Marvellous Mustard 1949 cardigan

Yesterday, I finished making one of these cardigans from my Etsy shop – Ginpoodle.  I love this cardigan, it is made following an original pattern from 1949 that I have resized.  It is a lot of work but the stitch pattern is just so gorgeous and its very forgiving because the the stitch makes it quite stretchy.

First of all the customer requested a mustard colour in pure wool, so that meant several very happy hours online trying to track down a mustard colour wool in the right weight and in the right quantity.  Turns out there were very few options and the prices ranged from affordable to eye-watering.  The nicest shade of mustard turned out to be the cheapest one – hurrahs all round.  So off I go to order it, only to find out the colour is discontinued so there was only the odd ball to be had here and there. Disaster.  After a couple of days I managed to find an eBay seller who had it in stock so I hit ‘Buy Now’ faster than I’d move if you told me there was a free buffet.  The next day I received an email from the seller to say he didn’t actually have the quantity I’d ordered. Grrrr. Now at this point I know there is very little of this stuff to be had anywhere so I’m feeling a bit panicky, but then I remembered my usual snood yarn supplier also stock pure wool and thank god for them they had the same yarn, but on a cone. I love them so much.

All this meant that by the time the yarn arrived it was two weeks after I’d received the order so the delivery date had to be adjusted. That’s the thing with custom orders, if I need to order in a special colour yarn it will take longer to complete because of course I can’t start until I have the yarn in my hands.

This stuff was worth the wait though. This yarn is beautiful, the colour isn’t flat at all, it has tones of gold and orange that you only really see if you’re knitting with it, it just gives the most beautiful shade of mustard I’ve ever seen. Why they have discontinued the shade I don’t know because everyone that has seen it loved it.

It starts off with a teensy bit of ribbing, then goes into a broad rib pattern (note excellent nail colour matching that I am very proud of) before going into the cathedral stitch repeats.  Now, if you can see, they’re  like little lacework arches a bit like cathedral windows, I’m fairly sure I’ve seen this same stitch in a stitch directory somewhere with a different name so if anyone can jog my memory please do.

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The fronts of cardigans are nice and quick to do because they’re so narrow, which can lull you into a fall sense of security of how long its going to take you to make the whole thing because at this point you’re so pleased with your progress you’ve completely forgotten the way sleeves take over your entire life with no end in sight.  Look at this picture and you’ll see I’ve already started the back, I’m just at the start of the cathedral stitch.  I’m using my gorgeous KnitPro carbonz which I love despite the ‘z’ that should be an ‘s’ irritating me.  Normally that sort of nonsense would put me off buying them altogether but they’re so chic in black and silver and my partner works with carbon fibre so it makes me feel like he’s nearby when I knit with them.   At this point I really should have blocked those two front pieces because they look pretty ropey and uneven to my eyes until they’ve been blocked.

In rare moments when I was not knitting I read this book, several years after all the other knitters in the world have read it.  Its very funny indeed, if you are a knitter and you haven’t read it already please do get a copy, you’ll see yourself on every page.  The lighting in the middle pic is horrendous because that’s my desk at work, I’m knitting at my desk in my lunchbreak and everyone else is pretending that’s normal.  The third pic is back home with the back piece finished on my vintage trunk.

All I’m going to say here is… arrrrgh sleeve hell. Though as I was making them I realised a jumper with a plainish body and cathedral stitch sleeves would be lovely and I should make one for myself.  Remind me would you?

img_0537After sleeve hell comes blocking hell. I don’t know why I hate blocking so much but I do. I think it’s all those pins and stretching.  I always worry its going to ruin all my work or not dry properly and smell of damp.  This never ever happens, the knitting is always vastly improved and it does always dry much more quickly than you expect. But blocking always gives me The Fear.

Last week I visited the Knitting and Stitching Show at Ally Pally on the Wednesday, and despite having already bought about a ton of buttons in various colours and materials for this cardigan I bought these beauties from the Italian Button stand.  I couldn’t resist, they’re perfect aren’t they? There are 14 buttons on this cardigan. If you don’t like doing up buttons or are always in a frightful rush do not buy this cardigan.

I taught myself a better way of doing buttonholes too so they came out all neat and perfect first try, normally I oversew them afterwards but no need now.

So here it is, the finished cardigan.  I love it. I know I made it and its not very British to blow your own trumpet but I think it’s beautiful. I am very happy with it and fingers crossed it’s new owner will feel the same. The flat feels a bit empty without it.

 

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Today I’m making… 1970’s beret

I fancied making a new beret but wanted something that looks more like a classic beret than the 1960’s version I usually make. I knew I had a few beret patterns in my huge vintage pattern archive but I’m not really in the mood to take on fairisle or cable. I’m in a plain as possible mood so when I came across this 1970s pattern I knew it was ‘the one’.

Its double-knit which is unusual for me, I’m a 4-ply knitter.

img_0319-1I’d like to make the whole set really but I’ve done a bit of a work in progress audit this afternoon and the result is that I have tons of work showing very little progress.  I don’t know. I have this lovely variegated sparkly green, brown and cream yarn to use on something and I’ve cast on with it but the more I look at it the more I want to make the whole set in one colour.

I’m off to Blackpool at the start of February for a weekend of knitting, theatre and opera and did want to make myself a jumper but I’ve realised I don’t have enough of the yarn I was intending to use for that but it would be enough to do this.  Maybe I’ll take the jumper pattern with me and buy some yarn while I’m there….

But I’m wandering off topic, I’m making this beret in this yarn and yes I am going to make the most enormous pom-pom I can to go on top.

 

 

Today I’m Making… 1940s style Ribbon Snoods

Today I’ve finished making two snoods that might already have a buyer, 2016 has been lucky for me already, with an order every day so far.  If things continue like this it will be astounding.

This red is gorgeous, its a nice rich lipstick shade, by that I mean it has blue undertones which I find is the most flattering type of red.

    

I have been crocheting these snoods for about ten years now, a whole decade! Its a bit of a shock to realise it has been that long. My first ones were made following an original 1940’s pattern to the T but I wasn’t overly keen on the fit so I reworked the pattern until it gave me the fit I was looking for.

I have fine hair so the standard size was too baggy on me and didn’t look great so I tweaked the pattern again to give three sizes:

Short – for bob length hair off the shoulder
Medium – for hair down to the shoulders but not lower than the bottom of shoulder blades.
Long – hair is below shoulder length

The red and purple ones shown here are both large.  When it comes to hair, one size definitely does not fit all.

This aubergine colour was quite hard to track down, I do have another chalkier shade of purple in stock and one that is quite bright too in a cotton.

    

A saggy baggy snood does not look good at all and not all of us are good at fiddling about with padding and hair pieces so why bother.

I also did away with the traditional drawstring ribbon to gather it up because I think that is the one thing almost guaranteed to make it ping off the back of your head and besides it makes getting it on way to fiddly.

So my snoods have elastic running around them which makes them much easier to get on and you can still have a ribbon bow at the top.

It was at this point in the process that another Etsy seller based in America bought a couple of my snoods in different sizes and by an amazing co-incidence they now sell snoods that look quite similar to mine. Best of luck to her and her karma, she sells lots of them but I still believe mine are the better fit and quality, my prices are better too.  I do think it was more than a bit cheeky of her to so flagrantly copy mine but it happens.

In some ways I would like to sell more of them but then would I still enjoy making them so much if I was under pressure to get them done? I have tried teaching other people to make them for me to build up my stock but I am very very picky about quality control and I’ve never found anyone who can make them to a standard I find acceptable.

What I really enjoy is the personal contact I have with a lot of my customers.  Take a look at my feedback on Etsy if you have time and you’ll see some lovely reviews and some utterly gorgeous photos from customers.

Now all I need is to track down a good metallic gold yarn, and that’s a quest I’ve been on for years and years.

Vintage knitting pattern haul

I have had some good luck recently finding vintage knitting patterns in charity shops.

I do find it hard to date them but I reckon this pattern for cushion covers is from the early 70s.

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I love them all but it’s the bottom right one I’ll make first.

This jumper pattern looks like the 60s. Would you call this early ombre hair or just bad roots?

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My favourite find is this gorgeous booklet that I think dates from the 30s.  Too good for indoor wear only.

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The bottom left crossover top is fantastic.  She’s so beautiful too.

1940s style snood – Customer photos

Whenever I sell a snood in my Etsy shop I send out a message to the buyer where I ask them to send me a pic or two of them wearing it to include in my blog.  Well, Claire kindly responded with quite a few really good ones and I’m sorry to say its taken me months and months to get around to blogging them because I am utterly rubbish at updating my blog.

Its a double faux pas because she looks so good in them!

This is Claire with her beautiful hair, that I envy so much, before adorning her snood.

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Now here she is wearing a medium cotton snood, I think this before and after really helps if you want to gauge the fit.

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We’re not leaving it there though, because she does something I’ve frankly not seen enough of.  The snood/hat combination is such a winner and she does it very well indeed.

Here is a gorgeous pillbox with a cream acrylic snood. The acrylic snoods are quite a bit thicker than the cotton ones but they still only weigh about 30g so they shouldn’t drag off the back of your head. I like the way the hat brings out her blue eyes. Is the hat navy or black?  Note to self – buy more navy.

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Next up a black veiled pillbox with the grey cotton snood.

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Then this absolutely dreamy brown velvet hairpiece with a brown acrylic snood, the yarn thicknesses vary a bit from colour to colour but if you’re au fait with yarn weights the acrylics are all in the 4ply range.

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These hats are all original vintage pieces of Claire’s collection.  I love this one so much I have to put in three more pics…

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Then last up we have this little furry feller worn again with that versatile brown snood.  Image

Look at the fantastic ribbon detail at the back!

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Jealous!

Tomato red gloves

Look at these beauties I picked up for three pounds in a charity shop this weekend. 
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Its never rich pickings for vintage around here so I was delighted to find these in a local charity shop and I love tomato red.
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These also have lovely white mini saddle stitching around the cuff and along the central dart.
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They’re a nice snug fit so they elongate my fingers and oh my they are just divine.

The girl in the shop said they had been given lots of different pairs that morning but after a desperate rummage we couldn’t find any more.  I’m going back on Saturday and no, I’m not saying where it is!

Today I’m making…The 80s were a disaster scarf

ImageA few years ago I made this mini scarf, because all I want from a scarf is for it to keep my neck and chest warm and I don’t want a scarf to add bulk to my chest. Plus scarves can dominate your outfit and sometimes I want my coat to be the focal point. So this mini scarf has worked out really well for me.  Its just as warm as one you wrap round and around your neck but you don’t feel swamped by it. I swear its just as warm if not warmer because you wear it under your coat so it seals in your body heat better.  

This one was supposed to be just a trial run using up some left over yarn.  I didn’t make any sort of fastening so I keep it in place with one of my vintage brooches.  That is the thing I think I would change about it because that can be a bit of a faff. When you take it off at work the brooch immediately loses itself in the bottom of my handbag and I only ever find it again by pricking my finger on it. 

I’ve been meaning to make another one for ages because this one has some real wool content in it so I find it a bit itchy and it’s felted a bit in the wash. 

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So this afternoon I’ve started making one with this yarn I’ve had since the 80’s.  I tried to make a huge Robert Smith jumper as a gift with it and it was a complete hideous disaster all round. I won’t go into details but the whole period was hideous but I liked this yarn enough to keep it for 20-odd years. Its taken that long for me to be able to use it without bringing back cringeworth memories. 

Finally I’ve started using it to make a new shortie scarf.  This version is going to be a bit different. The yarn is acrylic so no irritation and the monochrome colour is going to make it more versatile. 

I’ve made it about a third wider too so that it can sit higher up my neck and poke out of the top of my jacket like a lovely stock type thing. The green one does that too but not quite enough at the nape of my neck.

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I’m going to put in a buttonhole too and sew on a big chunky button to fasten it rather than use a fiddly brooch.  The yarn is so textured I don’t think it needs any sort of fancy stitch, I’m just knitting it in plain garter stitch so it should be finished in no time and will be an easy commuting project.