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

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Complicated times

I got back from my holi-me-days feeling refreshed and revitalised if a little disappointed in one knitting project - more next time. But since getting back its as though the full moon the other night has unleashed all manner of madness at me.
A lot at this point I'm not able to talk about but due to some of this my mum hadn't told me she had fallen, narrowly avoiding breaking her hip! She is bruised all down her right side and is pretty shaken. The saddest thing is she didn't tell me, because she thought I had enough on my plate. My poor mum! I have been to see her this evening and we spent a very pleasant few hours together culminating in a big knitting discussion which was most enjoyable.

I had to break my evening up somewhat though to rush off to a local store where my daughter had lost her very expensive mobile phone. (Which had been her bridesmaids present at our wedding). I left my phone number with a shop assistant who looked about nine and not very interested and gave up hope. And then about 8.30 this evening my phone rang and a young man told me his granddad had found the phone but took it home with him as he didn't like the look of the shop assistant! He rang the store and they gave him my contact number. This is the second time she has lost this lovely phone and both times some wonderful kind soul has found it and returned it to us. It restores your faith in human nature.

With the rather traumatic week I've had to date I haven't got photos from my knitting adventures or my holi-me-days to show yet but will post again very soon. In the meantime here is a picture of my Italian Lace curtain for

You can't see the pattern that well on this big picture but if you have a look at the pattern
there's a better shot.

It's not a sit and natter knit. The pattern does require some concentration but the effect is beautiful. It is however quite easy to adapt to different window/door sizes and then just carry on until its long enough or you've lost the will to live. I'm looking at using the pattern in a garment but haven't quite decided how yet.

We did get to spend a lovely day here

at Sizergh castle just up the road from our caravan. There is renovation work being done on the tower roof and you can watch the work live through cameras attached to computers inside the castle. Really fascinating stuff.

I'm going to go to bed now as this week has left me quite quite shattered and rather saddened.

night night sleep tight

for now
Ruby xx

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lots to tell but not enough time...

I will not be around to blog for just over a week, but am delighted to say in the meantime that issue 3 of
was published today with three of my designs in it. Thought it would only be two but I have managed to complete my turban.

The original construction just didn't work so rather than try to follow it in any way I just used the photo shown on the last post as inspiration and re-designed it from scratch.

My apologies for the really bad quality of this sketch but I have people waiting for me to leave the house! The top sketch is the original construction which ended up over 60 inches long. The second sketch is the way I have designed it, with a finished length of only 44 inches.

Here is how it looks

and from the back

I'm very pleased. Completely different method, same result.

Its made in Debbie Bliss Rialto which is a standard DK weight yarn and took 2 50gm balls, so great for using up the stash.

The pattern is here

knitonthenet have taken some great photos of my 'lost in music' design which I showed you snippets of a little while ago

I'm so pleased with the finished look - it's exactly what I had in my head. You can find the pattern for this one here

Am taking a heap of WIP's with me so will hopefully have a lot to blog about when I'm back.

but for now
Ruby x

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What a disaster!

or as we would say in my neck of the woods... 'I've made a pigs ear of that'

Let me explain, my 'is it a bird or a plane' project is sort of complete. I have picked a winner for the competition who I will announce in a moment. No one actually guessed correctly so I have picked a name out of the hat. I digress, it is sort of complete, but it is absolutely b....y awful. I was actually trying to rework this pattern

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Its called the two coloured turban from 'knitting for all' published in the early 1940's.
All along was very worried that first of all it seemed to need to be way way too long for its purpose and secondly the method suggested for forming a 'cap' to hold it on your head was very vague and also wouldn't work very well. I was right to be worried. I have failed. I can't make it work and on top of all that it looks awful on anyway. It was one of the accessories I was working on for the 'stitch in time' fashion show but not any more. I can't imagine any of the models thanking me.

I did receive some very amusing answers to what the project was and the winner is


I'll email you seperately for postal details to send you your prize Nancy and thank you all for entering.

The rest of the week has been taken up with finalising my patterns for knitonthenet and also tech editing some crochet patterns as well. I have decided to knit something for the fun of it next but haven't made my mind up yet. Will show my choices at the weekend.

for now
a very frazzled
Ruby xx

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

SP11 questionnaire

Thought I was going to miss out on SP11 as my registration went missing but Jenni has very kindly sorted it all out for me and I'm finally ready to go. Here is my questionnaire.

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like?

Wool, silk, wool/silk blends, alpaca, alpaca blends, cottons, cotton mixes, alternative natural fibres except unfortunately for hemp which makes me sneeze terribly whilst knitting. Also am in love with Habu. Do not like synthetics or novelty yarns.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in?

Jugs and tins. I collect old jugs and use them for storage

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced?

Have knitted as long as I can remember, probably from about six. Was taught by nan, Ruby. I would say advanced really.

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list?

Yes, an amazon wishlist

5. What's your favorite scent?

Vivienne Westwood - Boudoir and Agent Provocateur - Maitress

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy?

Not a big sweet tooth. Favorite is dark chocolate.

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin?

Don't spin, but crochet, sew, embroider, renovate furniture, decorate, cook.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD)

Have MP3 facilities. Big fan of indie music, all sorts of things. Biggest fave at the moment is Jarvis Cocker's latest album. Have a big list of music likes on my myspace - justcallmeruby - (not

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand?

Favorite colours change but green always wins in the end, and teal blues, burnt orange, warm greys, also naturals creams and beiges if pink based rather than yellow. Don't like lilac at all.

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets?

One teenage daughter and husband, No pets unfortunately.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos?

Yes, yes, yes, no.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit?

sweaters and cardigans, but will knit anything

13. What are you knitting right now?

Too many things, several garments, hats, gloves. Reworking a number of vintage patterns at the moment, resizing etc for today's market.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts?

Most definately

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic?

Prefer circular, preferably wood.

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift?

Have a yarn winder and am hoping to get a swift very soon.

17. How old is your oldest UFO?

Its getting older as found a UFO recently that had forgotten. Probably 2 to 3 years I'm afraid

18. What is your favorite holiday?

Lake district, snowdonia, Santiago in northern Spain, London, New York. big cities and big open countryside

19. Is there anything that you collect?

Is there anything I don't collect? Love collecting buttons, patterns, vintage fabrics, jugs, ribbon, lace, greetings cards, books, magazines, yarn, old crockery, could go on for ever.

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have?

subscribe to interweave, vogue, knit 1, rowan. Vintage pattern books I'm always on the lookout for. Would particularly like the new Veronik Avery when it comes out and the knit knit book. I'm also waiting for Rowan studio 6

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn?

Any that I don't know yet.

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements?

Try to be a sock knitter, just don't get enough time. My foot is just on 10 inches long! (big feet)

23. When is your birthday?

12th June

24. Are you on Ravelry? If so, what's your ID?

Yes. ID is just call me ruby

Gosh that took a long time. Have been having a bit of trouble posting photos over the last couple of days but have a pile of FO's and WIP's coming up, especially some lovely photos from issue 3 and two new free patterns.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Yellow Jumper

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I think a lovely way to preserve the last remnants of a cherished
handknitted garment and to show it in its original form.

I have a fairisle tank of my daughter' from when she was three -
she has just turned 15 (my baby, how has it happened?)
- and several photos of her in it. I think I shall create
some sort of collage with them all for her to keep. More on this
shortly. I shall go back to the attic for a photo hunt.

for now

Ruby xx

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


I've been tagged by Iris and Edna for 8 random facts about myself. I'm hoping that being tagged twice doesn't mean 16 random facts as I had enough trouble with the 8.

Iris has also made me a

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which feels really cool. Thanks Iris. Will pass this on to five more bloggers tomorrow.

so here are my 8 random facts:

Colours have smells. Since I was pregnant with my daughter I have been able to smell colours, in fact when expecting the colour of flourescent orange actually made me physically ill.

As a child I took a dead bat home in my coat pocket as a present for my mum.

I don't have a favorite food. I love food and couldn't pick only one. I do however make the best pavlova, even better egg custard and even betterer rice pudding.

I moved house 14 times in 13 years.

My little toes are double jointed.

I am ambi-dextrous.

I hate the taste of aniseed and therefore liqorice and fennel.

I still have a scar on my knee from my first day at school at the age of four, when I tripped over a chair and a nail sticking out of the playbox went through my knee. A first day never to forget.

I don't know who to tag yet so I'll do that tomorrow so watch out.


for now

Ruby xxx

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A tale of two (other) Rubys

May I introduce my grandmother, Ruby.

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I found this photo of her while up in the attic yesterday. Ruby taught me to sew, to knit, to crochet - all the things I love. Doesn't she look beautiful, polished, groomed? I love that the photo is signed. She had presumably given it to my granddad when they were courting or he went off to war. It seemed extremely significant to find this photo yesterday as another Ruby had introduced herself to me in a very strange way on Friday.

A lovely gentleman was talking to me about the forthcoming funeral for his mother, Beryl, and told me about a poster of her he had with him that he was hoping to display at the service. He had a picture frame with him wrapped in a blanket; he opened up the blanket to reveal this:

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His mother's stage name was Ruby. The gentleman' parents were the Tony and Ruby shown in the poster. Ruby stopped performing when she became pregnant and her son never saw her perform. Here is a close up of Ruby. There is more than a passing resemblance to my Ruby.

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Both Ruby's look like they are from a very similar era. One, my nan, stayed very close to home and married a local boy and in her whole life never left the area, certainly never went abroad, in fact had only travelled from Lancashire to Yorkshire; The other Ruby, had fallen in love with and married an italian trapeze artist and run away to join the circus. So different, yet look so similar, and both had a profound effect on their families. My gentleman very kindly gave me permission to use and show these photos and I am very grateful to him and will always be grateful to my nan.

for now
yet another Ruby xx

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Is it a bird, is it a plane? competition

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Or in the words of Rolf Harris, "can you guess what it is yet?"

a quick little project I thought. But its sooooooo slow. Its approx 13 inches wides and needs to be approx 30 inches long and its only 14 inches at the moment. I thought it would be over and done with in two days. Nope.

This is a closeup

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I'm going to do my first ever blog competition. Please email me at with your guess at what the finished item might be and in a week's time I'll pick a winner and will send a special yarn related prize to you.(I'll hopefully have a photo of the finished item to reveal by then aswell)

for now and good luck

Ruby xx