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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Favourite Things - part 2

Well its taken me a little longer than expected to get back to the favourite things short list but here we are. Today I'm going to run through the most popular garments from A Stitch in Time Volume 1. Interestingly although these are the most popular from Volume 1, none of the ones I'm going to share today actually make it into the top four garments. One of them though is number 5 on your all time favourite patterns chart countdown!

For me there aren't many surprises in this next group of patterns. Most of those in this selection are also my favourite patterns from Volume one too. So off we go:

First of all we have the Blackberry Stitch Cardigan. So widely knit that  when I went to Vintage at Goodwood a couple of years ago, it was literally everywhere. It is the cardigan no self respecting vintage girl should be without. The Rowan yarn it was originally knit in is unfortunately discontinued but fortunately I will be updating the yarn requirements so that it can be knitted in Excelana. It does have a lot of bobbles but looks so good on its worth the sore hands, I promise!
 

When I first said that I wanted to include Concentrate on the Sleeves in the book, I got some funny looks, but it has proven to be a real favourite with knitters and always attracts attention at events. My claim to fame on this one is that Paloma Faith said it was amazing! She certainly would look fantastic in it. Knitted in a DK weight wool this one is also suitable for Excelana especially as there should be a dark green on its way this autumn.


One of my all time favourite jumpers, Such Flattering Puff Sleeves is one of those jumpers that is worth owning in every colour imaginable. Knitted in Jamieson and Smith pure Shetland wool which gives those puff sleeves body and definition. I'm delighted to announce that I will very shortly be selling the Jamieson and Smith wools from my website alongside Excelana, gradually getting all your vintage yarn needs in one place!

Enchanting in Black & White is a stunning garment and yet so so simple at the same time. The stark background of the lower body acting as a perfect contrast to the delicate and intricate looking lace yoke and sleeves worked in a wide feather and fan stitch. A truly beautiful garment.


Knitters Delight uses negative ease to really create a figure hugging and pattern emphasising silhouette. The beads being held in Miranda's hands were actually my great grand-mother's and as a child I used to dress up in them as they spoke of elegance an femininity to me even then. I have two pairs of ear rings to go with them - the ones in the photo, which like the necklace are polished jet; and another pair, slightly newer, which are a plastic version made to look the same. Nowhere near as sparkly but much much lighter on the earlobes.

Have you made a Jumper yet? has a very special place in my heart. This photo was used as a full page spread in The Independent on Sunday magazine supplement. It was the first time one of my photos had been used in print by the national media and its something I'll never forget. It was also my first 'proper' interview with a journalist and was really the moment when I realised that someone might actually be interested in what I was doing. Have you made a Jumper yet? combines knitting and crochet which was extremely common in the early 20th century. Patterns assumed that the knitter would also be able to crochet which is much less likely these days.  I think the two really support each other. Crochet in particular is great for finishing techniques and for decorative touches. This jumper though really celebrates the crochet and it is actually the knitting that forms the back drop to enable the filet crochet to shine.

Light and Lovely is another pattern that has proved extremely popular from its first appearance. Requiring quite a lot of construction doesn't appear to have discouraged people from knitting it either. It really sums up 1940s knitwear in one garment, with its very fitted waistband and high neck along with superb box head sleeves and a back neck opening fastened with buttons. It even has the archetypal elbow length sleeves and crochet edgings! I knitted this one in 4 ply cotton which seems to lend itself nicely to the design and also make it more wearable in the summer time but it can also be knitted in wool for a more wintery garment.


Frilly Jumper is a deceptively simple garment with minimal shaping and a delicate all-over pattern. The sleeve and neck frills are actually knitted separately and sewn on afterwards. I used stainless steel yarn from Habu Textiles for the edging so that it could be gently shaped. There have been some beautiful versions of this garment on ravelry using different yarns to excellent effect.



In fourth place is the cover jumper, The Rose Jumper, this feminine garment is again incredibly flattering. Its also a very simple lace pattern combined with some nifty and very contemporary construction ideas. The lower sleeves are shaped into points before stitching up and are designed to be worn with the cuffs pushed up beyond the elbow to create a support for the sleeve points. The neckline is incredibly sexy and stops the garment being too warm. The flowers are again crocheted but under them is a little touch of genius - the front edging is gently gathered and sewn in place to give extra bust room but prevents the neckline from being excessively wide. A truly exceptional design.

This jumper is without doubt one of my all time favourite patterns. Sadly it has a completely uninspiring name,  The Fair Isle Yoke jumper but that hasn't stopped it being extremely popular. It is the perfect design for anyone attempting Fair Isle for the first time as the Fair Isle pattern is only worked on the front yoke and is only commenced after any shaping at the armholes is completed. It has also been the spring board for other 'inspired by' jumpers using its basic construction and then knitters adding different Fair Isle motifs for their own original garment. This garment is knitted in Jamieson and Smith Shetland wool and is also suitable to be knitted in Excelana 4 ply.

At joint second with the Fair Isle Yoke jumper is Sun Ray Ribbing which I think has the most projects knitted of any garment in Volume 1. It is glamorous, flattering, sexy yet refined. The little sun rays around the neck band framing the face are a perfect example of a design technique employed in the 1930s of a detail used to frame the face and direct the observer's eye upwards to the face of the wearer. The pattern uses decreasing widths of ribbing to further draw the eye upwards and very effectively slims the wearer. The back neck opening with co-ordinating buttons adds a final layer of attention to detail. The original yarn is no longer available put the pattern can be knit in Excelana - and guess what will hopefully be another new colour way for this autumn?


And the favourite pattern from A Stitch in Time Volume 1 placing it fifth overall? It Cannot Fail to Please. This pattern has proved a bit like a loved but troublesome child. Of all the patterns in Volume 1 this one just happened to have seriously typographical errors in the first print run of the book. And of course, because it was so popular, it got pointed out to me very quickly and very often! The pattern is now correct and many many people have knitted this jumper. Initially I have to admit to being surprised by its popularity mainly because the photos for this one were taken at the end of a very long three day photo shoot. It was getting dark, the lights were malfunctioning and poor Theo was exhausted. All I could think was that the photos wouldn't be good enough and that we wouldn't be able to include the pattern in the book after all. Somehow there were enough good pictures to use and the rest is history!
So congratulations to It Cannot Fail to Please.






And so we will leave it there for today. Next time we'll look at A Stitch in Time Volume 2 before the final run down of your favourites of the favourites.

for now
Ruby xxx 

5 comments :

Daffy Suburbia said...

I love love love Have you made a jumper yet? It's now on my to do list!!

Kate-Em said...

This has reminded me that I must make sun ray ribbing. It is so beautiful.

BaronessVonVintage said...

Yum! I love "Everything in Black and White" SOOOOO much

Cjja said...

I'm so hoping for vol 1 to be available again soon. So many pretty pictures. Love, love, love, "To Greet the New Season"
The ties and the belt and the collar- perfection!

fabriquefantastique said...

I knit 'blackberry' in bright red sometime in the 80s. The pattern was the original taken from the very 1st edition of re-productions.....still love it.