Friday, 29 April 2016

30s style for 3ply Bouclet

Now the parrot jumper saga is over I am onto another colour knit, from a 40s pattern I  have not seen anywhere else (charity shops are great sometimes). I am quite excited, but I will wait to post when it's done.

Many knitters like to work on several projects at the same time so they don't get bored, sadly I am not so productive, but in a bid to become more efficient I am lining up the next project already!

I have just found some lovely original 3ply, much called for in 30s and 40s patterns, which has inspired me to look at older patterns than normal. I have 6oz of Patons Beehive Bouclet in a dark teal, and 5 oz Patons Beehive Fingering in a mid blue. Together there will be enough for a project. Finding patterns to go with second hand yarn, even fancy stuff, is not that hard now days. There is Ravelry, vintage yarn wiki sites, etsy sellers, and vintage knitting groups on Facebook. The latest FB offering is the Vintage Knitting Pattern Library for sharing pre-50s patterns.

If my experience so far is anything to go by the only point to worry about is yardage. Old patterns seem to understate the required yardage quite a lot, for the parrot jumper I ended up using almost double the amount of the main colour than stated - 12oz rather than 7.

Anyway, this is my selection so far, all 1930s cowl or v-necks. This first one is so simple and it needs the least yarn. The 30s look is often a long waistband and very blouse-like body, but this one is a bit different. Out of all the designs this is the most suited to by body shape.

This is a lovely design, and again works well for two colours, but I don't know if my yarn is going to work for crochet.

This lovely number would be top choice but I would need a bit more yarn, or to change the design. It is classically 30s, with that big waistband and quite straight body section. I love the deep V neck and those sleeve chevrons.

I can handle a round neck if there are chevrons, cavalier or not. If anyone ever sees some 3ply in this colour please tell me I will pay you big (ish) bucks for it.

All these patterns (expect the cardigan I think) are from one booklet, available separately or as a book from 'e-stitcher' on Etsy. Something tells me I am going to be buying the whole bouclet! (ha ha) x.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Norwegian Blue jumper

I have finally finished the 1940s Bestway Lovebirds jumper I wrote about in my last post. 

I am quite delighted with it. I love these wild colour contrasts. The original design is for a green jumper with some birds in red, red being the colour of a Lovebird. Mine are in blue as that is what my stash dictated (I wasn't going to go and buy new yarn just incase it all went wrong) so this is now the Norwegian Blue jumper (as in the Dead Parrot sketch). 

Electric blue is definitely one of my fave colours. I have a faux-vintage swing coat in this colour which has been my everyday winter coat for the past year or two. I won't be run over in this colour combination that's for sure. The orange also goes with my vintage earrings and bangles.

I can say completing this has been a bit of a miracle, depending as it did on leaping in and learning how to do colour work from scratch. Halfway through the birds I had to unpick about 10 rows, luckily by that point I had got used working with multiple colours and it didn't take long to redo it. All the birds have their own colour strands, which means by the end there are hundreds of ends, which didn't get too tangled thankfully. I think if I do it again I will tie off some of the ends as I go. Other than shortening the waistband a bit, and also taking 4 rows from the length I didn't change anything. 

If anyone wants to try this I would say go for it. It's not that hard if you are used to intarsia and if you are not then it's a very good way to learn. More details on my Ravelry if you want them.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Loving the Lovebirds 

Or how I lost my mind and decided to knit a picture jumper.

Bestway 2063, or the Lovebirds jumper, is a 1940s design, which I bought as a PDF from Etsy having seen some lovely versions around the inter-web and falling for its charms big time.

Now, this is only my second attempt at garment knitting, which is I can see with hindsight is really quite ambitious.

Here is my first garment, a very respectable effort which gets worn a lot. It is from the book Vintage Knits made up in Rowan 4ply Soft (Sandalwood). It used stocking stitch, ribbing, moss stitch, and some eyelets, all quite straight forward. After only ever having knitted cushions I was looking forward to making my first ever garment, but was rather hampered by a frozen shoulder which meant I had to stop knitting altogether. So this took 4 years to finish!

The yarn is exactly what it says, very soft. I was so pleased with it I bought another batch, this time in a spicy orange (Tandoori), which I am using as the main yarn in my Lovebirds jumper.

And here is the progress thus far.
The garment back.

The garment front,  halfway up the chart!

Back view of the front.
Otherwise known as the portal to madness.
As with any new project, the trick is to break it down. I watched two films about intarsia on You Tube, one of which included how to roll new yarns up in a figure of eight, allowing them to hold themselves together (without using any annoying plastic holders). That was such a simple and incredibly useful piece of information!

Following a chart is not hard, but I think I have got confused about what line I am on more than once! Colouring in the chart means I can see what colour is going where. I also did a quick sample, which helped me to practice my intarsia. I had never tried any colour work before, and this pattern calls for "Fairisle" but the technique it describes is actually closer to intarsia. Holding new sections in tension and releasing others when you have lots of yarns, and trying to not let the whole thing bulk out is challenging to put it mildly. My tension isn't perfect, but this was always going to be about learning rather than results!

The coloured sections all come from the same beautiful yarn, again by Rowan. This time it's Edina Ronay Silk and Wool. I got a selection of colours from a seller on Ravelry quite some while ago. This stuff is superb, so soft and light, it is 4ply but has more loft than my main yarn. The colours are a bit on the 80s spectrum, but I quite like that!

Intarsia isn't hard, but working with this many colours is decidedly tricky, I have tried it late night in front of the TV but I only ever manage a couple of lines before conking out! It's best to do it during day light if possible.

I fell head over heals for this pattern, and frankly I would say you need to be in love to put yourself through this! It will get lots of love and use and hopefully it will still be cold enough to wear it when I finish! And despite it driving me crazy right now, I bet I will be making another one!

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Crawford in Rain 1932

I have been a busy girl, but not too busy to watch a film or two.

In 1932 Hollywood liked a bad girl and I really can't see why they wouldn't. The film 'Rain' stars one of the all time best bad girls, Joan Crawford, and she steams the screen up from the word go.

The sub-text of this film is how much Hollywood resented the Hays Code which cleaned up the movies and made the Great Depression even more depressing. Good job they invented better scripts and plots and things.

Rain is actually really quite good, and Crawford really floats my boat here, sartorially speaking.

My drawer full of cheap trankles and fishnets are ready, I have an appropriate 30s dress pattern.
The facial expressions and sass are something I may need to work on.