Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Knitted school uniform

Knitted school uniform - both tops and pinafore skirts. Doesn't really bear thinking about in this hot weather, really.

Were kids really sent to school in skirts this short in the 1960s? I think you'd be sent straight home if you tried this today.

The pattern is stamped by Bellmans Wools, 21 Station Road, Portslade - which is now a Help The Aged charity shop. I wish that I could say that I'd bought this pattern there, in a cosmic moment of vintage knitting pattern kismet. But I didn't. Sorry.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

1970s puzzle rug

Tarquin: "Mummy, look, the dog lent me his craft knife and we cut this square out of the rug!"
Mummy: "How creative, darling! I knew it was worth sending you to that Montessori school."

Actually, no. This is a 1970s latch hook Puzzle Rug made out of identical motif squares, which you can arrange and re-arrange to your heart's content before committing to sewing them together to make one big eye-spinning geometric floor-covering.

Home Handicrafts by Mary Harding offers plenty of different pattern ideas to get you started:

The book suggests that you can unpick the squares and sew up again into a different pattern, or a different shape entirely - you could make a runner for a hall, two squares wide and eight squares long, or a smaller hearth rug of three by five squares. Groovy.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Dropped stitch knitted throw

Here's a black knitted throw I've just finished, using the drop stitch technique from this 1940s knitting pattern. I used big, big needles and some chunky black, fluffy wool that has been lurking around for ages. It knitted up really quickly in garter stitch and then Lola and I had loads of fun dropping every fourth stitch and running ladders down to the end of the throw to create the lacy effect.

Final result? Brilliant. Thoroughly recommend this technique for impatient newbie knitters wanting to create something big and impressive in very little time.

Here' the problem with knitting in the summer: it's the hottest day of the year today, and I can't properly appreciate this throw until the autumn chill sets in. Luckily, cats are always an appreciative audience of knitwear, even when the mercury is pushing to the top of the thermometer.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Joining knitted squares with crochet

Crochet is a great way to join together knitted strips or squares, as in this rainbow bedspread. It's less stretchy than knitting, which means that it will give your blanket more structure and less sag.

To join knitted garter stitch squares or strips together, insert crochet hook into a stitch at edge of each strip, pass yarn over hook and draw it through the first two loops on hook, pass yarn over and draw it through the other two loops. Repeat along the edge of the strips. You'll have a created a strong crochet seam - the perfect finishing touch for your knitting.

1970s rainbow bedspread

Here's a gorgeously simple idea from Home Handicrafts (Mary Harding, Octopus Books, 1977). It's a rainbow bedspread, knitted in simple garter stitch - "Easy enough to knit without looking - although of course you can knit while watching television! Actually, the more exciting the story is, the faster your needles will click".

The bedspread is worked in strips and then joined together with a row of crochet. The bedspread in the book is worked in rainbow stripes and then joined with a black crochet border as a contrast. There's also this sophisticated version worked in shades of red:

What a brilliant stash-busting project!

The rainbow bedspread in the book is made of out 22 strips, each 16 stitches wide, and 140 cm long. You can work each strip to the length that you want, but make sure that each strip has the same number of rows, to make it easier to crochet together row by row.

Once you have worked the required number of strips, and crocheted them all together, work 3 rows of crochet round the edge of the bedspread, working 2 or 3 stitches in each corner stitch so that the corners will lie flat.

Friday, 18 June 2010

My Etsy store

My Etsy shop is now open for all your knitted goods requirements - currently selling some lovely knitted Siamese cats and over the next few weeks will be adding more crafty goodness, including a llama, oriental cat knitting patterns and hopefully some hand-made knitted jewellery, too. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Make a velvet ribbon or braid belt

"Moneywise, fashionwise it's time to tighten our belts," says this early 1970s magazine article. As it was then, so it is now. If you have some odds and ends left over from another project, why not make a vintage-style belt?

Here's now to make the top Curved Braid Belt, made from two rows of braid machine-sewn to fabric. To fit a 61 - 71 cm waist, you will need 2m of 3cm-wide novelty open-weave braid, strips of toning fabric, lining and canvas each measuring 12cm by 91cm, a 6cm buckle, a press stud, matching thread.

Using squared pattern above, cut out a paper pattern in which each square = 5cm. 1.5 cm seams have been allowed throughout. Place pattern on fabric and cut out. Repeat with lining and canvas. Trim away seam allowance on canvas only. Cut braid into two equal lengths.

Leaving equal turnings along sides, place and pin the two lengths of braid centrally on to right side of fabric. Using matching thread, zig-zag or top-stich braid on to fabric. Tack canvas to wrong side of fabric. Wrap seam allowance of fabric over canvas along sides and ends. Tack and press in place. Oversew raw ends of thread before turning in to prevent fraying.

Pin wrong side of lining on to canvas and turn in all sides, covering raw edges of fabric to neaten. Press, hand stitch all round. At stright end of belt thread belt through bar of buckle and stitch end down on to back of belt. Sew press stud into position.

To make a Narrow Ring Belt:

By adding or substracting rings and adjusting ribbon length this belt can be made to fit any size waist. To make a 66 cm waist you will need: 1.5m of 1.5 cm wide black velvet ribbon, approx 48 brass curtain rings, fastening hook, matching thread.

To make: following above diagram, thread ribbon through rings to required length. Cut ribbon 2.5cm from the last ring at each end and turn back. Tuck in raw edge and stitch down. Sew hook on one end to fasten to ring at opposite end. With remaining ribbon make a small bow and stitch in place to cover hook.

Many thanks to Barbara for these brilliant belt patterns!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Recycled beads

Getting crafty with beads is a great way to create your own unique jewellery and accessories, but have you ever thought about going one step further and making your own? There's a brilliant step-by-step recycled bead making tutorial at which shows you how to make your own beads out of old plastic drinks bottles.

Plastic beads that you buy in the craft shop have probably travelled half-way round the world before finally coming to rest on your chic home-made necklace, so why not cut down on those bead miles, and make your own?

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Hypodermic needle collage

A little oddity from a little 1972 Collage book (Search Press). It's a collage made from hypodermic needles.

"This charming and interesting design was made from the throw away products of the medical profession. It is included for general interest only, as few of us other than doctors, nurses, etc, would have access to such materials." (for "etc" read "junkies and smack addicts")

"It is, however, a classical illustration of the art of collage by showing how much improbable materials can create a most artistic effect. It cannot be impressed too much upon the reader that almost any waste product can be converted into interesting and exciting patterns."

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Ponchos for poppets

I am coming to the opinion that Patons Promise were the kings of brightly-coloured acrylic children's knitwear in the 1970s. They were the people who brought us these 1970s playsuits - the perfect undergarment for their knitted and crocheted "Ponchos for poppets".

The palm trees drawn in the background indicate a kind of tropical paradise, although obviously a tropical paradise blighted by a stiff, cold breeze. Our little poncho wearers are tucked up safe and warm and can enjoy their fully-dressed day out at the beach without fear of chill.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Mr June

Gentlemen, this is how to dress for the English summer. We do not want to see naked, sunburnt chests, baseball caps, or socks worn with sandals. We want crisp linen shirts, a Poppleton's knitted waistcoat and some smart pleated trousers.

If you're going to hit the beach, you are permitted to remove your tie, but that is all.