Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Fair Isle Gloves

This is one of my Christmas knits, which I probably shouldn't be showing yet, but I am pretty sure that the recipient isn't a regular viewer of my blog. If she is then hopefully she won't guess and they will still be a nice surprise.

They are knitted from a free pattern on ravelry by Cailyn Meyer called Wintergreen Gloves. Some of her other patterns look lovely, so it may be time for my second ever pair of socks.

I knitted on double points, and rather just grabbed some wool from my stash that I thought would look nice together. After the first glove I realised that I might not have enough of the purple colour for the second one, so that knitting was a bit stressful. But in the end it worked out that I did have enough, but only just. I love fair isle knitting, as the end result is so pretty, but there were a lot of end to run in. The good thing was that they are knitted in the round so no sewing up.

The pattern was really easy to follow, with instructions and charts. Although I did think I might have to enlarge the chart on a photocopier. That isn't a criticism though, just a reflection on my eyesight. The pink wool I used was a bit thicker and fluffier than the others, which I think is why those lines have puckered a bit. I knew I shouldn't be using it, but I thought the colour was great so just went with it.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Sylvanians Do Billie Jean Dance Routine


My daughter has got in the habit of making little videos, using my camera and iMovie. I thought I would put a few on over the holiday, partly because I wanted to see if I could upload a movie. Camera work, choreography, etc. were all done by her. This one does end rather suddenly. 

Some of the others are very funny: for instance the film trying to persuade us that she really needs more pocket money. This one is more of a straight dance routine.

Linking to Saturday Snapshot, which I hope is OK as I realise this isn't a snapshot as such, but a series of snapshots linked together with music. Enjoy

Monday, 8 December 2014

A Polar Work in Progress (and a Poem)

Polar Bear in there

There's a Polar Bear
In our Frigidaire-
He likes it 'cause it's cold in there.
With his seat in the meat
And his face in the fish
And his big hairy paws
In the buttery dish,
He's nibbling the noodles,
He's munching the rice,
He's slurping the soda,
He's licking the ice.
And he lets out a roar
If you open the door.
And it gives me a scare
To know he's in there--
That Polary Bear
In our Fridgitydaire.

  by Shel Silverstein 

I've been working on something new, although I am not quite there with it yet. Still something not quite right yet about the shape of the head, muzzle and nose in particular. Perhaps the back should be a bit less curved? The legs could be stronger looking? the neck wider and a bit longer, I think?

What keeps you from sleep? Sadly these little details are the things that are keeping me awake at night ....

Saturday, 29 November 2014

1940s Fashion - New Look Jacket

This is my second post on 1940s fashion. Previously, after my visit to the Imperial War Museum, I wrote a little about the utility fashion of the war years. But in 1947 Christian Dior came out with "The New Look". Although jackets still had the slightly military look, and a nipped in waist, The New Look was more romantic. They often had a peplum, to give a really feminine shape. There was a move away from the austerity and fabric rationing of the war years.

I am really using this as an excuse to show you a jacket I made as part of my City and Guild Fashion course, which I did as an evening course quite a few years ago. It skulks at the back of my wardrobe, as I never seem to have an occasion that is quite right to wear it.

Forgive the terrible photos. I forgot to brush my hair, and that my bottom half was in jeans. My eye is also immediately drawn to all the faults in the jacket, but I guess as I made this jacket two babies and a lot of years ago, it is not too bad. I had a second attempt at photos, but they turned out even worse. At least the garden looks nice in the background. What a contradiction - although I love fashion and clothes, I am also naturally quite scruffy, and would probably wear jeans all week if it were not that they aren't allowed in my job.  Also this is almost the most I have ever shown of myself on my blog. I am a shy blogger, which is also a bit of a contradiction. 

As well as designing and making the pattern from your own block, you had to have a theme and incorporate techniques. (I had a thoroughly good time, learned a huge amount, and met some lovely people. I also ended up with a collection of rather unusual clothes.) 

Sketches where I was working out my design ideas for the jacket

My theme for the jacket was 1940s "The New Look", but with a twist. The twist was that I used a zip as the front fastening of my jacket. Although zips were used in clothing in the 1940s, they tended to be used concealed in the side of the garment, and it would have been more usual to have buttons at the front. 

Drawings of the jacket

The jacket is made up of panels, which was also a feature of the 1940s war years, when large pieces of fabric might not have been available. The black pieces are made of a suedette fabric, and I was really pleased with how the handmade piping between the sections and around the edge of the collar turned out. Though probably the best bit, which you can't really see, is the lining. I hadn't lined a jacket before and probably won't ever again!

Here are some links to other garments that I made on this course: African Skirt, and Shepherdess Smocked Blouse. There is one more that I will show you in the future probably when I am a bit short of knitting news. Although I have been knitting this week, most are Christmas gifts, and I don't want to spoil the surprise.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Granny's Shawl

I've been knitting so many little things recently, I fancied a bit of big (for me!) knitting. My mum was saying that she would like a little shawl to put around her shoulders, or even over her knees in the cold weather, so this is what I have made. 

It is knitted from a free pattern available on Craftsy, called Lacey Zig Zag Shawl. I think perhaps I should have picked a brighter colour, but my mum is very much a green lady, so I am hoping she will like it. She doesn't get it until the weekend, but she is not a computer user so I can be safe that she won't see it here. 

The wool I used is Rowan Calmer, and I just kept knitting until I ran out. This was a fairly easy knit, with just two rows repeating. It is quite nice just to settle into a knit and not have to refer to the pattern. And after my big knit, I will probably return to something little and fiddly ...

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Vintage Transport

It is strange that once you become interested in something it seems to pop up all over the place. I went on a trip with my class a few weeks ago to the London Transport Museum. We had great fun designing posters and looking around the museum, but as children from school have crept into nearly every photo I don't have permission to publish any of them here.

But then I remembered that at the end of the summer me and my daughter took some photos at a vintage bus rally near us. The best bit was travelling from our town on the "vintage bus" to the rally.

This was the bus we travelled on.

There were lots of other buses once we got there.

What I found a bit unsettling was that the vintage buses did not seem that different from the buses I used to travel to work on not so long ago. The sound of the engine instantly took me back to those days, and is quite different on the whooshy sound you get on a bus today. I spent a lot of time sitting on a No 9 from Hammersmith into central London.

There were a few vintage trains too.

I like this photo, because you really get a feel of the buzz around the buses as they brought in more people.

Monday, 17 November 2014


I've been knitting a few more lizards from my own pattern. They may make some people recoil, but I love these little creatures, and they remind me of Noel, our pet lizard who has now departed from this world. 

They are knitted from sock wool, and I like the randomness of the wool, which means that they never turn out exactly the same. They are fairly easy, although perhaps after my fourth one I am bound to say that. They are knitted on just two needles, with a bit of icord knitting and short rows to give the curve on the body. You can also click on the lizard picture in my sidebar to find the pattern on ravelry. Though if you are not a knitter there are a few lizards for sale in my Etsy shop. I think they would make great stocking fillers.

I had quite a lot of trouble finding safety eyes that were small enough. Well what I mean is I couldn't find anything even close in the shops, and had to order them online. Then after all that I found I already had a pack in my work box, left over from another project. Duh. I do think the shiny eyes bring the little lizards to life.