Monday, December 12, 2011

Garden City Scarf

Finished something else!  Feeling quite acomplished.

This lovely scarf is a present for my son's teacher, but once I tried it on I found it very hard to take it off and wrap it up to give away.

The pattern is Garden City Scarf by my lovely friend-in-yarn, Sheryl Greenfield.  The scarf is knit in worsted weight yarn, but a DK/8ply will do fine.  I used Jo Sharp DK in Lichen, a colour I adore, not quite green and not quite gold.  There is also a 4ply shawl version of the pattern.  I found this seriously addictive to knit and am planning on knitting myself one soon. 

Excuse the seriously unglamorous poor light phone pic!

Friday, December 2, 2011

7 Daisies

I read somewhere that if you can stand on seven daisies it is summer.  Our lawn is just about more daisies than grass at the moment so we tried it out.  Turns out 7 is easy, even for the kids, the most I could manage with my big feet was 13.  Must be summer!  

More signs of summer, I accidentally harvested some garlic today.  I was covering the strawberry patch to protect it from birds and rabbits, and these babies were in the way.

The lemon is in full blossom, every time I step outside my back door it smells like I am in Sicily. 

We have three feijoa trees here as well.  I hope the number of flowers are a sign of the bumper crop to come.

 I'm not really able to tackle the vegetable garden at the moment so it has become rather overgrown, but I like the way it looks in all it's weedy, seedy glory.  There is still plenty to eat in there - garlic, potatoes, broad beans, runner beans, coriander, celery, rainbow chard and silver beet.  Will also be plenty of seeds to harvest for next year!

The bare branches that I suspected were some sort of currents are indeed - I suspect I'll need to protect these from the birds as well.

and of course my favourite scarlet runner beans.  Nothing says summer is on it;s way more than their wonderful orange flowers and bright green leaves.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Jumper Suit for Baby Boy

All finished and just like the one in the book!  It's a relief to finally do a "completed" knitting post, especially a completed vintage project.  I've been knitting too many things in 4ply wool, everything takes forever and it feels like a long time since I finished anything.  A baby jumper is not so bad, this was a pretty quick knit at 7sts per inch.

The pattern is from the No. 2 Viyella Knitting Book originally published in the 1920s.  The original pattern is knit in the "gansey" method - knit in the round to the armholes, grafted at shoulders, sleeves picked up and knit down in the round.

I knit exactly to pattern with a couple of small mods:

Pattern as written seems to be two rows short in the front, I added in an extra two rows in pattern before casting off for the neck.

Only knit 12 rounds in pattern on cuffs to match the hem and to have less bulky turnbacks on the sleeves (and I got bored).

Finished measurements:
chest 18”
length 10.5”
sleeves 7” (not turned back)

These correspond to sizing for a baby of 3-6 months.

I didn't have enough wool left from 2 balls for “the knickers”, but there may be just enough for a hat or booties.

The neck closes with 4 tiny buttons and crochet loops.

A vintage baby knit daddy will happily put the baby boy in - much as I'm dying to knit some little "frocks" and lacy gowns I don't think I'll get away with it.

Here's the pattern for the jumper (click for a bigger image).  I will add a pdf version of the whole suit and load it onto Ravelry. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm off to Vintage Knitting College, by gum, by golly!

Since releasing my Matariki pattern I've had a few knitters asking me for hints on colourwork knitting.  You might like to check out the Vintage Knitting College hosted on the fabulous blog By gum, by golly! for far more detailed and comprehensive advice than I could ever give!

If the linky button won't work, you can enter Vintage Knitting College here, and Tasha's first class is here: Colorwork: 101.

Mostly I'm just looking at all those gorgeous vintage chicks in their gorgeous vintage sweaters and wondering about their boobs.  Luckily Tasha's blog even has a post about re-creating a vintage bustline.  I'm not taking the Mickey, quite seriously, I've often wondered about retro bustlines.  Not quite sure where to from there, except maybe it's time to re-post this one:

That'll be me soon, 20" waist and all.

Monday, November 7, 2011

One for Trish

I spied some familiar fabric on the blog of my vintage loving, clever sewing, old school friend, Trish.  I'm sure it's the same as my De Vol "Jeannie" dress.  What do you think, Trish?

Have a looksie at Trish's sewing and vintage musings at Quiet Vintage Sewing

Barefoot in the Kitchen

I know, I know, I've not blogged forever.  But I have been busy, buying selling and shifting houses, and growing babies...

Helloooo feet!  Sorry I can't reach you anymore, promise I'll try and paint your toenails anyway.

Yup, there's a new baby on the way.  One of those accidental "much the younger" babies.  I always swore I wasn't going to be one of those woman who had babies in their 40s.  Well, you live and learn.

So what am I knitting for baby?  Hardly anything!  He's due in the middle of summer, how many woolies will he need?  Still, gotta knit so I'm making a Moderne Baby Blanket blanket in Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton.  I've wanted to knit one of these for ages - here's mine so far:

And of course some vintage baby knitting has to be tackled.  I'm starting with this little "Jumper Suit" from the No. 2 Viyella Knitting Book.  It's really a tiny gansey, knit mostly in the round, with the sleeves picked up and knit top down.  Very simple and very 1920s.  If it works out ok I'll post the pattern.  I'm using Cleckheaton Coccoon, a little nylon content in homage to Viyella perhaps? 

I love these old Viyella books, I threaten my big kids with such joys as "school girl knickers", they're not impressed even when they like to dress the part.

How do you like Miss Z's new hair cut?  A big change around here, life is so much easier without the daily hair battle!  I thought she looked very 1920s in this outfit but she rolled her eyes as only a pre-teen can do and informed me it was Edwardian.  I used to wear the dress and gloves out clubbing when I was about 18.  My hair was always too curly to carry off a flapper bob, I'm jealous of my 10 year old!

Spy the blue blankie?

That's my big boy, with Kanga too, he's still my baby really ;-) 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Out with the Old.

My real life friends know that we've bought a new house, conveniently just around the corner.  Not only are we moving within the same suburb, but we're not even leaving the neighbourhood!  The kids can walk the same way to and from school, they'll just get there a couple of minutes quicker :-).

More about the new house when we're moved in (it's bigger, on the flat and has lots of storage), but for today a few random things I'll miss about my home of the last ten years.

1. Pink tiled fireplace.  Who else has a pink fireplace?

2. Red in the kitchen.  I guess I can repeat that anywhere, but it goes so well with the white windows and cream tiles.  I'll miss my kitchen full stop - everything is in just the right place, I never really thought about it until I realised in our new kitchen the dishwasher is on the opposite side of the room from the sink, and the stove top at the far end of the room from the oven.  What were they thinking?

3.  Delusions of grandeur.  I love the way these modest little bungalows have quirky touches that really belong in a much bigger and flashier house.

4.  Modest Arts and Crafts detailing.  Just to contrast with the silly domed ceiling.  The builders were a little confused in 1926, throwing in a bit of this and a bit of that...

5. Morning glory vine? 

6.  The square bay windows that make me think of an Elizabethan ship.  I love lying on the sofa and looking out this window at the trees and the sky.

7.  The sunporch that makes me feel I'm at the beach even the midst of a winter storm.  And it's great for watching the waves in a storm!

8.  The view from my bedroom window.

9.  Wood panelling in the hall way.

10.  Original clawfoot bath.  This bath makes me rediculously happy.  It's 5'6" long inside - how convenient that I'm 5'5" long and can lie full length in it :-).  You can bath four kids in one go as well.

as you can see, a great house for someone obsessed with all things old and quirky.  But eventually the need for a bit of space, a built in wardrobe or two, some flat land for the kids to run around, a warm, well insulated home and other such practicalities over took the need for quirky style.  and luckily the place has its own fair share of quirkiness!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

oops, I was wrong!

I think I said it never snows where I live.  Oops, I was wrong - seems it does snow once every 50 years or so, turns out I just hadn't lived long enough ;-)

Yesterday we had real, proper snow for over an hour, and then flurries on and off for the rest of the day. More is forecast for tonight! While Wellington does occasionally get a little snow in the higher hill suburbs, down at sea level where I live it's very, very rare.

The children were at school, but it sounds like they didn't spend much time in the classrooms.  Bet they were glad I made them wear their jackets and gloves.

A confession, before yesterday I'd only once in my life been in falling snow (and that was at age 34).  So when the flakes started falling thick and fast I was out there playing too, amazed and delighted.  Just like these people:

Snow on Cuba Mall in central Wellington (HD) from Ro Tierney on Vimeo.


Later in the day the weather deteriorated into a terrible storm with gales and thunder and hail and sleet and even more snow.  I think it might just be the spirit of the Antarctic come for Happy Feet - our very own chilly ET.

I'll leave you with a snowy cabbage tree, Dr Suess craziness as a friend commented:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Busy, distracted, cold!

Don't often get one of these on the weather for Wellington!  No snow at our house sadly, just cold wind and sleety rain.  Luckily it's school holidays so we can stay in and keep warm.  Ryan is having an Angry Birds marathon and Zoe is practising being a teenager by staying in bed as long as possible.

Anyway, I haven't blogged for ages.  I will be back soon with news and knitting :-)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Are you a change-daily girl?

Some mindless fun after my last horribly technical knitting post.  Imagine the risk the personal daintiness! 

Love it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


 I've been playing around with the idea of a 1950s dolman sleeved sweater lately, and ta da, here is my version, knit in Misti Alpaca Suri and Silk DK. 

I've made mine pretty much the same shape and size as the genuine 50s versions below (I based my measurements on a pattern for a 32-34" bust, and seeing as I have  33" bust the sizing is pretty spot on).  I added a wider cowl neck to made it a bit more modern, and I think the dolman shape needs something up top to make it look balanced.  I've kept the 3/4 length sleeves, but I think it would also look good if you continued the ribbed cuff down to the wrist.  My cuffs are actually 4" but folded back.

The sleeve seams were a fun challenge.  I didn't want a sewn top seam as I thought it would be too bulky in double knit, and I wanted it as invisible as possible.  Kitchener stitch was the obvious solution, but as the sleeves are a triangular shape the top of them needs to be progressively shaped.  I improvised a method involving putting stitches on spare needles, but it was clumsy, and I have little uneven bits where I turned the rows.  In hindsight I think I could have used short rows to shape the top of the sleeves - next time!  The end result is pretty good all the same, you can just see the seam on my left arm,  It's less visible now after a wash and block.

 This is my inspiration in it's purest form - Stitchcraft 1950.  Do you see what I mean about this shape needing some balance?  I find that really tight neckline unflattering (not to mention uncomfortable).

The obligatory dolman sweater pose!  This one is interesting because they've got around the top of the arm seam problem by adding in a crochet panel.  Needle and Thread magazine, also around 1950.

The pose again - I'm going to have to get another pic of mine in the correct pose!  This one is from a Modella booklet, I'm going to have to guess 1950 because 1950 seems to have been the year of the dolman.  For a brief time the knitting booklets and magazines were full of dolman cardigans and sweaters, several in any given issue.   The shape shows up again around 1960, and in a wider "batwing" form in the 70s and again in the early 80s, but never seems to stay in fashion for long.  So I figured I'd better knit mine quickly before I tired of the style ;-)

Life, being what happens while you're waiting for something interesting to blog about....

Pretty china, irresistable wool, mustering wool sheep, cycling, football, basking seals in the sparkling winter sunshine.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What a fabulous New Idea!


A grapevine sweater?  Oh YES please!  Can't you just imagine it knit in a rich burgundy, and worn (with full ironic self-awareness) while sipping a glass or two in a vineyard cafe on a crisp autumn day?

I do like New Idea knitwear books.  I feel another blog post coming on.

Something Special for My Vintage Friends

It's been awhile, I just don't seem to have the blogging mojo at the moment, but to make up for it I've got something special today.

The Lux Knitting Book 1935!

I've been watching this little coverless book for ages on Trademe.  I couldn't quite bring myself to pay $15 for a book with no cover, even if it was The Lux Knitting Book 1935.  But I had a moment of weakness and she arrived in my letterbox this morning.  As soon as I turned the first page I knew I was not going to regret a single cent of that $15.

Fascinating construction, and gorgeous buttoned neckline.  I LOVE her side buttoned skirt too.

Perfect.  Would be completely in fashion today.  I'd wear this one too.

For the crochet girl, but the angora "jaunty collar" is knitted seperately and is just too sweet.

In maize yellow with brown buttons and belt.

Time for some undies...

Be still, my beating heart!

Finally, a simple sweater in an evening.  Frustratingly this pattern doesn't give any tension or measurements so it would take a bit of experimentation to work it out.  But should anyone feel up to the challenge, here it is:

There are also patterns for the other members of the family, but meh, who needs them.

P.S. if you like these, why not get your own copy!  Bex who blogs at  has a new Etsy store selling PDFs of fabulous vintage patterns, including this and other Lux books.  Pop over and have a drool: