Friday, 21 April 2017

Tweed, tartan and tapestry

A few Saturdays ago I went on a little outing to a neighbouring town with a friend who gets as much joy from all the crafty things as I do. We get a bit squeaky with excitement. We were most excited to be going along to the Beyond Measure Open Day. If you haven't come across Beyond Measure yet and you like beautiful things to help you in your making and doing then you really are in for a treat. Grace, the owner, was opening her studio for the day and the opportunity to handle some of the lovely goodies, plus the chance to spend our leftover spending money from Edinburgh Yarn Festival, could not be missed!

Beyond Measure is housed in a fabulous old mill type building with lots of industrial architectural details and interiors to look at.

Lovely old staircase
I love a bit of peeling paint
Light switch
We had a really good look at everything in the studio, a really good look and a little fondle and a stroke here and there. There was a lovely atmosphere and it was good to chat with fellow craft fans and make new friends. There was a cafe set up in one corner and we took full advantage of that (who said we had two of the oh so delicious cakes?!), whilst pondering what our purchases were to be.

Pretty Tulip needles
Fantastic storage jars
Trimmings and bindings
Pretty tins of haberdashery
Love these little chaps by Eleanor Bostrom. My friend may have taken one home!
All the colours in the embroidery threads.
Gorgeous tweed just waiting to be made into lovely things.
More tweedy goodness.
One of these fab knitting bags came home with me.
You can probably see that it was time for tough decisions. I got a very cute thimble necklace and a wooden sewing needle holder to keep my yarn needles safe in my knitting bag. I just realised I don't have a photo of them as yet.

If you are wondering where the tapestry and tartan of the title are - they formed the main part of my outfit.

One of my Welsh tapestry handbags. This one has lots of mustard and teal in it which meant I really couldn't resist it.

My tartan skirt is from good old M&S and is a) orange, b) wool, c) lined and d)warm. It has had a lot of wear since I bought it in the sale in January. My local charity shops have had a dearth of old lady tartan skirts so this filled a gap in my wardrobe.

My preciousss
My fabulous sewing machine brooch was a gift from my in laws and it and others like it are stocked by Beyond Measure. I should say here that this is not a sponsored post, I just love lovely stuff.

Thanks for taking my outfit pictures Karen.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Five go to Edinburgh Yarn Festival

It started just after visiting Yarndale last September. Five of us got together and hatched a plan to go to Edinburgh Yarn Festival the following March. We had heard great things about it and felt that we should find out for ourselves. Savings tins were started, a group chat was set up on social media, accommodation was found and agreed upon and as soon as they became available train tickets and show tickets were booked. Excitement levels were building, growing as the list of exhibitors was released. It was time for five to go to Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

So, a couple of weekends ago, very early on a cold Friday morning, we met at the train station and set off on our much anticipated jaunt. The train journey passed by quickly as we were occupied by our knitting and crochet projects and by a discussion of our tactics for the next day. Some had a plan of attack and a hit list not to be deviated from, some wanted just to wander and ponder.

1950's Bohus jumper
The big day dawned and we were up bright and early, wearing our carefully chosen woolly garments and our comfiest shoes. Our bags were packed with food, drink, project lists and knitting and we set off. Handily the stop for the bus out to the Corn Exchange was opposite our apartment. Twenty minutes later we were off the bus and following all the other excited faces and fabulous knitwear to the festival.

The marketplace was a joy to behold, a feast of colour, texture and pattern just waiting to be explored. The exhibitors are all hand picked and it shows, every stall was full of the highest quality items. The stall holders were a mixture of designers, dyers, yarn suppliers, small shops and makers. As you might expect there were many Scottish brands exhibiting, such as Iona Wool, Ardalanish and Uist Wool, all with fascinating products and stories. 

1950's Bohus hat and gloves
The Knitting and Crochet Guild had an attention grabbing stand with several examples of Bohus style knitwear, including a stunning cardigan and jumper which I though were amazing pieces of work. Bohus style originated in Sweden in the 1930's in the Bohuslan area. The area was badly affected by the Depression and women there requested help setting up a home industry which they could make a living from. Knitting was the answer and the Bohus style was at the height of it's production in the 1950's, which is when the Guild's garments are from. The patterns and colour work are just beautiful, it was lovely to see them close up.

1950's Bohus scarf
There was much to take in and savour as well as much yarn stroking and squishing to do. Our eyes were drawn not only to the stalls but also to everyone else’s beautiful knitwear. Stephen West patterns were definitely having a bit of a moment. Everyone was very friendly, united in their excitement over all the woolly goodness, chatting about their projects and their purchases. We met people from all over the country and from much further afield with plenty of knitters from Europe and Scandinavia.

1950's Bohus cardigan
The Festival runs from Friday to Sunday with taught classes on all three days and with the marketplace open on the Friday and Saturday. Buying advanced tickets for the day you wish to visit the marketplace lessens the time spent queueing in the Edinburgh drizzle. The taught classes sounded fascinating but sold out almost immediately so booking the minute the class tickets go on sale is key. Half an hour later was literally too late for some classes.

One of the KCG display boards showing Ingrid Bergman wearing a Bohus jumper

Some highlights of the festival for me were meeting and chatting to The Icelandic Knitter, the walls of colour at John Arbon Textiles and Jamieson's of Shetland, the sample garments from the Inspired by Islay book on Kate Davies stand, the Tin Can Knits, the beetle and penguin buttons and beautiful leather goods at Beyond Measure and all the sweater spotting. I really wish I had taken more photographs. Very bad blogger! I actually bought very little, despite my long accumulated savings, but only because I was determined not to add to my stash unless I had a definite project in mind.

It was also exciting to see the Shetland Wool Week stall as the Patron for 2017, Gurdrun Johnston had just been announced and her free pattern for wool week, the Bousta Beanie was available to pick up. Visiting Shetland is on our wish list so watch this space for the sequel to these adventures, Five Go to Shetland Wool Week.

Just one of our group's hauls

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

2017 knitting wish list - 1960's-1970's

Clearly this year's knitting wish list is not nearly long enough so after going through my 1930's-1950's patterns I thought that I had better round things off and pull out my wish list from the 1960's and 1970's too. These are not always my preferred eras but I do find things that I would really like to knit from them. In particular, the 1960's knits have a good range of summer appropriate tops, something that I have discussed with another 1960's knits fan Crinoline Robot.

I really like the styling on this pattern before we even get to the knitwear and look at her glorious hair. This lovely little lacy top would be perfect for a summer's day.

We might as well look at all the lacy summer tops first. I haven't narrowed down my favourites yet which is why there are quite a few in the list. I like the way the lace carries on into the hem on these two.

This is called a harebell shell which sounds fabulous and I do like the harebell stitch pattern. The neckline is good too. It has styling potential for the 1950's so that would make it a versatile wardrobe addition.

Lee Target were obviously on a lace shell top roll in this year as this is very similar to pattern number two, just a different lace pattern. I still like it though.

I love this one. Who doesn't need a knitted poodle jumper in their wardrobe?!

I'm particularly taken with the orange jumper on the right. I really like the deep rib and the interesting stitch pattern. I think with careful styling this jumper could work in a 1940's outfit too.

I must deal with my hankering for a tank top soon and just knit myself some. I like the slip stitch pattern of this one and can see it working in many colour combinations as well as this fantastic monochrome one. Check out those blouse sleeves too.

I am after making myself the perfect Aran jumper or cardigan and I have a number of patterns to choose from. The one on the left is a strong contender. I even have two bags of Millamia aran in ochre stashed away ready to knit the perfect Aran when it is found!

I don't have very many (any?) jumpers as I am usually all about the cardigans. I think there may be a jumper shaped hole in my knitwear drawer and this might be just the thing to fill it. It finishes nicely on the waist, has interest in the lace panels and has a raglan sleeve.

I could also do with a fairly plain cardigan but I never put that very high up the list when there are all the fancy stitch cardigans to be knitted. Then I found this lovely ribbed Mary Quant number and suddenly a plain cardigan is looking quite likely.

One thing I love about 1960's knitwear are these fabulous skirt and jumper outfits. I think knitting a skirt might a) try my patience and b) not be flattering but I really like the look and would like to try it out. The cables on this skirt would relieve the tedium of miles and miles of stocking stitch too. Though I'm not knocking miles and miles of stocking stitch, that is good for watching films, inducing a calm state and knitting and talking/drinking/eating cake/all three at the same time.

A variation on the set above. I like the striped skirt but am not sure it would look so flattering. I do like the fact that you can have a matching hat and scarf to go with your jumper though.

So many fabulous patterns and not enough knitting time! I wonder what I will have made by the end of the year, if any?!

Next weekend I am off to Edinburgh Yarn Festival with a lovely group of friends. It is massively exciting and there will be many yarn shopping opportunities. I have been saving up and now I have kind of narrowed down my pattern choices I will know what to look out for! I am supposed to not get sidetracked by yarn that I don't have a plan for so I will see how that goes! Wish me luck!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Top Ten his and hers knits

Last night at midnight you would have found me rummaging through my pattern collection as an idea for a post had struck at a most inconvenient moment and I had to act on it right then to find out if it was going to work out. This led me to finding the relevant patterns in my collection and then setting up a temporary photo studio in the bathroom as it had the best light I could find at night! I knew I couldn't go to sleep until I had it all sorted out so I just cracked on with it!

For some reason, the idea of matching set knits, often known as his and her knits (though they could also be his and his or hers and hers) appeared in my head as quite a vintage thing. Especially a vintage outdoor activity thing. I was sure I had quite a few his and her matching knits and it got me wondering as to why the whole matching clothes thing was a thing? How did that come about? Did people actually knit and wear the matching sets? Would you? Do you have matching outdoors wear jumpers? Is it still a thing? I would say not, except for in an ironic way, or for a specific event but what made the change? I don't know the answers to this but if anyone does do share.

Let me present the Top Ten his and her knits in my pattern collection. My choices were made purely on liking the patterns and feeling that if I were to be in a matching knit mood any one of these could make it onto my needles.

If I was knitting this I would make the one the man is wearing for me. I like the chunkiness of the knit and the shawl collar design, as well as the motifs.

I do like a yoked jumper and I am yet to make one so these have definite appeal. I like the roll neck too.

If I was going to perch a heavy old typewriter on my knee and sit on an uncomfortable stool this is the jumper I would like to do it in. A lovely look for vintage casual inspiration.

I love this one, this is what I want to look like whilst walking my dog. The matching hat is an added bonus.

My other outdoor outfit of choice would feature this lumber jacket. I like the raglan sleeve and the cable detail surrounding the zip.

You can't beat a traditional Aran cardigan. I like the fit of this one, the longer length for casual cosiness and of course, the pockets.

I prefer his button up version to her zip up one and I like the contrast of the plain body with the ribbed sleeves. Please take a minute to notice that massive saw. This one ticks both the his and hers and the worrying props categories of my pattern collection.

This 1940's knit is very similar in style to the 1950's one above except for the shawl collar and the tighter, shorter fit. This one is a double pattern category entry (men smoking) too as the man has a pipe.

Not only do they have matching jumpers they have matching hats. Fabulous yokes and the pattern continue round above the cuffs and the bottom of the jumper. All good.

Karaoke and motif knitwear? Go on then. I like both designs.

Which would you choose?

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

2017 knitting wish list - 1930's-1950's

I have recently been looking through my knitting pattern collection, (one of my favourite pastimes!), and I have come up with a wish list of makes for this year.

It is very much a wish list, not a plan or a schedule, for several reasons. Given that it is already the end of January it is highly unlikely that I could make all 12 garments this year, even if I knitted like the wind and didn't knit anything for anyone else, commissions, presents etc. Secondly, whilst my neck and shoulder have improved and keep on doing so I still can't knit as much as I would like to do. Sadly. I want to do all the knitting!! All the time! Finally, I know a plan would make me feel under pressure, which my head wouldn't deal with at all well and I would feel like a failure if I didn't do everything. So for me, that is best avoided and instead I will go to these patterns first when I want to start a new project and hopefully complete at least a couple of them this year.

Let's look at the patterns!

I love this twinset. Love her make up too. In fact I'm hoping that her look will transfer itself to me if I knit the garments. It is hard to see but the heart panels cover the front of the jumper too. I don't know if I would make both items to wear together as I'm not sure it is ever really cold enough here for that but I can see both working well in my wardrobe and a twinset has been a long held wish of mine.

The pattern states 'Collar - NEW; Buttoning - New; Back - NEW' making it very clear that this was a really up to the minute make. I do indeed like the collar and the button positioning and the back has a kind of vent in it which looks good and would be interesting to knit. I do have the yarn lined up for this one, it was a Christmas present and is two shades of Fyberspates Scrumptious 4ply in a rich deep purple and dark grey. This is quite near the top of the making list.

This is such a lovely image and I'm impressed that she looks so glamorous when she is poorly enough to be in bed and need a house call from the doctor. I do like a bed jacket pattern and I would really like to make one. Whilst I am not adverse to wearing a bed jacket to lounge about at home and for reading in bed I would also be totally happy to wear this one out and about over a summer frock. It seems a shame to restrict the wear of good knitwear!

Apparently this jumper can be knitted in 12 hours. I'm not sure I believe that. I knit at a reasonable speed but I think you would have to be properly speedy to achieve that. However, I am intrigued to know how long it would take me and it is a neat little jumper so maybe I will give it a go.

I really want a sleeveless pullover and have many pullover patterns that I really like. I'm not sure why I want one so much as I never wear blouses but I'm sure other tops would work just as well. Hopefully. I have the yarn for this one too, it is Fyberspates again, in gold and slate (hello grellow!)  and I bought it at Yarndale last September.

This 1930's pattern was a surprise find, it was tucked inside some other patterns I bought and I didn't know it was there until I got it home. Many knitters seem to dislike knitting rib but I actually really, really like it, I find it ever so soothing to my head to do so a whole jumper in rib is very much a 'good thing' in my book. Plus, I like the collar and the fit so this is definitely a winner.

It is a bit wrinkled and folded but I really like this pattern cover, as well as really liking the jacket. I like the interesting buckled fastening and waist detail and the shawl collar patterning which is repeated on the cuffs. I think it is super stylish and it looks great over a full skirt as we can see.

I have been hankering after a Tyrolean style cardigan for some time and this is one of the loveliest patterns in that style that I have found. There are plenty to choose from as this style was very popular for a period. This cardigan has the pattern panel repeated up the centre back too which is a really pretty touch. It would take a lot of knitting and embroidering but it would definitely be worth it.

This just amazes me and ticks so many boxes - the v shaped deep rib, the stripes, the v neck, the dolman sleeves. It is gorgeous. It is also knitted in 2 ply which is super fine so in knitting maths fine wool plus thin needles equals a long time until your jumper is ready to wear. But, I love it. So it is a definitely maybe project.

Here is another speed knit. Again I'm not convinced. But I am intrigued and I like it lots and it would work well in my wardrobe and if it did only take 5 hours I could have one in every colour so, actually, yep, better give it a go.

This is a 'Lady's Lumberjacket' and it is a beauty. The fit is great, those sleeves and that big ribbed welt. I like the colour work and the collar. I have yet to knit anything that needs a zip sewing into it so that would be a new skill to learn. Plus who doesn't want to be a lumberjack when they look this glamorous? Perfect red nail varnish and tree chopping?! No problem. In the interests of full disclosure I have helped to chop down some trees and have swung an axe before. I did not do it in wonderful knitwear, with coiffured hair or in nail varnish. I feel I maybe need to up my game.

It is hard to see the details of this 'smart sweater' from 1954. The bottom black half is all knitted in rib (yay) with this fabulous colour work top half. The original is done in monochrome which I like and I also think it could look very pretty in other colour combinations. Choices!

So, will I make any of them this year? All of them? None of them? Who knows? I will report back and in the meantime I will be leaving the patterns, needles and yarn lying about in case any Elves and the Shoemaker type situations should occur.