A few ramblings about knitting, mainly vintage stuff and other bits and bobs

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Oddment Gloves Pattern - Weldons 212

I know that it's not yet winter, or even autumn, but it's never too early to start knitting gloves and these are just the thing to keep your fingers snug when the weather start to chill.

They are made from scraps, so have a rummage through your stash and if you've got 50g of 4-ply or fingering, you'll have enough to make these. And they are on 2 needles too so no fiddly dpns to deal with although you could probably convert it to in the round if you wanted.

Clothing started to be restricted in 1941 and in 1942 full on rationing limited not only the fabrics available but the styles of clothing. Every item was strictly regulated with even things like the number of buttons and pockets, and the sweep of the skirt limited to a set amount. To counter this, people became more creative with the limited resources they had available: Fair Isle became popular to use up small amounts of wool and bright accessories were used to cheer up the more limited colours of utility clothing. I wonder too if people used small bit of brightness to remind themselves of happier, pre-war times.

This pattern also gives us an idea of the colour combinations that were popular at the time so if you want to knit yourself a pair of lovely, stripy gloves click on the pattern cover to download this great and easy to knit pattern

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

WIP Wednesday - Chic Minnie

I found this wonderful 1950s pattern in a pile of sad looking 1980s patterns stacked in the dark corner of a charity shop and fell in love. I just had to have it so 2 minutes later it was mine after paying the princely sum of 50p.

It is such a clever construction. Worked from side to side, you cast on 253 stitches for the sleeves and work in a broad rib. There is no increases or decreases, you just keep the rib going for the stripes and then split for the back and front. Then the rib continues in the single colour until you get to the stripes for the other side. After that there is the waist and sleeves welts. I'm not sure how I'm going to cram the hundreds of stitches into the cuff but the rib makes it very sprongy so I'm sure I'll manage.

The original wool was 3-ply so I am using Cygnet wool rich 4-ply as I've found it to be a good substitute and it's soft but doesn't pill as much as merino. As I'm stash busting I had to use black instead of white but I think it looks a bit like a chic version of Minnie the Minx's jumper.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Back to the Blog with Little Things

It's been a while and I have missed you all but I just haven't felt like writing these past few months. Not really felt like doing anything to be completely frank and it's been an uphill struggle just to get the boring day-to-day things done, let alone anything more thrilling.

Normally when I get like this, I stop doing everything that makes me smile (which is why the Bathing Belle KAL died, but hopefully I will resurrect it later in the year) and wait for the depression to get bored and wander off but this time I am going to try something a little different. I'm going to do a small thing every day that make me happy. I have no guarantee of success but if we don't try, then we will never know.

One thing that does make me happy is sharing things so my little thing today is to share this wonderful cardigan pattern with you. It's a little bit outside my usual date range as it dates from 1964 but it's such a beauty, is knitted in double knit, and comes in 3 larger sizes to boot.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Bathing Belles KAL

I have long had a fascination with knitted swimwear. I don’t know why but there was something about having something so seemingly impractical as a knit designed to be formfitting and then to drench it. Didn’t the designers know that wool has stretch? But the more I looked into it the more interested I became and the more I realised that a well-designed and properly fitting suit could be achieved. No sagging crotch, no baggy bum just a beautiful sleek garment.

My favourite period of swimwear is the 1930s (but I love the fashions of that time so it’s to be expected) as the variety of designs is huge. Kate-Em has done a brilliant blog post on patterns in magazines and there is a wonderful range of beach and lido wear out there.

The idea for this KAL is very simple – knit a swimsuit from a vintage pattern, or adapt one if you like. There is no specific type of vintage, the choice is entirely up to you. I have I posted a few swimsuit patterns that you can use, or use one of your own and there are loads of great free and paid for patterns to rifle through.
The plan is to cast on before the end of June to give people a chance to find the perfect suit and get any supplies needed. There’s no deadline for finishing as life can get in the way but I will be offering some prizes for those who finish by the end of August as a wee incentive – 3 patterns of your choice from my Etsy shop. If you finish by the end of September, you can have 2 and if it’s not until the end of October then you can claim 1 pattern.

So go forth, find a pattern, find your yarn, find your needles and set to making the perfect knitted swimsuit.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Bathing Belles Vintage Swimsuit KAL - The Patterns

Here are the 3 patterns that I am offering for the Swimsuit KAL (click on the image to get the pdf). I tried to find ones that had a slightly larger bust (for vintage swimwear) but there are loads more out in the wilds of the internet or you are more than welcome to use a pattern from your collection.

1947 Swim SuitThe first is a "Regulation Swim Suit" from Good Housekeeping's Family Knitting Book from 1947. It looks like a good solid suit that might actually be able to be used for swimming. I think this one might be able to be sized up another few inches if you were to get a slightly larger gauge (maybe 8 stitches to the inch. The pattern is a twisted slip stitch producing a firm fabric.
The measurements are 35 to 37" bust and 38 to 40" hips
The materials are 3-ply or light fingering; 2.75mm US 2 needles as well as a set of dpns of the same size and a medium crochet hook
The original used 6ozs of Patons Beehive Fingering 3-ply
Tension/gauge: 9 stitches to 1 inch

1948 BikiniThere is also a bikini for those who like a fun bit of colourwork in the panties and I think the bra is wonderful. This beauty comes from Knitting Illustrated (1948) by marvellous Margaret Murray and Jane Koster. The slipped stitches in the shorts gives it a nice, firm fabric but the brassiere is only stocking stitch so if your a bit worried about heft, a simple twisted knit would firm it up a tad.
The measurements are for the shorts 12" length at side edge and round the widest part (unstretched) 32". The Brassiere is to fit a 34 to 36" bust
The materials are 3-ply or light fingering wool, 2.75mm US 2 and 2mm US 0 needles; elastic for the waist; braid for the shoulder straps; and 2 buttons
The original used 3 ozs of 3-ply in light blue and 4 ozs in dark (no brand given)
Tension/gauge: 10 stitches to 1 inch

1930s Swimming Suit
Finally we have, potentially, the most challenging, but also the most fun suit (possibly, maybe). In this one, your own measurements are used to make the perfect swimming suit from The Complete Knitting Book (1934) by Margory Tillotson. There is only the schematic to follow so you'll need to have your measurements and an idea of what tension you knit at to get a well fitting suit. The recommended gauge is 7 stitches and 8 rows (which makes up one block on the schematic) but neglects to say which needles nor which yarn weight to use. I have to say that 7 stitches seems a bit baggy for a cossie but again you could use a firmer stitch pattern to help firm things up a bit.

So there we go. I think that I'll give people a few days to look through the patterns and decide what they fancy doing before posting next. I am drawn to the 1930s schematic as I'll get something that might actually be able to fit me but I also want to do something I might actually finish. I'm really excited about this and hope that we will all be bathing beauties soon.

Hopefully we can get a bit of chat together over on my Facebook page

Monday, 6 June 2016

Finding the words to say . . . What?

I want to try and play with words again and see if I can make them make sense for other people. I want to write stories. I love language: the way people use (and abuse it), the tempo, the timbre, the nuances. I love the way that words feel. I shocked myself this morning though, when I realised how small my spoken vocabulary has become. I don't consider myself to be particularly eloquent but have always imagined that I got by pretty well but I found myself using 'amazing' several times when talking about the exploration of the Pacific by Polynesia peoples. What they did was amazing but there were other ways I could have described their ability to cover vast tracts of water. I was disappointed in myself and wish to find a way to use more, and better suited words. But how to go about such a challenge?

My bookcase is relatively light. I have some books I have returned to throughout my life - Littlenose; The Moomins; The Bone People; Victory; Jude the Obscure; The Gone Away World; Wolf Hall; Terry Pratchett is always there as is Iain (M.) Banks and of course my enduring love of vintage knitting books, but I have so few books.

Some people suggest that reading helps develop stronger language skills, but I am not a great, nor vociferous reader. I can read, and am not afraid of a complex or challenging read, but I am not one of those that always has a book on the go. Perhaps I should try to read a little more to see if it can help. I enjoy a wide range: science fiction, some fantasy, quite like modern fiction and dabble in the classics, will gladly open a book on poetry and non-fiction is something that I do enjoy. Yet where do I start? Many of the those that grace the best sellers lists I find dull and poorly written. The stories derivative, the characterisations unimagined and the language ungainly and more about the author than the story. They seem to have been written with the soul purpose to fill up critics list of 'must reads' but I wonder if the critics have read them.

I think that I am going to ask random strangers and friends to recommend a book for me to read and see if that expands my words and helps me write more myself. I know that there are those "100 books you should read before you die" type of lists but I find them a bit unoriginal (not the books, the lists) and I've probably already read many of them. I really would like to find new authors and stories so what is on your 'best books ever' list? And what do you think I should read next?

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Swimming Along

I've had it in mind to knit a swimsuit. You know one of those fun things from the 30s or 40s so I'm going to arrange a KAL for anyone who was to join in.

I'm going to offer a couple of patterns from free here, or you can use one that you've had your eye on, and we'll spend the next couple of month making sweet swimsuits together.

At the moment I'm thinking of starting mid-June but haven't fixed a finishing date. I know that life sometimes gets in the way of knitting so it might be that there won't be a determined end date but that support and encouragement will be offered for as long as it takes us to get there.

I'll be running it through Facebook with other bits going on over here (probably) so click a like on my page there to stay up to date.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Spring is Springing . . .

. . . and what better way to celebrate than with this great Spring Jumper from Good Needlework and Knitting 1938? 
Worked in a fancy rib with lovely long, close fitting sleeves and a  wee bow at the neck this is a classic 1930s design and will fit up to a 35" bust.
I love how a colour scheme is given for your whole outfit. Soft Tulip Green is suggested with a matching green angora woollen skirt; brown shoes; suntan stockings; and brown, green and yellow bangles. I like to think that those bangles are the big, chunky Bakelite ones that stack half way up your arm.

The second colour scheme is no less vibrant being Poker Red but toned down with a grey flannel skirt and jacket, grey suede shoes and belt and natural stockings.

Unusually the sleeves are worked from the top down so this could easily be made with shorter sleeves if you choose.

To download the pattern, just click on the image above

Friday, 8 April 2016

Socks for Spring - Bairnswear 182

 Short socks for me always make me think of summer so here's the chance for you to grab a copy of this great 1930s pattern and knit yourself a pair or two.

The booklet has socks for rambling, for tennis, for skating, for golf, and for badminton . . . so for every summer activity a modern woman should be engaged in. And being short, you can whip them up in no time.

One of the patterns (for golf socks) uses something called E-Lace-Tic which seems to be a wide elastic with holes punched along the top and bottom. I made these but couldn't find a modern equivalent so did a couple of tight 1x1 ribbing and then picked up the cuff stitches after finishing the rest of the sock.

Click on the pattern to download your free copy of the patterns

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Pearsall's 365 - Kathleen

Boxy or puffed sleeve with the barley twist cable make this a classic 1940s jumper
Date: early 1940s
Measurements: bust up to 34"; length 19"; sleeve seam 5"
Materials: 3-ply or light fingering or maybe 4-ply; 3.75mm US 3 and 2.75 mm US 2 needles; cable needle; 4 buttons
Original used 10 ozs Pearsall's Prunella Sparkle Rayon
Tension: 7 stitches to 1 inch

Friday, 25 March 2016

Family Woollies and a bit of history

Family Woollies
 I love these knitting supplements - this one was produced by Texet for Mother and Home in about 1937. Not only do you get a range of patterns also get a teeny glimpse of what was 'socially' acceptable for that era - history and knitting in one happy bundle. This one has the perfect nuclear family for the 1930s: Mum and Dad and 3 children and reflected the British government's attempts to raise the population.

Although it may not seem like an obvious campaign, images of the ideal family across a range of media presented what was desirable and in 1930s Britain, a larger family was desirable. Having a large population in the early part of the 20th century was seen as a positive thing as people were needed to work in manufacturing and agriculture but also meant that you had a population to buy the goods you made.

During the First World War the UK population had slumped and although there was a significant spike immediately afterwards, the birth rate soon dropped again. By the late 1920s the number of births had dropped to current levels, about 700,000 a year, and infant morality meant that 1 in 10 children didn't survive to their first birthdays so subtle campaigns throughout the 1930s were designed to encourage larger families (but not too large). These feed into all aspects of normal life including knitting patterns.

So there you have it: a little bit of history and a little bit of knitting - click on the cover and download the booklet with 9 family designs

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Good Knitting October 1937

 Knitting supplements have long been used by knitting wool companies to market their latest yarns and designs. Here's a copy of Good Knitting from October 1937 that gives a good range of designs for all the family. This booklet was produced by Lister and given away with Woman's Sphere

There are 11 designs in total:

1) Cardigan Style Jumper  - Button up cardigan with belt and plait pattern. Bust 35"; length 21.5"; sleeve seam 19"
2) Jester Cap and Jacket  - Textured V-neck cardigan with matching hat. Bust 34"; length 18"; sleeve seam 18"
3) Fair Isle Cardigan - 2 colour Fair Isle design on a main colour. Chest 24.5"; length 15.5"; sleeve seam 12.5"
4) Play Suit - Shirt and Shorts. Chest 22"; length 9"; sleeve seam 2.5". Shorts Front seam 7", back seam 8"
5) Trimmed with Bows - Jumper with a deep welt and contrast bows at neck. Bust 35"; length 17.5", sleeve seal 17.5"
6) Panelled with Cable Stitch - Jumper with horizontal rib with vertical cables running up the centre. Bust 34"; length 18.5"; sleeve seam 18"
7) Tailored for Sports - Blouse with fancy ribbing with a plain panel. Bust 35"; length 18.5"; sleeve seam 5.5"
8) For the Man - Sleeveless pullover with arrow head pattern. Chest 38"; length 21.5"
9) Couple of the Cover - Jumper blouse with horizontal stripes and collar. Bust 33"; length 17.5", sleeve seam 4.5
10) Couple of the Cover  - Cardigan with horizontal stripes and moss stitch front panel. Bust 36"; length 18"; sleeve seam 18"
11) Matinee Coat - Simple cardigan with eyelet pattern. Chest 19"; length 9"; sleeve seam 5"

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Surprise Sunday - 1940s Fair Isle Gloves

Since this was the scene that greeted me this morning, I thought that we could all do with a quick and pretty pattern  to help keep the cold away so I came up with gloves and mittens (all fitting an average hand, whatever that is). They are all made with quite a tight tension to keep your hands nice and warm. 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B_tfKoGu9l5BUHZzMjBMYWZ6WlU/view?usp=sharingEach pair use only an ounce (about 28g) of the main colour with the pattern being made up from oddments. Model A uses white, clover, lilac, rose, green, and peach as the contrasts. You can use what ever colours you have about as I think that it's probably only a few metres of each that you'll need for both gloves. Although the originals use 3-ply one of the thinner 4-ply wools would work equally well as long as you get the tension of 10.5 stitches to 1" using 2.75mm US 2 needles. Model B are the mittens and have this lovely toning patterns across the back of the hands in a light, medium and dark shade. The tension of these are a little bit tighter: 11 stitches to the inch using 2.75mm US 2 needles. Model C has brown, green, red, white, lemon and yellow and are worked as a tension of 10.5 stitches to 1 inch using 3mm US 2 needles.
To down load the pattern just click on the pattern and it should take you to the pdf.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

New In

I had a bit of a 30s splurge this week (it's probably my favourite era style wise). First was a great diagonal striped jumper with a stylish jabot (or decorative ruffle) from Munrospun from the mid 1930s. Munrospun was one of those companies that always produced high end patterns and was seen as being slightly more chic than many of the standard pattern companies. The pattern is for a 36" bust and uses a 4-ply so I think it could easily be resized by using larger needles and thicker wool. Then there is this wonderful lace blouse with a bust measurement of between 33" to 36" depending on how tight you like your clothes. The original was made from an artificial silk or rayon so if you want to match the drape, make sure that you choose something that slips.

This set of 5 jumpers, all different sizes that come from the Good Housekeeping Second Knitting Supplement. I found this tucked into a modern book and was so surprised to find it. The patterns are wonderful and probably date from the early 30s judging by the hair styles. My favourite is the diagonal striped jumper: I love the way they carry on through to the back and the way that one of the stripes coils down the arm. Each jumper has only one size but they are different, so a crafty use of different needles and yarn weights could get you a larger or smaller version. However, no tension is given so you really will just have to see how they feel.

On to the 1940s and there is this stunning cable and bobble twin set in a great petite size. To make this larger, just increase the number of repeats, but remember that you might also need to alter the arm scyth too so you could use a pattern in your size to work out that one.

For those of you that like a bit of lace, there is this gorgeous lace jumper pattern, also in a more petite size. This is a Bairnswear pattern, La Laine is the wool needed. Bairnwear did this frequently but probably the most recognised if 'Femina' which was another one of their wool lines.

My final 1940s pattern is this wonderful puff sleeve blouse or evening jacket with an all over shirred design. This one was designed by Munrospun and is, I think, extremely beautiful. I can just imagine it in a midnight blue yarn with a bit of glimmer to it and crystal buttons. The shirring is easy to achieve: it's just a matter of increasing and decreasing at the appropriate points to get the ripple effect.

To finish there is this fun 1950s 'sweater girl' jumper pattern with a nice open mesh lace. This is achieved by using a large (10mm) needle every few rows. This pattern has 2 sizes 34" and 36" but I think that it might be tricky to make it larger by just using larger needles or yarn so you might have to work out the maths if you want to resize it. 

Monday, 11 January 2016

R.I.P. David Bowie

The man was a god among men. I think he was one of the most creative individuals I have every come across. He challenged so many things and showed others how to explore the world around them on their own terms. He showed that style and substance could go together.

Also, as Ziggy, he could rock a knitted body suit like no other person.

He will be sorely missed

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Surprise Sunday - 1950s Batwing Bolero - Bestway A2749

We all love a surprise so every Sunday I will be posting a free vintage pattern and today it is this great Batwing Bolero from Bestway.

The pattern is for a 34" to 36" bust and has a simple basket stitch pattern and is worked in a 3-ply or light fingering. It also has a shirt collar and fastens at the neck with a single button although to could leave this off if you want. There are instructions for either long or 3/4 length sleeves.

As it's worked on small needles, if you wanted this to be larger, you could go up a needle size without compromising the hand of the garment, or even use a 4-ply with a larger size needle to get a few extra inches.

Measurements: 34" to 36" bust; length from shoulder 15.5"; three-quarter sleeve seam 11.5"; long sleeve seam 18"

Tension: Over the pattern 17 stitches and 22 rows to 2 inches using 3mm US 2.5 needles

Materials: 8ozs Emu Zephyr 3-ply Botany Wool; 3mm US 2.5, 2.75mm US 2, and 2mm US 0 needles; 1 button

Thursday, 7 January 2016

New lovelies

As part of my new year's resolutions I am going to add one pattern to the shop every day. Granted, it's only been a week but it's going really well. I decided to go for a mix of different style and eras so there's something for everyone (as long as you like ladies' patterns).

There are these fabulous 1930s designs. The Patons jumper is for a 34" bust but should be easy to resize as you can just add another pattern repeat to make it larger. Alternative, you could use a slightly heavier yarn and slightly needles to take it up a few more inches.

The Woman's Weekly stretches to 40" bust (despite the sylphlike model)  and has a great lace pattern. I made one of these beauties last year and it's fabulous. I went up to a 4-ply yarn and used 4mm needles instead of using 3.75mm to get a larger size. My measurements when the photo was taken was a 49" full bust and 42" waist so you see it adapts very nicely to a larger size.

I also included some great and easy to make jumpers from the 1940s, just check out those victory rolls. The Bestway pattern was reprinted with slightly changes until the mid 1950s (I'll do a post later about that) and has a lovely lace pattern. 

The striped pullover from Copley's has a slipped stitch which gives it a slight lace look. I love that the Copley's changed their logo during the war. Pre-war it was a bellboy but during the war, they gave him a tin hat.

A mainstay of British patterns until the 1970s is the bed-jacket. Most homes until the 1980s, and even the 1990s, didn't have central heating so you had to find something to keep you warm whilst reading in bed or before dressing in the morning.

These 2 patterns are light and lacy and look amazingly glamorous. Every woman needs a bed-jacket and you can always use them as a light cardigan for those chilly summer evenings.

The final pattern for the week is this cardigan and jumper set from Twilleys. Both have fabulous deep v-neck and I love the contrast round the neck and welts. I think these made from a soft 4-ply cotton would be wonderful for summer.

All the patterns have already been entered on to the Ravelry database.