Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sirdar 1140 - 1940s Striped Jumper

Mr Y has been a star this morning, and has taken the girls off for an early morning swim.  We walked them through the streets of Cambridge for hours yesterday, and they were weary little lovelies when we got home, but a restorative sleep meant they were raring to go this morning, ready and out of the door by 7am!  It's another chilly day out there, and snuggled up indoors with the heating on, I think I'm in the better place!  

It’s another woolly post today, a quick knit that took just 12 days to complete.  I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise that the pattern is from the 1940’s, this time a Sirdar pattern, from the middle or era.

I always have an easy knit on the go to stop my hands being idle when we’re travelling, or while the girls are working.  It’s surprising how quickly a jumper can come together when you do a few rows here, a few rows there.  I didn’t time how many hours this one took, but I started it on the 21st January, and put it on the dummy on the 2nd February, so not bad going.

The pattern is feather and fan, a popular pattern throughout the 1940’s, and still popular now.  The design is worked on a 4 row pattern repeat.  Three rows are stocking stitch, the fourth is the pattern row and it’s this easy pattern row that gives the design the wavy effect.  

I've knitted it before; I've actually knitted it a couple of times but changed the sleeve design and stripe order.  It’s a great pattern for using up those oddments of wool, and if you’re a fan of Goodnight Sweetheart, you may have noticed that Phoebe wore a similar jumper in a real rainbow of colours, which she teamed with a green skirt. Although the pattern shows a very definite stripe pattern, you could, if you wanted to, work in more colours or varying stripe thickness, to create a different look.  

The wool I used was Adriafil Azzurra, which is fast becoming a favourite of mine.  The main body of the jumper has been worked in brick red, with emerald green, dark brown and yellow stripes.  

Worked as per the pattern, the jumper was meant to come out at a 35” bust, but although my tension was spot on for the sleeves, the finished woolly ended up being for a 40”/42” bust.  It would be easy enough make it smaller by going down a needle size, it would also be possible to recalculate the actual number of stitches, but as there is a 12 stitch pattern repeat, it would take some very careful calculations.  

For the first time ever, I used a circular needle.  I thought it might speed up the knitting, but it actually slowed me down.  I'm a tight knitter, so struggled with the stitches getting caught where the wire met the needle.  Making the jumper up was quicker; fewer fiddly colours to run in and no joins, but I’m happier working on the traditional 2 needles.

I really love how this jumper knits up, and the colour possibilities really are endless.  It has already found a new home with a vintage loving lady, and I’ve just dug out the version I started back in 2013, worked in heather, grey, cream and mint, so will be completing that before moving onto the next pattern, well, maybe ;-) x

There were no quirks in the pattern, it knitted up exactly as it should have done, and came together well.  There is no neck opening on this one, but you could easily leave the left shoulder part open and add a couple of buttons and crocheted button loops.  The pattern is for sale in my Etsy shop, which you can find here.

Wool - Adriafil Azzurra
Weight used - 130g brick red, 64g emerald green, 24g dark brown, 17g yellow
Time taken - 12 days
Size - 40”-42” bust

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Bestway 1066 - 1940s Blackberry Stitch Bolero

Hasn’t it turned decidedly cold?  I’m sitting here, looking out of the window, ignoring the ironing, willing for the white stuff to start falling.  I’ve seen plenty of picture postcard views from other parts of the country, but Suffolk has avoided a covering, much to my girls’ annoyance.

They are off on a jolly with their grandma today, the first time this year.  Lunch and a spot of beach combing are on the cards; so I’ve got a small window of me time, in which to share with you my recently finished bolero.

I rather like a natty little bolero.  They were quite popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s, and could be found in both the fabric and woolly variety.  I have quite a few patterns for the knitted sort; some lacey, some simple, others hideously complicated.  After much deliberation, (choosing a pattern is a complicated job, don’t you know), I opted for the blackberry-stitch bolero, a Bestway pattern from the early 1940’s.

Quite a while ago, many months, maybe even years, us wool hoarders loose track of our stash, I picked up 4 balls of Jarol Heritage 4 ply. 

Jarol wasn’t a brand I’d heard of before, but on a mission for mustard shades, the Heritage range popped up in the search results.  The shade I used was No.140, which is a warm mustard/ochre.  It’s not the cheapest of wools, working out at about £5.00 per 100g, but it is worth the money, because the quality is there.  It’s a 55% wool, 25% acrylic and 20% nylon mix which is, apparently, washable at 30 degrees, although I always advocate hand washing the woollies I knit.  Although there is some acrylic in it, it doesn’t shine in the sunlight like some of the cheaper brands do.  It’s a dull, matt colour which, I know I’m not describing very favourably, is perfect for an authentic reproduction piece. 

About 7 years ago, when I first started knitting, and progressed beyond 6” squares, the first thing I knitted up was a blackberry stitch turban, worked on huge needles.  The joy of blackberry stitch is that when worked on larger needles, it knits up quite quickly.  This bolero was knitted on 8’s, so I could really see it growing, which is always a plus in my book.

I actually made a sleeve for the bolero back in the autumn last year, but with commissions and Christmas prep, everything got bagged up until it was rediscovered in a cupboard on New Years.  Sunday evening knitting was made all the more palatable by being able to watch Foyle's War.

I often wonder how long it actually takes me to knit a garment.  Because I knit as the girls work, or in the car, or while I watch television, I don’t notice time ticking by.  So, New Year, new start, and all that, I thought it was about time I actually found out.  So I timed myself!  Yep, armed with my trusty stopwatch and a piece of paper, I recorded how long it took me to knit every single piece.  I even timed how long it took me to pin, press and finish it.  The grand total was 46 ½ hours, which I don’t think is too bad.  

I would have finished it sooner, but I foolishly tried to knit the second sleeve while full of snuffles, and so my cotton wool brain fluffed it up, and I had to start the sleeve over again!  Note the curly wool from ripping back the sleeve!

Sometimes patterns turn out as per the original, but sometimes they don’t, and this was one of those.  Although the pattern was nice and simple to follow, with a really easy pattern repeat, the sleeve tops didn’t go together as they should, so rather than putting in the pleats as suggested in the original, I gathered them instead.  The finished bolero also ended up being 4” bigger in the bust, coming out as a 38” rather than a 34”, but that’s not the end of the world.  Sorry about my photographs, they aren’t the best but it’s been so dull here.  I think the sun has gone on strike!

If you fancy giving this one a go, maybe in a cornflower blue or pistachio green ready for Spring, I have put the PDF pattern in my Etsy shop, which you can find here. 

Wool - Jarol Heritage 4 ply
Weight used - 256g
Time taken - 46.5 hours
Size - 38”

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Knitted With Love - 1930's Jumper

Another woolly post today!  Not a garment that I've completed this year, I'm not that speedy, but one I managed to squeeze in just before Christmas.

The jumper in question is the one I knitted for my mum.  In 2013, as well as giving shop bought gifts, I made my family and close friends a handmade Christmas present.  Some edible, some felty things, others woolly.

I hadn't really planned anything similar for 2014, we'd had such a busy run up to the festive season that making gifts for family hadn't even crossed my mind.  However, come mind November, I realised I'd be disappointed in myself if I didn't make something for my much loved parents (why do we put such pressure on ourselves??) so I sorted out the patterns and wool and cracked on!

My mum's pattern was an easy choice, it was one she'd long admired, a stylish long sleeved jumper from a pattern originally printed in "My Home" in May 1936.  

The pattern was found in "The 30s Family Knitting Book", edited by Jane Waller, and printed in 1981; proves that loving vintage isn't a "new" thing! 

I think the male model has a look of Dracula about him!
opted for Adriafil Azzurra in Azio Blue as she, unlike me, loves the pretty colour.  

I did struggle a bit with my tension on the sleeves.  They are worked from the top down, and the heavy size 8's with such few stitches on we're hard to handle, so I switched so short double ended needles, and that helped a bit.  I use metal needles, but am going to try some bamboo needles to see if they are easier to handle.

I'm really pleased with how the jumper turned out, and more importantly, so was Mum!  It's not my best work, I can see a couple of wrong stitches, but as I put on the gift tag, every stitch was done with love, and that counts for a lot in my book.

No chance to show you a picture of her wearing it yet, so you'll have to make so with some shots of it on the dummy :)  Please excuse the rubbish shots, they were taken on my phone one evening, and the light was appalling.

I'm currently working in a bolero in a scrumptious shade of mustard, and will soon be picking up the needles on my next commission piece xx

Friday, 2 January 2015

Bestway 2024 - 1940's Green Cardigan

There's certainly no denying that 2014 was a busy year on the jumper front.  Thank you for your lovely comments on my last post; I'm glad you enjoyed looking at all the pictures as much as I did :o)

Over a year ago, I decided I wouldn't take commission orders anymore.  Problems with non-paying customers, issues with customers changing their mind once I'd started, or even worse, customers not liking the design of the piece, despite it having been their choice, put me off the process.  I kept knitting, but I knitted the patterns that I wanted, in the wool I wanted and in the colours I wanted! 

After a much needed break of doing as I pleased, and after countless emails asking whether I would knit to order, I decided to change the way I took commissions.  I now take payment for the wool upfront, am more particular about the type of wool I will use, and most important of all, I've learnt to say no when someone asks me to knit something that I really don't want to knit.

I had the pleasure of knitting for some truly fantastic people last year.  My final commission piece for 2014 was no exception, and was probably one of my favourite to work on.  It was knitted in a glorious shade of green and was, in the most part, all stocking stitch, so a nice quick knit.  

It was knitted in Adriafil Azzurra and the pattern was a Bestway pattern from the late 1940's.

I've knitted a few cardigans in the past, but I've never done one that required so many buttons.  Nine matching vintage buttons proved quite tricky, most of my sets had either four or eight, but I raided my own personal stash and found the perfect vintage set, heavy carved ones from the 1930's. Pretty, don't you think??

The pattern was nice and easy to follow, no little quirks or tricky bits.  It knitted up quite quickly (I was running it alongside another woolly), and everything fitted together nicely when it came to making it up.  The thing that took me the longest was the placket, it seemed to go on forever!!!

The cardigan has a new home with the very talented Kitty Lou who is an incredible seamstress who has an Etsy shop, Kitty Lou Vintage, which you can find here.

Mr Y is back to work on the 5th, so normal routine will resume.  I can't wait to start my next commission!


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Farewell 2014; You Kept Us Busy!

Teetering on the dawning of another new year; a time to look back at what the last 365 days brought us. 

So how was 2014 for you?  I hope it treated you kindly!  Will you be celebrating at the stroke of twelve?  Me? Well I’ll be in my PJs, having consumed a takeaway, watching Foyle’s War and eating chocolates; such a rock and roll lifestyle!! :o)

There is something about the New Year that I adore.  The blankness of the pages in my diary and a crisp new calendar hanging on the kitchen wall; a whole 365 days worth of potential just waiting for us!

In the most part, with the exception of the blip in the summer with my Mr’s work life, this year has been joyous, filled with family fun, friends and much laughter, and when I compare the ride we’ve had to others close to us, we’ve had it easy, and for that I am thankful, and feel incredibly blessed.

The girls have grown another year older, their little personalities beginning to shine through just a little more each time they grow.  C, a book loving, soft hearted, fun loving child, she has been my little rock this year; great company, and such a great conversationalist! 

M, my forever baby, cheeky, a giggler, wears her heart on her sleeve and often lives in her own little world.

We’ve been on our adventures with them, had fun, and learnt more than any school could have taught them.  Home educating them is a gift and pleasure.

From a productive point of view, it was another bumper jumper year; over 20 woollies knitted and sold to fabulous customers both here and overseas. 

Lots of my little felt posies also crossed the miles as far and wide as Australia and the USA.

I also added more than a few knitting patterns to my collection, so there will be lots more woollies coming in 2015!!  Oh to have the time to knit them all :o)

2015 is already shaping up to be another good year.  I’ve given up making resolutions, after all, I’ll only end up breaking them.  Instead I’ll be making a list of things I hope to do, and places I hope to take those girls of mine.

To each and every one of, thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and for your wonderful comments and kind emails, especially those of you who got in contact over the summer.  I genuinely hope that 2015 is kind to you, and that it is everything you hope it will be.


Monday, 29 December 2014

We've Been Making Memories

To all of you who celebrated the festive season, I hope you had the Christmas you wished for.

We were very fortunate and had a very relaxing time, making lots of memories with our little pickles, and the rest of the family. 

Mr Y has been on holiday for over a week now, how is it that holidays fly by so quickly?!  To be fair, it seems like he has been on holiday a lot longer as we have kept ourselves very busy.

As soon as my Mr had finished for Christmas, we popped out of the county and over the boarder into Norfolk to make a rather special visit to the man of season; a ride on the Santa Special on the North Norfolk Railway.

Although we’ve taken countless rides on the NNR, it was the first time we’d taken the girls on the festive special steam train.  The Black Prince did the pulling, and it was such a crisp, clear winter’s day, with stunning views, it was truly magical for them and us!! 

After sherry, a mince pie and a little bit of carol singing, we had a warming lunch in Whelks Copper and a brisk, blustery (freeeeeeeezing cold) walk along the prom before heading back into Sheringham for some last minute Christmas shopping and a trip to the fudge shop!!  The coffee fudge from there is divine!

A quick journey in the car to Norwich, where we were resting our heads for the night, an overindulgent dinner picnic and the final of Strictly Come Dancing, our weekend couldn’t have been better!

On the 22nd, we made our yearly pre-Christmas trip to the local pantomime; this years offering was Cinderella.  It really was a great night, highly entertaining and engaging.  The evening’s entertainment was only slightly marred by the beastly man to my Mr’s left who felt it necessary to belch loudly after every sip of his seemingly never ending supply of Pepsi!!!  He looked like such a sweet little old man - proves you can never judge a book by it's cover!!! ;-)

Anyway, I finally managed to track down that illusive golden marzipan, so was able to finish my booze laden Christmas cakes!  We’ve made a start on the one for us; the others were for gifts and seemed to be well received.  I don’t eat Christmas cake, can’t stand dried fruit, so ours should last well into January.

For the first time since we’ve been married, we had Christmas Eve as just the four of us, and it was perfect.  Of course, there were some last minute preparations to be done, a mountain of vegetables to peel and chop, those last few presents to wrap, but we crammed the rest of the day full of family games, and festive baking to ensure that the little monkeys were tired right out! 

Watching Santa fly through the night sky at about 5.20, flying from West to East, added an extra special touch of magic to the day, before they tucked into a meal of roast gammon, jacket potatoes and pickles, then we all snuggled on the sofa to watch Arthur Christmas.  

Once offerings had been left for Father Christmas and his Reindeers, (yes, I burnt their cookies!), it was time for bed, and time for Mr Y and I to put our feet up with Foyle’s War and a box of Roses for company!

Christmas Day went smoothly, and all the days and weeks of preparation really paid off.  We spent it at home, cooking a roast dinner for my parents and brother, and the crackers that I made only a few days before went down really well. 

With the exception of my mum, everyone else spent the afternoon constructing some of the Lego that the girls had received for Christmas.  You’re never to old for Lego!   

I was lucky and was gifted some truly lovely things, including some scrumptious vintage goodies.  There were more knitting patterns from Mr Y (he knows me so well!), 6 brooches to add to my ever expanding 1940’s brooch collection (he had apparently been collecting these for months, sneaky thing!) and two new wool holders, one in a bright lemon yellow, the other grass green!

But my all time favourite gift was a Womens Land Army brooch, just like my Nan would have worn during WW2, given to me by my parents.

The tree is looking a little worse for wear, a few bald spots on its bauble heavy branches, and I’m itching to take it down, but it’s my birthday tomorrow, and I’ve never had a birthday without the tree being up, so I’m resisting the urge to de-needle everywhere; that can wait until New Year’s Eve!!!