Vintage Knitting, Retro Dressmaking, Make do and Mend, Original and Vintage Inspired Knitting Patterns, Vintage Inspired books

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Knitting (knit. knitted) Poem?

Yesterday, I finally had the excuse to share the opening line of a particularly favourite poem of mine. The occasion arose during an online discussion about whether to use the word knit or knitted. The conversation meandered for a couple of hours with some people using knit, others using knitted and others again using both depending on the context. One of the general assumptions though, was that knitted was more of a UK based phrase and knit more of a US one - The first more traditional, the second more modern. Interestingly, as the discussion drew to a close and many of us, including myself, coming to the conclusion that this assumption was reasonably probable, I remembered this poem. Written by one of my knitting heroines, Flora Klickmann, and published in England in 1915. Flora was the Editor of Girls Own Annuals and the author of over 40 books about knitting, crochet, sewing, etiquette, gardening and more. This is the poem:

The End of the Coat

I knit my doll a walking Coat
All fluffy white and red,
I laid it out, for her to wear,
Upon her little bed.
But when I went to get her dressed
To pay Aunt Maude a Visit,
The Coat was nowhere to be seen;
And though I asked, “Where is it?”
My dolly stared in great surprise,
Then fell down flat, and shut her eyes!

I hunted high, I hunted low,
While Mother said, “Now hurry,
Or we shall miss the train!”
I got in such a flurry.
But not a vestige could I see
of fluffy white and red.
At last I had to dress her in
Her old blue serge instead!
And all the while, our Nanny Goat
Was gaily eating up the Coat!

Flora Klickmann, The Little Girl's Knitting & Crochet Book, (Pub: 1915)

I'll share about and from Flora very soon. 

But, for now,

Susan xx

Monday, September 15, 2014

Introducing "Nancy"

It is  wonderful to finally reach the point where I can finally begin to show you things I have had ready for a particularly long time. A sense of routine is beginning to evolve on the farm and I am finding myself able to focus on my knitting once more.

Please welcome "Nancy" who has been awaiting her debut for far too long. My dear friend Theo - star of A Stitch in Time volumes 1 and 2 is once again modelling for me - and is looking amazing to boot! The jumper has an easy feather-and-fan pattern on the body and the most delicate lace motif on the sleeves. Theo styled it with high waisted trousers with 1930s style wide legs for a relaxed but elegant look. I think Nancy would look equally lovely with a heavy woollen skirt, ribbed tights and brogues for everyday wear or could be glammed up a little with a bias cut crepe de chine skirt for an afternoon tea dance.


I particularly enjoyed creating the neckband with attached scarf which provides contrasting vertical stripes around the neck and a flattering glimpse of decolletage. It looks flattering on so many different body types. The jumper has quite a neat fit, designed to be worn with just a small amount of positive ease and the elbow length sleeves make this a great garment for office wear.

The jumper is knitted in five colours of Excelana 4ply (Alabaster, Nile Green, Persian Grey, French Rose and Ruby Red) and is worked flat from bottom up. Excelana lends a wonderful softness to the garment yet has a beautiful crisp finish to the stitch pattern which takes my breath away. I had great fun creating the stripe pattern and never cease to be excited at how stunning the different Excelana colours look together. The pattern comes graded in sizes from 30 to 48 inch bust with the stitch patterns shown in both written and charted formats.

And so, why Nancy? As some of you may have suspected, Nancy is named after the author Nancy Mitford and is the first pattern to be released as part of a loose collection of designs called "Knits for a Cold Climate" featuring approximately 10 patterns themed around Nancy Mitford, her life, her style and her books.

I love this image of Nancy. Not only does she look amazing but she's wearing a hand knit!

I often find inspiration on my bookshelves and I have long wanted to design things inspired by Nancy Mitford. She wrote several witty and astute novels about upper-class English eccentricity and elegance. Nancy was one of the original "Bright Young Things" - a group of decadent and bohemian socialites roaming the party scene in interwar London - and she used these experiences in her books.

I have a bit of a thing about Nancy Mitford and her books. Her family background was one of privilege but she decided to live what you might call a bookish life. She worked in bookshops and became a journalist and writer. I like to think of Nancy moving in these literary circles of refined, famous writers and looking like a breath of fresh air. She was always very elegant and cared a great deal about clothes. Obviously I am also drawn to her style and adore seeing photos of her both with her family and from the society pages of the times. Admiring Nancy's writing as I do, particularly "The Pursuit of Love and "Love in a Cold Climate", I couldn't resist my own attempt at word play calling the pattern collection "Knits for a Cold Climate". I hope you'll excuse me taking liberties with Nancy's literary greatness!

I will be releasing a pattern from the collection every week or so for the next 10-11 weeks and will write more about Nancy Mitford with each release. I also have some ideas for a special knitalong to go along with the collection but more about that next week!

Nancy is available now as a PDF download for only £4

You can purchase the pattern from my online shop
from my ravelry shop

The yarn is also available in kit form including a Susan Crawford Vintage cotton project bag and the pattern provided as a PDF download free of charge.

You can buy the kit exclusively from my online shop

for now,
Susan xx

All images copyright ©Susan Crawford 2014