Friday, 11 April 2014

Knitting Knotes - Sleeveless Thistle

Thistle from the Country Diary Book of Knitting

Yarn: King Cole Bamboo Cotton Solids 700g
Needles: 3.25mm and 4mm
Tension: 22sts = 10cm
Pattern: Thistle by Rosy Tucker, published in The Country Diary Book of Knitting (October 1987) by Annette Mitchell
Finished measurements: Chest - 112 cm / To Armhole - 38 cm   / Overall Length - 58 cm

  • Cast on with 3.25mm - 118 sts and rib K2, P2 for 27 rows.
  • Increase to 139 sts.
  • Change to 4mm needles and commence pattern.
  • Knit for 14 inches/36 cm (In terms of the Thistle pattern this was the ribbing, 2 pattern repeats and 10 rows of the next pattern repeat.)
  • Armhole shaping - cast off 10 sts at the beginning of the next two rows = 119 sts *
  • Cast off 1st each end on alt rows x 5 = 109 sts.
  • Knit until 4 pattern repeats and 16 rows of the 5th have been completed.
  • Cast off 31 sts at the beginning of the next two rows. 
  • Cast off putting middle 47 on a holder.


  • Same until *
  • Divide for neck - at this point there are 119 sts. Divide = 59/1/59
  • Next row - dec 1st at beginning for armhole - knit a further 57 sts - put middle stitch on a pin and turn.
  • Keep armhole shaping as before but this time simultaneously dec 1st on next and every 3rd row at neck edge x 8 = 46 sts
  • Complete as for back and then match other side.

  • Using a 3.25mm circular needle - pick up and knit in K2 P2 rib - 132sts (66 each side)
  • Rib K2, P2 for 10 rounds and then cast off. 

  • Using a 3.25mm circular needle - pick up and knit in K2 P2 rib as follows.
  • 70 down left front and 70 up right front (in the front middle - K4 - the centre stitch on a pin being the second of the 4) then 47 across back but dec 1 for 46 = 186 sts
  • Row 2 to 7 - the front middle 4 sts - K2 tog, SKPSSO.
  • Rib for 7 rounds and then cast off. 
I bought this book back in 1987 when it came out but this is the first time I have made anything from it. However there are some lovely patterns, especially for children - here is a flavour:

The gorgeous Poppy - I always fancied this in black with green stems. 

A lacy jumper - very in vogue at the moment. 

I love this sleeveless top - but I'd make it shorter.

Just two of the fab girl's jumpers - there are toys too and rucksacks. 

Overall I am very pleased with this project, it looks great today with jeans and will look fab in the summer with white linen trousers. 

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Book Review -Vintage Social History

Alligators, Old Mink and New Money, A Vintage Affair and Gypsy Boy

An eclectic mix of books for this review - all have a social history thread running through them, two are based on real life social history and the third is fiction but no doubt based on a hint of truth in places.

Book 1 - Alligators, Old Mink and New Money by Alison and Melissa Houtte

I came across this book on Maria's Rosy Tinted Spectacles blog and ordered a copy from Amazon - I wasn't disappointed. This book tells the tale of a vintage shop in Brooklyn (which through the magic of the internet you can read up about in more detail here.)

Alison Houtte, who is a former model, branches out into vintage wear and this book explains how that happened. She is a fabulous observer of human nature and her stories come across as honest and often heart warming.

Book 2 - A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

A fictional version of book 1 in some respects, this time set in London. It is one woman's tale of coming to terms with loss and opening up a vintage clothes shop. Along the way she meets some interesting characters including Therese who is also still grieving. The two women bond and give each other some comfort from their respective losses in more ways than one. There is the obligatory boyfriend of course just to add a little romance to story. 

Book 3 - Gypsy Boy by Mikey Walsh

My son bought this for me and once I started reading it I was gripped, literally couldn't put it down. Mikey, a Romany, tells us the story of his brutal childhood which gives the reader an insight into the lives of the gypsy community. Mikey is keen to stress he is a Romany, not a Traveller and he also gives some background as to why this is an important distinction to make. Mikey, despite all he has been through, is proud of his gypsy heritage and this book is not a criticism of the way he grew up - it's more of a factual account. There are a few laughs in the book but not many, Mikey's childhood, as I said previously, was brutal. There is a sequel this book Gypsy Boy on the Run and it seems there will be a film version too. You read more here.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Spring has Sprung

My garden is coming back to life:)

Firstly my Euphorbia - this just appeared in my garden a couple of years ago and made its self at home - it is glorious.

Here are some cheeky little Bleeding Hearts, with some Bluebells in the background.

My Camellia is looking scrumptious, with huge amounts of buds this year.

Not so good are my Bougainvillea and Jasmine. I sheltered them but they didn't have enough access to the rain where there were and dried out - I live in hope though.

My hot bed has been dismantled - ready to be moved.

Finally indoors......

A gorgeous Amaryllis and stunning Orchid - both were pressies.