Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Make a 1940s music belt

A really unusual belt from Stitchcraft magazine, December 1947.

"To make the belt you need a piece of felt 5 inches wide by 28 inches long in a bright colour. For the black lines you need 5 pieces of narrow black braid, each 28 inches long; 4 buttons and some black embroidery silk or cotton.

First sew on the black braid as shown in the picture, then with a pencil draw your favourite tune all around the waist, and embroider it in black, using stem-stitch for the thin lines and satin-stitch for the solid parts.

Sew on the buttons, then make loops for button-holes, using a bit of black braid for each. Trim down the edges of the felt so that the back is about half an inch narrower top and bottom than the fronts."

Friday, 21 May 2010

His 'n' hers

The romance of his 'n' hers matching button-up cardigans. Is that a frisson of passion I can sense in the air? Or is it static from all that acrylic yarn?

Mr Cardigan is sharing a joke with the emu in the top right corner. Mrs Cardigan looks smug because she knows you will never be able to get your hair to look as biggety-up-and-away as hers.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

How to make a lavender bottle

I was browsing through a 1930s volume of The Children's Encyclopedia, edited by Arthur Mee - one of those fascinating books which covers everything from Pre-Raphaelite art to Making An Eskimo Village on A Tea-tray, via A Picture-Museum of Geology and rather fey line-drawings of William Caxton. A bit like the internet, only in hardback form.

This entry called "How To Make A Lavender Bottle" caught my eye. What on earth is a lavender bottle? Turns out it's a way of weaving lavender and ribbons together to make a pretty corn-dolly-type decoration which you can use to scent drawers or rooms. Arthur Mee's instructions are rather dry, but there's a wonderful step-by-step guide at which shows you how to make one with photos and everything. No fey-drawings of William Caxton, sadly. You can't have everything.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Mushroom Magic hat

Ah, the innocent days of the early 1950s, when you could use the phrase Mushroom Magic without hearing hippy sniggering from the back of the class.

This perky little hat is knitted from dk yarn with an angora crown. What better way to keep off the chill on a spring morning?

To make a magical mushroom hat, you will need half an ounce of angora wool, 2 oz double knitting yarn, two no 9 and no 11 needles.

Tension: 5 and three-quarter stitches and seven and three-quarter rows to one square inch on no 9 needles measured over stocking stitch.

Using no 9 needles and double knitting yarn, cast on 110 sts. Work in K1, P1 rib for 7 inches.

Change to no 11 needles and using angora for remainder of hat proceed as follows:

Next row: K5,(M1, K2, M1, K3) 20 times, M1, K5 (151 sts)

Next row: P

Work crown as follows:

1st row: K

2nd row: P

Work these 2 rows 6 times more.

Shape crown as follows:

1st row: *K13, K2 tog, rep from * to last st, K1

2nd and alt rows: P

3rd row: *K12, K2 tog, rep from * to last st, K1

5th row: *K11, K2 tog, rep from * to last st, K1

6th row: P

Continue dec in this manner on next and every alt row until 21 sts remain.

Next row: P1, (P2 tog) 10 times.

Thread yarn through remaining sts and fasten off securely.

To make up, use a back stitch to join seam, taking care to reverse seam for turn-back.

Friday, 14 May 2010

More dropped stitch japes

Here's the companion lacy scarf to go with yesterday's drop stitch jumper. It uses a similar technique. This lady is smiling because she has knitted her scarf in garter stitch then deliberately DESTROYED selected rows by dropping them in their entirety in her final row.

Ready for some controlled destruction? Jolly good. You'll need 2 or 3 ply yarn and a pair of no 3 knitting needles.

Tension: 3 ply: 4 sts and 4 rows to 1 inch, after the sts have been dropped. 2 ply: 5 sts to 1 inch and 11 rows to 2 inches, after the sts have been dropped.

Measurements: Approx 38 inches by 18 inches.

To make scarf: Cast on 57 sts.

First 2 rows: K

3rd row: K 2, (inc in next st, K 3) to last 3 sts, inc in next st, K 2.

Work 146 rows garter st, but in the last row drop every 4th st down to form a ladder. Work 2 more rows garter st, then cast off. Make 2 pom poms and attach one to each end of scarf.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Drop stitch jumper

I like the idea of turning that knitting nightmare, the drop stitch, into part of a pretty design. Obviously you can't just drop stitches at random, you have to have a method to your madness,which is just what this lacy 1940s confection has.

"The Quickest Jumper you ever knitted!" claims this Weldons pattern. You knit rows of 3 ply garter stitch onto large size 5 needles, and when the work is almost completed, you drop every 5th stitch to form a ladder pattern. Bet that feeling of deliberately sabotaging your carefully-knitted work on the final row is quite nerve-wracking...

This jumper looks very demure knitted in a pale cream or beige and modelled with pearls and a bouquet of lily-of-the-valley, but if you knitted it in black, you'd have a far punkier confection on your hands.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Typewriter art of Prince Philip

From the same Girl Annual as the duffle coat button jewellery - a lovely picture of Prince Philip, made entirely from typewriter characters.

Obviously this is what bored people did at work before Facebook was invented.

Duffle coat button jewellery

Three reasons why you may have too many duffle coat buttons and be looking for something to do with them:

1 - That failed alchemical experiment in which you discovered the way to transmute base metal into duffle coat buttons

2 - Have been left large amount of duffle coat buttons in a will

3 - You own a duffle coat button factory

Whatever the reason, here's a way to make some duffle coat button jewellery from a 1950s Girl Annual. I think Luna Lovegood would like these a lot.

To make a choker you will need 8 or 9 wooden duffle coat buttons, twice as many 3/8 inch brass screw eyes and a No 001 bead clasp. Rub the buttons down with fine sandpaper. Pierce the end of the button and screw in two eyes. Colour with a coat of poster paint, and then varnish or enamel. Tie the screw eyes together neatly but firmly with matching thread and fasten on clasp.

Variations: 1 - Have all beads identical in colouring. 2 - Shade from light to dark and back again in one colour. 3 - Keep to two alternating colours. 4 - Paint each one a different colour. 5 - Stipple with gold or silver paint afterwards.

For ear-rings, cut one button in two and tie the screw eyes with cotton on to the tiny rings of screw-on ear-rings.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Umbrella cover, bun snood and spats

Here are three delightful crocheted accessories from the 1940s: "spats to turn your shoes into warm boots, a cover for your umbrella in chenille and a bun snood to match".

The umbrella cover is crocheted in Chenille yarn - lovely looking but would get rather soggy when wet...

The pattern also includes this lovely two-way hat, which can be worn on the back of the head, or rolled up and worn as a pill box.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Cute 1960s babies and their hats

Three very wholesome-looking babies and their knitted hats, from the early 1960s. Probably the same baby, which has clearly been bribed with a Jacob's Cream Cracker to model all three hats in such a winsome manner.

Or maybe they are identical triplets with three Jacob's Cream Crackers. We may never know.

Baby bonnet, helmet and beret are knitted in double knitting and poodle wools (that means bobbly wool, rather than wool harvested from a poodle).

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Share and square

Transition Town Worthing's Re-skilling group invites you to:

Learn a new skill - pick up some wool and needles and learn how to knit with other members if you don't already know how.

Share your knitting skills with others and help us knit lots and lots of squares.

All knitted squares will be used to make blankets for the Worthing Churches Homeless Project.

If you'd like to donate yarn, knitting needles or completed squares, we have a drop-off box near the door where the flyers are at Lime Cafe, St Paul's Community Centre - or come along and say hello at the Transition Town Worthing stall at Worthing Farmers' Market.

Knitted squares should be 20 cm x 20cm (approx 45 - 50 cast on sts), knitted in dk wool with size 8 needles in garter stitch.

More info from and

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Mr May

Two manly men this month. A Sirdar acrylic 4-ply woolie is just the job for chaps who are macho enough to brave the beer garden in the merry month of May.

The gentleman on the left in the "sleeveless slipover" reminds me a little of David Beckham, for some reason. Perhaps the canary-yellow trousers have something to do with it.

Looking at his friend's wristwatch, you can see that it is 4 o'clock, so maybe they are skiving off work.