Sunday, November 22, 2009
I like to look for vintage knitting patterns, especially ones from the 30s to the 50s. There are lots of nice cardigans and pullovers to be found in them, and I like to see what people wore in those days. I happened to see this 1958 Bernat magazine on eBay, which I already have, but in case anyone is interested, it features Elizabeth Zimmerman's first published sweater pattern on the cover. On the left is her fair isle sweater pattern which she tells us was adulterated by the pattern company by taking her knit-in-the-round design and rewriting it for the pieces to be knitted flat. You can see this very picture in her book Knitting Around, along with the pattern as originally written. The story can be found in a couple of her books, I believe, maybe The Opinionated Knitter as well.
That claim to fame aside, I wanted to have this publication for its value as a vintage knitting magazine because there are many other nice things in it. If you'd like this copy, you'll have to hurry as the auction ends in two days, but I suspect it can be found on eBay again.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
I'm on a roll here with the quilting! The quilt top pictured above is from a kit called "Flora" by Valori Wells. I wrote about it quite a while ago when I got it as a gift from my mom, and I've been wanting to get it out and work on it. It's going along pretty fast. The columns are made of rectangles that are 4", 8", 12" and 16". While there's a schematic for putting together the different lengths, they advise just to pick up the next strip on the pile for piecing. I'm pretty much doing that, except when I get two of the same fabric, and it's turning out great, better than I would have done myself. I'm more than halfway through with the piecing of this not-huge quilt top. This is one of those addictive projects where one keeps going to see what the next strip looks like.
I've got the table runner all ready for machine quilting. Wish me luck--my first attempt at machine quilting :o)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
This weekend I started one of my Christmas gifts, a table runner for my mom. She loves bright colors and Kaffe Fassett fabric (and doesn't frequent this blog). I've never sewed anything other than tote bags with his fabrics and was looking forward to mixing all the different colors and patterns to create that saturation of color which is his trademark. Fassett's design partner Liza Prior Lucy assures me in the book that I can't really mess it up since it's a scrap quilt. I'll have to take her word for it because I was awfully confused in the quilt shop trying to find the right fabrics to supplement my scraps.
The finished size will be about 18" x 72". Here's the one shown in the book Skinny Quilts and Table Runners, where I got the pattern. Volume II of this book just came out, and there are some gorgeous things in it, too.
The thing I like about table runners and wall hangings is they're manageable projects. I just started yesterday and I've got all the one-color blocks cut out and about a third of the nine-patch blocks done.
The dye shop is still in operation here, too! Learning as I go. Yesterday, I popped a not-much-worn handknitted sweater in the pot and had my least pleasing result. It came out splotchy and kind of a muddy color, as I mixed denim and a brown color. Did some research and they recommended Synthrapol, which helps prepare the wool for dyeing. Also, I found out that softer colors are more difficult to achieve even results with. So today, back in the pot it went, with more dye and the pre-treatment with Synthrapol. It is very dark now, but I don't yet know if it's still splotchy. It appears to be a dark raisin color, which does please me. I went ahead and left the buttons on, and they came through just fine.
I had a success yesterday when I dyed this scarf made with Morehouse merino in a very light brown. It came out as you see here--not purple, more indigo. It does more for me than the light brown did.
Hope you're having a wonderful crafty weekend, too.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Yesterday I tried out some of my dyes by dyeing a scarf I made a few years ago that I never wore because the color didn't really go with my skin. The scarf is "Dew" from Rowan magazine 26, one of my old favorites (I also made the sweater to match but felted it by mistake!). The scarf was done in Rowan's DK Soft, a yarn that's been discontinued now but it was very nice to work with. Here's the color mine was:
And here it is in the murky dye bath:
And now it looks like this:
I'm happy with the color, even though I didn't measure anything or really have any idea how I wanted it to look. I guess I didn't want it to be a dull gray, and it's not that! The dye kit I have is from Sheep Hollow in Oregon, and it's their new Lanaset dye colors (or they were new when I bought them). Here are the colors in my kit. Each will dye a pound of yarn to that strength, or more if the color isn't as strong.
I'm amazed at the dyeing process, how one can put wool in a pot and bring it almost to the boil and not have it felt. It's fun to watch as the water gradually becomes clear by the uptake of the dye into the fiber.
Monday, November 2, 2009
I finally finished a handknitted garment! Hooray for me. This sweater is Clemence, from Louisa Harding's book Nouveau. I love all her books, and this one has lots of pretty things for spring. My sweater is made with Blue Sky Alpacas 100% alpaca sport weight, so it can be worn in other seasons. It's warm and cozy.
The original model looks like this and is made with Merletto, a linen blend that looks light and delicate:
I decided to leave off the intarsia and do the eyelet pattern throughout. I would have wanted to do the contrast band, but I had already started this sweater as something else. I was able to switch it to this cardigan easily and keep my 1 x 1 ribbing. Here's the back view:
I like the sweater and think I'll probably wear it a lot. It looks fancier in the book, but jeans usually figure into my daily wardrobe, so that's how mine will be worn. It could be dressed up with gray pants or a skirt and a scarf, though.
Here are the blasted buttons that took me forever to get just right. I love cardigans but forget about all the extra finishing they require. I'm quite proud of my efforts, though, even if I did the math wrong and ended up with one less button than stated in the pattern.
And now for the most exciting part: the next project! I've got ideas, but that's for another post.