Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Buttoned for Fashion - a very original, very individual hat. c. 1945

I'm very excited about finally getting my hands on a Hiawatha Hats & Bag book (available on Etsy now), so I have to share one of the patterns with you as todays free vintage pattern!

Hiawatha books are the cream of the crop for 1940s hats and bags - fashion forward and very stylish. Very expensive to collect too!

I hope you like this sweet crocheted cap - the little horns/bows are covered in shell buttons and perch delicately on the head. The cap is held in place with pins.

Hiawatha Strawlite is discontinued, but a good substitute would be a fingering weight yarn with a firmness, like linen or hemp.

If anyone does make this I would love to see it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Knitting Vintage for the Uninitiated - short cuts and tips

Caveat - these series of posts are aimed at the new knitter who wants to knit vintage styles. Its a collection of short cuts and tips that i've found useful, and i'd love to hear about your tips too!

I've always loved vintage knitting patterns, and used to think that the people who could knit from them must have amazing knitting skillz. That level of knitting would never be attainable for little old me!

Thinking about miles of fingering weight yarn, potentially having to resize a pattern and unfamiliar instructions made me feel too nervous to try.

Let me tell you now - knitting vintage is no different to knitting a modern day pattern! (Don't get me started on how badly written Vogue knitting patterns are, for example).

I'd love to address those concerns, and give you some thoughts of my own for those who would love to try their hand at their first vintage knit.

Hopefully my short cuts and tips will help convince you, as I honestly don't think it's a hard process.

Tip No. 1 - negative ease!
Of everything that i've knitted, the garments that I wear the most are those that are body skimming.
Try for a finished bust size equal to your actual bust measurement, or 1-1.5 inches smaller. Knits stretch, and most vintage styles are meant to be form fitting (with some exceptions like some of the draped 30s styles).

For example, my bust measurement is approx 39 inches, so i'll happily knit this pattern that is sized for a 38-40 inch bust.

This Victory Jumper, sized 38-40 will be perfect
for me!

If you’re not sure what the finished size is (quite often they say ‘to fit a 34 inch bust’), just skim read through the instructions for the back, until to you get to the point where they start casting off for the armholes – this is your widest point of the garment.
Get the stitch count before the cast off, and divide by the recommended gauge-per-inch. Multiply that by two, and you should have idea of how wide around the bust the garment will be.

If you’re concerned that the waist band will be too tight, use the same size needles on the ribbing that you will use on the body. The rib will still be stretchy but not restrictive.

But what if your bust is just a fraction too large for the knitting pattern (i.e. the finished size is 36 inches, and you want a finished size of 37 inches)?

If you only need to increase by an inch, its an easy enough process to add some extra increases up the sides of the front and back to add an inch.
For example, if your gauge is 8 sts to an inch, you would only need to add 2 sts on each side to get the extra inch!
With the sleeve, just make sure you add the matching stitches to the width (in this case, an extra 4 sts per sleeve). Don’t worry about the sleeve cap, just work the instructions as directed and ignore the extra stitches, the difference is negligible and knits are forgiving of a few stitches here and there.

 But what if you need to increase a lot more than that – say a 34 inch to a 42 inch?

Spots before my eyes!

Well, you’ll have to wait for my next post!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fashion Supplement, October 1939

I'm currently writing up an intense blog post about knitting from vintage patterns, but for now i'd love to share another Fashion Supplement with you.

Its from Good Needlework October 1939 - for some added context, October 1939 saw Australia just begin to enter World War II, and the first air attack on Britain took place.
You can see the 'military shoulder' starting to feature in clothing (sqaure shoulders, shaped with darts) but fabric rationing wasnt yet in place.

I hope you enjoy looking at these designs!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

FO: Light and Lovely Jumper, c. 1947 from ASIT Vol 1

This jumper nearly killed me - I had a lot of issues with the instructions as well as my own mistakes. I tinked, frogged and ripped back more times than I can count (this was supposed to be a quick knit - 4 weeks in my mind!).
Then I spilt a glass of red wine over it and had to wash it on the needles.

I do love it now though, and it'll be great for Summer!

The yarn is Moda Vera Gelato - a suprisingly nice cotton/acrylic blend from Spotlight, and the buttons are from my stash.

My modifications:

- Increased total height of body by half a pattern repeat. Made sure the front and back yokes matched pattern-wise.

- Used the same size needle for the body and the ribbing.

- After the ribbing, I only did approx 2/3 of the increases required to avoid the blousing effect. Then I increased the rest of the stitches up the sides evenly until I got the right stitch count.

- Increased height of front and back yokes by an inch.

- Decreased width of yoke by 2 sts each side.

- Re-worked sleeve heights so they looked normal! I swapped the ‘Decrease 2 sts each side of every row, until 51 sts remained’ to ‘decrease 2 sts each side of every row 5 times, then only on the K rows until 51 sts remained’. Much better.

- Picked up 80 sts for the collar, instead of seaming one on.

- Knitted shoulder pads.

- Solid black bows knitted in moss stitch.

Overall Review:

I wouldnt knit this pattern again - once is enough.
I think it looks very period accurate (military shoulders huzzah) but the 'upsized' version of the pattern needs work to make sure it fits properly. I wouldnt suggest this pattern for a beginner knitter - it would put you off knitting for life! I.e. it just says that shoulder pads are recommended, but no pattern is provided to make them?

The pattern also gives the same size sleeve for all bust sizes (the sleeve that fits a 30 inch bust fits a 44 inch bust?) which I'm pretty sure is wrong.

I'm really happy with how it's finally turned out, and the yarn is suprisingly nice although I'll have to see how it fares after its first handwash.

I can't wait to cast on for another design from one of the Stitches in Time books, but best get onto the Xmas present knitting first!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Lincoln Mills Striped Cardigan L802, c 1940s

I'm so very close to completing the 'Light and Lovely' jumper, from a Stitch in Time Volume 1 - although it's caused me so much frustration I nearly threw it in the bin!

It very nearly broke my knitting spirit.
I'm just seaming it up, and will hopefully have some photos coming over the weekend!

In the meantime, please enjoy today's free vintage knitting pattern - a chevron striped jumper/cardigan from Lincoln Mills, c.1940s. It looks like a great way to use up those scraps from different projects you've been saving.

To fit a 34 inch bust.

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