Friday, 31 August 2012

60s fashion knits

After the intimidating lady knits of the late 50s, let's head over to the 60s for a look at Patons Fashion Knits no 13. This is much more in my comfort zone - both in terms of style (safely back in a world of clashing colours and funky tights) and knitting ability. It's double knit and aran a go go from here on (phew!)

First up we banish the trauma of the 50s 2 ply lace dress with this infinitely more realistic version knitted in chunky yarn. Still likely to reveal every single biscuit you ever ate, but at least you could knit it within a year and it looks great in a sketch.

I love these his and hers apres-ski sweaters. Not sure I'd be able to convince Mr Loulaballe to adopt the Roger-Moore-at-play look but I'm definitely up for going solo with the lady version.

This red snow cape ticks all the boxes for me - cosy, all-enveloping and the perfect way to create an air of mystery (you could do all sorts under there - read a book, wash the dishes, strum a small guitar).  Okay, so I know this is very wrong, but I am also strangely drawn to the "attractive brushed helmet". It would give my children nightmares, but snug in my helmet of wooly check, the fearful pleas to "take the scary hat off, mummy" would be nicely muffled.

Unfortunatley, here is where Patons Fashion Knits starts to get the better of me. The stockings and pillar box hat are definite yes for style, but how do you keep a hat like that on your head, and as much as I love the green and olive stockings, I fear my attention span would reduce them to ankle socks.

Finally, I had to share this housecoat and long johns combo. The pattern says it all really:  "slightly crazy, but very chic... makes an amusing outfit for a winter evening at home". hmmm...

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Knitting for Ladies

Last week I got my knitty little hands on another batch of vintage patterns - it's been a while since our last vintage knit post, so I reckon it's time for another review of the highs and curious lows of knitting moments from the past. I say moments, but some of these beauties would take me years to create!

First up is the Vogue Knitting Book No 52 published around 1958 - so a bit earlier than my favoured vintage era. These knits are much more for the "lady" and perhaps that's one reason why I find them beautiful but unnerving. The other reason is they are clearly aimed at the highly committed knitter. We're enticed to "Make this a Knitted Summer" and in view of our current climate, that still seems like a pretty good idea. But, on the downside, these patterns don't leave much time for beach trips, barbecues or ball games.

 Take for example, this beautiful minimalist two piece dress designed for "off-duty fun". Gorgeous yes, but knitted on the skinniest of needles (imperial size 11/metric size 3), that veneer of whimsical serenity on the models face is actually the vacant glaze acquired from many many many hours of teeny tiny stocking stitch.

Next we have the Late Day Dress - again, beautiful but that my friends, is a lace dress hand knitted in 2ply wool. We can be pretty sure that the butler finished that one off while Madam did some leaning against the summer house pillars (leaning against outdoor structures was big in 1958 it seems).

There are some more achievable styles - for example the striped cardigan blouse - described as "easy to live in" - probably because its knitted in 4 ply so might actually get finished. I think we all agree that "bracelet length sleeves" are much more glamorous than your bog standard 3/4 length.

 The rose cardigan is very pretty but I know my roses would look like blobs of blancmange.

This double breasted jacket blouse is a bit more accomplishable, and "pastels are knitting headlines in the Continent " you know, but I'm despeartely missing the chunky vibrant shades of the 60s and 70s.

 The most achievable pattern - and the one I might actually attempt is this garter stitch dolman pullover with roll collar.  In fact, it's going on The List, so who knows, one day I might actually be able to show you a finished version (although there will be no smoking on speed boats for me I fear!).

Well, enough of the land of ladies, next up is the 60s for some Patons projects that, while still ambitious are at least using double knit wool... stay tuned!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Dungaree delight

These vintage dungarees were one of my favourite pre-Esther nesting-frenzy finds. 10p from a charity shop (seriously, nearly nothing is 10p anymore) and what's not to love about brown and orange towelling. She looks like the cutest little fraggle in them - and an absorbant one at that.

So, I decided to have a go at making a second set from an old purple sweater and some scraps of jersey I had lying around. They were completed Thursday night/early Friday morning in a mad I-really-really-should-go-to-bed-right-now kind of rush, so the finish is pretty horrendous.  But if you just don't look at the inside, then they turned out okay! I used the ribbing at the bottom of the sweater as the trouser cuffs -  I overestimated the length, but actually it worked out well as I like how they look with the rib cuff rolled up.

 Essie seems pretty happy with them...


With a few extra tweaks (introducing a facing, adding a proper cuff, changing the fastening) these might turn into a new pattern for the shop.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

A good time in Thame

Yesterday was the inaugural "Day-trip Tuesday" - a new fortnightly, or thereabouts, event dreamt up to keep two vintage and textile loving mums and their babies entertained while baby yoga classes are taking a summer break. Of course, it's also part of a selfless plan to support the local economies of Oxfordshire charity shops (we're all about giving something back!).

Our first destination was Thame, and if every trip is as "successful" as this one, I may well need to clear out a couple of cupboards!

First spot was this adorable pinafore skirt - Freya waved goodbye this morning looking like the most perfect little Heidi ever. She won't look like that when I pick her up, but at least I tried! I'm definitely going to use this skirt as pattern for other versions - it would look fab in a light courdory for autumn/winter.

The next find was this summer dressing gown - much more glam than the drab grey maternity one I've been using. [Note to self:  avoid self portraits in a dressing gown at all costs! Mostly you will look like a total poser or a terrifyingly hideous 'Readers Wife'. This not so great shot, was the last of 36 and that look in my eyes is one of desperation!]

A spot of vintage chintz to add to the fabric stash - a work-related find to make this trip feel less indulgent!

Lastly, a set of 4 dinner plates and 1 side plate at the bargain price 50p each - I've been looking for plates I like for ages as we were down to 2 pitiful cracked white ones from Matalan. These brown lovelies fit in pefectly with our 70s kitchen accessories theme - and even tie in nicely with my prized Orla Kiely butter dish, so everything's golden in the kitchen department!

My fellow shopping friend snapped up an amazing wall clock with a fab 60s/70s face on a leather "wrist-strap". Sounds horrendous, but truly it is a thing of vintage wonderment! 

So, altogether a pretty good morning's work! Our next trip is planned for Witney.. stay tuned for more vintage delights (I hope!)

Friday, 3 August 2012

Some days just work out nicely...

 First, a completed order, all lined up and ready to hand deliver to Shop at The Old Fire Station:

 ... a quick stop off at the sweetie shop for a burst of colour therapy and a weekend treat for my 3 favourite under 5s (all for the grand total of £1.09).

 ... then some unexpected charity shop treasure. Well okay, maybe pink jelly shoes don't count as treasure, but the five fab vintage curtains definitely do!

  ... and finally, look what the postman bought me. Mobile phone begone! I'm keeping time with a little help from the 70s now.


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