Friday, 20 June 2014

Free Pattern Friday - Home Chat magazine

I recently won three Home Chat magazines from ebay. I haven't looked at ebay for years - I had to cut myself off as I was getting obsessed with vintage knitting patterns and magazines, and they were getting ridiculously expensive.

Living in London, there are few places you can find these beautiful magazines now, they have been snapped up long ago. So my only source is ebay.
This coronation edition looks very modern, I love the bright patriotic colours. The scarf and beret are made in triangles of double crochet.
I was most interested in the last one with the knitting booklet included, and was surprised that it was still there. They are very fragile, pages coming away from rusty staples, but I still took one to bed and read the New Short Serial by Leonie Mason, 'Dreams for Sale'.
It was a bit silly, but quite sweet. Of course, I don't know what fate awaits her as I only have the first installment.

This edition is from October 23rd 1937. On the cover it says 'accurate directions!', which I imagine means the pattern has been checked. I love her smiley face. This is called unimaginatively 'The Cover Jumper'.

I have also included the 'Daisy' design. I can't resist a puff sleeve.

They are both for a 36 inch bust, and use 3 ply wool. The cover jumper uses two colours in the same row. The 'Daisy' design has a lovely basketweave stitch.

I love it when the pattern tells you what colours were used. They are often colours you would never think of putting together. Navy and pink? Yellow and brown? A lady I know who is now in her eighties told me when she was young she had two 'maiden aunts' who were 'career girls' in the 1930s, and still remembers the beautiful clothes they wore, and how daring the colours were. I particularly asked her about knitwear. She remembers a combination of magenta and royal blue. Wow.

It's so rare to find single patterns in colour from then. As well as Home Chat, Good Needlework and Knitting often had colour covers, and gave suggestions for colourways. I wonder if people would follow their advice, as they do now? I know having looked at the patterns from A Stitch In Time so many times, the jumpers are burned into my brain, and I just can't imagine them any other colour.

Monday, 16 June 2014

What's on my Needles Pt 2 and a New Crochet Course

Just sewing up my Starring Stripes now, then I will pick up around the neckline and do the last of the ribbing to finish off. I ran out of the main colour, green, but picked it up at Loop on Saturday after work. I got there just 5 mins before they closed, which was probably fortuitous, as they were having a 10% off sale, so I didn't get the chance to be weak in a wool shop.

I just hope it fits, it measures between 17.5 and 18ins unstretched, so if I just steam it very lightly it should be OK.

Matching the stripes isn't too tricky, I'm using mattress stitch, which is what I use for side seams too. I just can't seem to get on with back stitch, it seems bulky and I like sewing on the right side of the work, so I can make sure I'm not messing up.

I will post more pics when it's finished. Hopefully not crappy ones taken with my phone. I do like my new tablecloth though, an oilcloth from good old Walthamstow Market.

In other news, I signed up to a five week crochet course with Claire Montgomerie, a knit and crochet designer, and editor of the best craft magazine around.

Inside Crochet is pretty much the only craft mag I buy now, as I rarely see anything that interests me in the knitting mags these days. I got a gift subscription to Mollie Makes, which also has some good projects, but there is ALWAYS something in Inside Crochet that I want to make. I think that is what re-kindled my interest in crochet. The projects are aimed at all levels, so as a beginner I was able to leap right in and make something really fun and quick! Wow, it really is SO much quicker than knitting. 

I've just had the first class, and it was great. We were told we can bring in any pattern we would like to make, so of course I have been trawling through my vintage patterns. Can't wait til next week.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

When jumpers go bad

I am very cross with myself. I've just finished sewing up a jumper, the fancily named 'Suspender Blouse', and it is all wrong.

A fast easy knit, with an interesting yoke and sleeves in a simple lace stitch. Tension was fine, achieved using 4.5mm needles instead of 5mm as stated. My problems began because I thought it needed lengthening in the body, so I added one extra pattern repeat. Not so bad, but it now bulges above the waist. I also thought the armhole was going to be too snug, so I added another pattern repeat on the straps and lengthened the yoke. I then had to lengthen the sleeve cap, which seemed to work, but it's still just too big. Oh, and the neck is too tight, so I can't get it over my head when it is sewn up!
It took ages to sew up, and now I don't know whether it is worth ripping it all back and working it as the original, or just to stuff it in a drawer and forget about it. The problem is I still think the armhole will be too small for me, I hate it when the jumper feels like it's glued to your armpit. But it was 'the style of the time'. Maybe I need to get a bit more friendly with dress sheilds.

Looking at my wools, I'm thinking about another green now, a darker one with the off white yoke. I used Jaeger Matchmaker 4 ply.

What have I learnt from this? Allow a bit of negative ease.
I will leave you with an image of my wool, which I was so busy getting arranging when we moved in, that I forgot to put moth repellant in.
I found a moth larvae on a skein the other day, and eggs. I freaked out, chucked it in the freezer, but now I need to do the rest. It's my own fault. I just hope it's not too bad.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Current crochet projects

It's so nice to have a few projects you can dip in and out of, and I find crochet is the perfect craft for that.

At the moment I am working on a few things, the first of which I must have started almost 2 years ago, when I seriously knuckled down to crochet. Having learnt to knit first, I found it difficult to get my head around the different terminology, and just stayed clear of all the wonderful patterns out there.

It is, predictably, a granny square blanket.
I'm using acrylic yarn, something I've always avoided, having mainly knitted vintage jumpers that just aren't the same in acrylic. But when you want to use 20+ colours for a blanket that will need washing regularly, there is really no choice. And I have to say I'm a convert! Although the down side is that I end up buying too much because it is so much cheaper than wool. I bought most of the yarn for this blanket in one go, which meant walking home lugging a black bag. I was quite embarrassed, but not as much as I should have been. I still wouldn't use it for jumpers though, not even children's jumpers. I'm still a yarn snob.

I'm also just finishing a cushion cover from Kath Webber. It is featured in Mollie Makes, Issue 30.
The pattern uses Rowan's handknit cotton, and I happened to have a few odd balls, so they were put to good use. Also 2 balls of Freedom Sincere dk in a pale green and candy pink. I love how it turned out, and I was surprised at how easy the chevrons were to work. And it shows how to weave in all the ends as you go along. Great pattern.

I'm also working on some motifs from Nicki Trench's Cute & Easy Crochet with Flowers
I've seen lots of patterns from this book featured in magazines, but it's great to have them all in one book. Even though it is totally water damaged now as my daughter spilled water over it the same day I got it. Grr. I think this will be a throw or blanket, but I can see it making a great bag.

How many projects do you have on the go?

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