Sunday, 25 May 2014

It Cannot Fail To Please (Me)

Another finished jumper from A Stitch In Time Vol 1, ahh. Not just finished, but sewn up. Such a good feeling. I have 3 finished, yet to be sewn up - The Rose Jumper, Quick Work In Thick Wool, and Golden Eagle 'Lady's Jumper'. I'm not even going to say what else from the books are still on the needles.

This post is a bit of a trip down memory lane for me, remembering some of the projects from A Stitch In Time.
I'm so pleased with the colour, not so with the photos. I played around with it in photoshop thingy, as it was too dark, and I just couldn't work how to do it properly, so it is a bit washed out, and the one below is still too dark and shadowy. These pics were taken hurriedly one evening while waiting for the cab to arrive to take me to a lovely dance class/club, Swing Cats Corner at The Orford Road Social Club. I was barking at my husband, expecting professional photos, in the 3 minutes before the cab arrived.

I used Jawool by Lang in Spring Onion, in the first size. It came out larger than the original in the book, partly because I think this sock wool is ever so slightly thicker than the Cygnet, but mostly as I blocked it quite wide, to emphasise the leaf pattern. Since I first saw it I knew I wanted to knit it in green - leaves should be green! Not that I don't love the magenta of the original. I have a cable knit in that shade, by Copleys from 1940, (dated by the knitter in pencil). Will have to dig out the photos.

I love this square neckline, so flattering to the old collar bones. I found some dress clips on eBay to wear with this, Such A Debonair Little Jumper, and Such Flattering Puff Sleeves, for a dressier look. I knitted shoulder pads for it too, I felt it needed a squarer look to the shoulders. I did triangular shoulder pads from the chapter Fit And Finish in A Stitch In Time Vol 2. I'm quite pleased with them, although I don't think I sewed them in the right position, as they can tend to flip back into the body of the jumper, not stay in the sleeve head. Grr.

The beret is one I designed after picking up some Drops Silk Alpaca (80% alpaca, 20% silk), at The Knitting & Stitching Show at Ally Pally back in 2007. It is an aran weight, and discontinued now. I remember it so well as I bought the wool that I used to knit Embroidered With Tiny Flowers that day too. I have the date I started and finished knitting it, in three weeks, in January 2008. I can't believe I did it so quickly, as I still shudder at the memory of the embroidery - it took so many hours. I took it with me to the first photo shoot for the book in February that year, and Susan loved it, along with my Tea Gardens dress. Alas, none of the photos survive from that first shoot in a South London listed pub-turned-studio, with a photographer whose name I can't remember now, and a then unknown Fleur De Guerre. But the upside to it was that it launched Susan as a photographer in her own right, and the rest is history.

The beret has stretched a bit, but considering I chose to use garter stitch instead of a rib for the bottom, it's not done too badly. I love the weightiness of it - the combination of the aran and heavy silk (it feels like there is much more silk than just 20%, and the sheen is wonderful).

When I stick it on my head, always on one side, covering one ear, usually the right, I don't know why - it stays there. Whenever I put a beret on, I always hear Al Bowlly singing My Hats On The Side Of My Head, and I feel like a serene 1930s lady.
Until, that is, I have to go to Lidl.


Thursday, 22 May 2014

Free pattern Friday

Not an original idea, but a great one. Lots of lovely bloggers, including Wendy at The Vintage Pattern Files, post free knitting and sewing patterns. They are usually posted on a Friday, so who am I to argue? Here's my first free pattern for you:



This was one of the first successful vintage jumpers I completed, back in 2004 (10 years ago already). I was seriously pleased with it. I didn't know much about tension then, and don't even think I tested it. The yarn I used was from The Handweavers Studio when it was still near me in Walthamstow. A soft merino, it came on little cones. The pattern called for a 2 ply - I still don't know the exact weight of the yarn. It came out very well, except it was far too short. I ended up having to pick up along the hem and adding some more ribbing.

This is something I am aware of now - my long torso, and measuring the length before I start the armhole shaping. I think most knitters have to add length to vintage jumpers now - we're taller, and broader. You just have to look at the models in patterns from the 30s, and they were slight - narrow shoulders, small busts, slender hips, like this lady:  

I love that pose, and her regal face. The column is pretty awesome too.
I modified the jumper, using the yoke of this pattern:

I liked the effect so much, I knitted one in red.

This time I added extra pattern repeats, giving a slightly more relaxed fit. I used Misti Alpaca lace.

Here is another pic of me wearing it in a more 50s beatnik style with my Shellac Sisters, at a gig we did in South London somewhere.

So that's my first free pattern, but not the last. I hope you like it.

Monday, 12 May 2014

Dig for Victory

I've been planting a few herbs and vegetables over the last few days, so I thought I would share this picture from the July 1941 edition of Stitchcraft.

My planting wasn't quite as exciting. I love the jaunty angle of the womans' hat, and the look on her face. And the little Robin is so cute, I remember copying it when my son was very small, and embroidered it on a onesie for him.

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