Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Joy of Knitting

It's no secret that I love knitting and any type of knitwear so seen as September is slowly but surely slipping away and the nights are drawing in, I thought I'd start preparing for winter early by getting out the woollies. Plus, it will be Christmas sooner than you think and there's nothing more vintage than a hand knitted gift!

I started many moons ago when my Nan taught me as a child but through my teenage years I sort of forgot about it. When I was at University a friend of mine was a constantly crocheting which prompted me to get back into it. Since then, I've hardly had a pair of needles out of my hand and find it incredibly relaxing!! With obviously an excellent by product! Knitting for the vintage lover is an excellent way of recreating something authentic, but just the way you want it. I have many many vintage and none vintage patterns, the image above is the shelf where all my precious patterns are. The folders on the far right are full of patterns my Nan has collected over the years, and whenever I look through them I always manage to find one which my Nan knitted for me! Most notably, the legendary My Little Pony jumper which I cried over when I was too big for and my Mum wouldn't let me wear it any more!

I came across the book on the right and instantly fell in love, it has patterns from the 30s and 40s but remade in yarn available today. I have a couple of books from the 80s which do a similar thing, unfortunately they seem to have altered the fit on them. However, this book is very faithful to the original designs and also reproduces the patterns in their original form as as well as their updated versions. Interestingly, the book itself is not so much a reprint but a remake of a book published in the 70s (pictured next to it). The new book is called 'A Stitch in time' Volume 1, indicating there will be another, can't wait!

I also love vintage pattern books, the four pictured on the right were published in the 40s, all by the same author and contain patterns for all the family. The thing I really love about these book is at the back there is a section about how to recycle old knitwear, whether it's removing sleeves, piecing some back together or just unravelling it, I find it fascinating!

I also seemed to have amassed a collection of old knitting magazines which are a constant source of inspiration and amusement. the 'Pins and Needles' ones have a section 'for the husband' in the back which generally contain instructions on how to build many numerous types of furniture, my favourite being a bedhead out of picture frames!

My current projects are this jumper which I have almost finished sewing up, just to add the black trim and the bows.

And this blackberry stitch cardigan which I have only just started. Both patterns are from the 'A Stitch in Time' book which makes them really easy as generally in vintage patterns you can come across mistakes, misprints and even sections just missing!

After I've finished I'm going to start on one of these beauties, the knatty knits book is pure joy in print form. It cost me a whopping 25p from a charity shop and has the most brilliantly 80s patterns in it.

The picture knits was from a lovely lady at the Vintage at Goodwood Festival and has filled me with inspiration! My brother has requested a snowflake jumper for Christmas so I shall begin working on that.

Here are 3 of my favourite past projects. I've had a fair few knitting disasters including knitting a jumper with Aaron wool, not following the pattern properly and making the sleeves longer. Because the wool was Aaron the sleeves ended up so long it could have been a straight jacket!

The orange cardy is my favourite, knitted from a 1940s pattern in bright orange cotton it washes beautifully and has green strawberry shaped buttons! The green jumper with the coloured squares is a teenage pattern from the 50s and the grape stitch pale green jumper is another 1940s one. This one is really delicate as I knitted it from vintage Jaeger angora spun, 12 balls from a charity shop for £6!

Remember you don't just have to knit clothing, my friend moved to China so I knitted her a miniature Andy Warhol to keep her company!

If you really want to learn how to knit, there are some fantastic tutorials on you tube which you can follow step by step.

If you love knitwear but not so much the knitting, don't worry! You can always find some fantastic knitwear at the Vintage Fairs, Charity shops, Vintage shops and online. Here are 5 of my favourite knitted treasures that weren't made by me! The the first and the forth were from the fantastic Glass Onion Vintage who usually stand at Judy's fairs. The third and the last were from a charity shop (featured in another blog a while ago!) and the green cat jumper was from the lovely folk at Princes Vintage who stand at Judy's fairs but also have an excellent ebay shop:
And if you're desperate for something hand knitted but really not the crafty type, there are a few knitting up services around. I found Cissies which is a bespoke service. They have patterns or you can send them one. The lady is very friendly and keen to provide a good service:
Obviously this service isn't cheap and garments will cost upwards of £120, but that includes the yarn and the knitters time (which will be a lot!) and you will get something which is made specifically for you and will last a life time if looked after properly. So perhaps instead of knitting for Christmas, you could add this to your list for Father Christmas!

And finally, the cats are usually a pain in the backside when trying to photograph anything, but knitting and wool tends to send them a bit wild. Here are just a couple of the fine messes they got into during the making of this blog!

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