Thursday, 31 January 2013

That Time Already?

Crikey!  The last day of the month already, how can that be?  I don’t know about you but Christmas seems but a distant memory, which is ridiculous really when in truth it was only 30 something days ago.  How time flies hey?

I wanted to squeeze in another post before we hit the month of love and I've managed it, just!

Weather wise, what a difference a week makes.  Although it’s still somewhat nippy, the illusive sun has made an appearance and we’ve been blessed with bright blue skies, for now!  With the sunlight streaming in at the windows, a renewed “sorting” enthusiasm has been found – not sure how long it’ll last so best make the most of it! 

With M’s room still out of action and due to be re plastered (deep joy!) upstairs is more than a little chaotic; more than normal that is.  In an attempt to bring some organisation to the chaos, I started, and more impressively finished, sorting through my giant laundry bag of DK wool. 

Fit to burst, the bag contained over 50 balls of Stylecraft DK wool.  When I first took up knitting, DK was all I worked with.  I found the chunkier wool easier to control and certainly more forgiving.  Over time, the various odd balls of wool, left over from previous projects, got stashed in the bag, the number going up, never down. 

Success was had yesterday though and the single balls are now destined to become turbans and I’ve matched up enough colours for 5 more jumpers – stash busting at it’s best (providing I actually complete what’s been put aside!). 

On a ruthless note, I also threw 3 half finished jumpers into the bin!  I know, I know, a total waste of wool and money but I can justify it, honestly.    

A number of years ago, 4 I think, I made a start on a 1940’s jumper that had to be so heavily customised that it bore no resemblance to the original pattern.  It was a heavy, horrible, hateful, disgusting affair (am I successfully conveying my loathing of the garment??) and although front and two sleeves were done, the back was never completed.  Promising myself I’d one day deal with it, I bagged it and shoved it in the airing cupboard, as you do. 

Jumper two was one I started with the vague hope of using up some of the giant stack of terracotta wool that was left over from the aforementioned jumper.  This jumper was knitted entirely on 11’s and was knitted sideways, i.e. starting at the underarm and working across the body of the jumper which means a lot of increasing and the like.  It proved unappealing to knit and such thick wool on such small needles was a no go so, into the airing cupboard it went :o) 

The third and final jumper reached completion, save for the sewing up of an underarm sleeve seam, but it too had to go.  It was an amalgamation of a couple of jumpers and in all honesty, it didn’t work, it was a disaster! 

I know the thrifty Miss in me would have painstakingly unravelled the pieces and reworked the wool.  To be fair, I fully intended to do so but other projects got in the way and there comes a time, which for me was yesterday, where such cluttering projects have to be disposed of.  I hope I’m not alone in that :o)

More buying now!  It must seem that I'm forever adding to my collection, which is a little bit true but I find the sourcing of patterns often runs in a famine/feast cycle and at the moment eBay is a veritable feast of fabulous patterns, most noteably Stitchcraft!

On Monday, I became the new owner of this rather tatty vintage affair.

Don’t be fooled by the battered exterior because, as the title discloses, this weary looking binder contains some amazing Stitchcraft magazines.  The collection has 12 issues, all alternate numbers, which is a little odd, I know, covering 1935 and 1936!  Before being bound, the magazines have been slightly trimmed but you can only tell this from the front covers, all of which are present.

Although I favour the ‘40s from a fashion perspective, I could easily find myself being sucked into the pastel shades of the oh so elegant 30’s – pretty woollies don’t you think??

I also treated myself to 4 yards of original 1940’s crepe fabric ready to be made into a dress, hopefully for this summer, if I get round to it :o)

Knitting wise, I’ve finished my first jumper of 2013!!  It’s the late 1930’s one in rosehip, black, grey and plum that I gave you a sneaky peak of last week.  It’s all sewn up with 2 little 1940’s buttons on the collar – so sweet – but I will have to wait until next week to show it to you because Doris the dummy spent the winter at my mums and is still there. 

I'm working with black at the moment for a little jumper featuring some Scotties on the yoke.  Black isn’t the kindest on the eyes, especially as it’s k2 p2 rib all the way up to the yoke and so to relieve the boredom and give my strained peepers a break, I’ve been indulging in a little felt frenzy – not that it takes much persuasion.  Felt flowers have been the order of the day.

They’ll be turned into yet more corsages in preparation for the rapidly approaching first fair of the year.  Can’t beat a bit of mustard!

To end with, a little clip, courtesy of YouTube, featuring the late, great Andrews Sisters.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Snow, Shoes & Stitchcraft!

Firstly I just wanted to say hello to my new followers - I hope you enjoy my waffling :o)


Well, what chilly weather we've been having here in the UK.  Were you one of the lucky few who escaped the blanket of white?  We had 4 inches over the course of a week and much of it is still lying about in icy blocks, waiting to send someone skidding to the ground!  The weather reports suggest more may be on the way - I hope they are wrong!

10 days since my last post - tut tut!  I had planned to write a post before now but time simply hasn't allowed.  I blame it on the snow and its hypnotic quality that has seen me wasting countless hours of my life watching the flakes fall!  

The fluffy stuff didn't keep me from a spot of sale shopping.  I've been dithering on this purchase for a while now.  They are kind of impractical for my daily life and I'm not sure how much wear I will actually get out of them, but they are SO pretty that I simply had to succumb, right?? :o)  Lovely, comfy, elegant and beautifully made Miss L Fire shoes! 

Ridiculously comfortable shoes.

  So what else have I been up to??  Well, on Sunday, Mr Y thought it would be a good idea to go and walk in the local forest.  Never one to miss an opportunity to tread upon crisp virginal snow, we hot footed it to our favourite spot. 

In the countryside, away from the warmth of the town, the snow was much deeper, lying heavily upon the branches of the towering trees.  The girls' screams of delight could be heard echoing through the forest for all the scantily clad (yes really!) orienteering runners to hear :o) I looked set for an arctic exploration (or like the Michelin man as I was kindly informed by my other half!) and the only part exposed to the elements were my eyes!  Mr Y's coat served me well and although I'm certain I looked hilarious, I was the toastiest one of all :o)

I apologise in advance for the following snowy snaps.  I'm sure you've all had enough of them on other blogs but I couldn't let the opportunity pass by.  Scroll down quickly, beyond the snow, and you'll see some knitting delights! :o)

Scamp 1 and scamp 2 :o)
Aside from striding it out in the cold, I've found myself doing a spot of shopping.  The cold snap has not been good for my purse.  Enforced indoor time has meant increased eBay time and I'm sure it's no surprise to read that I've bought some more patterns :o)   

My favourite (and silly dance inducing) arrival was the February 1940 issue of Stitchcraft in its large early war format.  Just take a look at the stunning jumper of the cover.

This elusive edition had been evading me for years but I'm pleased to say that Mr Y did a sterling job in purchasing it.  I'm not a very good eBay bidder when it comes to things I really, really, really like.  I get nervous about bidding (daft as it may seem) and instead entrust the heartbeat quickening task to him!

Along with the above, I've picked up some individual patterns, again on eBay, and surprisingly, with the exception of the "wiggly" design Bestway one, all were about £1 - not bad in my book. 

I couldn't resist the tea cosy pattern.  I'm not a tea drinker, can't stand any hot drinks actually, but my mum is and I hope to be able to knit her one for her birthday in May. 

Unsurprisingly, I've also been knitting.  While the girls have been making the most of their free time in the snow, I have much preferred watching them from the window, my chair pressed up as close to the radiator as I dare and have started another jumper. 

Now, strictly speaking, I should be knitting this pretty number;

But it's had to be shelved for a while because I have lost the cream wool.  Ridiculous I know!  It's somewhere here, it has to be, but I can't put my finger on it at the moment!  Instead, I've moved onto a late 1930's number and am using Stylecraft DK (in a desperate attempt to use up some of my wool stock) and I've gone for a jumper of many stripes! 

I don't know about you, but I find that such jumpers grow very quickly.  While knitting it, I'm always thinking about moving onto the next colour and then the next one and so on and it sort of spurs me on!  I've finished both the front and back plus the one sleeve and shall cast on the final sleeve this evening with the hope of revealing all on Sunday (maybe!).  What do you think of the colours??

January is always a busy month.  After the mass post Christmas tidy, attentions are turned to event bookings and trying to fit in all the things we hope to do this year.  My head is spinning with ideas and I'm forever scribbling things down in one of my trusty notebooks so as not to forget them.  2013 is shaping up to be a busy one!

Hope you've all been staying warm :o)

Monday, 14 January 2013

Pretty Nostalgic Magazine

I hope you are keeping warm on this rather chilly evening.  It's currently snowing here.  Nothing much, just a few flakes fluttering from the sky, but I know two little people who have gone up to bed hoping that they'll be greeted by a blanket of white come the morning! 

Just a quick post this evening about the rather lovely Pretty Nostalgic magazine.

I didn't know about this bi-monthly magazine until I read this post on Landgirl1980s blog.  I was sold by the front cover alone and wasted no time in subscribing.  Yes, it's not the cheapest magazine out there at £8.00 an issue, but by subscribing, you save a massive 25% with the added bonus that your copy is guaranteed and your postie gets to do the leg work so you don't have to take a trip to the newsagents on a cold winters day!  

Every page is a veritable feast for vintage loving eyes.  The articles are varied and photographs plentiful.  Places to visit, things to do, interiors to marvel at - so much packed into the one place with achievable ideas for the "real" person.

This magazine will be gracing my bookshelf for years to come, to be referred back to time and time again; a source of inspiration.  Definitely not one for the recycling bin.

Anyway, a few weeks back, I was having a little nosey on Facebook, as you do, and saw a request from the lovely people at Pretty Nostalgic magazine for collectors of jewellery to get in touch.  Never one to miss a possible opportunity to inflict my brooches on the unsuspecting public, I sent in some snaps of my wartime brooches and was rather pleased to hear back that one of my brooches would be pictured in the next issue. 
I eagerly waited for the magazine to drop on the mat and was beyond happy with the brooch that had been selected.  I love all of my brooches but some, given by special people, are more special than others and in this case, the brooch that made it into print was the one my little lovelies gave me for Mother's Day last year.  Big smiles all round :o)

The article, written by Natalie Leon, whose website can be found here, was a delight to read and was accompanied by photographs, taken by this photographer, of plenty of rather pretty pieces, including some brooches, bracelets and the like from 5 other readers. 

If you haven't heard of Pretty Nostalgic magazine, why not pop over to their website and take a look at what they do?

Oh, and if the magazine leaves you wanting more, there is a splendid book, bearing the same name, that I managed to pick up in my local WHSmiths store at the weekend.  Like the magazine, it's simply divine.  Text interspersed with cleverly selected vintage images, mixed with new, make for a relaxing read, a book to be dipped into every now and again!

The ethos of the magazine is "Spend Wisely - Waste Less - Appreciate More" - rather lovely, don't you think :o)

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Knit Yourself a 1940's Turban - Free Knitting Pattern

Fancy something fashionable from the forties to keep your head warm this winter?  Well, this turban could be just the thing!

While flicking through my patterns to find something to knit for Wendy for the Christmas Swap, I came cross a long forgotten about edition of Home Chat.  It's the only copy of the magazine I have and I don't know anything about the history of the publication but it's an interesting little magazine and worth a read, should you spot any about.   

Anyway, the pattern comes from the July 1940 issue and is really easy to work which makes it perfect for a beginner.  Also, as it's so simple and only across 40 stitches, it's a perfect project to pick up and do a few rows in between other things.  You'll be surprised how quickly it grows.

The work of one evening.
The original pattern called for 4 ply.  I chose Stylecraft 4 ply because it is nice and soft and not at all heavy so won't feel too weighty on your head.

Before you start:
I recommend that you measure your head!  The original works on the basis that the knitted piece will end up being 31" in length but as all of us is different, you will want to make sure you have a big enough piece to be able to either tie into a bow or tuck in the ends.  Remember that the knitting will be slightly stretchy.

You will need:
A pair of number 9 knitting needles (a short pair will be easier to work with)
Approximately 50 grams of Stylecraft (or equivalent) 4 ply wool

With the above needles and yarn, your test square should measure 8 stitches to the inch and 12 rows to the inch.  As the pattern is worked over 4 stitches, if your tension is a bit off, it's easy to adjust.

The pattern:
Cast on 40 stitches (personally, I use the thumb method of casting on because it gives a neater finish)
Pearl one row (if you have used the thumb method, remember to pearl into the backs of this first row of stitches or the first row will be loose and baggy).

1st row - slip one stitch (knitwise), P1, K1, P1 - repeat these 4 stitches to the end of the row
2nd row - P1 *K1, P3; repeat from *, ending row with K1, P2

These two rows form the entire pattern and should be repeated until the work measures 31" or your required length.

When you have reached the required length, cast off, run in the two threads and, voila, you're done.  All that's left to do is tie it round your noggin!

Wendy, from The Butterfly Balcony, loved the turban I did and was happy to send me some photographs to share with you.  I hope you'll agree that Wendy looks lovely in hers :o)

If you do give the turban a go, I'd love to see the results.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

First Post of 2013

So, that’s it for another year then.  The decorations have been neatly packed away and a rather large pile of pine needles sucked up the hoover! 

I have to admit that I was a little sad to take down the tree and trimmings this year.  Putting them up is always such a happy occasion, fuelled with anticipation as to what lies ahead, but I find the removal of the glittery delights such an anticlimax, a definitive “that’s that then”.  I'm sure I'm not alone in that :o)

On a positive note, normal service will resume tomorrow.  Mr Y heads back to work which means my mornings will be spent with the little Y’s, my afternoons and evenings consumed by knitting and the like – a familiarity that I relish!

As a final hurrah, as it were, before the normality that will hit like a brick tomorrow, Mr Y and I took a trip out of the county yesterday, leaving our little helpers safely with their grandparents. 

We were on a vintage quest with plans to spend some of the Christmas/birthday money that had been burning a hole in my pocket :o)

My first purchase was a job lot of over 20 vintage sewing patterns.  There are a few from the 1930's and 1940's, but the majority of them are from the early 1950's and so aren’t really in keeping with what I normally collect but at as they are mostly unused, old shop stock I think, and dated, I simply couldn’t walk away without them.

Because they are mostly outside of the era that I normally favour, I’m not sure where they’ll all end up.  I’ve already parted company with 5 of them, having given them to my mum, and I've put a couple aside for eBay but the rest, for now, are in my pattern drawer.  As we’re on the subject of pattern storing, how do any of you fellow pattern obsessed people go about keeping your vintage patterns safe?  Any tips or suggestions would be welcome because I’m struggling.

Next up are a couple of tins featuring our current Queen.  Yes, I know that Jubilee is over but I have a thing for tins, and these were vintage tins at that, so I had to have them.  They did also come with the 1935 Jubilee mug for King George V but I donated that to my parents for their coronation china collection (but I should have photographed it first!)

A rather random addition to my magazine collection is a 1939 copy of The Farmers Home.  Fear not, I'm not suddenly going to ramble on about the various makes of tractors etc, far from it.  This magazine caught my eye because of the beauties featured on the back page, all of whom were entrants in the "milkmaid charm competition".  Can't help wondering how many of these lovely ladies went on to become land girls just months later.

I also did a spot of clothes shopping!!  I'm so excited by this.  I managed to pick up an absolutely amazing 1940's wool jacket in the brightest colours I've ever seen on such a garment.  As if that weren't good enough, the jacket bears the II0II utility mark. 

Is this for me?  Sadly not.  This jacket is of petite proportions that I can't hope to get anywhere near.  It's gone for a clean as it has a certain "vintage whiff" about it, but then it'll be ready for someone else to love when the 1940's season kicks off!

My favourite purchase of the day has to be the rather snugly eiderdown that I picked up for M.  As a young child, I had sheets and then a lovely paisley eiderdown on top – no duvets – and I remember how warm it kept me.  C has one already, much coveted by her little sister, but now she has one too.  Just need to get the building work finished off in her room so she can enjoy it :o)  By the way, does anyone know if you can wash eiderdowns? 

On the knitting front, although I’d planned to take the entire 2 weeks off, I have to confess that I did pick up the needles last week while journeying home from Cornwall.  I got withdrawal symptoms you see (sad, but true) and just had to have something to occupy my idle hands!

As we were travelling, I opted for a very simple knit, all stocking stitch with just a little moss stitch, and went for my tried and tested stripes and bows jumper.

Originally the pattern was featured in a Needlewoman and Needlecraft magazine but I’m working from the post war copy, issued by Penelope, because I can’t find the photocopy of the original!

I’ve opted for Stylecraft mint and cream, both 4 ply, and have already finished the first sleeve.  Having worked with mint and silver grey in my 1937 jumper, I wanted to use the mint again but went for the softer shade of cream and am really happy with how the two colours look together and am hoping that, once finished, it’ll make someone a rather lovely spring jumper. 

Have you started any New Year projects or are you being strong minded and finishing off your

P.S. If you are the fellow blogger who asked for a copy of my wavy jumper pattern, please send me another comment.  I saw your comment while I was away but small phone + stubby fingers = deleted message and I can't get in contact with you! :o)