Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Pretty as a Picture - Mark 2

A knitting post to share with you today.  A commission piece for a repeat customer who lives across the miles, over New Zealand. 
The piece is a knit that I've done before, a knit very aptly named "Pretty as a Picture" from a Stitchcraft magazine published in November 1936. 
The jumper is a really neat design, slim fitting with an oversized bow.  The bow in the original, as you can see, was knitted in angora, but it wasn't possible to match the base colour to an angora, so the same wool was used throughout.
When I did the first version of the jumper, it was worked in Adriafil Azzurra 4 ply in a gorgeous shade called Bordeaux.  The lady who commissioned this version wanted to go with a finer wool, more authentic to the 1930's, and opted for Fenella, by Susan Crawford.

Fenella is a wonderful wool which has been specifically designed to knit up to the 3 ply tension that is often found in vintage patterns.  It is a 100% British wool which is grown, spun, dyed and finished in Britain.  The colour range is absolutely delightful, with some great vintage inspired shades and glorious names like Porcellana and Phthalo, which is a divine shade of green.  I got a little bit distracted by all the gorgeous colours and ordered some for my stash!

For this knit, Myristica was chosen, which is a really dark chocolate brown. 

The wool comes in 25g skeins, which means you have to wind it into balls, but the wool is so gorgeous to work with that it's no chore, and it gave me the perfect excuse to buy myself a wool winder, and employ the services of Miss C to help me wind it. 

Although the pattern is by no means hard, it has a nice regular pattern repeat across 8 rows, it is a slow knit, or at least I found it to be.  Because I work my commission pieces in the evening, I struggled in the winter to see properly for any length of time, so only managed a couple of hours a night, at best.  Because it was slow going, it took about 5 months to do, but the customer was wonderfully patient and happy to wait. 

Although you can only see two buttons, the design actually fastens at the neck with three, only one is covered by the bow.  I rummaged through my stash and found the perfect buttons to go with the wool.

I had to make the jumper slightly smaller, so didn't do all the increases that were called for in the original, but other than that, it was knitted exactly as per the pattern.  

Fenella was gorgeous to work with.  It took a little getting used to as I've never worked with anything quite so fine, and because it's quite an expensive wool, I was so worried I'd make a mistake and ruin it.

Thankfully it all turned out well, and the customer was really happy with the finished item.  It was obviously worth the wait!!

Wool - Fenella by Susan Crawford in Myristica
Weight used - 10 balls
Time taken - 5 months
Size - 32" bust

If you fancy giving this neat little knit a go, the pattern is available as a PDF in my Etsy shop, which you can find here.


Saturday, 11 June 2016

Hi, It's Been a While!

Hi!  It’s been a while.  Quite a while, in fact.  Please forgive me for my unintentional absence, I’m not quite sure what happened.  Seems like the year has half gone in just the blink of an eye. 
So what have we been doing these past few months?  Quite a lot, actually.  Working with the girls takes a lot of my time.  The older they get, the more time we spend learning, and it is such a blessing to be able to take this journey with them, but it isn't easy.  Home life is busy, but I know that’s the same for so many of us.  Fitting everything in is quite a juggling act, and Blogger is the thing that has fallen by the wayside, but I figured that if I didn’t get back to it soon, I might never, so here I am!!  I can't promise that I will be a more regular blogger, only that I'll try.
As you would expect, I’ve been a busy knitting bee and there have been lots of makes, which if you follow me on Instagram you’ll probably already know, but I’ll save the knitted bits for another day.
There have been quite a few knitting patterns added to the ever expanding collection, the Bestway ones are still my favourite leaflets to look out for.  I’m trying to be a little more selective and only buy patterns I’ll actually use, but it isn’t working very well!! 
As well as patterns, I have a bit of an obsession with Sylko cotton reels at the moment.  I’m not too bothered about looking out for the rare colours, I’m just on a mission to fill the navy and red Sylko box that I was given for Christmas last year.  Two drawers are full, one to go.  And I do actually use the threads in my sewing, so they aren’t just to look at.

In our quest for stock, we’ve picked up some amazing pieces, many of which have already found new homes.  Sourcing authentic 1930's and 1940's items is becoming more difficult, which is totally understandable, so we’ve been travelling further afield, and have been rewarded for our efforts.
We’ve been to a couple of events this year, and there are more to come.  One was a vintage fair just down the road from us.  Not many buyers, and we spent most of the day chatting to the other stall holders, including the people behind Dead Men's Spex .  We've know Darren for a number of years, and cannot recommend his work highly enough.  With over 30 years experience in the optical trade, he knows his stuff and is definitely the place to go for all your vintage eyewear needs.

We also went to GCR last weekend for their 1940’s event.  Can’t believe it was only a week ago, how can that be?!  As usual, it didn’t disappoint, and I have lots of photos to share, once I’ve taken them off the camera.
Oh, and during my absence from this little space, my oldest turned 10!  To mark Miss C's double digit birthday back in February, we took her to West Yorkshire Wildlife Park to visit their rather incredible polar bears.  She had such a memorable day, and they were so adorable!

 We also bought the most incredible print, by Made in Pixieland, that we had personalised for her.  It now hangs pride of place on her bedroom wall, the last thing she sees before she falls asleep. 

 We have another busy time ahead.  The school term ends in 5 weeks, so we have a lot to cram in, before heading back down to Cornwall over the summer.  xx