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Archive entry for 2007

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December 2007

Sparkling Stole

SparklingStole.jpg

Adapted from an original idea for sleepwear, this has transformed itself into a glamorous stole.
Whether or not it sparkles obviously depends on the type of wool you choose. I used a fabulous Italian yarn, which was a bit brighter once knitted up, than I had imagined from the ball, but has made a lovely item. The original pattern (from the 1970s but probably revamped from a much earlier design) called for 4 ply wool - about 8 ounces - but my version is not only in much lighter weight man-made fibres with a consequent good yardage, but also designed to be shorter than the original.
I think you could feasibly wear this in the evening with a skimpy evening top or as a decorative addition over a plain black roll-neck sweater.
[Note: we noticed that this colourway works particularly well with dark brown].

Instructions

Using No. 6 (5mm) needles cast on 72 stitches, and work 6 rows k1, p1 rib.

Increase row: K5, * m1 (make one st by picking up the loop between the stitches and knitting into the back of it), k4; repeat from * to the last 6sts, m1, k5. [88 sts].

**
Work 3 rows in stocking stitch, (one row plain, one row purl), starting with a purl row.

Right side of work facing, change to No. 3 (6½mm) needles and commence pattern.

Next pattern row: * K1, k1b; repeat from * to end.
[k1b = knit 1 below: insert needle through the centre of the stitch below the next stitch to be knitted, and knit off both stitches at the same time.]

Work 25 rows in the pattern.
[Editor's note: The pattern consists of this one row repeated on both sides of the work - for 25 rows. On an even number of stitches this produces a fisherman rib like stitch, which looks the same on both sides of the work.]

Change to number 6 (5mm) needles and work 3 rows in stocking stitch, starting with a purl row.
**

Increase row: K6, * m1, k4; repeat from * to the last 6sts, m1, k6. [108 sts].

Make a second pattern band by repeating from ** to **.

Increase row: K4, * m1, k4; repeat from * to the last 4sts, m1, k4. [134 sts].

Make a third pattern band by repeating from ** to **, but omit the final three st st rows, and, on this last segment, continue on the No. 3 needles and knit a further 5 pattern rows.

Cast off very loosely using a large gauge needle.

End panels - Using No. 7 (4½mm) needles, and wrong side of work facing, pick up and knit 56 sts purlwise.

Next row: (right side facing) K6, *k2tog, repeat from * to last 6 sts, k6. [34 sts].
Next row: K2, purl to the last 2 sts, k2.
Next row: K15, k2tog tbl, k2tog, K15 [32 sts].
Next row: K2, purl to the last 2 sts, k2.
Next row: K14, k2tog tbl, k2tog, K14 [30 sts].
Next row: K2, purl to the last 2 sts, k2.
Next row: K14, k2tog tbl, k2tog, K14 [28 sts].

Continue to decrease at the centre in this way until 6 sts remain.
Cast off tightly.

Repeat for the other side.

Finishing - Press the stocking-stitch end pieces lighty on the wrong side, using a warm iron and a damp cloth.
Sew in ends, and sew on fastener.
Swan around looking glamorous.

[Editor's notes: The original pattern had 5 segments. If you want to do that, work in the same way, with each pattern band at 25 rows and the following additional increase rows:

Increase row for fourth pattern band: K5, * m1, k5; repeat from * to the last 4sts, m1, k4. [160 sts].
Increase row for fifth pattern band: K3, * m1, k4; repeat from * to the last 2sts, m1, k2. [192 sts].

..and for the side panels pick up and knit 80 sts instead of 56, and decrease to 50 sts in the first decrease row.]

Materials

Example shown is knitted in 2 x 50g balls of an S. Charles Collezione yarn "Ritratto" - shade 64

One pair each of numbers 3, 6 and 7 (UK size) needles.

Fancy clasp available on the web from TextileGarden, or Purlescence, or Nordic Fiber Arts.

Tension

Approx. 16st and 32rows to 4 inches (10cm) measured over pattern using No 3 (6½mm) needles.

Size matters

Width around lower edge: 60 inches
Depth: 15 inches

A word on the wool.

"Ritratto" is a man-made fibre with 28% mohair; knits 22sts to 10cm on No 6 (5mm) needles; 50g ball is 198 yards and I used about 1½ balls for the project.

I think this would work out well using Rowan Kidsilk Haze (or Night or Splash), or in Rowan Damask, which has a slightly shiny silk thread running through the yarn.
Original pattern called for a 4 ply wool weight.

Disclaimer
(well...almost)

In transposing any patterns it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.

 

SparklingStole3.jpg

November 2007

Cosy covers - Sixties retro

Cosy_cover_sixties.jpg

This is my modern version of a hot-water bottle cover. The cover is designed to fit a microwavable hot pad - link for this under "materials". The pads are conveniently small, and much safer (to lie on) than a hot-water bottle.
The pattern stitch from 1968 was used for a tea-cosy (colours Jade, Pink, and White), and a cushion cover (colours Brown, Amber, and White). I think the cushion cover, (style and colour scheme), is more authentically late 60s that the cosy. Although a tea cosy was de rigeur in our house, I think tea bags with and without the use of tea pots was becoming more prevalent by that time.

Instructions

With No. 11 needles and main colour (red), cast on 58 stitches.
Knit 4 rows in garter stitch (every row knit), then one row purl.
Do not break off the main colour (red).

**Change to number 10 needles and commence pattern as follows, using second colour (orange):

Row 1: (right side) *K4, slip 2; repeat from * to last 4 sts, K4.
Row 2: *P4, slip 2; repeat from * to last 4 sts, P4.
Row 3 and 4: As rows 1 and 2.
Break orange wool, and continue in red.
Row 5: knit
Row 6: purl
Row 7: Using the third colour (yellow) K1, *slip 2, K4; repeat from * to last 3sts, slip 2, K1.
Row 8: P1, *slip 2, P4; repeat from * to last 3sts, slip 2, P1.
Row 9 and 10: As rows 7 and 8.
Break yellow wool, and continue in red.
Row 11: knit
Row 12: purl

Rows 13-24: repeat rows 1-12.
Rows 25-30: repeat rows 1-6.

Change to number 11 needles and continue in garter stitch for 15 rows. Purl one row.**

Repeat from ** to ** three times, then rows 1-30 again.

Change to number 11 needles and work in garter stitch for 4 rows. Cast off.

Making up - Press the piece lightly on the wrong side under a damp cloth with a hot iron.
Fold the cover to form a bag as shown in the picture, and sew up the side edges, on the inside, either oversewing or with backstitch.
Sew in all the ends on the wrong side.

Crochet edging - Using the main colour, (red), work a dc edge around the flap of the cover with ties as follows:

With right side facing, starting at the side edge, work 6 dc up edge of the garter st band, 15 dc up the honeycomb edge, 2dc up to corner, 3 dc into the corner st.
Then work across the cast-off edge making 2 dc into every 3 cast off sts approximately. After the first 6 dc (or where you want to place a tie) work the first tie by making 40 chain, then working 1dc into each chain back down to the knitted edge. Continue to work dc into the cast-off sts, making a second tie in the centre of the flap, after approximately 14 dc. Work another 14 dc and make another tie (match the position of the first tie). Work to the edge, 3dc into the corner st and then finish to match the other side of the flap.
Fasten off.

Work 3 more ties by making 40 chain, then working 1 row of dc into each chain. Sew the ties on to the cover to match the positions of the ties on the flap.
[Editor's note: If you want to avoid the crochet altogether you could sew on ribbon ties in the appropriate places.]

Materials

Original pattern calls for three contrast colours, (red, orange and yellow).
Example shown is knitted in 4 ply - 1 x 50g ball of each colour.

One pair each of number 10, an No 11 needles.
Crochet hook.

One hot water bottle "replacement core", (available to order on the web).

Tension

The wool should knit to a basic tension over st st of 28st to 4 inches (10cm) on No 10 (3¼mm) needles.

Size matters

One size.

A word on the wool.

I used Phildar Lambswool (a 4 ply wool/acrylic mix) left over from another project.

Here is a version adapted for a light worsted cotton yarn (Rowan Cotton Glace). For this version, cast on 52 sts.

Cosy_cover_sixties2.jpg

Cosy covers - Fifties retro

Cosy_cover_red.jpg

This is a pattern from 1956 "reversible bottle-cover" (sic) - though why the quotes, why the hyphen, and why the description reversible, I really am not sure. Originally a cover for a hot-water bottle, I have adapted it to fit a microwavable pad. The knitting turned out to be an interesting shape, and in consequence made for an interesting pattern, (probably not as intended). I used a bright red and white combination, which reminded me of a 1950s accessory set. The original recommended colours were "powder blue and white".
In the days when pattern illustrations were not in colour, the colour names were much more vivid and descriptive; modern names tend to try and evoke an emotion rather than a colour. I do love reading these old patterns with the colours - "lipstick red" "primrose yellow" "mimosa" "frosty lime" - you could just eat them - a feast for the mind's eye.

Instructions

First piece - with No. 11 needles and first colour, cast on 4 stitches.

Row 1: Inc in every st (8 sts)
Row 2: K3, inc by knitting into the front and back of the next st - place a st marker - inc, K3 (10 sts)
Row 3: Inc, K3, inc in next 2 sts, K3, inc. (14 sts)
Row 4: K6, inc by knitting into the front and back of the next st - place a st marker - inc, K6 (16 sts)
Row 5: Inc, K6, inc in next 2 sts, K6, inc. (20 sts)
Row 6: K9, inc by knitting into the front and back of the next st - place a st marker - inc, K9 (22 sts)

With the right side facing for row 7 place a row marker on this side of the work, to mark it as the right side of the work.

Then continue working as before, increasing at both ends of the row, and in the middle, on odd (right side) rows; increase only in the middle on even (wrong side) rows.

After a while, the stitches will become crowded and the shape hard to manage on just 2 needles. At this point, spread the sts evenly across two needles, discarding the centre st marker; continue to work back and forth across the needles using a third needle.

The work will take on a triangular, or arrow shape.
[Editor's note: The original pattern is intended to form a triangle, I could not make this happen - the wool I used may have a different rows:sts ratio than the one recommended. This shape and resulting cover is flexible and should suit whatever wool you use.]

Continue working until you have 105 sts on each side of the centre.
Leave the completed piece to one side without casting off. Do not break off the wool.
[Editor's note: The original pattern was intended for a hot water bottle. They advised to knit until there are 139sts with the 3 ply wool. The base of the triangle has to be long enough to wrap around your hot water bottle or heated pad; you can choose to stop knitting when you feel it is wide enough.]

Second piece - work a second triangle (or arrow) in the contrast colour.

Lay the pieces out with the point of one arrow to the base corner of the other arrow, (see picture below).

Continue working with one of the available colours (I used the red). Cast off the two rows of knitting together, using a "three-needle cast off"(see picture below), fairly tightly.

[Editor's note: You put your working needle into the first st on the front needle and the first st on the second needle behind; you pull your loop through and knit both sts off the needles together. You have one st on your working (usually right hand) needle. You repeat so there are two sts on your working needle. You pass the first st you knitted over the second; continue casting off in this way.]

This is how it looks half way through; ideally the work should lie flat at the cast off edge:

Next you put the other two edges together - again the point of one arrow is next to the base corner of the other arrow, (see picture below):

Cast off the two rows together. You are left with a sort of tube; turn it so that the cast off edges are inside. The next picture shows a hot water bottle placed in the tube.

The arrow points are arranged centre front and back.

Fold up one of the ends and sew the diagonal seams in place from the wrong side. (I sewed the tip of my white arrow for the closed end). At the other end, make a chain using the crochet hook and sew in place as a loop for the button at the (red) arrow tip.
Place your "replacement core" in the cover and fold over the top of the cover to an appropriate position and mark the place for the closing button.
Make a crochet flower to act as a button, and sew in place.
[Editor's note: You know ho to make a crochet flower without instructions don't you?
O, all right then; this is what I did...]

Crochet flower - begin by making a slip loop with your first colour as if you were starting a crochet chain, and crochet into this loop for your first round. Ensure that the loop "slips" (can be tightened) from the tail end of your work, not the working end.

Round 1: using the first colour, crochet 8 dc into your loop; adjust the slip loop until the sts fit nicely.
Round 2: chain 3, (1 htr 1ch) into each of the 8 dc then ss join to the first 3ch.
Round 3: 1dc into first chain space, (3ch, 1dc into next ch sp) to end of round, 3ch, ss into first dc. Fasten off.

Make a second flower in the second colour.

Round 1: using the second colour, crochet 8 dc into your loop; adjust the slip loop until the sts fit nicely.
Round 2: ss into first dc, (3ch, ss into next 1dc) to end of round, 3ch, ss into first dc. Fasten off.

Place second flower on top of first, and sew through both layers, onto the cover at the marked position for the button.

Materials

Original pattern calls for 2 oz each of two contrast colours in 3ply.
Example shown is knitted in 4 ply - 1 x 50g ball of each colour.

One pair of number 11 needles, with a spare pair (or set or 4) to aid in the construction.
One No 11 (3mm) crochet hook.

One hot water bottle "replacement core", (available to order on the web).

Tension

Garter stitch is difficult to measure but the wool should knit to a basic tension over st st of 28st to 4 inches (10cm) on No 11 (3mm) needles.

Size matters

One size.

A word on the wool.

I used an acrylic 4ply; not ideal, but these covers can take some wear and tear.

October 2007

Cool-cat cable beret

cable_beret.jpg

Hats are not my thing but I am fond of berets. Here is an irresistible 1970's two-tone design - the original in two glaring shades of gold and yellow. Consider also making it in orange with a strawberry or coffee contrast - I can vouch for this as a popular contemporary combination and you can view it as part of Southwest airlines hostess uniforms from the same period (although the colour of the uniforms is possibly not as striking as the hot pants and knee boots of the period...).
Alternatively just stick with more reserved single colour in traditional white Aran, understated and letting the pattern speak for itself.

Cable Pattern

Row 1: P3, k6, p3.
Row 2: K3, p6, k3.
Rows 3-8: Repeat first and second rows 3 times.
Row 9: P3, c3f, p3. [c3f = cable 3 front by working across 6 sts as follows: slip next 3 sts on to a cable needle and leave at front of work, knit next 3 sts, then knit 3sts from the cable needle].
Row 10: K3, p6, k3.

These 10 rows form the pattern.

Special note: Wind 5 small balls of yarn in each colour. Use a separate ball for each cable and panel, and twist the colours where they meet to avoid gaps in work ("intarsia method").

Instructions

Using No. 10 needles and medium colour (M), cast on 106 stitches, and work 9 rows k1, p1 rib.

[Editor's note: If you work the beret in 2 colours then work over 2 needles as described. If you work in a single colour, you could work this in the round, reversing knit and purl sts on wrong side rows.]

Next row: (p1, p into front and back of next st) twice, * p2, p into front and back of next st, p1, p into front and back of next st; repeat from * to the last 7sts, (p1, p into front and back of next st) 3 times; p into front and back of last st. [150 sts].

Change to No 7 needles.

Next row: (right side) * k22 in M; join in light (L), k2, (k into front and back of next st) 4 time, k2; repeat from * to end. [170 sts].
Next row: (wrong side) * k3, p6, k3, (2nd row of cable pattern) in L; p22 in M; repeat from * to end.

Continue in stocking stitch and cable pattern, until work measures 5½ inches from beginning, finishing with right side facing for the next row.

Shape crown as follows:

Next row: * (k2tog, k7, k2tog tbl) twice in M; pattern 12 L; repeat from * to end. [150 sts].
Next row: * pattern 12 in L; P18 in M; repeat from * to end.
Next row: * (k2tog, k5, k2tog tbl) twice in M; pattern 12 L; repeat from * to end. [130 sts].
Next row: * pattern 12 in L; P14 in M; repeat from * to end.
Next row: * (k2tog, k3, k2tog tbl) twice in M; pattern 12 L; repeat from * to end. [110 sts].
Work 1 row.
Next row: * (k2tog, k1, k2tog tbl) twice in M; pattern 12 L; repeat from * to end. [90 sts].
Work 1 row.
Next row: * k3tog, k3tog tbl twice in M; pattern 12 L; repeat from * to end. [70 sts].
Break off M.

Next row: K3, * p6, k2, (p2tog) twice, k2; repeat from * to last 11sts; p6, k2, p3tog. [60 sts].
Next row: * p2tog, p1, pattern 6, p1, p2tog; repeat from * to end. [50 sts].
Next row: * p2tog, p6, p2tog; repeat from * to end. [40 sts].
Next row: * k2tog, k4, k2tog; repeat from * to end. [30 sts].
Next row: Purl.
Next row: * k2tog; repeat from * to end. [15 sts].

Break off wool leaving end. Thread end through remaining sts and draw up tightly. Fasten off securely.

Making up - Press lighty on the wrong side, using a warm iron and a damp cloth. Join seam, using a fine back stitch. Press seam.

Materials

Original pattern calls for 3oz of medium colour and 1oz light in an Aran weight yarn.
Example shown is knitted in 3 x 50g balls of a heavy vintage DK from Phildar.

One pair each of numbers 10 and 7 needles.

Tension

20st and 25 rows to 4 inches (10cm) on No 7 (4½mm) needles.

Size matters

Instructions to fit an "average" head (!).

A word on the wool.

I used Phildar yarns Oxygene (a DK) which knits 23st to 4 inches; and Frénésie (a heavy DK) which knits 19st to 4 inches.

Disclaimer
(well...almost)

In transposing any patterns it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.

 

1970s and colour

Yet another object of my admiration is Southwest airlines. They don't really have any visibility outside the US, so I was suitably surprised on my first journey with them. (It was the night of October 31st flying to Tucson in 1994, and they sure had some fun with us passengers...). I have also been impressed at their impromptu organisation of party games to try and occupy a hot and fractious plane load of souls during an hours delay at LA. (See the wikipedia entry: "Southwest is known for colourful boarding announcements and crews that burst out in song. The singing is unusual, and is quite popular among customers, but has been noted by some travel critics as being offensive and intrusive." huh - what do they know?!)
They had their 25th anniversary in 1996, and had an exhibition that I must have caught somewhere (perhaps a magazine article) which showed their uniform designs over the years. Sadly I can't find any trace of this on the web now - just these photos:

sw-airlines-1970s.jpg orange200.jpg

September 2007

Friendly Tortoise

tortoise.jpg

I do enjoy unusual knitted toys - and I had a succession of pet tortoises as a child (when it was legal...) - so this seems a natural choice. I am very pleased with the way he worked out, and he was not as fiddly to make as I had expected; probably about 2 evenings work in all.

Instructions

The tortoise is knitted in garter stitch (every row knit) throughout.

Shell

Cast on 11 stitches, and knit 1 row.
Then increase 1 st (work into the front and back of the stitch) at each end of the next and every alternate row until there are 23 sts.

[Editor's note: To increase, I work into the front and back of the first st, knit to the last two sts, then work into the front and back of the next st, then knit the last st. This avoids a stepped effect at the end of the row. If you increase in a different way - for example, picking up the loop between sts - then you may not have this problem. Make sure you know how the pattern instuctions intend you to work an increase by looking at the abbreviations. There is usually an implied difference between "increase in the next st" and "make 1".]

Knit 32 rows straight, then decrease 1 st at each end of the next and every alternate row until there are 11 sts remaining.
Cast off.

Make another piece the same.

[Editor's note: I embroidered the top half of the shell before sewing up. The tension of the embroidery encouraged the shell-shape of the piece.]

Join the two halves together leaving an opening for stuffing. Stuff firmly and sew up opening.

Embroidery on top half: outer circles in light brown chain-stitch with smaller dark brown circles inside.
See photograph.

[Editor's note: I am not very good at free-form embroidery, so was a bit worried about this - but it worked out OK. You can see that what I did was very lop-sided, but despite that it looks fine I think...]

Head

Start at neck edge and cast on 10 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Next row: K2tog., knit to end.

Next row: Knit to the last 2 sts; inc in next st, k1.
Next row: Knit.
Repeat the last 2 rows 3 times more.

Next row: Inc in the first st; knit to the last 2 sts; inc in next st, k1. [15 sts].

Knit 5 rows.

Next row: K2tog; knit to the last 2 sts; k2tog.
Next row: Knit.
Repeat the last 2 rows twice more. [9 sts].

Next row: K2tog.; knit to the last 2 sts; k2tog.
Cast off 7 sts.

Make another piece the same. Sew halves together leaving neck end open for stuffing.
Stuff firmly to shape with seam at centre of head and face. Sew open end of neck to one end of shell.

Features: Eyes - black and white straight stitches; mouth - long black straight stitch.

Front feet

Cast on 4 sts.
Knit 3 rows.
Next row: Inc in the first st; knit to the last 2 sts; inc in next st, k1.
Repeat the last 4 rows once more. [8 sts].
Knit 3 rows.

Shape thus: Next row: k2, turn, k back;
Next row: k3, turn, k back; Next row: k4, turn, k back;
Next row: k5, turn, k back; Next row: k6, turn, k back.
Knit 2 rows over all sts.

Next row: Inc in the first st; knit to the last 2 sts; inc in next st, k1.
Knit 4 rows.
Next row: Inc in the first st; knit to the last 2 sts; inc in next st, k1. [12 sts]
Knit 3 rows.

Now dec. 1st at each end of the next 3 rows.
Cast off remaining 6 sts.

Make 3 more pieces the same. Sew each pair together, leaving cast off edges open for stuffing.
Stuff firmly, and sew open end to underside of shell on either side of the neck.
[Editor's note: Since the feet are shaped, make sure you sew the feet on pointing in the same direction (see photo for guidance). Needless to say, I made this error and had to correct it.

Back feet

Cast on 16 sts, and knit 7 rows.

Next row: Inc in the first st; (k4; inc in the next st.) 3 times. [20 sts].
Knit 2 rows; cast off.

Sew the short sides together to form a cylinder shape.

Make another piece the same.

Pads: Cast on 3 sts.
Next row: Knit.
Next row: Inc in the next 2 sts, k1.
Next row: Knit.
Next row: Inc in the next st, k2, inc in the next st, k1. [7 sts].
Knit 3 rows.

Dec 1 st at each end of the next and following alternate row.
Cast off 3 sts.

Make another pad piece in the same way. Sew pads to cast off ends of back feet. Stuff firmly; sew open ends to back on underside of shell about 1 inch apart.
[Editor's note: I misread this - or was not careful enough - and sewed the pads to the smaller cast-on edge - so take note here. I did not correct this error and it looks OK - but toys are more flexible like that....]

Mark claws with 4 black straight stitches on each foot.

Tail

Cast on 17 sts.
Knit 2 rows.
Next row: K2;k2tog, k2tog; k5; k2tog, k2tog; k2. [13 sts]
Knit 3 rows.
Next row: K1;k2tog, k2tog; k3; k2tog, k2tog; k1. [11 sts]
Knit 3 rows.
Next row: K2tog, k2tog; k1; k2tog, k2tog.[5 sts]
Knit 2 rows.
Next row: K2tog, k2tog; k1.
Draw thread through 3 sts and pull up.

Sew together along edges to make a cone shape; flatten slightly into a traingle, along line of increases; stuff lightly and sew the wider, open end to the shell at the back, (in line with the head), and so that the seam is underneath.

Edging around shell

Cast on 7 sts.

* Knit 2 rows.
Next row: K5, turn, knit back.
Next row: K5, turn, knit back.
Next row: K2 tog, k5.
Next row: Knit to the last st, inc in last st.
Repeat from * 28 times more.
Cast off.

[Editor's note: Again I altered the pattern here omitting one of the 5 st short rows, making the shell edge less frilly - this is what I did:
* Knit 2 rows.
Next row: K5, turn, knit back.
Next row: K2 tog, k5.
Next row: Knit to the last st, inc in last st.
Repeat from * about 32 times more, or to fit round shell..]

Sew straight edge around the seam of the shell, finishing on either side of the head. Work a line of light brown chain stitch over the join, then a second line in dark brown 2 sts away.

Using an oddment of bright coloured wool, cut into 3 strands and tie round neck. [Editor's note: ...or use a ribbon...]

Materials

Original pattern calls for 2oz of DK in French Mustard.
Small quantities of light and dark brown wools for markings on the back; scraps of black and white.

One pair of number 11 needles.

Toy stuffing.

Tension

Not given - but DK wool usually knits to approximately 22st to 4 inches (10cm) on No. 8 (4mm) needles over st. st.

Size matters

Tortoise measures 8 inches in length and 6 inches across width of shell.

A word on the wool.

I had some difficulty in finding what I thought a satisfactory colour. Eventually I bought some 4ply from eBay and used it knitted double. I use 4ply oddments for the embroidery.

Disclaimer
(well...almost)

In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.

August 2007

Yacht Club Chic

YachtingSweater.jpg

Casual sailing sweater, (designed in Italy, apparently), for that 1950s holiday mood. I think this is an outfit for the boathouse, or for the yacht where the chap does all the sailing stuff! I can't say how it would look covered in a life jacket, but it really is a delightful little sweater. The fit (smaller size) is excellent on me (a chubby UK size 12, US size 6), and it looks great despite the rules about short people and horizontal striping.

Instructions

Back and front are mainly knitted alike, but there is some additional detail on the welt at the front.
[Editor's note: So make sure you read the welt instructions for the front before just casting on the same as for the back.... and then have frog it and start again - as I did!].

Back

With No. 12 needles, cast on 112 (120) stitches in navy, and work 2 inches (20 rows) in k1, p1 rib.

**
Change to stocking stitch (1 row knit, 1 row purl), starting with a knit row, and work straight until back measures 5 inches from start, ending with a purl row (30 rows st st).

Join in white and continue in st st stripes as follows:

Row 1: right side facing, knit in white. Do not turn the work, but slip the sts back to other end of the needle.
Row 2: right side facing, knit in navy. Turn the work as normal.
Row 3: wrong side facing, purl in navy. Do not turn the work, but slip the sts back to other end of the needle.
Row 4: wrong side facing, purl in white. Turn the work as normal.
Row 5: right side facing, knit in navy. Turn the work as normal.
Row 6: wrong side facing, purl in navy. Turn the work as normal.

Continue in the striped pattern, and shape the sides by increasing 1 st at each end of the next and every following 6th row, until there are 134 (142) sts.
Meanwhile, when 17 navy stripes have been completed, continue in the striped pattern but use red instead of navy.
When the increasings are complete, continue in red and white until back measures 13 (13) inches down centre from the start.

Shape armholes as follows:
With right side facing, and continuing with red and white striped pattern, cast off 3 (4) sts at the beginning of the next two rows. Then, k2tog at each end of the next and every following 6th row until 122 (128) sts remain.
Work straight in striped sequence until 18 red stripes have been done in all, and ending with a white stripe, (right side facing for the next row).
Change to st st in navy and work straight for 16 rows. With right side facing, shape the armhole outwards, now, by increasing 1st at each end of the next and every following 6th row until there are 132 (138) sts. Change to number 11 (or the larger) needles and work 5 rows in k1, p1 rib.

Shape shoulder as follows (right side facing):
[Editor's note: At this point for the front, I adapted the front neck to give it some additional shaping. See "Adapting the Front Neck" section]
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 4 sts, turn; rib to the last 4 sts, turn.
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 8 sts, turn; rib to the last 8 sts, turn.
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 12 sts, turn; rib to the last 12 sts, turn.
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 16 sts, turn; rib to the last 16 sts, turn.
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 20 sts, turn; rib to the last 20 sts, turn.
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 24 sts, turn; rib to the last 24 sts, turn.
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 28 sts, turn; rib to the last 28 sts, turn.
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 32 sts, turn; rib to the last 32 sts, turn.
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 36 sts, turn; rib to the last 36 sts, turn.

Next row: Rib to end, picking up loop where row was turned each time and knitting it together with the the next st to avoid a hole
Next row: Rib back across all sts, picking up loop where row was turned each time and knitting it together with the the next st as before.

Cast off right across very loosely in rib.

Front

With No. 12 needles, cast on 140 (148) stitches in navy, and work 2 inches (20 rows) in k1, p1 rib.
Next row: Rib first 14 (14) sts and slip onto a safety pin; rib to the last 14 (14) sts, turn, slipping the last 14 (14) sts onto another safety pin. Continue on the centre 112 (120) sts.

Work as for back from ** to **.

[Editor's note: I adapted the front neck to give it some additional shaping. See "Adapting the Front Neck" section]

To make up

Press parts carefully on wrong side under a damp cloth. With navy wool and number 12 needles, continue in rib on each of the sets of 14 sts on safety pins until piece measures 5 inches from start. Cast off in rib. Join these ribbed pieces to sides of front.
Now join sides of main work, leaving ribbed pieces free to fold over to back, then sew in position with 2 large pearl buttons, as shown in the photograph. Catch down overlaps to main work along lower edge.
Face armholes on wrong side with bias binding.

[Editor's note: This is to stop the edges of the armholes from curling over, as there is no additional knitted edging.]

Now fold neck edge of front over to back along shoulder edges by ½ inch. Sew two buttons on each shoulder through double thickness to secure shoulders. Press seams.

Materials

Original pattern calls for 4oz of 3ply in light navy and 1 oz each in lipstick red and white.
Example shown is knitted in 3 x 50g balls of navy 4ply cotton and 1 ball each of red and white.

One pair of No 12 double pointed needles (or a circular needle) and one pair No 11 needles.

8 large pearl buttons and bias binding.

Tension

32st and 40 rows to 4 inches (10cm) on No 12 (2½ mm) needles, using the 4 ply wool. (original pattern calls for No 11 needles and 3ply).

Size matters

Instructions for two slim fitting sizes: 34-35 (36-37) inch bust; length from top of shoulders 20½ (20½) inches.

A word on the wool.

For the navy and white I used a vintage Hayfield soft cotton 4ply, and for the red I used Jaeger Sienna (also a pure cotton 4ply). I used 11 and 12 needles which are a size smaller needles than stated in the original pattern, and with these I managed to achieve the required tension.
[Editor's note: I only just had enough wool for this project (smaller size): 3 balls of Navy at 165.5m (181yds), and one of Sienna at 140m (153 yards). It was a VERY close run thing; I had only inches left.]

Disclaimer
(well...almost)

In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.

 

Adapting the front neck

The original pattern is a slash neck, the same at the back as the front. I adapted the front neck to lower it slightly and add shaping. [Editor's note: This adaptation used slightly less wool that the slash neck version where I had only inches left, knitting the smaller size. Adapting the neckline left me with just enough to sew up!]

FrontNeck.jpg

Replace the shoulder shaping section for the front as follows:

Shape shoulder (front adaptation) as follows (right side facing):
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 4 sts, turn; rib to the last 4 sts, turn.
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 8 sts, turn; rib to the last 8 sts, turn.
Next 2 rows: Rib to the last 12 sts, turn; rib to the last 12 sts, turn.

Divide for neck as follows:

Next row: Rib 40(42) sts; turn and leaving the rest of the sts on a spare needle. Complete each side of the neck separately.
Next row: K2tog; rib to the last 16 sts, turn.
Next row: Rib to the last 2sts; k2tog; turn.
Next row: K2tog; rib to the last 20sts, turn.
Next row: Rib to the last 2sts; k2tog; turn.
Next row: K2tog; rib to the last 24sts, turn.

Continue thus, turning 4 stitches short of the shoulder edge each time as for the back, and decreasing at neck edge on every row, until you complete the row:
Next row: Rib to the last 36 sts, turn. Then:
Next row: Rib to the last 2sts; k2tog; break wool.

Rejoin the wool to the sts on the spare needle at centre neck. Rib across all sts on spare needle to the last 16 sts, turn.
Next row: Rib 38(40) sts, k2tog; turn, and complete this side of the neck separately, leaving the centre 28 (30) sts on a spare needle.
Next row: K2tog; rib to the last 20sts, turn.
Next row: Rib to the last 2sts; k2tog; turn.
Next row: K2tog; rib to the last 24sts, turn.

Continue thus, turning 4 stitches short of the shoulder edge each time as for the back, and decreasing at neck edge on every row, until you complete the row:
Next row: Rib to the last 36 sts, turn. Then:

Next row: (wrong side facing) rib across right shoulder to the last 2sts; k2tog; do not break wool.

Pick up and rib all sts across the neck: pick up the approximately 12 sts** down right side of neck, rib across centre 28 (30) sts, pick up approximately 12 sts** up left hand side of neck; then rib across all sts of right shoulder, picking up loop where row was turned each time and knitting it together with the the next st to avoid a hole.
[**Editor's note: make sure you pick up the right number of sts down sides of neck to ensure continuity if the k1 p1 rib - that is and even or an odd number.]
Next row: Rib back across all sts, picking up loop where row was turned each time and knitting it together with the the next st as before, across the right shoulder..

Cast off right across very loosely in rib.

Adapting the size

I have not tried this myself, but it seems to me that it would be moderately easy to adapt the size by simply adding stitches. To adjust the length, make additional stripes in the navy and the red striped sections evenly, both above and below the armhole decreasing, as required. To gauge how much to increase, you can use a sleeveless top that fits you well and measure the overall length, as well as the length of the armhole.

July 2007

Happi robe

happi_robe.jpg

A fun coverall that can be worn as a dressing robe or on the beach. This is a 1970s take on the Japanese design for happi coats, which originated as Japanese over coats traditionally worn by shop keepers. The family crest, shop name or emblem was printed on the back of the coat. Today, happi coats are still used by some shop keepers in Japan, but are also widely used elsewhere for festivals, parties and so on.

I realised while writing these instructions that they are not really for the novice seamstress. You will understand them better if you have used a paper pattern before. Having said that, this is a very simple shape; there is no real tailoring and if you are not a perfectionist, you can obtain a very pleasing result without much skill. If you are a perfectionist, then I expect you will make a high quality item in spite of my sketchy instructions....

Instructions

Using the dressmakers paper, make a paper pattern from the graphs (Figs 1 and 2) and, using fabric scraps, or fat quarters, cut patches at least approximately 4 inches by 4 inches, according to the patch shapes you have chosen. Lay the patchwork pieces out on a table until there are enough to make a Back, two Fronts, two Sleeves and two Pockets. Remember to evenly distribute the colours so you don't run out of one particular fabric.

Join the patches together by hand or (preferably) machine. Make the area of fabric required for each pattern piece.
[Editors note: This pattern allows for half inch seams throughout.]

For the sleeves, make two pieces of patchwork, each 22 inches by 15½ inches. For the back make one piece, 35½ inches by 26 inches, and, for the fronts, two pieces, each 36 inches by 12½ inches. For the pockets make two pieces, each 9 inches by 8½ inches. Pin the pattern pieces to the patchwork, and cut: one back on the fold; two sleeves; two fronts (remember these must be a left and right mirror image of each other); and two pockets. Pin the paper pattern pieces to the lining fabric and cut out the same pieces.
[Editors note: Patchwork is better lined unless it is something small like a toy.]

Pockets: Place the pocket linings against right sides of pockets, and machine stitch around 3 sides, leaving the top open. Turn the pockets and press, (3 edges are enclosed in the lining). Cut two pocket facings from the facing fabric, each 9 inches by 4 inches. Turn in the short edges of the facings so that they are the same width as the pockets. Place one longer (raw) facing edge to the top raw edge of the pocket and sew in place. Turn facing to inside, tuck raw edge under and stitch. Repeat with the other pocket. Pin pockets to robe fronts in positions indicated on the graph, and top stitch in place.

Sewing up: Tack the patchwork fronts to the lining fronts, wrong sides together. Tack and machine stitch the patchwork layer of the back only to the fronts along the shoulder seams and down the side seams, working on the wrong side. Machine the back lining to the shoulder seams, enclosing all the raw edges, and hem down the side seams. Sew the patchwork sleeve seams, with the raw edges on the wrong side, as usual, and then with right side to right side, ease the sleeves into the armholes; pin, tack and sew. Sew sleeve lining seams, wrong side to wrong side, and hem into place. Tack lining to patchwork all around the edges of the garment.

Facings: From the facing fabric, cut one belt 78 inches by 5 inches, two belt slots, each 3 inches by 2½ inches, two front facings each 39 by 4 inches, one hem 52 inches by 5 inches, and two cuffs, each 21 inches by 5 inches.
[Editors note: For the facings, I cut binding strips 1½in wide on the straight grain of the fabric except for the neck edge as this is curved; here, I cut a strip on the bias and applied it separately, all around the back neck and extending just beyond the shoulder seam. If you don't feel up to making your own binding then you can purchase ready-made bias binding.]
Pin, tack and sew the edge of the facings to the edges of the coat. Turn facings to wrong side, fold under raw edges and hand sew to finish. Finish off cuffs in the same way.
Make up the belt by folding the piece in half lengthwise, and seam along one edge, leaving one end open. Turn the belt so the the seams are on the inside, and press the belt flat. Finish the open end by turning the raw edges inside, and slip stitch in place.
Make up the belt slots and stitch into place at the waist. Pull the belt through the belt slots.

Materials

2½m (112cm width) plain lining fabric.

Fabric scraps, or about 10 fat quarters quilt fabric (usually 112cm or 44 inches wide).

2m cotton fabric for facings (or bias binding).

Dressmaker's squared paper - 1 inch grid (I found only in centimetre grids on the web - 2ins=5cm)

Size matters

One size fits all. However for my version, I altered the pattern below to make it slightly smaller (to fit me); however, as a wrap, it can be worn over-size.

A word on the design

I used floral hexagons for my robe. The original was shown with rectangular patches. See "adaptations".

Adaptations

You can make the robe by cutting the basic design from a plain fabric, which you can use as a conventional lining, or you can apply your patches directly to the lining as a backing, depending on how free form you want to be with your patchwork. You can use any patchwork techniques; I have used a conventional shape, but applied the patches directly on to the backing, overlapping them like roof tiles, and top stitching in place. This method allowed for minor inaccuracies in sizing the patches. I chose the shape of the patch to suit my floral fabric.

happi3.jpg The original robe was a rather pleasing design made of uneven rectangles in geometric and spotted fabrics in 1970s oranges, yellows, and browns. However, I was seduced by the lovely red poppy fabrics in my local quilt shop in Dorking (The Quilt Room) - in consequence I chose a hexagonal shape which I thought better suited the floral effect. I like the effect but also feel that it is a little reminiscent of a table cloth.

scales.jpg I would like to experiment with the fish-scale (or clam-shell) patch in beautiful pale blues and sea-greens to make a bath robe. There are some lovely "watery" batik fabrics available in packs. You could even introduce silvers, and gauzy effects. The fish-scale design can be used as patches, or as a quilting pattern, and is well-suited to the overlapping appliqué method (to better emulate scales).

Whatever you choose, remember to use big patches, otherwise it will be a 20 year project. You could even cheat and choose a fabric with a patchwork pattern, or indeed just decide to use some fabric that pleases you with no patchwork at all!

I wanted to keep the robe as light weight as possible, but you could put in an interlining and then quilt, for a heavier weight padded robe.

Figure 1
happi1.jpg

Figure 2
happi2.jpg

June 2007

Cocktail top

Cocktail_top.jpg

A pretty, low-cut, jewelled cocktail jumper for evenings, dating from 1957. Originally knitted in Patons Beehive Fingering 3-ply, this version uses a fine vintage Phildar yarn in sunshine yellow. The original colour suggestion was pale pink, with black embroidery, (which I omitted altogether for my version to avoid looking like a bee as much as possible). I think it would be very pretty in pink.
My pose above is in imitation of the orginal model, which is in itself quite a challenge despite the air-brushing techniques available for digital photographs....

Lace Pattern

Row 1: (right side) k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1, * k1, k2tog, wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * to last 4 sts: k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1.
Row 2: k1, p3, * p2, [k1, p1] into "made" loops of previous row, p2; repeat from * to last 4 sts: p3, k1.
Row 3: k2, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, * k2tog, wfwd, k2, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso; repeat from * to last 4 sts: k2tog, wfwd, k2.
Row 4: k1, purl to the last st, k1.
Row 5: k2, k2tog, * wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k2, k2tog; repeat from * to last 4 sts: wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k2.
Row 6: k1, p2, [k1, p1] into made loops, * p4, [k1, p1] into made loops; repeat from * to last 3sts: p2, k1.
Row 7: k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1, * k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, wfwd, k1; repeat from * to last 4 sts: k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1.
Row 8: k1, purl to the last st, k1.

Instructions

Back and front alike.

With No. 13 needles, cast on 114 (126) stitches, and work 4 inches in k1, p1 rib.
With right side facing, change to No. 11 needles, and commence working in stocking stitch (1 row knit, 1 row purl), starting with a knit row. Increase at each end of the 11th and every following 6th row, until there are 132 (144) sts. Then increase at each end of the following 4th row: 134 (146) sts. Next row: purl.

[Editor's note: I worked both sides together in the round, (so every round knit) up to the start of the armhole pattern, when I split the work, and continued each side separately. Mark the sides with st markers to aid placement of the increases.]

Introduce lace pattern at the centre:
Next row: k60 (66), pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern, k60 (66).
Next row: p60 (66), pattern 14sts as 2nd row of lace pattern, p60 (66).
Continue in lace pattern and stocking stitch thus for a further 6 rows, increasing 1 st at each end of the next and following 4th row, [138 (150) sts].

Next row: Inc in 1st st, k55 (61), pattern 26sts as 1st row of lace pattern, k55 (61), Inc in last st.
Work a further 7 rows in lace pattern and stocking stitch thus, increasing 1 st at each end of every alternate row, [146 (158) sts].

Introduce lace pattern at sleeve edges:
[Editor's note: If you are working in the round, then you need to split the work at this point and continue each side separately.]

Next row: pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern; k40 (46); pattern 38sts as 1st row of lace pattern; k40 (46); pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern.
Work a further 7 rows in lace pattern and stocking stitch.

Divide for neck as follows:

Row 1: pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern; k34 (40); k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1, * k1, k2tog, wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * twice more, k1, k2tog, turn, and leave remaining sts on a spare needle.
Row 2: k1, p3, * p2, [k1, p1] into "made" loops of previous row, p2; repeat from * twice more, p3, k1, p34 (40), pattern 14st.
Row 3: pattern 14sts, k34 (40); k2, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, * k2tog, wfwd, k2, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso; repeat from * to last 2 sts: k2tog.
Row 4: k1, p21, k1, p34 (40), pattern 14st.
Row 5: pattern 14sts, k34 (40); k2, k2tog, * wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k2, k2tog; repeat from * twice more: k1.
Row 6: k1, * p4, [k1, p1] into made loops; repeat from * twice more: p2, k1, p34 (40), pattern 14st.
Row 7: pattern 14sts, k34 (40); k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1, * k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, wfwd, k1; repeat from * once more: k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog, k1.
Row 8: k1, p19, k1, p34 (40), pattern 14st.
Row 9: pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern, k28 (34); k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1, * k1, k2tog, wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * twice more, k1, k2tog, wfwd, k2tog.

Continue in pattern, decreasing 1st at neck edge on every alternate row, and at the same time, taking an extra 6 sts into lace pattern at neck edge on every following 1st pattern row until 49 (51) sts remain, ending with right side facing for next row. At this point 9 (10) complete patterns have been done from the start of the lace pattern.

Now work over all stitches in pattern, still decreasing 1 st at neck edge on next and following 3 alternate rows. [45 (47) sts]
Next row: in pattern.
[Editor's note: I lengthened the armhole here, kntting one further 8-row pattern to make the armhole measure 7 inches over my tension on the smaller size (actually I think I should have knitted the larger size); I did not decrease at the neck edge on these additional rows. Lengthening the armhole is fine but remember you are also lowering the V neck when you add rows here, and if you do it too much you may end up turning "pretty low-cut style for evenings" into something far more racy!.]

Shape shoulder as follows (right side facing):

Next row: Cast off 12 (14) sts, pattern to last 2 sts, K2tog.
Next row: in pattern.
Next row: Cast off 6 sts, pattern to last 2 sts, K2tog.
Next row: in pattern.
Repeat the last 2 rows once more.
Now, keeping the neck edge straight, continue to shape the shoulder by casting off 6 sts at the beginning of the next, and following 2 alternate rows. Fasten off.

With right side facing, rejoin the wool to the remaining sts and work the other side of the neck as follows:

Row 1: k2tog, k1, * k1, k2tog, wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * twice more; k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1; k34 (40); pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern.
Row 2: pattern 14sts, p34 (40); k1, p3, * p2, [k1, p1] into "made" loops of previous row, p2; repeat from * to last 2 sts: p1, k1.
Row 3: k2tog, * k2tog, wfwd, k2, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso; repeat from * twice more; k2tog, wfwd, k2; k34 (40); pattern 14.
Row 4: pattern 14, p34 (40), k1, p21, k1.
Row 5: k2tog, k3, k2tog, * wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k2, k2tog; repeat from * once more; wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k2; k34 (40); pattern 14.
Row 6: pattern 14, p34 (40), k1, p2, [k1, p1] into made loops; * p4, [k1, p1] into made loops; repeat from * once more: p4, k1.
Row 7: k2tog, k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1, * k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k2tog,wfwd, k1; repeat from * once more; k1, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1; k34 (40); pattern 14.
Row 8: pattern 14, p34 (40), k1, p19, k1.
Row 9: k2tog, wfwd, sl1, k1, psso, k1, * k1, k2tog, wind wool twice round needle, sl1, k1, psso, k1; repeat from * twice more: k1, k2tog, wfwd, k1, k28 (34), pattern 14sts as 1st row of lace pattern.

Finish to correspond with the other side of the neck.

Making up - Press stocking stitch parts only on the wrong side under a damp cloth. Join shoulder and side seams. Press seams.

Crochet edging - Using the main colour, work a row of double crochet (US single crochet) all round neck and sleeve edges.

Embroidery - Using 2 strands of stranded cotton, embroider 4 petal loop stitch flowers in centre of diamonds round neck edge and sleeves, as shown in the photograph, then add a jewel or sequin to the centre of each flower.
[Editor's note: I omitted the embroidery and used 28 (a whole packet) of Gutermann beads distributed around the neck at the front.]

Materials

Original pattern calls for 5oz of 3-ply.
Example shown is knitted in 3 x 50g balls of vintage 3ply.
See "substituting the wool"

One pair each of numbers 13 and 11 needles. Number 12 crochet hook.

Jewels (5mm) or sequins and stranded cotton for embroidery.

Tension

32st and 40 rows to 4 inches (10cm) on No 11 (3mm) needles.

Size matters

Instructions for two slim fitting sizes: 33-35 (36-38) inch bust; length from top of shoulders 18½ (19¼) inches.

A word on the wool.

I used an old Phildar yarn (Loisirs) which knits 30st to 4inches; Phildar Luxe is a quality fine yarn in a fair range of colours - but both these yarns are mixed fibres with only 15% wool.
See "substituting the wool"

Disclaimer

(well...almost a disclaimer...)
In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this lace pattern, please and I will try and assist.

 

Substituting the wool
The recommended yarn is a 3-ply. Knitting these old patterns makes you think "gosh - I'd forgotten how fine 3-ply was" and "gosh - how small and dainty people were in the 1950s".

In addition to the issues with size and tension, 3-ply is a very fine (fingering) yarn which is now really restricted to baby wools, assuming you can find it at all. The baby ranges usually offer it in white only, and tend to be "easy care" - or as we know it: synthetic. I have not done exhaustive research, but there does not seem to be any of the standard bread-and-butter brands in this wool weight. I imagine that some of the heavier crochet cottons may knit up to these kinds of tensions, but the texture of the knitting may be a little stiff.
You can aquire some vintage 3-plys on eBay (for example, Jaeger 3ply Botany, or even Patons Nylox, which is 80% wool and not entirely restricted to mens sock colours). I notice also there are very fine yarns available in cones intended for use with knitting machines, but often content and weights are not clearly defined.

The good news is there has been quite an opening up of the 4-ply wool weights* which I think is due to the popularity of sock knitting now. There are some lovely colour ranges, and Rowan, for example, offer several 4-ply ranges including suitable cottons. This top has turned out to be very pretty, and I would have much preferred it in a cotton or soft woollen yarn.

Knitting in 4-ply will help you with producing a bigger size but check your tension carefully, experiment with smaller needles, and do your arithmetic. Changing from 8st per inch to 7st per inch makes a small 35 inch bust leap to 40. This style is meant to be tight, and don't necessarily be put off if you have an ample figure - as long as it goes in and out in the right proportion!
If you want to change the number of stitches to alter the size then you need to add or subtract 12 at a time. You can alter the length up to the arm easily enough, and also lengthen the armhole by simply knitting more of the lace pattern before you start shaping the shoulder, (as I did).

*The "quickerknit", or fine double knitting yarns, seem to be offered in many more ranges now as well ; at one time this too was relegated to the baby wool shelves only, and it is one of my favourite weights to knit with.

May 2007

Cobweb Fichu

fichu.jpg

Pattern from 1955 described as a "lacy head scarf for evening wear". This is a charming fichu, for evening, or indeed day wear, depending on your choice of yarn type.

I don't know about you, but I try not to wear head scarves in the evening; in fact I try not to wear them ever. I took against them in the 1970s - something to do with the image of the Royal Family - o, and they make me look like an extra from an Edinburgh Fringe production of Mother Courage.
Hopefully, however, this one will make us all look like Grace Kelly.

Instructions

Begin at the widest part. With No. 11 (the larger) hook make 260 chain, very loosely.

Row 1: Miss 1ch, * 1dc in next ch, 7ch, miss 5ch; repeat from * to last chain; 1dc in last ch; turn.
Row 2: 4slip sts in next 4ch, * 7ch, 1dc in centre of next 7ch loop; repeat from* to end, turn.

Continue, repeating 2nd row, thus decreasing one trellis pattern on every row, until only one trellis pattern remains to be worked in the centre.
Fasten off.

flower.jpg Flower border - With No. 12 (the smaller) hook make 12 chain, and join in a ring with a slip st.

First round: 3ch. (this counts as one dbl tr), work 26 dbl trs through centre of ring, and join to top of he 3ch with a slip st.
Second round: * 16ch, 1ss into 10th ch from hook, 6ch, miss 2 dbl trs, 1 ss into next dbl tr. Repeat from * to end. Fasten off.
[Editor's note: Don't forget this is a UK crochet pattern, and these are UK dbl trs; if in doubt, link to "Terminology" in the side bar.]

Make 14 more in the same way.

Making up - Press lighty on the wrong side under a damp cloth.

Make a long strip of flowers by joining (sewing) the tip of one petal of one flower to the adjoining tip of petal of another flower.

Join this strip to sloping sides of main part - seven petals along each side, and one at the top of the triangle; catch the tips of two petals of each flower to the main work to secure the border.

Give a final press, pinning out the flower points.

[Editor's note: I experimented, adding a pearlised bead suspended in the centre of each of the flowers; it looks very pretty and follows the current fashion for applied beading - however the "nude" versions retain a certain delicacy without further adornment.]

Materials

Original pattern calls for a ½oz ball of "Fine Ply".

Example in hand-painted cobweb lace wool (100m skeins about 9g) purchased from Alchemy Fibre Arts eBay shop.

Numbers 11 (3mm) and 12 (2.5mm) crochet hooks.

Tension

One trellis pattern measures ¾in on no. 11 hook.

Size

Approximately 36 inches at the widest part.

A word on the wool.

There were quite a few patterns for very fine scarves and shawls in cobweb wools, and as their name suggests they are very fine gauge.
You could knit this in other yarn weights - for example, Rowan Kidsilk Haze - and simply produce a fichu of a different (larger) size.

Now you have the taste for chic yet casual evening wear in adaptable crochet, I expect you'll want to embark on a larger project (such as the one below) to extend your skills. Let me know if you need the pattern.

retro_outfit.gif

April 2007

Pebbles bag

Pebbles_bag.jpg

I intended to knit this bag from a pattern where the designer confessed she had been forced to change her mind half way through knitting a hat, and call it a bag. I did not go ahead with my plan, and my pattern is now far removed from that original idea, (except for the handles!). The colours in this wool remind me of the stoney flint beaches on the south coast of England, where I was born and brought up.

Instructions

With No. 3 needles, cast on 51 stitches, and work 5 rows stocking stitch starting with a knit row.
Next row: wrong side facing, Knit to end.

With right side facing, commence pattern as follows:

Row 1: P4, K3, (P5, K3) 5 times, P4
Row 2: K4, P3, (K5, P3) 5 times, K4
Row 3: P4, K3, (P5, K3) 5 times, P4
Row 4: (P3, K5) 6 times, P3
Row 5: (P3, K5) 6 times, P3
Row 6: (P3, K5) 6 times, P3

[Editor's note: I chose a textured stitch to best suit the random and nubbly texture of Chunky Print. The muted stone colourway works well, I think, with this basket-weave stitch. If you have a more 'romantic' colourway you may prefer a different pattern. See "blackberry stitch" section below for an alternative four-row pattern to substitute here if you like].

Repeat the six-row pattern 20 times or to desired length, and then the first 3 rows again.
[Editor's note: I tried to knit this very precisely to use up all the 3 balls of wool; you may wish to knit a few rows fewer in order to be sure you will have sufficient with your chosen wool. You can knit the sides before finishing off the body to try and gauge if you are running short].

Next row: wrong side facing, Knit to end.
With right side facing, work 4 rows stocking stitch starting with a knit row. Cast off.

Side panels (make 2 the same):
[Editor's note: you may wish to omit the sides altogether, either for simplicity, or to save on wool. See notes on "adapting the pattern" below.]

Cast on 10sts and work as follows in reverse stocking stitch throughout.

Row 1: P10
Row 2: Inc in the first st, (by knitting into the front and back of the st), K9, inc in next st, K1. [12 sts]
Row 3: P12.
Row 4: K12

Continue in reverse st st for 28 more rows.
Decrease one st at each end of the next row, [10 sts].
Work a further 11 rows.
Decrease one st at each end of the next row, [8 sts].
Work a further 5 rows.
Decrease one st at each end of the next row, [6 sts].
Work two more rows, and then cast off knitwise, decreasing one st at each end of the cast-off row.

Making up - Cut and construct the lining before sewing the bag sections together.
Attach the handles to each end of the main body section, as follows:
Sew a hem at each end of the bag, folding down the st st rows and using the purl row as your hem edge.
Starting about 2 inches from the edge of the bag, oversew the hem ends (using huge binding sts) to the circular bamboo handles. Ease the straight edge of the bag around the handle as you sew. Stop sewing about two inches from the other side of the bag.
[Editor's note: If you are knitting "to the wire", as I did, to use up all the wool, you need to remember to reserve some yarn to attach the handles; I used about 14 yards of the yarn for this binding.]

Construct the lining - do this before attaching the sides to the bag.
[Editor's note: I advise you to read the whole of this section before you start cutting anything].

Cut the fabric to the width of the bag, using the body section as a guide, and remembering to leave enough for the seams at the edges. Do not cut the fabric to length at this point, unless you are making a simple pocket style bag (see "adapting the pattern").

Press the side panels lightly using a damp cloth. Using the side panels as pattern pieces, cut two fabric side pieces from the fabric you have left over, not forgetting to leave a seam allowance. Fold over the top edge on each piece.

[Editor's note: A lining does not have to be too exact, (the knitting outside is stretchy); it should support the contents of the bag and protect the bag from distorting - I try and make it err just slightly larger than the knitted bag "at rest".]

Form the internal pocket section in the lining as follows:
Turn down the ends of the fabric that you will attaching to the mouth of the bag (where the handles are).
Lay the fabric over the knitting, placing the turned down edges roughly in position at the handle ends. Make the fabric fit the length of the main section of the bag by making a pleat as shown in the picture; this pleat forms the pocket. Pin the pleat into position at both sides, and mark the position for, and then make (by hand or machine), a button hole to fit your exotic button, through the top two layers of the pleat. Sew the button in place on the bottom layer of the pleat to meet the button hole.

Pin and sew the side panel lining pieces to the main body of the lining.

Inserting the side panels - and completing the bag.
Pin the knitted side panel sections into position, and crochet the two edges together with a single row of double crochet, to form an external "seam", as shown in the picture.

Sew the lining into the bag, slipstitching around the handles and bag mouth. Do not pull your stitches too tight.

Adapting the pattern

You may wish to adapt the bag by omitting the sides altogether, either for simplicity, or to save on wool.
To do this you simply fold the main body in half and join the sides to make a simple pocket; you can crochet up the sides (as above) or just sew them. Likewise the lining is formed by folding the fabric in half to fit the bag, sewing up the sides, and attaching to the mouth of the bag as above.
Note: If you choose to adapt the bag, it will not have a "base", so it will look proportionately longer than the knitted example with sides. So if you plan to do this you may want to knit the main body 2 inches shorter than instructed above. You can test how the bag looks by folding it in half every so often, as you are knitting.

Blackberry stitch

An alternative four-row pattern to use in place of the six-row basket weave pattern. [Editor's note: Because of its "one-from-three, three-from-one" nature, this stitch is also know in the Irish tradition as Trinity stitch.]

The four-row pattern is worked over 50 sts using number 2 needles:
Row 1 (right side facing): Purl.
Row 2: K1, (P3tog, inc 2 by K1,P1,K1 into next st) 12 times, K1
Row 3: Purl.
Row 4: K1, (inc 2 by K1,P1,K1 into next st, P3tog) 12 times, K1

To complete the main section of the bag, repeat the four-row pattern 26 times or to desired length, and then the first 3 rows again.
Next row: wrong side facing, Knit to end.
With right side facing, work 4 rows stocking stitch starting with a knit row. Cast off.
[Editor's note: If you use this pattern your bag will work out a slightly different proportion and shape than the basket-weave one due to the stitch making a different tension. You could compensate by working over 54 sts instead of 50 and knitting some rows fewer in length; whatever you choose, remember to keep an eye on your yarn quantity as you knit. Bags are very adaptable.

Materials

3 x 100g balls (each 100m/109yards) Rowan Chunky Print, colour 078, Pebble Dash, or 081 Shriek.

One pair of number 3 needles.
One crochet hook, number 5 (5½mm).

Two bamboo-style round handles.

Half a metre (or half a yard) of cotton fabric for lining.

1 exotic button oddment (about ¾-1 inch in size.)
[Ed: We all have them]

Tension

14sts x 18rows to 4 inches (10cm) on No 3 (6½mm) needles over basket-weave pattern.
16sts x 16rows to 4 inches (10cm) on No 2 (7mm) needles over blackberry pattern.

Crochet

Remember these instructions use UK terms. Double crochet is equivalent to US "single crochet".

Size matters

Bag is approximately 14in by 12in and 2in deep at the sides.
The dimensions of the bag were determined by eye in proportion with the chosen handles, and knitted in order to use the complete 3 balls of the chosen wool.

A word on the wool.

Chunky Print has been discontinued by Rowan (sadly, as it seemed to have a pleasing colour range, and knit up quickly and economically).
Chunky Print has a yardage of 100 metres (109 yards) per 100g ball, and knits to a tension of 11sts x 14 rows to 4 inches on No 0 needles (9mm).
A good substitute might be Debbie Bliss Soho (6 x 50g balls).
Rowan Biggy Print comes in similar colours but is a vastly different tension; it would be quite feasible to convert this pattern to a different tension yourself.

Quilting fabrics are ideal for the lining; they are inexpensive and come in a fabulous range of colours.
You can afford to be adventurous with linings; choose a lovely rich colour, probably one that you would not care for in an item of clothing!
The lining is important - don't skimp on it.

Here is my completed Pebbles bag, in the Shriek colourway with blackberry stitch. As a decoration I used a brooch that Alison gave me years ago - the idea being that it was a heart for me to "wear on my sleeve". The lining is an old Kaffe Fassett quilt fabric which turned out to be an improbably good match.

Here is the original Pebbles bag in the Pebble Beach colourway with basket weave stitch. The brooch decoration, like the heart above, tones so well with the wool that it provides a very subtle effect on the bag.


March 2007

Big Sister’s evening cape

capelet.jpg

A true gem of a pattern described as an "angora tippet" from the early 1950s. Originally knitted in Patons Beryl Angora 4ply wool, this version uses a mixed fibre mohair yarn which knits to a 4ply tension.

Instructions

With No. 8 needles, cast on 338 stitches loosely, and work 4 rows stocking stitch starting with a knit row.

**Next (eyelet) row: K2 *wool forward, K2tog.; repeat from * to last 2 sts, K2.
Work a further 5 rows in stocking stitch, starting with a purl row.**

Make hem - on next row by knitting 1st from the needle together with 1st from the cast-on edge. Work 7 rows in stocking stitch, starting with a purl row. Repeat sections from ** to ** once more.
Make another hem on the next row, but this time instead of knitting the sts together with the cast on row, you pick up and knit into a previous row as follows:- taking a spare double pointed (or circular) needle, pick up 338 sts along back of work, 4 rows below the row of eyelet holes; now knit 1st from the needle together with 1st from the spare needle.
[Editor's note: this can be tough as the picked up sts are very tight. I used one double pointed needle and picked up the 338 sts in sections as I went along the row].

Next row: wrong side facing, K4, * P30, K30; repeat from * to last 34 sts; P30, K4.
Next row: knit.
Repeat these 2 rows 6 times more and then the 1st row again.
[Editor's note: If you need to lengthen the cape, here would be the time to consider it].

Start shaping
Next row: right side facing, K4, (K2tog, K13) 22 times, K4.
*Next row: K4, (P28, K28) 5 times, P28, K4.
Next row: knit.
Repeat from * once more then 1st row again (316 sts).

Next row: K4, (K2tog, K12) 22 times, K4.
*Next row: K4, (P26, K26) 5 times, P26, K4.
Next row: knit.
Repeat from * once more then 1st row again (294 sts).

Next row: K4, (K2tog, K11) 22 times, K4.
*Next row: K4, (P24, K24) 5 times, P24, K4.
Next row: knit.
Repeat from * once more then 1st row again (272 sts).

Continue in this way, decreasing 22 sts on next and every following 6th row, (remembering you will be working 1st fewer after the K2tog on each decrease row) until 96 sts remain.
[Editor's note: if you need to lengthen the cape, consider it again throughout these decreases; instead of decreasing every 6th row you could decrease on the 8th row a couple of times - adding 4 exra rows - or as many times as you need.].
Change to No. 11 (smaller) needles and work 8 rows in pattern;
[Editor's note: another chance to lengthen the cape if you have a swan-like neck!].
break wool and leave sts on a spare needle.

Neckband
With No. 11 needles, cast on 96 stitches, and work 4 rows stocking stitch starting with a knit row.
**Next (eyelet) row: K2 *wool forward, K2tog.; repeat from * to last 2 sts, K2. Work 5 rows straight in stocking stitch, starting with a purl row.**
Make a hem on the next row, exactly as given for the first hem on the lower edge.
Work 7 rows in stocking stitch, starting with a purl row. Repeat sections from ** to ** once more.
Now make a second hem on the next row, exactly as given for the second hem round the lower edge.
Next row: wrong side facing, K4, (P8, K8) 5 times; P8, K4.
Next row: knit.

Join neckband and main body

Place the needle with the neck sts and the spare needle with the body sts together, with right sides (facing each other) together, and cast off the two sets of stitches together.
[Editor's note: to cast off together, you knit together 1 st from one needle, and one from the other, and pass the knitted sts on the RH needle over each other as usual for casting off].

Making up
Press the cape only very lightly on the wrong side under a damp cloth.
[Editor's note: you don't want to flatten out the pattern sts or the wool texture].
Work a row of double crochet (that is, US single crochet) up both front edges, then a row of slip sts, taking care to leave the picot hems free.
Sew on hook and eye below the hems at the neck edge on the wrong side of the work. Sew on two decorative buttons at the neck edge, as seen in the photograph.

capelet.jpg


The detail shows the mixture of stocking stitch and garter stitch gored panels, which gives the shoulder cape such a perfect drape. The hem is formed by a double folded picot edging, which is reproduced at the neck.


Materials

Original pattern calls for 2 oz angora wool.
This equates to just over 50g.

One pair each of number 8 and number 11 needles.
One crochet hook, number 13.

Two decorative gold buttons, and hook and eye for fastening at the neck.

Tension

28st to 4 inches (10cm) on No 8 (4mm) needles.

Size matters

One size fits all! However - I did lengthen the cape by about one inch overall, as I found that although the tension was as stated in sts per inch, the length seemed shorter than depicted.

A word on the wool

I used a vintage wool from Pingouin called Volutes (80% acrylic 20% mohair), which I chose from my stash mainly for its rich colour. It knits to a tension of 23sts x 34rows on No. 11-12 (3-2½mm) needles, thus I knitted the cape on smaller needles than the pattern stated to achieve the right tension. I think the cape really needs to be knitted in a true luxury yarn, such as angora, or cashmere. Rowan's Kidsilk Haze could be suitable but the smallest tension on No. 10 needles is quoted as 25sts to 4in.

capelet_original.jpg

February 2007

Flag dishcloth

   Dishcloth design based on traditional guernsey flag pattern, (colour: Hot Pink).

Instructions

With No. 7 needles, cast on 49 stitches
Work in garter stitch (every row knit) for 6 rows.

Commence pattern as follows:
[Note that each row begins and ends with K5 making a garter stitch border].

Row 1: K5, (K9, P1) 3 times, knit to end.
Row 2: K6, (P8, K2) 3 times, P8, K5
Row 3: K5, (K7, P3), 3 times, K8, P2, K5
Row 4: K8, (P6, K4) 3 times, P6, K5
Row 5: K5, (K5, P5), 3 times, K5, P4, K5
Row 6: K10, (P4, K6) 3 times, P4, K5
Row 7: K5, (K3, P7), 3 times, K3, P6, K5
Row 8: K12, (P2, K8) 3 times, P2, K5
Row 9: K5, (K1, P9), 3 times, K1, P8, K5
Row 10: knit across all sts.

These rows form one pattern.

Repeat the 10-row pattern 5 times more (6 times in all).
[Note that this is one more pattern in each dimension than shown in the photograph;
these instructions have a centre panel with 6x4 flag patterns].

Work 6 rows in garter stitch, then cast off all 49 sts.

Finishing - sew in all ends, and press lightly with a damp cloth.

Materials

One (2 oz) ball of Lily Sugar n'Cream cotton.

One pair No. 7 needles.

Tension

20 sts x 26 rows to 4 inches measured over stocking stitch on No 7 (4½mm) needles.

Size matters

The pattern as written should make a dishcloth about 10 inches square. My original in the picture is slightly smaller.

Flag pattern detail:

January 2007

Boudoir Bedjacket.

bedjacket.jpg

Knitted in a combination of wools, ribbon, and a linen yarn, of various weights using the basic shape of a double knitting pattern. The length is short to allow for sitting in bed.

Instructions

Knitted to a basic shape as follows:

Back - cast on 88 sts. Knit in your own pattern for 7 or 8 inches.
Cast off 10 stitches at each side for the armhole.
Knit until armhole measures 8 inches.
Cast off 8 sts at the beginning of the next 6 rows. Cast off remaining sts.

Right front - cast on 36 sts. Knit to pattern increasing 1st at the beginning of every alternate row until there are 44 sts. (This forms a curved front edge).
Continue to knit for 7 or 8 inches to match the back ending with wrong side facing.
Cast off 10 sts at the beginning of the next wrong side row.
Knit until armhole measures 6 inches, (about 12 rows fewer than the back), ending with right side facing. Cast off 5 sts at the beginning of next row (the neck edge); then decrease 1 st at the neck edge on the next and every alternate row until 23 sts remain, ending at the armhole edge.
With wrong side facing, cast off 8 sts at the beginning of the next and following alternate row. Work one row and then cast off remaining sts.

Left front - work to match the right front, reversing all shapings.

Sleeves - cast on 56 sts and work for 2 inches, then increase 1 st at each end of next and every following 6th row to 76 sts. Work straight to 15 inches from beginning. Cast off.

Crochet border - a simple row of double crochet and then a crochet shell pattern (1 dc; miss 2; 5 tr into next stitch; miss 2; then repeat).

Make up - sew shoulders and side seams. Set sleeves into the armholes, placing 2 ins at the sleeve top to the cast off sts at the underarm, and sewing up the sleeve seams.
Crochet a border all around front edges and cuffs.
Attach a cord or ribbon to the neck edge to tie.

Materials

Self-styled free form pattern, knitting a mixture of rows in plain and purl, using wools from 4ply through to a chunky boucle and including ribbon yarn.

Tie made from twisted cord or ribbon.

Size matters

Tension (average over different yarn weights):
22st to 4 inches (10cm) on No 8 (4mm) needles.
The instructions knit up to approximately a 32/34inch chest.

Close up of the pattern detail:

pattern detail.jpg


© Christina Coutts 2007

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