Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Vintage knitting

My mum has a huge collection of old books which I like to browse through from time to time, and I discovered this fantastic vintage knitting book the other day. It's called Practical Home Knitting, and was reprinted in 1949. Some of the patterns are charmingly dated - for example a brightly coloured fair isle hat and scarf set that will apparently be sought after by any young man under twenty. I can't quite see my teenage brothers wearing it!

I did notice one pattern that I thought would look great knitted up as a modern garment. It's a sailor style top with a textured boat pattern and a classic sailor collar.

The pattern called for 3ply yarn and No. 9 needles, which seemed like an odd match to me. I went on the internet to find out some information about vintage yarns and knitting, and discovered a number of really useful websites. Kristen Rengren has written a whole series of articles about the subject, covering everything from yarn substitution to adapting gauge for a better fit. There's also a website called Skiff Vintage Knitting which has a lot of tips and tricks for deciphering the patterns.

I was quite lucky in that the pattern happened to be in my size already, so I didn't have to worry too much about adapting it. According to the websites I found, vintage 3ply is more like modern 4ply yarn. I swatched some grey Regia yarn with the No. 9 (3.75mm) needles, but the tension was just too loose. Then I remembered a cone of blue acrylic at the back of my stash, and swatched this with 3.25mm needles. It knitted up beautifully, so I got started!

The pattern is beautifully designed, with hems at the bottom and sleeve edges, and of course the lovely textured pattern. I think it's going to look quite cool with jeans when it's finished, and tie into the nautical trend that always seems to pop up again in fashion. Even if I never wear it, it's a fun experiment in vintage knitting, and I've learnt loads!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Moss stitch purse

John Lewis was having a sale, and I couldn't resist picking up a few (well, lots!) of bargains. I haven't made anything for my Folksy shop for ages, so I decided to design a purse with some RYC Cotton Jeans.

I made it in moss stitch with a double crochet edging on the flap, and a crochet hexagon on the back. The lining is made from yellow cotton, and there's a zip fastening under the poppered flap. It's perfect for holding money and cards, or using as a little evening clutch bag.

The colour scheme was inspired by 70s hippy style and citrus fruit, which might not be to everyone's taste, but I like it! I'm off to have a look through the rest of my purchases and do some more designing now.

Although, it's hard to find the time when there's something this cute to play with...

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Crochet football

I've finished my first real crochet project! It's a football from Simply Knitting magazine, and although it was supposed to be for H, F hasn't let go of it since I sewed the last stitch! I used cotton yarn from my stash for the outside, and white cotton fabric for the lining.

The crocheting was easy enough to do once I got into it, but it took me a while to work out how to do the lining. I had to cut out pentagon shapes, and maths has never been my strong point. My old protractor was dug out for the first time since I did my GCSEs!

I'm inspired by the success of this project, so I'm working on a rug for the kids' room now, and would like to try a doily at some point. Crochet is more fun than I thought - now I just need to learn to do it without looking so I can watch telly at the same time!