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

Friday, June 29, 2007

Off to Woolfest

The weather's apparently going to be bad, bad, bad. Torrential rain all day, but its off to Woolfest in the Lake District tomorrow whatever the weather. Spent alot of money last year when I went so I shall try my best not to disappoint the stall holders this year. Friends have also given me shopping lists and I'm going to find one last treat for my secret pal.

I have several projects to photograph and blog about including the new sexy knitters project. I have downloaded the patterns for both projects and will talk about them some more next week.
However, if you haven't already got your red carpet convertible do go take a look. Its a gorgeous gown/top/tunic pattern and its helping someone out at the same time.

Mum and dad have escaped our awful weather and gone to Spain for a week. Unfortunately everything starts when they get back. Mum doesn't like driving anymore so I'm going to be taking him for his appointments. Its a couple of hours drive each way to the hospital which would have been good knitting time, but even I haven't managed to find a way to knit and steer a car at the same time, so I mightn't be as productive as I would like, but going to try my best.

for now
Ruby x

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

knitting rhymes

I came across these two old knitting rhymes about sock knitting...

To knit a stocking, needles four,
cast on three needles and no more,
each needle stitches eight and twenty,
then one for seam stitch will be plenty

I've not tried the instructions yet!

This one however is my favorite. I just think its wonderful.

“Life is a stocking”, Grandma says, “And yours has just begun. But I am knitting the toe of mine, And my work is almost done”.
This one almost makes me cry.

for now
Ruby xx

Friday, June 22, 2007

Textured 50's Jacket Swatches and progress

I've been working on my design for using Blue Sky Alpaca organic cotton in a gorgeous honey shade. I sampled on 5.5mm and 5mm and decided I liked the firmness of the yarn on 5mm, particularly with it being cotton I really think you need to have really good firm stitches.

I wanted a textured stitch for my jacket but because I intend to mix it with panels of either stocking stitch or reverse stocking stitch I didn't want anything over complicated. I've done some experiments based on 8sts knit, 8sts purl,

I started with
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which is 8sts knit, 8sts purl, for 6 rows, then 8sts purl, 8sts knit for 6 rows.

This wasn't really interesting enough and also came out a bit too square, so I tried the same combination but only over 4 rows

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which I liked better but still not quite what I was looking for, so after the first 4 rows I moved it all along by 4sts

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still only simple but visually much more interesting. Looking at the three together I think you can definately see its the strongest

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I'm going to give the jacket a hem rather than edging and build the buttonholes into the patterns edge.

The buttons are just wonderful. I bought them some time ago at an antique and vintage textile fair. They are original early 1950's plastic buttons and I love them

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I think they're going to work just great with the jacket. I'll try and finish off my sketches over the weekend but I keep changing my mind about it as I sketch.

I'm hiding away from the workmen in my garden at the moment. Big holes have been dug and now concrete is being poured, I may finally see my extension built yet.

for now,
Ruby xxx

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lots and Lots

I went to my brother's house at the weekend and had a lovely time playing with my niece and nephew, however I have managed to finally complete Frolic. I'm very pleased. I was scared it wouldn't sit on my shoulders properly but it was just right.

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'Dita' is rather more petite than I but it still looks really good. I particularly like the raglan

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I knitted it in the round rather than seperate back and front to the underarm, then divided and knitted the back then front seperately.

I knitted the sleeves flat but rather than cast off I left the stitches for the body and the sleeves on holders then picked up with a circular needle and knit the rib in the round.

I received some gorgeous yarn from knitonthenet to use for a design for the next issue. Its Blue Sky Alpaca's Organic Cotton. It is beautiful and I love the colour

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Its approximately an aran weight yarn and I'm planning on a 50's shaped jacket with colour and lapels shaped into the waist, single breasted with probably 3 quite large decorative buttons. I'll probably do three quarter sleeves with a decorative cuff. The whole garment will be in a textured stitch, just haven't decided what yet.

I received a wonderful box of goodies from my Secret Pal, a hank of beautiful Blue Sky Alpaca Suri yarn in chocolate brown - it is a mohair type yarn and 2 hanks of a gorgeous rose coloured silk

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There were also two soaps which have been clothed in felt which I will use to scent drawers

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aren't they just so lovely.

And finally, if all this wasn't enough a wonderful old pattern book, which I have been after for some time. Here's an example of the pages

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Its just fab. Thank you Emma, you're the best Secret Pal a girl could have.

for now
Ruby xxx

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Should it stay or should it go?

I knitted this sweater by Zoe Mellor in Rowan Handknit Cotton for my daughter a number of years ago..

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It no longer fits and isn't really cool enough anymore. I have three choices really: -
1) pass it on - but there is no one who it will fit amongst family and friends.
2) pack it up in a suitcase and put in the loft for safe keeping.
3) deconstruct, recycle and re-use.

My real options are numbers 2 and 3 and as loath as I am to take apart something that was my child's I really feel its worse to lock it away for ever to go musty and fade.

What do you all think? Should I let my sentimental side win, or should I make something new?

I received a wonderful pressie off my beloved a few days ago. This great book about vintage fashion

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Not only does it provide an excellent historical reference, images are a wonderful source of inspiration. Its a beautiful book.

I have started working on a new design for knitonthenet using a Habu silk yarn

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Photos/swatches to follow shortly.

I was reminded that I had some of this yarn when reading lomester's blog. She has knitted a great version of my Paper Bag pattern. It looks fab. Made me feel so proud.

On the down side, it has rained all day today - all day.

Anyway, for now

Ruby xx

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Feeling positive and A Stitch in Time

Spoke to dad and he is feeling very positive. He has already started dealing with things to make sure he gets prompt, correct treatment. So I am determined to be positive too.

I got up really early this morning and enjoyed a gloriously sunny warm start to the day. Had several cups of tea and finished off the first of my gloves

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It looked really really small as I was knitting and sewing it up but it fits beautifully when I put it on. Now I've figured out how the fingers work I'll try and photograph the process on the second one as its really interesting, especially as I've only ever made gloves on dpn's before.

The lace pattern looks lovely on the back of the glove. I don't know whether I should embellish it at all or should I leave it as is?

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I've made the little finger very slightly too long so may have to adjust it, or grow my fingernail longer!

I can now officially say that I am helping knitonthenet with the republication of 'A Stitch in Time' by Jane Waller. Its a real favorite of mine with lots of original patterns going from the 1920's to the 1940's. I will be helping with knitting, technical editing, pattern corrections etc.

This glove pattern is in the book and the gloves will be being rephotographed and used in the book.

Its extremely exciting and will certainly help to keep me focused.

Finally thank you for everyone's supportive comments. They have really helped me. My stomach is still quietly churning but I'm keeping my mind busy.

for now

Ruby xxx

You have good days and then you have s*** days

I don't know whether I feel right about airing this on my blog but I feel a need to get it out of me. I had really bad news this morning - that my dad has prostrate cancer. He already has a condition called cardiomyopathy that has killed off 80% of his heart, and now this. I guess i'm angry with the gods, with fate, with the turn of the cards, whatever it is and I don't know where to put it all.

I had struggled at my wedding when someone had called him a lovely OLD man. It completely shocked me that other people see him that way. And now, this. I'm surprised how badly I'm handling this. I'm normally the one who takes it all on the chin and gets on with things. Today I want to curl up in a ball and cry. I would never let dad know thats how I feel. He's being fantastically positive as he always is. He was given 2 years to live 10 years ago so he's not one to take things lying down. I just don't want anything to happen to him.

I don't really know how to finish this posting and I'm so sorry if I've been depressing. I will be back tomorrow with a positive blog.

Frank Sinatra said 'I've been up and down and over and out, but I know one thing; each time I find myself flat on my face I pick myself up and get back in the race. That's Life.'

for now
Ruby xxx

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

clearing out the cupboards

I embarked on my spring cleaning rather belatedly yesterday, when it finally dawned that I couldn't get any of my clothes back into the cupboards because they were already full. I happened upon my first ever intarsia knit, knitted way back in the scary days of the late 1980's with dropped shoulders and no shaping. However, I still love it...

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It's my "Whaam" jumper based on a piece of pop art by Roy Lichtenstein. (For more information and to see images of the original painting try The picture above is the back. The front shows the plane cockpit and nose

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and on the sleeve are the words "I pressed the fire control and ahead of me rockets blazed through the sky ..."

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I can even remember I used Pinqouin cotton (which hasn't been available in the UK for years and years) and it took a long long time but I loved every minute, and to be honest I had forgotten how much I enjoyed colour work, painting with the stitches. I miss it and must try to incorporate into my work again.

anyway, for now, feeling very nostalgic,
Ruby xx

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A host of WIP's

I don't know if there is a technical word for a multiple of WIP's but these are a few of the many things I am working on right now.

The first are these lovely gloves:

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using Jamieson & Smith 2 ply lace yarn. Its 100% pure wool in shade L68. Its more of a raspberry shade than it looks on screen. You knit the gloves on only 2 needles. I've had to FROG once as I haven't quite got the finger placement instructions worked out right yet. I'm hoping I'll crack it tonight. This is obviously the first glove so I've still got to do a second. I hope I don't run out of enthusiasm.

I found an alternate yarn for my Paper Bag pattern from Spring Knitty. I've tried using Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed. Again its a pure wool. You need to up the needle size to 5mm (US 8)
but it works rather well. It gives a completely different look to the bag.

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I would use these handles with it

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and a brown and orange 50's or 70's print fabric as a lining. I have an old tablecloth with brown and orange flowers on it that I would probably use. I don't know if I'll make it up into the bag or not though as the yarn, fabric and handle combination have given me an idea for another bag.

I've also been swatching with my gorgeous Habu Textiles pure silk that I received from my Secret Pal. It drapes beautifully. Very soft and fluid. The colour is gorgeous. I also have some Habu stainless steel yarn that I keep threatening to use. I think the combination with this yarn and colour will be perfect.

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I'll show you more of this one as it proceeds. It's a very simple 7 stitch repeat, of K5, yfwd, k2tog., with the number of stitches at the beginning of each RS row decreasing then increasing to move the eyelets. The WS is just Purl every time. I've just got to order a load more skeins of it now to make a full garment with it. The yardage is very good though, there is 155yds (138 mtrs) in 25gm.

There are more ongoing projects but I'll save them for another day.

The sky out of the window is turning black and once again I think we're going to have rain.

for now
Ruby xx