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Vintage in stitches

fibre and fabric chatter with the occasional mention of tea, cake and flowers.

I’ve been away from blogging for a while. Summer does that to you. The odd half hour of crafting here and there never seems to produce a great amount. It does afford you time to plot autumn projects. 

I decided to treat myself to one of those magazine subscription summer offers. Three issues for about the cost of one. I don’t tend to buy knitting magazines that often, mostly as I have a 500+ collection of vintage knitting patterns, that with the best will in the world I’ll never get through. In one of the issues there was the most gorgeous vintage style children’s tunic. I knew I would have to make one for my daughter. Up untill this point I’d not really done any cable knitting. I understood the principle of moving stitches about, in practice …

After being caught out with not swatching on a previous project, I whipped up.of quick swatch using the cable pattern. I somehow managed to get tension first time, inspite of not using the recommended wool. Phew. 

Here we are at the halfway point. 

I quite liked the construction, knitting to the neckline then dividing for the back. After knitting to this point I decided I much preferred it as a button front cardigan, not a button down the back tunic. So I moved the button holes accordingly.  I won’t say it was a quick knit. It seemed to take a long time to knit to the neckline, after that it flew. 

I finished off with some vintage buttons from my mum’s button tin.

I used Sidar Snuggly DK , knit on 4mm knitpro symphonie straights. This 1-2 size used 1.5 balls. 

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Carrying on from the success of my Jersey top, I decided to try one of my Simplicity vintage reissue patterns.  The versitilty of this top really appeals to me, the scope for various incarnations of this are endless.

I decided to make use of a yard of medium weight purple cotton that I’ve had hanging around for a very long time . I dare say it would be far better suited to making a skirt. As I have just over a yard of it, it seemed ideal as to use as a wearable muslin. I’ve opted to make view B.

I did initially try to trace the pattern using wax paper. I soon discovered two things, I don’t have a very steady hand, and the wax was very faint in places, making cutting an interesting experience. In the end I re-pinned and cut the pattern.

Reading through the instructions, this again seems a fairly simple to construct top. The biggest challenge will be putting in the zip. Which after watching a few you tube videos seems fairly straight forward, if you take your time.  I did discover I don’t have a zipper foot in my accessories, which for now, I don’t see it being a problem. Famous last words.

I’m hoping to have got this all sewn up by next week, and have my cardigan nearly finished.

Mum’s Serenity Shawl has really flown along. I also discovered on of my favourite podcasters, Voolenvine, is hosting a month long mauve-along. So I’ve entered it into the KAL to keep me motivated to finish it. I’m just about to start a fourth pattern repeat

Me 1 Jersey 0 .

I’ve wanted to join in with me made may for a while now . However, my sewing skills aren’t exactly upto Sewing Bee standard. I had a block in my head over sewing jersey fabric. After watching a few You Tube videos, about sewing jersey without an overlocker / serger I decided to take the plunge and finally sew together a slouch top I’d cut out sometime last year. My pattern of choice was a Simple Sew slouch top , graded for the beginner. 

My machine is a Singer Tradition 2250. Very much a beginner’s one, or everyday idiot, as I put it. I do have an overlocker and a more technical Elna gifted to me by my mother-in-law. One day I’ll get brave enough to use them. At the moment I open the box look at it, and back away.  My first challenge was changing the needle. That was fairly straight forwards after I worked out which funny looking tool I needed to use to loosen the screw. I used a ballpoint needle which was suggested for medium weight fabrics, as I felt the jersey I was using was closer to a light sweatshirting than t-shirt jersey.  I used a zigzag stitch all over, on a small stitch length. The pattern is two identical front and back pieces, with raglan sleeves , and applied arm, neck and waist bands. I managed to complete the top in an afternoon, by far the most technical part was fitting the various bands. I started with the arms first, finishing with the waist. The only issues I encountered were a slight stretching on the waist, and a slight bulking under one sleeve. Both are minor issues, which I can live with. 

Here it is, the finished object . The fabric was purchased last year from eBay. I think it was around £5 p/m. 

I’m pretty pleased with this. It came out a little larger than I anticipated. As it is designed to be a bit on the loose side, I don’t think it’s a major problem. It’s perfect with a longsleeved t-shirt underneath and a pair of jeans or denim skirt. 

 A finished hat, and a wound ball. 

Following on from my last post, I’ve decided to be a lot more strategic about making in general. Finding the balance between ‘me time’ and a young family is quite hard at times. This last week is a good example. My Husband was away all week at a conference, so Knitting , Sewing and Crochet very much took a back seat.

I did manage to knit a hat. Horray ! I felt really pleased with the finished article. I commited the cardinal sin of knitting, and didn’t swatch. Instead I cast on , and off I went. I really do need to swatch as one day I will trip myself up.

I used the Tin Can Knits , Barley Hat, which is freely available from their website, or on Ravelry. I used Lettlopi , in grey heather. It was a very different wool to anything I’ve knit with. Unlike most yarns I couldn’t see any plying. It looked a lot like my somewhat haphazard attempts at spinning, with a lot more uniformity. It knit together beautifully, making a very warm, wearable hat. What I hadn’t accounted for was how much water it would hold. I cool washed it in some wool wash, then left it to dry flat. Two days later it was still drying. I decided as it was only mildly damp at this point it would be safe to finish it on a radiator.  As you can see , my husband is ecstatic.

I also managed to get the Britsock I mentioned in my last post , wound and cast on.

It is glorious. So soft. I cast on the Serenity shawl last night. It’s a very intuitive pattern. I do find charted lace a little intimidating, so having the written instructions is a great help.

My Miette has moved on a few more rows, my socks have sat in the project bag all week.

I’m pleased to get one project done. As this month is me made may, I’m setting myself my own challenge. I want to make at least four wearable garments. Knitted, crocheted or sewn. They must all be different. So now no ducking out and making four shawls !

Castonitus

I’m sure this is a familiar tale. You finally manage to clear your needles of projects. Some made under a strict deadline, some lingering around in the background. Then, the excitement. What to make next …. I don’t think I’m alone in having projects lined up.  My staples seem to be either socks or shawls. I’m a hopeless monogamous knitter, ditto selfish knitter.

I’ve become a lot more strategic in my wool buying. I only buy if there is a project in mind. This does mean my Ravelry queue has got a lot bigger, and my to knit list has enough on there to keep me amused for at least a decade. It has stopped the mindless wool buying. I found I had a few random balls in my stash that I had no idea what I was going to do with them. Like most random bits of wool, they’re destined to become part of a crochet blanket, or toys.

This last week I’ve finally cast on a cardigan for me, and a pair of socks.  I’ve also got wool winging it’s way to me to make my husband a hat, and my mum a shawl for her birthday.  It sounds a lot, but I enjoy having different projects on the go. Socks are perfect mindless knitting. I only need to really pay attention for the cuff , heel, and toe.

Here’s the projects ;

Miette cardigan

This is is the first tip down garment I’ve knit. I’m finding it surprisingly easy. I’m knitting mine in a dark purple alpaca blend from Drops. It’s very soft, and very affordable. I’m on the cusp of feeling I can afford to splash out a bit more for my wool now as I feel I’ve reached a level that justifies it. This is very much a test knit for that. I’m just at the point for dividing for the sleeves.

Sweet praline socks

I found this pattern in an old issue of Simply Knitting. Strangely I can’t find a Ravelry link for these. They are a top down construction with a heel flap. I’m using some Rico Superba Poems my Mum gave me for Christmas, in a lovely rainbow colourway. I’m really enjoying the checkerboard pattern on the leg and instep.

Barley Hat by Tin Can Knits
This is for my Husband, I’m using some lettlopi for this. Hopefully it will be hard wearing enough to keep him warm during the winter months. I love Tin Can Knits patterns, especially because they are graded from baby to adult. I can feel a few family knits coming on.

Serenity Shawl

This is for my Mum . She has a big birthday coming up. For the past few years part of her presents have been handmade. Her favourite colour is purple, so I picked out some Knitting Goddess Plum semisolid yarn.
That will certainly be keeping me quiet for a while !

A Crochet Bunny 

My Daughter was 1 over the weekend. We had a lovely party for her, with close friends, family, and Godparents at the local village hall. All decked out with vintage bunting, and homebaked cakes. My slight tendancy towards hoarding cakestands and vintage platters came in very handy. 

The homemade birthday cake, with pride of place on our wedding cake stand. 

I wanted part of her present to be handmade, something unique to her amongst all the brought gifts. 

I really like amigurumi , but wanted something a little bigger. As her birthday fell on Easter Sunday, what better than a bunny. I used a pattern I found in an old Crochet Now magazine. The Bunny it’s self is made from various bits of acrylic I had in my stash. I find it very forgiving to crochet with, and hopefully it will withstand the rigors of belonging to a toddler. 

Sitting waiting to meet her new owner ! 
I omitted the safety eyes, opting to use a bit of eyeshadow to give the face some definition. I edged her dress with some Sidar Crofter Baby DK I had left from a cardigan knitted for my daughter earlier in the year. I think there is something special about handmade toys. Whether they be knitted, crocheted or sewn. 

Garden planning.

When my Husband and I decided to buy a house , we both had a list of features which we wanted from our new home. I particularly wanted a big garden, and it to be built no later than 1960. I got my wish on both fronts. 

This last year the garden has increasingly started to resemble a wilderness. There is a reason for that. My daughter decided to make her entry in the world 8 weeks early. For much of last summer we were backwards and forwards from the hospital, then to various appointments. A lot of things fell by the wayside.

This year we’ve taken a more pragmatic approach. It won’t look like a Chelsea entry, but it will have colour. I’ve been a long admirer of naturalistic gardening, which was very much in vogue in the 1940s. With that in mind, we are mass planting wildflower seeds alongside more traditional cottage garden flowers.

Image : author’s own. 

We have a decent sized front garden, with three boarders. In the middle is a wooden obekisk with some Clemantis in. We are going to try to add the sweet peas alongside them. The rest is planned by boarder, taking into consideration shelter, sun light and soil. 

Fingers crossed for a bright and fragrant summer ! 

Sunday Socks 

My Mum calls handknit socks , Sunday Socks. I quite like this turn of phrase. It gives something which took hours of work a special reverance. I’ve only recently joined the cult of sock knitting. Through my own bloody-mindedness I was determined to learn how to knit on double pointed needles. The magic loop method never really gelled for me.  I tried bamboo, and snapped one, metal never felt right, untill finally I went with some Knit Pro Symphonies. I have various Knit Pro straight needles which I love using, the dpns are no exception. 

When you talk to other knitters about sock knitting, the term ‘wrestle the hedgehog’ often crops up.  The first few rounds do feel like your wrestling something, with dpns pointing out at various angles. Once you’ve got the first few cuff rows past you it gets a lot easier. 

My latest socks included a lace leg and instep pattern. Something which I thought would be incredibly tricky. I was pleasantly surprised.  Unlike plain vanilla socks, these seemed to fly off the needles. I think i was concentrating so much on the pattern repeat I barely noticed the sock grow. 

Daydreamer Socks 

I made these from some deep stashed drops fable.The pattern, linked above, is available on Ravelry. If you’re not familiar with Ravelry, it is a mine of knitting and crochet patterns from various indie designers. Believe me, you can spend hours browsing.

 In hindsight a pattering yarn maybe wasn’t the best to capture the lace pattern. I promise close up it’s lovely.

A simple shawl 

There is something olde worldy about a shawl. They can be as simple or as intricate  a as you want them to be. I’m a great fan of a knitted  a shawl, from some  a luxurious 4 ply or sock yarn.I find the definition this gives really highlights the stitch design. I don’t know about you , but when you hear knitted shawl or maybe even shaw I equate this with a humungous Victorian lace affair. If you’ve got the patience to knit one, they’re marvellously intricate and wonderful. 

My latest shawl make was a slight departure from my usual fibre based efforts. I’ve been an admirer of Micheal Miller fabrics for a while now. Dreaming of various dresses I could make from it. On a visit to a local haberdashery, I saw a small bolt end of Foxtrot. Enough to make a simple triangle shawl. That was swiftly purchased along with some dark green ricrac to edge it with. 

After lining up the fabric to make a folded triangle, I hemmed the edges, then folded in half to sew together, with the ricrac edging two of the three sides. This took me the best part of an afternoon. 

I’ve got a few ideas bubbling around for a few variations on this shawl. One including pompom trim. Like most shawls, there is a simple elegance and versitilty to them. A definite staple in my wardrobe ! 

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