Vintage Knits is a Rowan title which I knew I wanted to own from the moment I saw a picture of the cover. I have always liked the ‘feel’ of the Rowan publications, the styling is nice, whenever I have pushed the boat out to buy Rowan yarn I have enjoyed working with it. There are 30+ patterns in this book, and as the name suggests they all have a vintage feel. There are some designs for the boys in some ace Kaffe fair isle, some pretty fitted cardigans, longer line jackets, a little scarflet, even some crochet. I think there is probably something for everyone and any age. These are classic garment shapes, I know sometimes Rowan yarn is of an idiosyncratic gauge and it can take some work to find a suitable substitute yarn but I think that if a more contemporary feel is required knitting these in a brighter colour or something a bit sparkly would extend their appeal. The book is very nicely laid out, with lots of gorgeous images, and I think is very good value at £14.99. As it contains designs from eight designers it gives a variety of style which I do think makes for an exciting and appealing selection. Watch this space for how I get on with a teal mohair cardigan- I have never before knitted a garment for myself which I have been prepared to wear in polite company so this is a test indeed!
Wednesday, 28 April 2010
Sunday, 25 April 2010
"The road to happiness lies in two simple principles: find what it is that interests you and that you can do well, and when you find it, put your whole soul into it - every bit of energy and ambition and natural ability you have." John D. Rockefeller III
Friday, 23 April 2010
There are always two tutors at the residential, one for the 'good girls' the hand sewers- and one for the 'naughty girls' the machiners. This year the naughty girls had the pleasure of Angie Hughes company. They did some amazing things with velvet, bleach, transfoils, sequins, the work just glowed and they had such a fun time. I snook in and did some shopping on the last day buying Angie's book which is full of ideas for mixed media, a real departure for me, but I am determined to try some ideas from the book, she is such a good gentle teacher I feel safe following her guidance. I also bought these fabulous buttons which Angie had made from some of her samples. These have called other fabric to them and are evolving into hair accessories. I have really missed the instant hit of playing colours against each other and rustling up tiny bundles of clash. I need to get those five done so I can really let loose and play again.
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Magnificent Mittens and Socks- you’re not kidding! These are awesome! The mittens, oh how I love mittens, are styled like gauntlets leaving loads of potential for colour, pattern, flamboyance, fun! There are lots of possible combinations to make something really personalised and I love the way Anna Zilboorg the author, challenges that mittens have to match each other-even more potential for quirks. I cannot claim that I have grabbed for my double ended pins, I am not an experienced enough knitter on those- but I did reach immediately for the phone to call Mum and tell her to make sure she packs hers next time she comes to stay because I have to have a ‘pair’ of these beauties. There are very clear instructions at the beginning of the book and I wonder if I could manage it if I had a pot of tea, good light, radio 6 and a quiet house, if there is one thing that would persuade me to give knitting with double pins a serious go, these absolutely fantastic mittens would be it.
I also need to mention that Simon asked if boys could wear them-well yes, of course, but the socks are also pretty special- especially as they are adapted from the mitten patterns, I mean how cool is that? Also the very practical Anna, no really, the flair for design and colour is clearly based on an understanding of the need for cosy paws, is very clear about what materials and tension to use so that the extremities will be kept snug even when wet.
Monday, 19 April 2010
Saturday, 17 April 2010
Thanks Clara and Trashy, I shall think of you both when I wash up, eat the contents of the sheep and storing treasure in the dear little knitted bag
Do you see the fab buttons? (goodness only knows where all these pictures will end up!) Noodlebubble had the ace notion of doing a button hand on type affair and today I received the first of two packs of 20 buttons headed my way and these were from Fibrespace. I love these and thnk that the lovely baking lady ad the pie button are begging to go on a very cool pinnie. Again thanks ladies.
Wednesday, 14 April 2010
I wish I was left-handed, no really I do. This book; ‘The left handed embroiderer’s companion’ by Yvette Stanton is a BRILLIANT stitch dictionary. The illustrations are crystal clear and interspersed with peeks of contemporary embroidery illustrating the stitches. The nicest bit is that although the book is all laid out for the much neglected left hander the book is inclusive with a note and illustration with each section to tell how a right hander would work the stitch. How magnanimous, no really I am pathetically grateful that I can keep this book in my collection and go bonkers trying out the hundreds of different stitches. I reckon this book is a must for every teacher of stitching and every left handed sewer and ……yes actually anyone who owns a needle and thread and might one day feel like picking them up. If I am ever on
Tuesday, 13 April 2010
I made five over the course of the three days and made other projects in between to stop me going mad(der). The first after the triangles were what Heidi calls a twigs and leaves pattern which I made in a bunch of five for some earrings. These were really cute and I can see myself using this technique again.
Next were the leaves, the original had much more form to them as Heidi used a larger seed bead on the outside edge and also added veins to the inside. I want try making an interwoven version of these too.
Finally I made the very Deco blue numbers, and by the last day my speed and tension were a bit better. All of these used Delica beads and brick stitch, except the twiggy leafy numbers.It has made me want to search out my beading books, but unfortunately it has also made me want to shop for some more colours in Delica! For now I will limit myself to adding some velvet ribbon to the triangles to make a choker....promise!
Monday, 12 April 2010
Wednesday, 7 April 2010
This book is something akin to a patch worker’s dictionary. It is a dense, compact publication. The first forty pages are a brief guide to patchwork which have been written succinctly by someone who really knows their stuff. The remainder of the book is a collection of blocks, split into sections by type. Each page follows the same layout; the history of the block, a difficulty rating, construction order, a breakdown of the shapes in the block, an image of a complete single block and a group to show how they work when pieced together. There is so much information packed into this book but I can’t help feeling that there is something missing. I cannot see how you might photocopy the pattern pieces from the book and this means you would need to draft the blocks yourself to work out what you need to cut. This does mean you could make the blocks any size you like, but the work involved might be too much for a less experienced patch worker. Of course it might be that being a little short n the old grey matter I ma missing something obvious!? I have seen other quilt books where the cutting sizes are given for a 12” block, but can also be adapted if necessary and I have to say that I think that is a more useful format for this type of book.
Saturday, 3 April 2010
As I have mentioned before I can't seem to change the order in which photos appear here so just act surprised when I tell you that Dad made THE most fantastic hat, Mum a very classy bag and I made bangles, balls, dreads and an Easter nest.
The felt we made was wet felt in 'one piece'. We ransacked Sam's stash for fibres that caught our attention and either worked with them as was or carded them on a drum carder to soften them and give us one long 'bat' with which to work. All of us have finishing touches to add, and I'm afraid my woolly gems have really added two more projects to the list but essentially Dad made a hat in four hours- from fluff to head- that can't be bad!
I had such a lovely time, huge thanks to Sam and her lovely family and to my lovely family for a magical day which I will never forget. xx