Friday, 22 February 2013

Knitting Digest - part 1!

A glimpse into the crafting world and general life of September 1976

Probably because of my love for social history, I am always on the look out for old and interesting crafty magazines. Today's browsing in charity shops managed to turn up a little gem - the September 1976 copy of Knitting Digest, sold back then for 25p and sold to me today for 30p!

It is packed full of social and some political history, as well as some gems of patterns and other crafty ideas. I aim to break this down into categories for a series of blog posts. So let's take a step back in time to when I years 10 years old and the great British drought was coming to an end.

Editor Angela Jeffs welcomes readers to a new look magazine, she promises readers some know how on getting to grips with the metric system and article on women's rights, all blended with health advice, cooking tips and of course some patterns - well it is the Knitting Digest. 

Crafty Tips

Page 3 contains the obligatory abbreviations panel and a note about tension, which is picked up again on page 6, "The Secret of Success," an in depth  article on how to check your tension. What I particularly love is the diagram at the bottom of the page with the little heart shaped stitches.

Page 11, again with a fab diagram shows "How to turn the perfect cable."

Page 13 a note on "Keeping whites white" with some sheep keeping themselves clean and some useful tips.

Page 55, the promised article on "Metric Madness." We're a funny bunch us Brits - we went metric in 1971 when I was 5, but ask me how tall I am and I'll tell you 5ft 3. Ask my sons and they'll answer in imperial too, it's the same with weight, but I'm not posting that on here!

Page 59, a panel on "Inserting zip fasteners" which I shall be reading because I have never mastered this.

Page 62 in answer to a letter on how to knit left-handed - put a mirror in front of the diagrams showing you how to knit! Simple!

This isn't my first step back in time to the 1970s you may also like The Psychedelic Seventies.

Next time I shall focus on health and food!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Garden Plans for 2013

My gardening mojo is restored!

The last few months of 2012 were mad with family events, work and study - so much so that something had to give and that something was gardening. Well the weather turned bad and crafting was cosier!

My little patch of suburbia has been sadly neglected, but yesterday the sun came out (honestly) and I thought I'd better don some gardening gloves and get stuck in.

These bulbs should have gone in months ago - oh well I've put them in now. I don't suppose they'll  flower now though. 
Some bulbs I put in last year have flourished. 

A little Snowdrop struggles amongst the weeds and ferns. 

Horrible brambles with some Crocus poking through. 

I took a wander into my little greenhouse! And oh dear lots of neglected  plants and a collapsed shelf - what a mess.  

Two hours later and lots of weeding done - ready for Mr Daffy to clear up! 

I glanced to the other side of the garden and what a site to behold - my Magnolia tree with hundreds of buds - watch this space...............  
My plans for this year are:

To let all the spring bulbs and early summer flowers take their course. (The garden is packed with Aqualegias coming through).

To sow lots of seeds for summer flowers - Cosmos, Sweet Peas, Asters, Stock

To plant lots of Dahlias (I'm gutted I didn't bring the corms in last year). 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Local Yarn Stores

I very rarely have a rant on here but I am going to today. 

I live in a nice little suburban town on the outskirts of London. We have lovely local shops that are in walking distance and cover all your needs - except one - decent YARN! There is a little department store that carries a few balls of yarn, mostly acrylic but at least it's something. 

Then there is a shop that sells yarn and blinds and all sorts of bits and pieces. Again the yarn is mostly acrylic! When you go in the shop it's a total mess and the window display is pathetic at best, it's hardly inviting. The worse thing is that it's more often shut than open, as was the case today, which is really annoying  because I am rarely around in the day.  

I spoke to the owner once about the shop as a business, but she is clueless. She told me she buys in acrylic mostly because that's what the old ladies buy - fine - but what about trying to entice a new generation to take up knitting and crochet? How about a window display based on the gorgeous crochet makes on Attic 24? What about modern knitted garments in the window rather than little old lady knits and dreadful kids jumpers? When I mentioned Ravelry she didn't have a clue what I was talking about. At present she is continuing the stereotype of knitting and crochet being for old ladies. 

As a teacher in a secondary school I know there are lots of young ladies who have been taught to knit and crochet by older relatives. Some wear scarves to school they have made. What about trying to entice them in? A little display of quick and easy festival knits would be good. It is a massive shop so what about having a little seated area with a pot of coffee on the go?

I want to be Alex Polizzi and go in and fix the shop - not for the owner but because I would love a fantastic LYS. 

Oh well - dream on!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Knitting History - how it all began!

Knitting in its basic form is a series of knots created using two needles to make a fabric; the word itself reflects this knotty nature as it comes from the Dutch verb knutten and the old English word cnyttan both meaning to knot.  ***** stop press ***** see below *****

Sometimes ancient fabric which appears to be knitted is confused with Nalbinding, which is an ancient technique that only uses one needle and has often been mistaken for knitting or crochet.

Historians disagree about the origin of knitting, some say it originated from the Middle East with trading routes bringing the craft to Europe; whilst others say it originated in Scandinavia. Early examples of knitting have been found in Egypt and cotton appears to have been the favourite yarn for early sock knitwear, closely followed by silk garments. These yarns are suggestive of the fact that knitting originated in the hotter Middle East.

This article on Knitty by Julie Theaker makes interesting reading and contains some images of early knitting, as well as raising some questions about the development of knitting throughout the ages.

Another interesting article summing up the research of Richard Rutt can be found here. Of course it is only in recent years that knitting has become a hobby and not a necessity. It wasn't just garments that were made from this cleverly knotted fabric, as cushions were another early favourite.

****************Stop Press**************

I mentioned this little article on a thread in the Historic Knitting Forum and it generated some interesting replies. Here is the link to the thread. In summary the threads contian the following points:

  •  knitting is not knots it's loops because the ends are not fastened off until the end of the piece of fabric.;
  • cnyttan actually means to tie or join.
The thread is actually about knitted burial stockings and makes interesting reading. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

WIP Report 27

STOP PRESS *******

Congratulations to Creatingincanyon - who has won my Blogiversary giveaway.

Please PM me on Ravelry (Daffodil2012) with your address and colour of Mash Up that you would like and many thanks to all who left a comment. There will be another giveaway soon. 

How many WIPS? 2

Magic Jeck
Summer Garden Sock Blanket (was cushion)

How many WIPs started since last report? 0

How many WIPs completed since last report? 1

Soliloquy Sox - after 16 months!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Soliloquy Sox - finished and ready to wear. 

Magic Jeck 

One sock nearly done - should be finished during Dancing on Ice later. 

Summer Garden Sock Blanket - an attempt to use up all my leftover sock yarn.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

1st Year Blogiversary - Giveaway

My Blog is one year old today!

To celebrate this momentous occasion I am holding a "Giveaway," this is as a thank you to all you lovely people who visit my little blog, thank you for taking the time to do this, it means a lot to me xxxx

All you have to do is leave a comment below and I'll enter you into a draw on Sunday 10th February. The prize is that I'll make you a Mash Up in any colour you like from my beady collection. You can email me your address and preferred colour or PM me on Ravelry if you win. Good luck everyone x

If you are not sure what a Mash Up is have a look at my Crochet Notes there are several links to past Mash Ups there. There is also an example below of one I made for my friend for Christmas

As this is a 1 year celebration I thought it might be nice to have a quick round up of my favourite things from the last year. 

Favourite Garden Picture - Penstemons - my favourite flowers. 

Favourite Holiday Snap - Cu Chi Tunnels, Vietnam - fulfilling a long since held ambition.

Favourite Knitting Project - Sparkly Twinkly Cables - I wear it all the time!

Favourite Crochet Project - African Flower Bag - I even lined it. 

Favourite Jewellery Project - Vampire's Kiss - made for a Christmas Pressie. 

Once again - thanks for taking time out to visit me - please leave a comment below and I'll enter you into the draw on Sunday 10th February. x

Sunday, 3 February 2013

WIP Report 26

How many WIPS? 2

Soliloquy Sox 
Magic Jeck
Summer Garden Sock Cushion

How many WIPs started since last report? 3

Hippy Chick Necklace
Gift Pouch
Summer Garden Sock Cushion

How many WIPs completed since last report? 3

Summer Garden Cushion
Hippy Chick Necklace
Gift Pouch

I called this necklace Hippy Chick because of the gorgeous 1970s style flowers. As it's a present it needed a Gift Pouch and so I made one using Julie A. Bolduc's Scrap Saver Hexagon Motif. (This website has heaps of lovely crochet patterns).

 I was rushing to finish this pouch and catch the post - but if I made it again I would add final round of white trebles - so that the hexagon is more defined once sewn up. To finish it off I added a crocheted chain and threaded it through - put the necklace inside the pouch and ran to the Post Office. 

The reverse side of my Summer Garden Cushion.......

....... and now for the Summer Garden Sock Cushion - finally I am using up my heap of left over sock yarn.

This is based on the same idea as the Summer Garden Cushion except that the circles are being turned into squares not hexagons. It will be easier to tessellate that way. To make a square you simply have two groups of three trebles in between the corners - but I'm sure most people know that!

Also I am making the whole circle out of the same yarn - this is because a lot of my leftover sock yarn is variegated yarn and I decided it could look too messy if I kept changing the yarn. (Less ends to sew in too:))

My Soliloquy Sox are well and truly on the way to being finished - such progress has been made in the last few days!

Magic Jeck - no change from the last report. 

Friday, 1 February 2013

Crochet Notes - Summer Garden Cushion

Summer Garden Cushion

For this little experiment I'm using the Attic 24 Hexagon How To

My plan was to use up loads of odds and ends and set them onto a white background to give a consistency to the project. I also decided to use Lucy's join as you go method.

My only rule was that each hexagon should have one of the three colours matching one of the colours in one of the hexagons next to it.

Here are the odds and ends ready to be transformed into hexagon loveliness. 

 Side 1 was put together very quickly, but the second side was more difficult because the tessellation didn't work out and the cushion cover started to get very baggy. Also I had to manipulate the corners so that side one pulled tight.

Here is side one looking tightly pulled and bright and cheerful.

This tessellation caused me a lot of unpicking and redoing. Then I came up with the idea of smaller shapes strategically placed so that side two was nice and tight too. In the photo below you can see the space for a pentagon.

Here you can see the spaces created for small squares. 

Below you can see in the centre is the pentagon completed - as you can see I only did the first two rounds of the hexagon. To make it a pentagon three sides were completed as for the hexagon but the top two sides had two lots of two trebles as opposed to one lot of three trebles.

Next I made the mini squares by doing the first round of the hexagon. To complete the square each side had two lots of two trebles as opposed to one lot of three trebles. 

All six squares and two pentagons in place and the cushion is nice and tight.

Next for the opening. 
On one side I did a line of three trebles in each gap and the three trebles two chain trebles on the corner points. 

For the flap I attached two large squares and a small square. I did a line of three trebles in each gap and on the corner points I did eight chain instead of two for the button loops. 

So - I mastered Lucy's How to Hexagon and join as you go method but not - sadly - her "weave in the ends as you go" method - oh well. 

Finally after two evenings of end weaving my Summer Garden Cushion was done.

Crochet Notes - Tudor Rose, Cappuccino Lace and Daisy Loop Bed Topper

Using Wendy Supreme Cotton Chunky and Rowan Aran Cotton with a strand of lace added. 6mm hook. (8 balls of blackcurrant and 1 teal.)...