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

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fair Isle Knitting with the Wartime Farm

It dawned on me yesterday that I haven't 'officially' announced the publication of the Wartime Farm Sleeveless Pullover. I'm sure most regular readers will already know that it is now available to download but in case you didn't, it can now be downloaded for £5.00 from ravelry with £2.50 from each sale going to the Women's Land Army Tribute Campaign. Just click on the link below to take you to the ravelry page to purchase (there is no requirement to be a member of ravelry to purchase).

You can also read all the details about the pattern and the wide range of sizes available here.

We had a wonderful time photographing Gavin 'disguised' as Alex from Wartime Farm. He didn't take much disguising to be honest as once he was donned in his period style clothing and fedora, he looked remarkably similar.

The pullover featured in the photographs is knitted using Jamieson and Smith jumper weight Shetland wool and I am currently knitting another sample for aged 3-4 years in Excelana 4 ply. Here is the swatch.

I have used Saharan Sand as the background colour and tried to keep the same type of colour combining in this sample so it as similar to the original as possible. This colourway is now also available as a kit from my website.

All the yarn to knit the pullover is provided neatly packed in a Susan Crawford Vintage project bag. There are 21 sizing possibilities in the pattern in total which are all listed on the website to ensure you purchase the correct kit.

Once I've finished the toddlers sample I intend to knit a further Excelana version of the pullover in a bit of a different colourway and this one will be for me. This will also be available as a kit once its all completed.

A first for me with this pattern is the release of my first video tutorial. A lot of people have bought the pattern who haven't previously tried stranded Fair Isle knitting, so to help people get started I have put together a video introducing the basic skills and techniques needed to knit the Wartime Farm pullover (and many other Fair Isle patterns). I hope to gradually add other tutorials and more advanced techniques over time.

So without further ado, here is an Introduction to Fair Isle Knitting.

Do let me know what you think. As I've already mentioned this is the first time I've recorded a video tutorial and it wouldn't have been possible without the marvellous camera work of my daughter, Charlie and the editing talents of Alex impersonator, Gavin! And to finish, here are a couple of wonderful 'out takes'.

for now,

Ruby xx

All images copyright @Susan Crawford 2013

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

New springtime pattern

A design I have been very excited to see released is now available! It is part of the second Fyberspates Scrumptious Collection which was published yesterday. The design is called Darent and is knitted in Scrumptious DK in Plum.

It uses one of my favourite 19th century lace patterns - Pear and Trellis, which has incredible texture as well as being lacy and really seems to pop out of the fabric. It is also a surprisingly simple pattern to knit. The garment is knit in one piece, with the sleeves joined to the main body at the armholes with the work then continued in one piece. The soft low neckline and three quarter sleeves makes it ideal for spring/summer wear and is extremely flattering for fuller busts.

The raglan shaping on the upper arms provide a neat fully fashioned detail. The Pear and Trellis pattern continues up the front edges of the cardigan providing a perfectly finished edging without the need for any additional finishing.

One of my favourite details about Darent is the single pattern repeat on the sleeve edge. It just seems to bring everything together.

The design in some ways is a bit of a different look for me - with a bit of a contemporary style about it - but at the same time its got a very vintage feel to it. Worn with a flowery Laura Ashley dress and a floppy straw hat it could really bring a hint of an 'Edwardian Lady' into a summer wardrobe.

The pattern is available in a wide range of sizes from 32 through to 50 inch bust and can be purchased as part of the Scrumptious 2 collection here for only £9.00 for the collection. You can also see the rest of the collection on its ravelry page here.

As it knits up very quickly I'm really hoping that I'll get the chance to knit one for myself this summer!

for now

Ruby xx

(All images by Amanda France, Copyright @Fyberspates 2013)

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Festive Jumpers

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and that 2013 will be warm, happy and healthy for us all!

Over the Holiday period I made a determined effort to wear my hand knits on every possible occasion and - for once - managed to get photos of me wearing them. So to welcome in the New Year here is my  Festive Jumper line up:

On Christmas Day I wore my Jan Sweater from A Stitch in Time Volume 2. Mine is knitted in Excelana 4 ply in Alabaster. I knitted to fit 40 inch bust but decreased down to shoulder width for 36 inch bust and then sewed up approx 2 inches on each shoulder. I'm a little 'shiny' due to all my hard work in the kitchen immediately before this photo was taken and absolutely nothing to do with the Kir Royale I had just drunk whatsoever! The little brooch that you can just see is a vintage black scotty dog with red and white spots to match my skirt.

 On Boxing Day I also wore a garment from A Stitch in Time Volume 2. This is This Charming Neckline, knitted in Drops Alpaca silk. Its such a dressy yet comfy and relaxed jumper to wear. I've paired it with my super wide palazzo pants in the same colours. I knit the 38-40 for this one as my uber narrow shoulders would have found the 42-44 just too wide. The Drops yarn is also extremely soft and has stretched after only one or two wears.

In my hair is a gorgeous hair band that I bought as a prop for the Volume 2 photos which worked perfectly with the rest of the outfit and glammed the whole thing up nicely.

A Couple of days later we set off for Edinburgh for our Hogmanay adventure. To travel I wore my Swagger Coat - again from Volume 2! I knitted this in Fyberspates Scrumptious Aran in Slate. I knitted the 42-44 this time as I needed the hip width, but decreased at the armhole shaping narrowing the shoulders quite dramatically which gave me exactly the right fit. There's a distinct lack of make up on this shot but it is early in the morning! Underneath is one of my favourite dresses which I got about three years ago from Next. It always gets comments and most people can't believe its not actually vintage. Its stretch jersey cut on the bias and is incredibly comfortable and flattering. The two buttons on my Swagger Coat are original 1930s buttons which I had been saving for when I finally completed this coat. I finished knitting it around nine months ago and have only just finished it off! Dreadful. But I love it. Its going to be such a useful item in my wardrobe.

The first day in Edinburgh we did a lot of chilling and spent quite a lot of time at our favourite cafe - The Chocolate Tree on Bruntsfield. And I stepped out of my comfort zone and wore a combination of two twinsets! Is that even allowed? I'm not sure, but I did it anyway. The cardigan is the 1940s Fair Isle Cardigan from A Stitch in Time Volume 2. Its knitted in Excelana 4 ply as in the book, but with the main colour in French Rose, I then used Ruby Red, Persian Grey, Nile Green, Powdered Egg and Alabaster for my other colours. The buttons are 50s/60s and work so nicely with the feminine colour palette. As always I tweeked the sizing, knitting the 40-42 fronts and 36-38 back and decreasing both at the armholes to the 32-34 shoulder width. I have recently noticed that my right shoulder is actually narrower than my left and this can actually just be seen on this cardigan as the box head sleeve head starts in just the wrong place on my right shoulder (to the left on the photo below) and actually needs to just be a centimetre higher. In every other way though the cardigan fits beautifully. Plenty of bust room to fasten properly at the centre front, but a neat fit on the back without excess fabric.

 Under the Fair Isle cardigan is the Princess twinset jumper from Coronation Knits. This is fast proving to be one of my most popular jumpers as it seems to go with everything. I knit it in Excelana 4 ply Alabaster to wear under my Cornflower Blue Princess twinset cardigan but the little touch of Alabaster in the Fair Isle Cardigan above means it looks really good here too. With it being single thickness 4 ply you don't get over heated either.

You can see the Princess jumper better on the photos below, actually taken on an earlier trip to Edinburgh but left languishing on Gavin's phone. There's a bit of a spare tyre going on on this first shot but just pretend you haven't seen it. I actually knitted the 38 inch bust on this one so that it was a close fit and had a bit of a sweater girl look to it.

The skirt you can just see is from Toast's sale last year. Its a tartan skirt with a fabulous handkerchief hemline which gives it a bit of a Vivienne Westwood feel to it. However it never dawned on me that wearing a tartan skirt in Edinburgh would have so many people looking twice. I think visitors to the hotel thought I was about to do a Highland Fling to keep them entertained.

So on New Years Eve we went to Edinburgh's Hogmanay street party and I finally got the chance to wear my Diamonds are Forever jumper from Coronation Knits. I have knitted mine in Excelana 4 ply using Nile Green as the main colour, with Alabaster, French Rose, Ruby Red and Persian Grey as the additional diamond colours. Persian Grey is also used to cast on and off with. I deliberately went for a more roomy fit with this one as I wanted to be able to wear it over thermals or other light weight top. It was so cosy on the night. I didn't feel the cold at all. The hotel kindly hung coordinating curtains in our room too!

I wore the jumper again the next 'morning' when we ventured out for brunch. When I first designed this jumper about this time last year I wanted to create a jumper that I would always be able to throw on, feel relaxed in but also feel nice in at the same time and it really delivered on this.

Next we had a bit of a gathering when we got back from Edinburgh and for a bit of a change I wore my Rose Jumper from A Stitch in Time, Volume 1. This is knitted in the original Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in Wheat and is another of those jumpers that are comfortable yet make you feel good.

I did this one with the original 'pointy' sleeves as shown in the pattern. I've had this jumper for around three years now and I still love wearing it. The flowers are crocheted and there are clever gathers under the flowers to provide bust room.

With the square neckline its also not too hot to be worn indoors. In fact I was able to wear a t shirt underneath on this occasion.

This is a completely gratuitous extra shot because I actually like me in this photo which certainly makes a change.

And finally, this is actually how I spent most of my holidays - with my pinny on! But hopefully this post shows just how wearable 'vintage' garments actually are. I never felt overdressed or underdressed but just right!

A Stitch in Time, Volume 2 is now also available in e book format for the bargain price of only £20 for the entire 400 page book containing 80 patterns. A Stitch in Time, Volume 1 sold out on the run up to Christmas and is currently classed as out of print, but I should have news in about a week's time as to the plans for forthcoming republication of what has become a bit of a classic.

for now,
Ruby xxx

All photos copyright Gavin Crawford or Charlie Moon