11 December 2011

Not knitting, but -

We have been making things pretty, wallpapering our front room and putting up the Christmas tree. I've always been rubbish at taking indoor house pictures, but my partner's just got a fancy new camera that's made it a lot easier, so here you go, have some photos.

Afore-mentioned partner:

This camera seems to take very vivid colours indoors, which suits our decorating style rather well. Here's our kitchen looking into the living room, and kitchen wallpaper and the NEW LIVING ROOM WALLPAPER:

And this is the living room, and the CHRISTMAS TREE:

Bit of a massive difference between daylight and electric light there: I was trying to get a less red one in the evening, but it seemed to do very red or very, very cold and blue, with no in-between, so there's something to play with.

Velvet curtains from Ebay. as is the Sanderson wallpaper, the 50s teak cabinet, and the 50s mirror. We might be a bit obsessed, actually. Lime green shelves by me, sofa by M&S, armchair by the Sofa Workshop which seems to have gone bust.

I LOVE our colour schemes.

21 October 2011

Pink ginger

And in new knitting news, my pink ginger jumper is coming along nice:

Top-down raglan, so you're looking at the neckline and the increases for each shoulder-sleeve there. It's stocking-stitch, with a line of reverse-side in the centre of each set of increases (does that make sense? So it's [ ... k, k, inc 1, p, stitch marker, p, inc 1 the other way, k, k, k... ] at each set of increases.)

The yarn is a lot nicer to use than I thought it would be. To begin with, I could not get the hang of knitting with bouclé and kept getting snarked up, but I let myself knit a little looser than usual (I'm using 3.75mm needles - so 0.75mm smaller than the recommended 4.5mm) and since then it's gone swimmingly. Unpicking is a pain in the hole, though - I wouldn't like to be doing anything more complicated than stocking stitch with it!

One thing I haven't decided yet is which will be my right side - the usual stocking stitch side, or the reverse? I was originally thinking it would be the reverse, because the bouclé is so chaotic that it's actually smoother on the reverse side. But I quite like the way the chaotic bouclé fights with the order of the vertical stitches on the stocking-stitch side after all:

I have just switched to the second colour - as you can see - and this will probably take me to the point where I'll split for body and arms. This is the truest colour I was able to take:

I think my colleagues think I'm a bit mad for knitting something in pink and orange stripes, but what the hell, they think I'm a bit made for knitting full stop. Unexpected colour schemes have been a hobby for a long-time.

Although this does mean that everything I've knitted for the past 12 months has been either pale pink or orange, culminating in ... a pale pink and orange striped garment. Hm. I might have gone as far as I can go with pale pink and orange. What should be next?


The orange cardigan is finally finished! The making-up really dragged - I hate sewing button bands on - but I finally did it last weekend, and then sewed on four bright, shiny orange buttons. They are out of my mum's button bag, of buttons she collected before I was born, so they're proper, vintage 70s:
When my mum died last year, I inherited her box of spare buttons from the clothes she's bought over the last ten or fifteen years, but also her bag of buttons from she was sewing and knitting in the 70s and early 80s. And, since I was having a button round-up, my grandma decided it was time I had her button box. Many of these buttons are ones my grandma inherited from her mother, who was a tailor, meaning that some of them must be from the 30s and 20s or earlier. Very few of them are expensive or smart: there are a couple of beautiful big discs of mother-of-pearl, but the vast majority are made of cheap, old, brittle plastic. They have been snipped off coats and jackets and shirts and pyjamas and cardigans which have gone to holes: there is a purple cord-covered one that I recognise as being from the dressing gown my grandma had when I was tiny. We also used to be allowed to play with these buttons when we were little, and used them as play-money. Some of them still have stickers on saying, "50p" and "£9" and "£7" in my brother's round and elaborately careful writing. There are also lots of huge brown ones, and you only have to glance at to imagine the 1950s and 60s wool coats they came off. You'd need a wonderfully textured chunky tweed to offset thhose smooth brown semi-spherical buttons with the 4cm diameter.

So, I am trying to find uses for as many of these buttons as possible, rather than buying more. Those bright shiny orange plastic ones suit my 1950s orange cardigan wonderfully, and I'm ever so pleased with it. Still not quite finished blocking, however, so no pics of me wearing it yet!

* * *

I've used some of my grandma's buttons for my pink 50s cardigan. These are little pale pink plastic pearl buttons, which fit this cardigan beautifully:
I am so, so pleased with this cardigan. It hasn't turned out how I expected - it's much smaller and more fitted in the pattern - although that may of course be the model's corset. However, my colours are much nicer, and the slightly larger and looser shape has coincided with ... slightly oversized Fair-Isle cardigans having a major moment. Who saw that coming? So this cardigan - not really oversized, but just slightly relaxed - has suddenly rocketed to the top of my wardrobe crushes.

I LOVE the Fair-Isle. And have I mentioned how lovely the Rowan 4-ply wool is? It's practically silken, and yet so warm. Blooming premium-brand yarns, being all worth-the-money and shit.

More photos of the lovely pink cardigan:

26 September 2011

Pink and ginger

Hurray! Janette's Rare Yarns came up with 8 balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan in Ginger, to go with the light pink I've already got. Orange and pale pink will be beautiful, right?

25 September 2011

Stripey jumper

And here are my plans for the rest of the year. First of all, I've just bought some Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran, to replace my lovely arm-warmers that I lost two years ago:

They were in Teal, but this time it's Navy. And, I've just realised, they were DK and the yarn I've just bought is Aran, so they will probably be a bit thicker and not quite as long. Hm.

My second plan was for a jumper. I haven't knitted a jumper since the teal one which I finished in 2008, because jumpers aren't generally my style so much. However, they are everywhere on the catwalks for this season, and I love the big-jumper-and-pencil-skirt thing that I've seen in a few magazines. So I had planned a big pink jumper:

Top-down raglan (of course - I don't knit any other way if I can help it!), ribbed, straight-sided. But then I got 500g of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan on ebay:

I am not usually one for the crazy textured knits, but that's because they're usually polyester. This is gorgeous - a pain in the hole to knit with, I expect (I've only swatched so far), but incredibly soft and probably very, very warm. So I've moved away from the idea of ribbed, and also I think I like the idea of it being a bit more cropped and blousy. A bit more like:

But this, of course, means I have to find some beige or orange Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Asktrakhan from somewhere, and it's been discontinued. Wish me luck...

Orange cardigan

And here is project 2 - another 4-ply vintage cardigan pattern from the same car-boot sale.

Link to scan of pattern.

It's been knitted very tightly on a 3.5mm needle, because I want it to be very light but hardwearing. As expected, I managed to finish the knitting very precisely at the end of summer - tsk! However, it’s wool and bamboo, so I’m still expecting to get some wear out of it over the autumn and winter.

It's a fairly straight-forward construction - back, 2x front, 2x sleeves. Everything has now been finished and blocked:

I modified the arms substantially, because I want them to have a slight puff in them, so instead of doing a straight decrease every 2 rows, I made them more curved. The yarn is also lovely - Sirdar Baby Bamboo, in a colour called Tigger! As I said, I've been knitting it very tightly, but it's stood up to that and hopefully will be good and long-lasting.

Will probably start sewing it up tonight, so fingers crossed it fits!

marybe, just maybe, I am back

Perhaps it's time to resuscitate this blog? I have some exciting knitting coming to an end, anyway, and some exciting plans for the next few months. This is what's blocking upstairs:

Dolman-sleeved cardigan

- a 1950s pattern that I got at a car-boot sale in my parents' village. I love this cardigan - and my colourway is much nicer than the one in the picture!I spent most of winter 2010/11 knitting it. It's an extraordinary shape - knitted from right wrist to left wrist in one piece, then picked up and Fair-Isle knitted around the neckline and front, then 4” of rib on the bottom, and then a separate button band made and sewn on. I finished the main body in February or so, blocked that, then sewed up the sides and completed the colourwork and the ribbing in in the winter, but put it away halfway through sewing the button band on because it was April and I obviously wasn't going to wear it in the summer, and have just got it out again and finished sewing it up. It's now having a second block.

IF it fits, it’s totally Dior New Look, with a high neck and sloping shoulders. I really have no idea yet whether it not it will, though. And if it doesn't, well, it’s been a beautiful knit. The Rowan 4-ply is absolutely gorgeous - pure wool, but such good quality that it has a really silky finish. I’ve also learned a lot from doing the Fair Isle. I also have all the Fair-Isle colours left over, so I will probably try and make a tank top or gloves or something to use some of it up.

Really, really hope it fits and works!