Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Keeping the chill out.

Whilst avoiding my Wips, I decided I needed a bit of light relief and what better way to provide it than a quickie, or in this case, two.

I knocked these two little beauties out in a mere 4 hours with 40 minutes to spare (and all whilst cackling like a hyena at Most Haunted Live). I printed the patterns out from the shifio website http://www.shifio.co.uk/freepatterns/Beanies19pattern.htm and despite the fact that the white one looked more complicated, I tackled that first. I am really pleased with it and garnered a lot of complements from the fellow mums at the school gate (a notoriously hard to please posse', as anyone who's ever visited a school gate will agree).
The red one is also lovely but, it's hard to tell from this picture, it is not in actual fact unravelling, it has matching red flowers sewn onto it. But they are hard to pick out in the photo. You'll have to take my word for it... it is utterly gorgeous!
Now what else can I make to avoid those pesky Wips?

Friday, 26 October 2007

Barbara Warner, eat your heart out.

I have to confess that I finished my vintage crochet creation some time ago but, due to my compulsion to faff about with bits of wool, I've only now got round to taking pics of the finished result and here it is in all its final glory!

I am really, really delighted with it, the original pattern is a 60s/70s Barbara Warner one and I've left off the picot edging, mainly because I thought it would look a bit twee, picot has its place but not at my neckline!
I'm so chuffed that I'm considering making another one from this pattern (in another colour) but I have so many BW vintage patterns that I may just tackle a different one, after I've cleared my backlog of WIPs/Ufo's.
Speaking of which, I've nearly finished my 70s tank (the teal/turquoise) but I've made a bit of a pigs ear of it, (made a mess of picking up the stitches) so I shall finish it and wear it in the dark where people can't see it. Either that or I shall state that the holey bits are a design feature. And then I shall cheerfully move on, it's been a learning curve and I know what not to do next time.

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Wednesday, 26 September 2007

A tryst with tunisian.

Whilst still not finishing my UFOs, I've been faffing about trying out my new found tunisian crochet skills, inspired by an article in the US mag Crochet Today (love this mag, it's so American Apple Pie schmalty, that I cannot pass by it without being compelled to open my purse). So, I used some old wool and swatched away and was so impressed with the results that I've now decided that I need to make an Afghan...right now.
I espied some Twilleys Freedom Spirit wool which looked the part and this, dear reader is the result so far. I have to admit I love Twilleys Freedom wool, it has such a cuddly, stroke me quality about it that I love and I'm not a girl that coverts really expensive pure wool usually. Although I do have a particular affection for Twilleys, as all my mums 60s/70s old crochet patterns seem to be Twilleys, mostly crocheted in sparkling, fabulously named Twilleys Goldfingering. I remember leafing through these patterns as a young girl and being entranced by it's shimmery twinklyness.
Anyway back to Afghan, I'm working it in panels, so I've chained on 40 stitches and am going to do 3 or 4 long strips, then I'll join them together (at the front) with double crochet, just to give bit of contrasting interest and texture. Then when I've finished I'm going to wrap it round me on cold evenings. Shame I don't possess a log fire!
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Saturday, 25 August 2007

Rustic Francais!!

Fresh from 10 days of paddling in the lakes of the Auvergne and I'm feeling refreshed, invigorated and with a head swimming with ingenious ideas for crafts. Spent most of my evenings in a rustic house, knitting or crocheting, pure bliss, and although I still haven't managed to finish knitting up the rib on my teal 70's tank (see below), I did start another tank, which began with a Wendy strappy top pattern which I've customised. I didn't want a plain tank so, have decided on chocolate brown for the edging and ivory for the main body, taking further liberties with the pattern, I decided to put shaping around the waist, all the better to enhance my tiny one!!
Also managed to make significant progress with the 60's couture crochet dress and am rather pleased with it, it's really easy just a row of increasing trebles in one stitch then a single treble, with a row of double crochet on top, the wool is much blacker than it looks in the photo and I know I'm going to love it, worn over a pair of hot pants and black opaques....so cute!! On the downside, the wool is Debbie Bliss Soft Cotton which I will not be using again, it's incredibly splitty and definitely not worth the outrageous price my mother paid for it. Shame, I was expecting it to be a dream to work with!!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Couture Crochet!!

If you're reading, you'll be familiar with my love for old things, (cutely renamed 'vintage' in the media, just so no one will get confused and think that you actually like things that someone else has used). Because I'm wilfully perverse, I actually love old things, things that someone else has loved and used and in this vein, I'm now finishing someone else crochet creation. This beautiful dress was started by my Mum from a pattern that she actually bought in the 60's, apparently she crocheted her original dress (actually in the 60's) in a two tone purple wool and has made many more of these in different colours over the years, including a silvery grey cotton one for yours truly. She decided I might like one in black, so started it a few years ago but sadly has never been bothered to finish it, (this is baby boomers for you nowadays, too busy gadding about enjoying the fruits of their pensions to think of the important things in life!!). This is actually a bit of a bonus as it gives me the chance to wreak havoc and unleash my limited crochet skills on what I consider may be an heirloom piece. Of course, when I first looked at the pattern my first thought was 'Oh heck, not a way in the world, I'm going to be able to do that', however I reckoned without the might of 'SuperMum' and her mighty tutorial of truth. Put simply, it's a hell of a lot easier than it looks and she showed me how to do it, one row is double crochet and the next is a row of trebles worked into the same stitch to make the pattern. Now I've just got to actually do it!!

Monday, 23 July 2007

A charitable moan.

I do love the current vogue for refashioning old clothes, think it's an excellent way to end up with something completely one-off, plus I love rumaging in charity shops (they call them thrift stores in the states, how wonderful is that, much more romantic than charity shop). I should qualify this comment, I love rooting around in a 'proper' charity shop, to my mind there are far too many of them into selling branded fairtrade shopping bags (Oxfam and Cancer Research being the worst offenders) and flogging Next cast offs (looooaaathe Next) for hugely inflated prices. There is nothing wrong with Fairtrade anything, buy quite a bit of Fairtrade stuff myself but 5 quid for a t-shirt you can buy in a pack of 3 for a tenner is a bit much. The much more interesting charity shops are the smaller ones, that still sell old ladies wares for 50p a pop, all lined up on rails that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. Rumaging heaven!!
It was in just such a shop that I picked up this little beauty for the princely sum of (yes, you guessed it) 50p, I was actually looking for something to refashion and this polka dot number caught my eye, hmm, I thought, jumpsuit. But when I got it home and laid it out on the bed, I realised that I love this cute little thing just as it is, although I may have to alter the waist, it's a bit big. So I shall keep rumaging for the perfect material in a naff dress to change into a shorts jumpsuit. Wish me luck!!
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Wednesday, 18 July 2007

And Back to Nerys!!

I may have mentioned that I love 70's clothing, probably because I was born in the 70's but didn't have the misfortune to be a teenager in the 70's! Anyway, at the moment I have 2(!!) 70's style vest tops on the go in my knitting bag, which I know I will adore once I get round to finishing them. One is a wool in a cranberry colour and the other I have chirruped about further up these pages. I love the idea of these with an A-line skirt and a blouse with an exaggerated collar in the style of the petal of a large flower and I expecially like the idea of them knitted in Wendys double knit cotton. There's something beguilling about the shiny cheapness of its mercerised strands, which brings to mind the naffness of the man made fibres of that decade, but in a good way. I would rather like to knit one of these in Wendys dk cotton but with the ribbing in dark navy, here http://www.dragonyarns.co.uk/erol.html#3062X3068 and the main body of the tank in cream http://www.dragonyarns.co.uk/erol.html#3062X3073. Maybe I'll progress to a camel football managers coat a'la Gene Hunt of Life on Mars fame (lol), although I think that maybe taking irony slightly too far.

Disclaimer: I should point out that I do not nor shall I ever possess a camel football managers coat, if I ever seriously consider it, please feel free to call the men in white coats.

Monday, 16 July 2007

New ideas NOT inspired by Nerys Hughes!!

Thinking of all the things I want to make, have been on a bit of a splurge and bought an overlocker (it's a brother, not rich enough for a babylock). Hoping that a) it will neaten up my dire fabric cutting, by overlocking all my pattern pieces before I do the darts, seaming etc on the trusty ol' singer sewing machine. And b) I'll be able to get the full benefit of rolled hems, especially on jersey fabrics (supposed to give a lovely lettuce effect, apparently, which I can't wait to try). With this in mind, I've also coughed up for this lush bit of stretch jersey, on the right, want to adapt this pattern here http://www.voguepatterns.com/item/V8229.htm?tab=very_easy_vogue_dresses_br_includes_koko_beall_designer&page=3 (the dress on the right) and yes, I know I'm a beginner and stretch jersey is a nightmare but, I may just pull it off. This pattern is soooo highly adaptable that I want to do a version in bottle green large gingham for the main body of the dress (without the bottom ruffle) but make the collar into a kind of mary quant blouse collar, in white cotton. T'will be very cute.

Monday, 9 July 2007

As you may have gathered from my previous posts, I have a bit of a passion for retro clothing, expecially anything from the 60's or 70's, although I'm not immune to the charms of a 1940's tea dress either. I purchased this very 70's naff tank top pattern from our local market, apparently the stall holder was given an album of patterns from one of his patrons (love that word) whose mother had died and was selling them for 10p a pop (bargain). Predicatably I just had to buy it, it's sooo Liver birds, I completely fell in love with it. I didn't want to knit it in wool so scoured the net for some mercerised knitting cotton (Wendy's Supreme), all the better to make it supremely naff. Checked before I bought it that it had the correct knit tension, when I received the wool knitted up a swatch (love that word too) and got stuck in. Seems to be going ok, so far, need to make a grey A line skirt to go with the tank (already own the boots) and I'll be the South's answer to Nerys Hughes. And not the Heartbeat version either!!
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Sunday, 1 July 2007

A bit of skirt.

This gorgeous bit of granny curtain fabric will eventually be magically fashioned into the aforementioned 'one hot skirt', of Betsy Ross fame.
I love the exaggerated blooms and although the fabric has no real 'drape', I'm thinking (or rather hoping) that this won't matter for an A line skirt, and that the stiffness will provide the requisite shape.
I have metres and metres of this adorably retro print fabric, so if the skirt is a big success, then I will make a cute shift dress with the rest.... Or maybe a tea dress, you know, the sort that ladies from the 50's used to wear whilst attending the local dance, drinking tea and waiting for a 'gentleman' to ask for a waltz. Wearing such a dress, I would waft down the promenade of a suitably dated seaside town in order to take tea and scones until it was chilly enough to wear my handknitted cardi (naturally in a pale shade of pink), with lace panels on it.
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Saturday, 30 June 2007

Stash, stash, stash!!

I have amassed a huge stash, roughly the size of mount everest. Inheritited all sorts of fabric, some of which I will post pics of (when I can be bothered to take said pics) and have an overflowing volcano of wool and cotton with which to create chic knits.

At the moment I am knitting a pair of bed socks, (very sexy), a 70's style tank top from a real 70's pattern and crocheting a belt, which is nearly finished, must remember to purchase D rings for that!!

Things in the pipeline, include a really cute skirt from a betsy ross patternhttp://betsyrosspatterns.com/patterns.html# the one hot skirt one and want to fashion a bag out of some thick brocade like curtains. Once I've sorted out the problem with my machine there will be no stopping me.