is from January 1935. It looks at first glance like a cardigan, but it is actually a jumper.

It's such a sweet magazine, with lots of tips and advertisements for products that don't exist anymore. And some articles that are still depressingly relevant today (weight loss products, for example). I will have to do a post on all these other things in the magazine soon, they're just too interesting to miss out.

You also get "A Pouffe Made in Crochet"!

Hope you like it.


Friday, 17 October 2014

Hats, hats and more hats

I quite like hats.

In fact, I bloody love them. Knitted, crocheted, felt, fabric, straw...

I thought I would give some of mine an outing.

These are some of the knitted ones.

And some of the crocheted ones.

Hats to match jumpers I've knitted, a favorite vintage dress, a knitted scarf, gloves, or my winter coat.
The vast majority are berets. That was no surprise to me, but the colours are. I thought I had more red, but there is a distinct lack of it. So many muted colours, some brights, and a lot of black crocheted hats. I've broken my no-black rule!

The first beret I designed was back in 2002 for Cast Off, the first guerilla knitting group to spring up in London, the brainchild of Rachael Matthews of Prick Your Finger. It was made in mohair, and I called it my Raspberry Beret as I had just launched an 80s club night with my then boyfriend called Prom Night. I went through a phase of knitting nothing but mohair berets in crazy colours - and I still wear them.

I can't find that ruby red one now, and you can just see the Raspberry Beret on the right, worn with another of my knitting (and crochet) obsessions - bows.

What is it about hats? Why don't we wear them every day now?

The Shellac Sisters always wear hats, usually supplied by the wonderful milliner Jane Fryers. The hat I'm wearing below also doubles as a weapon - I nearly took out a few eyes last time I wore it!

More Jane Fryers creations in velvet. (That's her on the far right).

It's part of the whole vintage package. You can't go full-on vintage without a hat. They finish an outfit, pull it all together.

A hat can do so much for you, it can reflect your mood. It cheers me up no end to put on a brightly coloured beret and a slick of red lipstick. Hats take me off into a fantasy world, along with 30s dance bands.

Put on a big slouchy beanie and you can hide from the world. Or pull a man's baseball cap down low and no one will recognise you. I've done that a few times. Essential for bad hair days. They can be immensely practical, but also utterly ridiculous.

Is that a beard?

In an aside, I've been meaning to get this pic up of Rosalind Russell in The Women, one of my all time favorite movies. Glamorous, and knitting. Role model? You bet!

Oh Carmen. She did kind of pull it off though. The bigger the personality, the bigger the hat.

I think that is the key. Confidence. Or just having no shame. You have to be the kind of person who thinks it's a great idea to knit a matching raspberry beret for your baby. (And a Pineapple Dance Studio style sweatshirt with matching legwarmers). Poor B.

Men and women wore hats every day until the 1960s, and some older people never stopped wearing them. My grandmother never went to mass without her hat on, and my grandfather was never seen out in public without his trilby. Most people only wear them in Winter now, just to keep warm. Sensible, but so dull. Especially if you look at the average Joe on the street. A dark coloured machine-made beanie. Yawn.

I'm so glad Autumn is here, so many more opportunities to wear hats. And inflict them on my child.

So, what is it about hats? Do you love them or loathe them?

Sunday, 12 October 2014

The Perfect Permanent

Ah, how I've missed my curls, and now I have them back!
It must be more than five years since my last one, I don't know how I've gone so long without one. Oh, yes I do - I've had children.

(Please excuse the phone pics, taken by me).

My dad is a ladies' hairdresser, so perms are nothing new to me - I've neutralised many in my time. He trained in the sixties, when sets were de rigeur, so perms were required to hold that set in all week. (Sometimes two)! His training actually included finger waving, and pin curling, not because those styles were popular then, but to loosen up the hands, and make the fingers more nimble. So I am doubly grateful to him, not only can he perm, but he can do awesome finger waves and pin curls.

The style above has not been waved, it is pretty much untouched since the perm the day before. I popped a few pin curls in the front, but the wave on top was there.

Below is pin curled, the ends slightly damp, which took about 10 minutes, then left in all day. When I took them out I just put my fingers through it and manipulated it into the shape I wanted.

I had my first perm aged 11. Sounds precocious, huh? I went off to the salon he was working in, in St. John's Wood High Street with a picture that I had chosen with mum, of a nice layered style, suitable for my long, fine, poker straight hair. When he sat me in the chair, I saw a glint in his eye, then he asked me with a little laugh - 'Shall we do a perm?'

I was about to start at secondary school - how cool would I look?

Poodle. Perm. But that was THE perm of the 80s, so I WAS cool. My mum freaked when we got home, but I loved it, even though the ends were all frizzy and about three shades lighter than the roots. After that first one, I had more. I blame Whitney Houston.

I actually really enjoyed the process this time. My life is so sad.

Here's my lovely dad.

Applying the lotion,

Hmm, the fumes from the perm lotion...

As you can see those perm curlers are the hardcore, old lady ones. We insiders don't use the phrase 'body wave', or use those bendy sponge curlers. But seriously, if you want a proper perm, one that you can set easily yourself, (relatively), one that won't drop out, you've got to ask for an 'old lady perm'. And if you have hair bob length or longer, the hairdresser has to apply the perm lotion to each section as it's being wound, as it won't penetrate to the ends of the hair once it has been wound, and you will end up with straight ends. I've had that before.

And the rinsing, don't get me started on the rinsing! At least ten minutes, especially for that length hair. And the neutraliser has to go on the ends too, after the curlers come out, and be left on a bit longer.

This is what it looks like straight after.

The waves are there, and so easy to manipulate when damp, you don't even need setting lotion.

I let it dry naturally. It does lighten the rest of your hair, especially if it is already coloured, but hey-ho.

Kind of frizzy, but good and curly.

And this is what can be created.

 Unfortunately, not by me.

This amazing set was the work of Claire Hair, who lives near me. She now has her own salon in Wood Street. Yay Claire!

This was all done with pin curls, placed at perfect angles. I've never been able to achieve this.

I'll leave you with another great set done by dad, for one of my dance nights out.

Very early 30s. Set with perm rollers and setting lotion, and waved with long metal section clips.

I think I've waffled on about perms for quite long enough, but getting the right one is very important - if you're vintage obsessed that is.

Friday, 10 October 2014

KNITWEAR Chanel to Westwood

I recently went along to the Fashion & Textile museum in London for an exhibition devoted to knitwear. KNITWEAR Chanel to Westwood. How could I not go?

As the title suggests, it spans a good century's worth of knitwear. It was wonderful to see the jersey suits by Chanel, but my faves were of course the hand knits of the 30s and 40s.

I couldn't take any pics in there, and there aren't very many on the website, but the main garments on display from those decades were predominantly fair isles. Well worth a visit just for that.

One piece that has really stayed with me though was a knitting bag, a sausage shape with multicoloured crochet circle sides. The main part was completely covered in embroidered lazy daisies in lots of bright cheery colours. Exquisite. That bag for me completely sums up the make do and mend ethos, something so beautiful made despite the tight restrictions on wool

In other news, I am busily working away on new designs for hats, which are my most favorite thing in the world to knit and crochet.

Here is a peak at just two.

The jumper that I'm wearing with this one is a firm favorite too, and will be appearing in it's own post soon.
 Excuse the lame selfie!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Free pattern Friday

It's been too long, I've missed two now, sorry.

Here are two to make up for it. The first is for a sleeveless cabled pullover, the second is for socks to match. I must say I have never knitted socks, I just don't see the point, but I know they are very popular makes for lots of people.

The patterns are from Stitchcraft magazine, July 1941.
I hope you enjoy them.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...