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… gold hair snood

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This morning I finished making my first ever metallic gold 1940s style hair snood.  Its something customers have been asking me about for quite a long time but I’ve never found a metallic yarn in a quantity that makes it possible to make a large snood without a join.

I always have a look in yarn shops for metallic gold but never have any luck, in the end I found this yarn online from the Turkish company, Ice.  Turkey seems to be a pretty enthusiastic knitting country, a lot of yarns seem to be produced there now and its good quality too. Ice make a lot of more unusual yarns, I’ve bought from them before and never been disappointed.

So, I have bought six balls, each one is just enough to make one large snood with a fair bit left over so not entirely enconomic  and the yarn is quite expensive so this batch of six will be the only ones I make.  If you like them and want one please do move quickly, they’re a very limited run.

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The other reason I won’t be making these regularly is the yarn is properly metallic, it’s gorgeous, it has a lovely sheen and teeny tiny little sequins that really catch the light so they’d be brilliant for performers but the yarn is quite stiff so it’s blimmin’ hard going on my hands to crochet with.  Course, this means the snoods are a bit stiff too, so if you have one of my usual acrylic numbers it won’t feel anything like that.

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I am going to keep looking for a softer metallic gold yarn, I think Ice do a lurex thread I can use alongside a ‘normal’ yarn but finding a base colour of a non metallic gold is also a bit of a challenge.  Don’t hold your breath because I’ve been keeping an eye out for gold for years so far.

A pair of sparkly snoods

Things have gone a little quiet over the Easter weekend for me on Etsy orders so it gives me a chance to let you see the progression of an order I have just posted off to America.

I’ll take this picture by picture and explain what is going on. The first picture is the yarn I use to make the sparkly snoods, the cone on the right is super fine metallic blue lurex which I crochet in with the usual blue yarn.  The lurex is a funny thing, it is really quite strong but feels very delicate as if it would snap at any moment.  In the background of this pic you can see some of my snood making yarn, that wicker unit is crammed to bursting with the rest of my snood yarn and a small amount of Gin Poodle yarn also on the coffee table are a couple of books I’ve read and haven’t decided what to do with yet, a train timetable and a book and map that I intend to make paper flowers from.

Next pic is the snoods nearly finished, the silver one is pretty much done apart from adding the elastic, the ribbon bow and sewing in a label, the sparkly blue one  isn’t quite finished, I’m putting a neat edge along the hair band here.

Next up is the book I am struggling to get anywhere with (The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen) which I’m reading in between making things.  I just can’t get into it, I don’t like any of the characters and don’t really care what happens to them. I’m a quarter of the way through it so surely by now I should care a bit? I’ve set myself a modest target of reading 26 books this year and I’m already three books behind schedule. Ms Bowen is not not helping. Sometimes I just give up on a book I’m this apathetic about but this is a book I picked up through Bookcrossing so I feel like I owe it to its previous owner to let them know what happens to it so I’ll slog on.

The last two pictures are the snoods pretty much ready to go sitting on my bony knees – all I’ve got to do now is wrap them up in tissue paper and add some complimentary sparkly hair grips to the vintage postcard and send them off.  The postcard is just over 100 years old, I bought a job lot of them and while they last I’ll use them as my notepaper or hairgrip holders in all my orders.  This one shows Gertie Gitana who was a music hall actress also known as The Staffordshire Cinderella.  This one was written on and posted, nothing exciting though, just some bloke Dave asking after his mate Jim and saying he’ll be home soon because they expect to be sent off to France soon.  I wonder if he was a soldier in the First World War but he doesn’t say so expressly. If they are blank I usually write a message on the back but if they’ve been used I like to keep them as they are and just pop one in the package as a nice surprise. Not that it will be much of a surprise if the customer reads this post before the package arrives.

 

 

Today I’m Making – Gin Poodles

I have an Etsy shop called GinPoodle its where I sell all the things I make, and seeing as it is called GinPoodle the one thing I definitely have in stock in abundance at all times is of course… well actually I haven’t had any Gin Poodles in stock for a while now.

I don’t know who that happened really other than I’m quite often crocheting 1940s style hair snoods but its not really an excuse is it? So yesterday I decided to pull myself together and get at least one finished and up for sale by the end of the day.

The actual knitting part is fairly quick to do, its making the pom-poms that takes the time. I used to use a traditional pair of discs but that takes forever so now I’m a massive fan of Clover pom-pom makers, they really take the pain out of making them, I can whip one up in no time. I do still need 10 for every Gin Poodle though so its still a hill to climb. I did buy a Multipom but I didn’t really like it, I found the pom-poms come out looking quite cubic at this size, I expect its better for smaller ones.  SAM_2493

Then there are the eyes, nose and ribbon to sort out, until those are on I’ll admit the poodles do not look their cheeky best. That wicker storage unit in the background holds all my snood making yarn.  Yep, there’s a lot of it isn’t there? I’m not ashamed to say every one of those drawers is groaning with yarn and that’s not my entire stash.

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So here it is finished and listed for sale with a very bright peachy orange ribbon. SAM_2501

One Gin Poodle is very far from what I would call fully stocked so here are the beginnings of the next one, though I’m not sure I have enough of this flecked cream yarn so the body colour may well change.  I’ve signed up to do a makers market at the local carnival in the summer so I really need to concentrate on building up some stock for that rather than making things reactively or more accurately, randomly.

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I’ve been very behind with my reading too, I have a very reasonable set it yourself reading challenge on Goodreads – my goal is only to read 26 books this year, which is only one book a fortnight so that should be easily do-able but here I am five books behind schedule and it’s only March. In between bouts of frantic poodle knitting and watching Tipping Point I’m reading as much as I can.  Despite this book being a Daily Mail recommendation its actually pretty good – its about a woman who was put in a mental health institution 60 years ago by her family and then basically just left there and never spoken of again, so when the hospital is marked for closure her granddaughter hears about her for the first time as her only surviving relative.  Its a good read but pretty chilling to think this sort of thing really did happen.

Today I’m Making… red hair snoods

Yesterday I was knitting a purple sparkly Gin Poodle that I intended to finish off today but when I switched on my phone this morning I got the magic ‘cha’ching’ from Etsy that is the fantastic alert sound that you’ve sold something!  I love that sound.

So, I’ve sold one of these bright red hair snoods which is fantastic because I like making these (I make everything to order) the red is so cheerful. The first thing to do is go ferreting about in my main yarn store for red.

wpid-20150517_135520.jpgThis gives you an idea of how the love of snoods have taken over my home. This is only my main store, I have a big trunk, some boxes in the loft and a load more dotted about here and there. I know I’ve got some red but I know I don’t have an awful lot.  Turns out I’ve only got about enough to make three snoods. So that’s OK, I’ve sold one and I can order some more yarn any time I like but then – cha ching! I’ve sold another one exactly the same.  So now I’m forced to go shopping for more red yarn. Poor me.

wpid-20150517_132153.jpgThis is all I have left, Not much is it? To put it in perspective here it is again next to a nearly full cone. wpid-20150517_132211.jpg

Yesterday I went to the excellent I Knit Fandango yarn fair in London, run by the excellent I Knit London shop at Waterloo. I had a fantastic time and bought some yarn but of course, I didn’t buy any red.

I think I’ve got enough to do another two snoods, so that’s the one other one that I’ve sold today and one more.  I’m going to order some more red today so if the final one sells before it arrives red snoods will go out of stock for a while but hopefully will be back in stock by the end of the week.

Today I’m Making… Knitted squares patchwork lap blanket

ImageSeveral years ago, back in 2009 in fact, I made this lap blanket and sold it in my Etsy shop – http://www.ginpoodle.etsy.com – and it is still getting views. I made this one because I either read an article or heard a piece on the radio about people with advanced alzheimers seeming to enjoy handling things that have a variety of textures so I made this one with all different texture yarns and stitch patterns and it sold pretty much straight away. It took ages to make and was a labour of love to sew up and its the sewing up that’s put me off making another one for all these years.

 

Now though, I’ve hit on an idea that means I don’t have to do any sewing up at all which is fantastic but I’ve only got one stitch pattern that I can make work with it but I think it’s still going to be good.

I am always tempted to use lots of colour but this time I’m going to stick with two colours and introduce variety through shade.  The main colour is white, but its acrylic yarn so it won’t matter if it needs washing regularly its not like it will felt or anything.  The other colour is grey for now but I might branch out into other colours if all this restraint proves too much for me.

The other thing I like about it is that its such an easy pattern I can do it while watching tv or commuting because I don’t have to think about it, the squares are pretty quick to make up too so hopefully I will finish this in time for winter! Mind you I haven’t finished that cathedral stitch cardigan yet either and I feel like I’ve been making that for about a year now.

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Unravel – photography workshop booked!

Why do all the craft festivals come at once in the south east? I love going to them but I could do with them being spread out a bit more.

We do a bonus ball sweepstake at work, I’ve won it for the second time now, only £15 each time, I never seem to win when it rolls over above £50. Mustn’t grumble though because that’s ticked off my first craft festival booking of the year.

For £27.50 I’ve now got a weekend pass to Unravel at Farnham Maltings at the end of February.  I’ve booked on to this workshop: https://farnhammaltings.com/events/unravel-click-1-purl-1-beginners-photography/ A beginner’s workshop in photographing your crafty projects, aimed at those who want achieve great pictures without the professional equipment. Photographer and knitter, Louise Walker will show you how with just a point and shoot or smartphone. The workshop will explore the use of light, props and basic photo editing. An ideal chance to improve your ravelry, etsy and instagram. Please bring your digital camera or smartphone and a finished project and prop such as fabric for a backdrop (optional). Suitable for all levels.

Sounds brilliant doesn’t it?  I do badly need some help with my photos, I had a fantastic piece of luck last year when Dawn Elliott and Vintage Vi agreed to take photos of my snoods for my Etsy shop in return for a bit of cross promotion (www.dawnelliottphotography.co.uk and www.vintagevi.co.uk). If you have a look at my Etsy shop all the good photos of a woman wearing a snood are modelled by Vintage Vi and photographed by Dawn Elliott, everything else is taken by me and frankly doesn’t do my work any favours.

The Unravel workshop is such good value, 2 hours of tuition for basically about £15 I think.  I’m going to take along one of my snoods, my nice little camera that is capable or much more than I have worked out and I thought a vintage headscarf to use as a backdrop.  I’m really looking forward to it.

Last year I did a knitting with beads workshop at Unravel with Fiona Morris that was fantastic.

If you don’t know about Unravel its well worth a visit if you are local.  Its a festival of knitting with workshops, exhibitions, tons of shopping and its all held in a fantastic venue.  The Maltings is well worth a visit at any time of year just for the café, last year I had the most ginormous bakewell tart.  If you are going, I would recommend going on both days, its a bit of a crush and you’ll need a few hours to see it all. I like to have a look on the first day and spend on the second day. I’m kidding myself again that I’m not going to spend any money this year but if I can get a seat in the café I’m going to invest heavily in cake.