Monday, February 25, 2008

Fae Sweater Nouveau

Mushroom Cap Sleeved Sweater on the go.

Lice Pattern and Shetland Border Pattern in Fair Isle. Mushrooms from Bibliothèque DMC's 1905 Point de Croix Nouveaux Dessins, IIme Série worked in Kitchener Stitch. (This is the best way to deal with these Cross Stitch patterns which often have three colours in each row. The organic lines of Art Nouveau rarely hit the diagonals needed to provide a sturdy fair isle fabric.)

Collar? What think you? (I'm also thinking of Juliet style dropped puff sleeves)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Victory Over the Sweater

'Victory Jumper'
Originally Published in 'Home Notes' June 2, 1945
Made Available by the V&A as part of the Fashion Collection.

1940s Patterns to Knit

Original Requirements: "Materials: Of " Sirdar" Super Shetland Wool, 3-ply, 3 ozs. in navy, 2 ozs. in red, and about 0.5 oz in white. One pair of No. 10 and one pair of No. 12 knitting needles."

Modern Adjustments to Yarn and Needle Size:
I used a pure wool sock yarn in Red, White and Navy. I believe it was Lanette, (2)(1)and(3) balls 50g balls.
I used the same size of circular needle for both the rib and lace/body portions of the sweater; 2.50mm Addi Lace. In 40's UK parlance, No 12 pins.
My gauge over rib was 8st=1", and each 9st motif measured 2.25" across.

Thoughts on Pattern:
I shortened the sleeves. No reason there but personal preference. I do strongly recommend working both sleeves at the same time-or there abouts. Any decisions you make at the top (decrease) of the sleeve have to be closely duplicated on the second shoulder. The 40's puff of the set in sleeves will look weird if they don't match. You can encourage shaping and style the puff when you stitch in the sleeve. Make these top sleeves boxy for maximum puffage, but round all corners!

Wish I had...
If I re-made this sweater I would extend the ribbing at the waist. I might even double it for a vampy vintage look.
I would also pay closer attention to the state of my motifs at the beginning and end of each row of body pieces. They should always have an equal number of stitches/be at the same point in the motif. If this can't be done, make sure when you knit the second body piece (probably the back) that the end motifs line up symmetrically with the beginning motif of the front piece. This will ensure nice, barely detectable side seams.

NB: For an XS size, try omitting 2 (lace) pattern repeats. (Two happy lips)

Most Importantly: Practice 40s poses.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Swatch Notebook #1

Pattern adapted from late 40's fair isle vest.
KnitPicks' Palette
Knit Circularly

Norwegian Star Tesselation from Jessica Tromp
Opal Gem Merino -fingering weight
Cream + Lt.Grey
Knit Flat, Dark on Light, then Light on Dark
And Unphotographable
I wonder what clever thing David Hockney might have to say about
Optics and the use of mirrors in 4-way Needlework (Bargello/Flame Stitch, above) and in Quilting.
His motto of "Optics don't make marks" may help defend Embroidery and Quilting's reliance on strict patterning motifs.
The Charts don't make the Stitches.

Speaking of 'Secret Knowledge', someone should write a book about Needlepoint as hand-held and easily disguised Labyrinth Meditations... and other tools (documentation, excuse, communications, keeping sharp as a needle). Not all of the reasons for it's enduring 'Ladylike' status are denigrating. Would Eleanor of Aquitaine or Elizabeth I have put up with that?
PS Is the Vintage Knit-Along no longer running?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Forget-Me-Not Tiara

Tiara Friday #1, Worsted Weight scraps, 3.5mm crochet hook, based on vintage 1949 edging pattern reprinted in Dover's 'Traditional Edgings to Crochet'. A similar forget-me-not pattern is available online at (these edging patterns are typically worked at a much smaller gauge, and in crochet cotton)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Be My Valentine?

please, I am not the first, nor will I be the last,

but if anyone knows of a way to obtain either of these books I would be in your debt. Money/currency and postage are not (much of )an issue. I recently had a hard time/mix-up, ordering Poetry in Stitches from Amazon's Marketplace. I know the kits are still available, but I'm really keen on the books, so any tips, ideas, bon mots, or even rumours are welcome!
I'd be your Valentine? (I wish Solveig Hisdal were mine. Or the nice fellow in that Lacoste Essential commercial, of course.)

Soundtrack: "Buttons", Sia
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