Friday, 31 January 2014

Knit For Victory - My Finished Forties Fair Isle Pullover!!

So today is the last day of the Knit For Victory knit along, which was run by Tasha who blogs at By Gum, By Golly, and do you know what, I actually completed my pullover!!!!

It was touch and go whether I would get there, but I’m so pleased I did.  When I decided to knit another fair isle for my dad, I knew I wanted to work with a pattern that was relatively simple, one that would only require me to work with 2 colours at a time and, more importantly, one that didn’t need to be sized up!  The only one that fitted the bill was this Bairns-Wear one, from the late 1930’s/early 1940’s.


Back in the autumn, I acquired a number of skeins of original vintage wool in some rather delectable shades.  The wool on the skeins was very fine, equivalent to a modern 3 ply, and the only suitable neutral shade I could find was Azzurra, from the Adriafil range.  It’s a 70% wool 30% acrylic mix and, despite my initial concerns, it actually worked well alongside the vintage pure wool. 

In the first instance, I started out well and remembered to take a photograph of how far I’d got each evening.  By the time I reached the second side of the neck, and had to reverse the instructions (which made my brain hurt!), I totally forgot about taking photographs!  Here are the ones I did manage to take.

I didn’t finish the colour work on the front until early morning on Tuesday January 28th.  I pinned and blocked it the same day, and was really pleased with how it came out.

  
Rather than the Fair Isle back that the pattern called for, I did a plain back in just the Azzurra, which I finished only yesterday!  The rib around the neck was done yesterday afternoon, while the girls were at the library with their grandma, and the armhole rib was finished at 11.30 last night.  I stitched it up, and gave it a final press, this morning!  I cut it fine, to say the least, but I got there in the end, and here it is in all its colourful glory! 


His birthday isn’t until the 26th February, so I don’t have a picture of him wearing it, but I will try and get one in the Spring. 

Before I started the pullover, I did a few other projects, all of which were given as Christmas presents.  I knitted a beret for each of my girls.  C had the navy and red, while M had the green and red.  They were knitted from a 1950’s pattern, which I decreased in size by using smaller needles.  The yarn was a pure wool by Red Heart.  It knits up beautifully, and I shall definitely use it again.


I knitted a tea cosy for my mum using up some DK from my stash.  As soon as I saw the pattern, I knew I had to knit it up, after all, it had felt anemones on!!!  Sorry for the rubbish photograph.  I only remembered to photograph it at my mum's house, late last night.
Last, but by no means least, is the scarf I knitted for my dad.  The pattern was wartime, and the wool was 4 ply, pure wool. 


 
I've really enjoyed seeing how everyone elses projects have progressed and seeing everyones fantastic knitting skills :o)

x  . 
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Tuesday, 28 January 2014

On a Roll!!

So, we’re almost at the end of the month!  Hasn’t January flown by?  The festivities of last month seem but a distant memory.  I don’t mind though, for as much as I love the winter, I am always pleased to welcome in the New Year and see the daylight hours increasing.  A fresh month stretched out before me brings an enthusiasm to push forwards and get things done!

Despite my best intentions, 2013 was an epic fail in terms of number of garments sewn.  I can clearly remember sitting down at the beginning of the year to map out a plan of all that would be achieved.  I listed how many pieces of sewing and knitting I would get done, and the number of corsages and turbans that would be finished, but when December came, I had achieved very little in the sewing stakes.

I don’t know whether any of you crafty folk have the same problem, but, from a making perspective, I can be a bit of a butterfly.  One day I wake with an eagerness to sew corsages, the next day I can be hankering after cutting out a garment.  I forever want to start something new.  With a jumper, once I’ve knitted the back and the sleeves, I really have to push myself to get the front finished, and often things get left languishing in a heap, never to see the light of day again. 

Well, this year I have decided to try to finish off those unloved projects, before moving onto something new.  It’s a hard task, I can tell you.  Mr Y got me some seriously scrumptious patterns last month and I’m itching to get at them, but, for now at least, I’m determined to stay on track!

So, without further waffling, the first item to see the light of day in 2014 was a neat little bolero, from this Bestway pattern.


It was started last year when I was going through a stash busting phase, trying to use up some of the copious amounts of double knit yarn that seems to breed under my bed! 

Green being my favourite colour, I couldn’t pass up the chance to see my favourite Stylecraft DK shade of meadow be used for such a pretty project.  Sadly, I should probably have taken more care with my calculations because, yet again, I ran out of wool! 

It took weeks to find more wool from the same dye lot, and by the time it was found, I’d moved onto my next project, and the bolero was consigned to the cupboard.  

The task of completing it wasn’t too daunting, as it was only the one sleeve to get finished.  Here it is in all its green glory!

 


I posted a picture of it on Facebook and was astounded by peoples’ reaction.  When it was listed on Etsy, it sold within 10 minutes!  The new owner is none other than the lovely Fleur De Guere, I think she wears it well :o)


Because of how popular it is, I’ve already cast on another one, this time in a pretty blue shade that reminds me of spring.


Next to be pulled from the cupboard was a blouse, made from an original 1940’s New York pattern.  The only finishing it required was bound buttonholes!  Oh, how I hate doing bound buttonholes.


It has been made from original 1940’s novelty print fabric that I bought from America, and was stung for import tax on; don’t you just love an £8.00 handling fee?!!  Anyway, the fabric is pure cotton, in a sort of spring green, with the sweetest stylised telephone design!


It’s quite a blousy kind of blouse, low fastening, with just two buttons.   It’s definitely a statement piece and not one for the modest.  It has been finished with 1940’s black Bakelite buttons, and is currently for sale in my Etsy shop, which can be found here.

Last, but by no means least, is a dress made from an American Hollywood pattern from the 1940’s.


The fabric was originally bought to make a blind for the kitchen, but when it arrived, it wasn’t the modern cotton that I expected, but was actually a piece of original 1940’s heavy cotton rayon mix. 

It was a squeeze getting the dress out of the narrow 35” by 2 7/8yds piece that I had, but, because it had no nap, I was able to follow the pattern, just, but it meant I didn’t have enough fabric left for ruffles. 

I decided to do self covered buttons, because they looked best, and to keep it as authentic as possible, I fitted a vintage metal zip.  It's a simple dress, but I love it, especially the little bit of gathering in the front. 
It’s a fairly decent size, measuring a 36" bust, but it just won’t squeeze onto Doris the dummy, so I’m afraid we’ll have to make do with a rubbish hanger shot! 


  
I still have a few more projects to finish off, a couple of jumpers, and another dress, but they are waiting in the wings while I frantically try to get my Knit For Victory piece finished. 
   


I’m getting there, and I’m sure my dad will be pleased with it, but I still have half of the back and then the neck and armholes to finish, so I’m sure you can guess what I’m going to be doing for the next few evenings :o) 

Thursday, 2 January 2014

My first completed 2014 woolly - courtesy of Cityknits!

A number of weeks ago, way back in October to be precise, I was selected by a company called Cityknits to undertake a little knitting project.    

Cityknits is a family run online business, which also has a retail outlet in Bournville, called “Christine’s”, which has been trading for nearly 40 years.  The online shop stocks a good variety of wool and knitting supplies, with great brands such as Debbie Bliss, and one of my favourite value yarns, Stylecraft.  The website is really user friendly and set out in such a way that it is truly easy to select the supplies you need for your next project.

My little parcel arrived neatly packed and included a pattern, 2 balls of Katia merino, and 7 tiny little buttons.


I’ve not used Katia yarns before but am always eager to give new brands a go.  The wool is nice and tightly spun, which gives a good finish to the knitting, and the quality is exceptional, which means the finished item has a luxuriously soft feel.  The only minor disappointment I had with the yarn was that both of the balls I used had been loosely wound so the ball basically fell apart as I knitted from it.    

I normally knit with the ball of wool in a basket at my feet, tugging at it to release the required yarn as I go.  I wasn’t able to do this with the Katia yarn, and instead had the ball beside me, gently unwinding as I went.  That said, I will definitely use Katia again as the quality and finish really outweigh the minor hiccup I had. 

As for the pattern I received, I was asked to knit a little baby jacket, and since my beautiful sister-in-law and her husband welcomed their first baby into the world just after Christmas, the timing couldn’t have been better.

I started on the jacket in mid November but with Christmas approaching, I couldn’t give it my full attention and so popped it in a drawer until New Year’s Eve.  After the slog and stress of getting knitting finished for Christmas presents, it was lovely to rattle along with a pattern which was relatively small, because it meant the garment knitted up nice and quickly. 


Worked on No.10’s, and with the DK yarn, the little jacket only took a total of 20 hours to knit (yes, I did time it!).  The little short sleeves were less than an hour a piece, with the back coming together in an evening, the sides the same.  The most time consuming bit, which is so often the case, was the making up and finishing.  I always slip the first stitch in a row, and knit into the back of the last, which means I have a very definite line of stitches on every piece to sew it all together.



I had a slight problem with the finished item in that I ran out of wool!  I checked my tension before I started, and made sure I measured correctly, but I simply didn’t have enough wool, by about 10 yards, and that was really infuriating.  The pattern should have had tiny pockets, finished with little buttons, but they couldn’t be done, and it should also have had one cable pattern running up each side, but the only way I could finish the front was to make it k2, p2 rib on the fronts instead.

Although not finished as it should have been, I am still really happy with it.  The design is really pretty, and the little bit of cable is a nice detail.  :o)

 


It’s a chunky little knitted, which will provide much needed warmth this winter, and it has already been posted and is winging its way to the new mum and dad. 

With so many independent craft and wool shops closing, online shopping is the way to go.  City Knits’ prices are incredibly competitive, they stock a great range of products, and offer a brilliant, personal service; I cannot recommend them enough.  Their very user friendly website can be found here, or you can follow the link on my sidebar.  And even better, from now until Sunday, they have 25% off all online orders using the code NEWYR at checkout!

Happy shopping :o) x