Thursday, 24 April 2014

Beautiful 1940’s Bolero – Bestway 900

Until a few months ago, I’d never considered knitting a bolero.  I know boleros were worn during the ‘40s, but the only ones I’ve ever seen in pictures, or have seen for sale anywhere, are evening boleros, made out of fabric. 

I have quite a few bolero patterns in my collection.  Some are just simple stocking stitch, others look seriously complicated, and what put me off tackling a number of them, was the fact that the edging was knitted separately and then sewn onto the finished garment.   Realistically, asking me to knit a strip 8 stitches wide and over 20 inches in length just isn’t going to happen.

Eventually, I happened across a pattern that made me think that knitting a bolero wasn’t going to be that bad after all.  The pattern claimed to be the perfect pattern for beginners.  A neat little bolero knitted almost entirely in rib, by one of my most favourite pattern producers, Bestway.

Like so many patterns of the era, the original called for 4 ply, but I had some Stylecraft DK meadow that I wanted to use up.  Using DK wool on a 4 ply pattern creates a bigger finished item.  Sometimes that can cause problems in a garment, especially on the shoulders, but because my knitting tension is very tight, and because of the slender design of the bolero, I didn’t have to adapt the pattern at all, I just stuck to using smaller needles. 

Sometimes I don’t always like what I’m knitting, but I am so pleased with how the bolero turned out.  I like the simplicity of the design and the square shoulders, and the tiny bit of cable is the perfect finishing touch.

The bolero was finished back in January, and sold on Etsy within 10 minutes of it being listed.  It was sold to the lovely Fleur De Guerre, and you can see a picture of her wearing the bolero here.

It is a great pattern to work from, easy enough to pick up and knit just a few rows at a time, and knitted in DK, it grows really quickly.  Because it is such a popular design, I have already made a second one, in plum, which was snapped up by a lovely lady in London.  A third, again in plum, went off to New Zealand at the beginning of this month, and just today, a fourth, this time in a vibrant blue called aster, was packed off to London.  And yes, yes I am already knitting another one, another green one, using beautiful Stylecraft meadow.  I’m beginning to think I could knit this bolero in my sleep ;-) 

The pattern really is perfect for the beginner.  If you can knit rib, then you can knit this bolero.  The tiny bit of cable on the front is only worked across 2 rows, and the back is simply rib.  If you fancy giving it a go, I have the pattern for sale in my Etsy shop as an instantly downloadable PDF, which you can find here.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

1930s Cable Jumper - My Weekly

I’m certain that it won’t have escaped your notice that I knit.  I knit a lot, in fact.  I knit in the car, I knit while my girls are in gymnastics class.  I knit during breakfast, lunch, and more often than not, during dinner.  My knitting is always to hand.  I never leave the house without it and would, if I could, knit in my sleep.  It is definitely an obsession of mine :o) 

As much as I love to knit, I have found that something I’m not overly good at doing is the finishing off.  As soon as I have cast off the final stitch on a jumper, I’m always eager to move onto the next one, and so jumpers get shoved into bags, which then get shoved into bigger bags until, come Spring, I realise that the events are approaching, and I better pull my finger out. 

With Mr Y having been on holiday these past two weeks, I have had an extra pair of hands to help out around the house, which has given me some time to stitch up some of the jumpers that have been accumulated these past few months. 

When choosing a pattern to knit, I find myself drawn to both new patterns and those which are familiar to me, i.e. those that I have knitted before.  I always have more than one jumper on the go; I’m currently working on 4, as I always flit from one to another.  Easy knits for when the girls are working, complicated patterns for the evenings when I can get some peace. 

The one I’m showing you today is one of the complicated ones, only knittable in silence, when full concentration can be given. 

The pattern is from the 1930’s, issued with My Weekly.

I opted for one of Stylecrafts relatively new shades, a pretty brown colour called mocha.  I use Stylecraft yarns a lot because they are good value for money, and so soft.  Last year they released some new shades, which I bought lots of, just in case they take them off sale! :o)

The pattern design is all over cable, which is very time consuming, but as the pattern runs in a regular pattern repeat, it is an easy pattern to follow, but is very slow growing.
Wherever possible, I like to finish my jumpers with vintage buttons, and a raid of the stash turned up some tiny fabric covered buttons from the 1930’s, which made the perfect finishing touch to this pretty, never to be knitted again by me, woolly! :o)

The response to this jumper on my Facebook page has been absolutely overwhelming, with nearly 4000 people viewing the photograph, and numerous kind comments.  If you were one of those lovely people, thank you, you make me want to knit faster ;-) xx

I also had requests to make the pattern into a PDF, so if you fancy giving this woolly a go, I have listed the pattern for sale in my Etsy shop, which can be found here :o) 

Monday, 21 April 2014

Easter Holiday Fun

We’ve been enjoying a lazy couple of weeks here.  Its school holiday time, and we have certainly been making the most of it. 

Everything stops for the holidays.  Routines, like the 5.50am alarm, and set meal times go out of the window, and we relax into each and every day, mostly taking them as they come. 

The girls adore having their dad at home, and with the glorious weather we have been blessed with, we have made the most of the time. 

There have been lazy family breakfasts, and early morning strolls along the beach.  Picnics in the park, and staying out in the garden until the sun goes down, the nip in the air reminding us that it is still only Spring. 

Trips to trip to the zoo with wonderful family, and time spent with very special friends. 

We had the first BBQ of the year, watched movies, walked through the fields and took long drives through the countryside.

Trips to antique shops turned up vintage treasures, and more pretty patterns found their way into my collection.

And the best bit for me?  Well, I got my husband back to myself for a while.  No planning or marking, no assessments or reports.  We talked of weekends away and made plans for the summer.  Booked tickets for trips with the girls, and watched films together while eating chocolate.  Read books, listened to music, took time out, all the simple things that we just don’t have time for during term time.

With my Mr here to lend a helping hand, I got time to knit and sew, and have so many posts to write up about jumpers and dresses.  I could have written up posts while he was home, could have spent my time writing and editing, clipping and pasting, but I didn’t.  These last two weeks have been about taking time, being a family, and having fun. 

Normal service will be resumed this coming week, but it has been a time for plenty of cuddles and snuggles and lots of laughter and smiles.  I love the holiday’s, and I hope you enjoy looking at the photographs :o) xx

Stunning 1930's hat with rust leather trim. 

1940's crepe day dress - oh so pretty.
1940's blue velvet evening dress.
Cheeky leopards at the zoo!!

Seeing what they can find.
Easter isn't Easter without a simnel cake.  Should have taken the baking paper off though!

These were tasty.
All completed these past two weeks :o)