Friday, 24 October 2008

serious workers

Just have a look at this 40's home knitting book I found in a charity shop recently. What a gem! Usually there are only bad 80's chunky mohair knits with awful intarsia patterns to browse through but this is in quite a different calibre. Ever want to know how to knit, well absolutely any type of clothing?! This book has it all and the styled, glamour shots are true classics. (Maybe we should start presenting our knits like this again!)

A dress with pleat effects......

A knitted bathing costume?! Ummm..... Fine for posing but wouldn't it kind of get a bit saggy and lose its shape - and coverage - in the water? I hope it is a very fine gauge knit or those shorts could get a bit uncomfortable! But the picture does make it look so elegant and it would be tempting to knit it up, just to see.

The book is part techniques, part patterns and is graded to help the learner progress - "it is so laid out that the principles develop in easy stages, from the very first processes to the most advanced types of work that can possibly be needed by the serious worker". So for all us 'serious workers' out there, here are some more dashing designs to tempt you.....

Errol Flynn double modeling a natty v-neck top. Makes me want to go away and watch Robin Hood whilst knitting this dashing top. Don't know who would wear it though......

A not quite so cool picture modelling the standard cable number. You can imagine him saying why can't I get the Errol Flynn pose! Looking at the pattern though it does look a rather nice jumper with a low roll neckline and clean cable lines. I could imagine a lot more people wearing this now.

Ah! The chic, sophisticated look of the country set.. That knitted waistcoat was a 'must' in those days....

I do like the hairstyles in these plates, it makes you want to go style your hair into a classy number and make a bit more of an effort:) I like the name of this top - knitted blouse...

Now this pinafore dress I will try, I think. It looks great in the picture - literally like a thin fabric draping well on the figure. I wonder if it does that in reality or eventually turns into a 70's maxi dress down to my ankles:) It also says at the top that it 'will be very useful to wear with a knitted blouse' - so that's what I could use it for!! New outfit sorted!

And don't forget the knitted accessories. I love this hat and the way it's shaped at the sides. I think you'd have to consider your hairstyle though. It may or may not be that flattering. There are also patterns for every type of sock, hat, glove, stockings, vests, underwear you can imagine and possibly some you couldn't or wish you couldn't!! As pretty much everything was rationed or not to be had in the 40's, this book would have been an encyclopedia of basic techniques, patterns and recyling yarns but trying to help people retain a touch of fashion and style in their wardrobe.

I'll leave you with this cheery picture of a baby's pair of breechettes. I am so glad that baby knitting has made some progress over the years!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Time for hats!

Now the weather is ever changing, it's time to hunt out hats and keep our heads snug. This pattern 'thorpe' seems an excellent option to keep both your head and your ears warm. Do click the link to the patterns page and scroll down a little on the right for the free pdf. I got my link through Ravelry so I didn't know Kirsten at 'through the loops' blog had all these patterns free and for sale.

It's a really quick knit with chunky yarn and 5.5mm needles although since I don't have 5.5 dpn's and was feeling too lazy to consider using the magic loop on circulars, I looked out some slightly thicker yarn and worked these two up on 6mm instead. Of course there is nothing like making alterations like this and having to compensate with the guage as you go. Hence no blogging for the last few days!!
Although there are two hats so far, I've actually knitted a way too big third - or first - that enabled me to readjust the pattern to compensate for the thicker yarn. Well, kind of.....
After two completed attempts I have still overcompensated and ended up with two very small adult hats - or two large childrens hats! But although they are a bit neat, they are very warm and snug around the ears and I like the thickness and density of the knit.

As well as the earflaps there are braids!! I think they finish the look well and are a bit of fun but I suppose they aren't everyone's cup of tea. I did enjoy making these and I couldn't resist decorating the earflap with a big white chunky hand stitched daisy with a pink bullion knot centre.

This was meant for me hence all the pink and flower motif but after a bit of wearing, it does get a bit tight around the forehead. Just around the garter stitch (raised) detail. In theory the garter stitch should make it looser here. Sigh. Everything else is there for the perfect hat - although there is no picture of me wearing it!! I'm not convinced it suits me yet - but I did say the same about the verity berets and I now wear them without thinking about it.

Nice big close-up of the stitch detail. I like this pattern. It is quick, clearly written in three sizes and also has a patterned version - which I've still to try. Maybe its time to design some matching mitts to complete the set?

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Finished mittens

Quick post to say that the Orange chunky mittens are all complete!

The second one knitted up really quickly now I'm familiar with the pattern. But get this. The second one looks bigger than the first. Go on, look at the picture. The second one is on the left and the first on the right. Yup, it looks longer and a kind of different shape at the top?! Exactly the same pattern. Mind you a pattern that says 'knit to the tip of your pinkie' could understandably vary for each one with me. Sometimes I check and it's nearly there and I'll say close enough. The next time I might have knitted right to the top of the finger and said, close enough!

Even funnier though is how much yarn I used. Follow this logic for a minute. If the second mitten is actually bigger - visibly bigger - then how come I have this much more yarn left over from an identical brand new 50gm ball for the second mitt??? Compare it to the first little pile....

Go figure! But I like these mittens so much I'm going to cast on some more now, possibly stripey? I'll keep you posted...

Friday, 17 October 2008

New shoes!

Introducing Dr Marten's Emily shoes in red. Lovely new shoes! Aren't they nice?

I have spent ages looking for these shoes online as soon as I saw them on Ysolda's and Cosmicpluto's blog sites. They bought them in Edinburgh when Laura from Cosmicpluto was returning Ysolda's visit to Canada. So I got the lowdown on how comfy they were, how you could just walk for miles stright away and most importantly, that they fit wide feet.

But could I find them online? No. They can be bought in black, brown and red and of course as I wanted the red ones, I couldn't find them at all. Brown yes, red, no.

I looked and looked and just as I was about to give up, I found a link to Amazon. Amazon?! Shoes?! Yup. In fact I found that Schuh have a very comprehensive range and I actually found more than one yummy pair and it was a close call but the Emily's won out - the colour, the criss-cross pattern and the general yumminess:)

Now, anyone who knows me, knows it takes AGES for me to find a pair of shoes I like and that fit and this usually results in a full day slog around shoe shops looking for just the right pair. So I have never bought a pair on spec, I always have to try them on. But I thought that at least Dr Martens have fitted before and I should be okay. (And I'm really not up to a shoe hunt at the mo:)

Ding, Dong, postie with my shoes this morning! Straight on the feet. YES! they fit:))))) A quiet thank goodness at this point. So, I've been wearing them all day and I even put on some contrasty tights to show off the redness. Such a small thing I know, but I've been going around all day saying 'new shoes!' and smiling:)

Aah, it's the simple things!!!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


SO! you've been wondering what I've been up to in the last few days? Since the dashing mitts, I started some pink fetching mitts and a hand-dyed 4x4 ribbed hat that I'm not too happy with, and mittens! See, I did it again. One pink fetching mitt down - ok, minus the thumb - and I got distracted by mittens so it still needs its mate knitted up. It does have a lovely picot edging at the top that I do like a lot though. (the red yarn is where the thumb will be)

But onwards to the mittens! The two tone blue mitts are based on the 'Very Cabley Mittens' pattern which you can find here. It is a well written pattern that has details for each hand - perfect for me who forgets to swap things around. I like clear laid out instructions so I can get on with the knitting! If you do intend to knit this then please note how much yarn you will need before starting.... 4ozs = 114 gms so one 100gm ball won't do it. Mind you, it does say Aran weight yarn on 4mm needles which could decrease the amount of yarn used and might come within 100gms, but I wouldn't take the chance. It's a lot of knitting to run out near the end - Like I did :((( I should have worked it out first...

Its a lovely cable twisted cuff that continues into little alternated open twists all over the mitten on both sides. This works well with a semi solid and the original pic is in a solid pink so that would work too. Maybe too busy a pattern for a colour mix. I followed the pattern exactly and found that it fits the male hand comfortably but is very wide and a bit loose on the cuff for smaller handies. It does give instructions for shortening and lengthening for individual sizing which is extremely helpful but not for the width. I might try to make a smaller version by knitting a Double knit yarn following the same instructions or I could reduce the stitches in the pattern but that would be more work really. But it does knit up nicely and is a cosy, thick, warm mitten.

Unfortunately the second mitt didn't get much further than the needles before the ball of yarn ran out - no way to eek that ball out, I'm afraid. So, plan B. Take back the first mitten and turn them both into fingerless mitts and, voila! Not the original plan but the best I can do with my fogged 'forgetting-to-check-simple-instructions' brain which I seem to perpetually have at the moment. So, will show you the finished cable mitts when I alter them....

But, after this experience, I decided to try a different mitten pattern that shows up the colouring of the yarn and didn't focus on the pattern so much. This is for chunky yarn and has a simple rib cuff and shaping for the thumb. Quick to knit and very soft and yummy. I just love these colours and although the blue mitts are technically more proficient, I do like these more:) They have a snuggly look for winter.

On size 6mm needles, one mitten uses 50gms of yarn with only a few inches to spare as you can see in the second picture. That is a little too close for comfort really and if your knitting is looser than mine, you will run out. Sizing for this one. Fits a man comfortably and a woman more loosely but I think I will tighten the cuff more by knitting it on smaller needles. Does fit me better than the blue mitten but I think once the cuff is more shaped it will keep it on my wrist better and I'll be happier with the fit. You can find this pattern here.

But I still have more mitten patterns to go. There are two more patterns in the Vogue knitting fall edition that I have to try but they may take longer as there are more cables again but for now, these snuggly mittens have leaped up the christmas list pile as they are quick, use little yarn and feel lovely:)

So you may see a lot more mittens piling up as well as Veritys and textured berets. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Finally...... Dashing!

Two blogless days later and I've finally finished the Dashing fingerless mitts. Okay, it hasn't quite been every second of the last few days but I have clocked up a good few hours of film watching! Funny how projects remind you of what you watched when you were knitting. So for Dashing, I've watched all of the extended DVD's of Lord of the Rings and Persuasion 2007 tv version. (I think it was ITV - in the UK).

The yarn is one of the hand dyed balls from a few months back and I think it works really well with both the solid and the cable areas. The blend of colours is just yummy. When my partner and I decided to dye some yarns mine ended up being tones of purply/pinks and jade greens. His were all lovely subtle browns, honeys and aquas. So I think it's only fitting to make a pair of mitts for him out of his sumptious yarns - which he generously gave to me. Strange he doesn't think he has a gift for colour and dyeing yarns. He won't believe me when I go 'WOW' and thinks I'm exaggerating his abilities ........ sigh.

A little close-up of the cable detail and the subtle colour variations of the yarn. The cable is a simple directional twist but you must remember to do the opposite for the other hand! C4B for the left and C4F for the right. The pattern is pretty clear but I did nearly forget and also had to remember to carefully place the thumbs and not end up with two left hands!! The pattern is free at and is a good weekend knit.

The finished hand warmer with the obligatory mug of tea - or coffee. I like these mitts as they are longer on the arm and very snug. Perfect for that cold computer hand syndrome:) Although you can't see the second mitt clearly, please note it is there! I actually did it! I didn't pause, get distracted and forget to 'get round to' the second one - second glove, sock, sleeve syndrome. I am sooo bad at that and since the first fingerless glove I knitted last year is still missing its partner, it was kind of important that I didn't fall by the wayside this time!
(I will knit it, honest! Now I've rediscovered the yarn.......)

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Daisy update

The more and more I looked at the posted pictures of red daisy, the more unhappy I felt, but why? I like the stitch and the colour, so what was niggling at me? I realised it looked incomplete, unfinished and severly lacking in daisies all the way to the crown. So, pretty much straight after I posted, I started to stitch, and stitch, and stitch, and voila! All over daisies and a hat that is now definitely, positively finished.

I did think a few french knots on the rib band would be a nice addition but the knitting was too loose and they kept slipping through the fabric - ah well. It probably would have been overkill, I suppose:)

The Dashing fingerless mitts are taking slightly longer than planned but I am just about up to the thumb on the first one and should have more interesting pictures than just a tube on some needles! A very yummy variegated yarn tube, but there is only so much photography can do to make a tube look interesting!! Until tomorrow...

Saturday, 4 October 2008


Introducing Slouchy! Knitted in Rowan Tweed Dk, colour Heather. This is quite an old yarn from my stash - at least 12 years - and I don't know if it was still being sold then:) The pattern is from Classic Elite, called 'A Slouch for all Seasons' by Melissa Lynn. I got this and the red daisy pattern free by signing up for the weekly newsletters. A new pattern every week. There is also a Classic Elite group on Ravelry that features others classic elite knits - good to see others interpretations before you knit!!

It is a real slouchy beret, this one! Look at the way it is weighted at the back to give the 'slouch' feel. The dk thickness - or should I say thinness - very definitely works to its advantage. It would be interesting to try a heavier aran or worsted weight to get a firmer shape but still retain the crispness of the lace YO detail.

The pattern started with a 1x1 rib but I usually avoid this unless for a fitted beanie type hat. So I altered it to a 2x2 rib instead. In hindsight, this would have worked if I had remembered to go down a needle size or two to keep the band's slightly tighter grip on the head. Instead, I have a band that is getting looser every time I wear it. Lesson learned. But still it is very comfy and warm to wear.

This, I must admit is the second attempt of this pattern as I suffered from a severe brain fog episode where I managed to read the pattern incorrectly all the way through the whole 7.5 inches and only realised something was wrong when the decreases didn't match up with the lace pattern. The fact that the there was only one row of holes instead of two completely escaped my notice. I'm sure there was a small focused part of me screaming inside 'what an idiot! If you had just looked!!' Instead, I ripped it all back and started again - the right way this time!

See? Lovely double rows of Yo's - like it was meant to be....

But everything happens for a reason and my 'mistake' gave me the opportunity to consider the overly solidness of the yarn I had been using. The original picture is in a lovely solid orange - yum! - but my solid mid purple just looked, well, solid. Brick-like solid rather than yummy orange solid. So, working with the positive, I took the opportunity to substitute my lovely Rowan Tweed.
(It's been hanging about so long as I been waiting for just the right project, worthy of such yumminess. I also have another two balls stashed so I'm happy with this decision - although it was a toughie)

And I'm glad I did, cause now I have a yummy, heathery tweed slouch I can wear in all seasons:) What do you mean, could be a Christmas present? They are coming along but I must admit to finding it hard to part with some of the hats! I have moved onto gloves - or 'dashing' from to be precise - but more on that tomorrow.

Friday, 3 October 2008

Red Daisy

Red daisy has been sitting around waiting for the daisies to materialise and they have been a week or so in the 'getting-round-to' pile. Goodness knows why as they were fun to stitch and I enjoyed every minute - even though it probably took longer to stitch than knit the whole hat! The hat is now completely transformed....

From solid red to a field of friendly flowers.

This is a photo heavy post today so you can see the hat from all angles. You don't notice in all the pics but the back view seems a bit sparse in the daisy department - and there was me trying not to overkill as usual! I think I will add a few more and go for the full head of flowers:) Can't have a boring bit!

This pattern was a slight variation of the Classic Elite Daisy Chapeau - which did have big 3D daisies on a garter stitch brim. It did look very sweet on the little girl modelling it but I don't think I could quite get away with it these days! I've also changed the brim to a 2x2 rib but I think a roll top edge would look softer, don't you?

The idea for the hand stitch came from a little pin holder I made when I was young when I learned chain, daisy stitch and just playing with the threads stitch - see the pink little daisy? I remember making this and solemnly gathering pins to store safely in the four felt pages.

So I've adapted the flower motif onto the hat for the big little girls out there who still want a bit of daisy friendliness in their day!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008


This was an interesting knit for me as all of the berets by Ysolda have been knitted from the centre out but this one worked from the band in. Maybe this method lends itself better to a cable pattern but I found I prefer working from the centre. I find all the needles running into each other annoying - and although this must have been true in the other hats, it didn't 'feel' as annoying so.... Apart from my personal preferences :) Ysolda's pattern is again cleverly thought out and looks visually stunning from both sides...

I used Paton's aran beehive and bought it online without feeling the yarn. I should have checked beforehand, I know, but for some reason thought it had about 50% wool in the mix. In reality it has only 15% and is less soft than I expected. I blame Debbie Bliss for this as now I have used cashmerino and alpaca silk my fingers have become much more sensitive to yumminess and nothing really feels as soft as I previously thought:)

This pattern can be knitted in fitted, regular and slouchy - this is the regular as I've done quite a few slouchies and wanted to compare the difference. And if it suited me then it could become mine in all its pink loveliness.....

Ah, don't you just love the intertwining cables? I really do think I might have to knit another one - in cashmerino maybe?


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