Thursday 17 May 2012

Things to Make & Do - Think Pink!

April's crafting seemed to have taken on a theme, it was only when I was collecting all the bits together to photograph that I noticed everything was Pink! (ooh and I have just realised 2 of last months projects were pink too!). Now I have never been a girly girl when it comes to pink, blue is my favourite colour (sky blue) and yellow is my go-to happy paint colour, as two bedrooms and one kitchen will testify, so quite how soo much pink has crept into my fabric and yarn stash is a misery to me. However, it has happened it does mean that this post is well and truly rosy!

 Easter Bunny
(Stash Buster)

I made a few of these a few Christmases ago and never found the photos to show you all so as there is one little lady who was not around back then I have made her own version for Easter! I used Tors tutorial who blogs over at Girl Meets Wolf, which is so simple to follow and easy to do that you will wonder why you never thought of it before!

Pattern By: Tors @ Girl Meets Wolf
Flat Teddy Bear or Template
Matching Thread
Beads or Black Thread.

Gingerbread Bunny and Little Ted
For my Bunny version I used Little Ted, he has been my firm favourite teddy for many many years now. I wish I had taken a paper pattern from him the last time I made these as they were much less wobbly of arm and leg, but Keira his (new mummy) loves him in all his wonky glory and calls him the Gingerbread bunny, and I can totally see why!

Welly Warmers
(Stash Buster)

I was inspired to knit these by Charlotte who blogs over at Sew Far Sew Good she made two fantastic pairs for herself and her sister for Christmas and I knew as soon as I saw them I wanted to make some, for wearing at my allotment.
Created By : Jane Richmond
Download Free PDF : Leg Warmers
Know How : Cast on, Knit, Purl & Cast Off.
Ingredients : 100g DK Wool
                        A set of 4 Double Point 5 mm /US size 8 Knitting needles  or
                        A 5mm Long Circular needle or
                        A pair of 5mm needles (just means you will have to sew up the seams)

The original pattern is designed to be knitted in the round on either DPN's or a long circular needle, as I had neither of theses so I knitted them on straight needles and  to account for the sewing together I added 2 extra stitches to the cast on. 

I remember as a child having a red pair of leg warmers with penguins on them which I refused to be parted with, well it was the 80's, as a teenager  though I vowed never to wear them again...whoops!
They are exceptionally easy to make and took me about 4 days to knit up in my lunch breaks at work and then another lunch break to stitch the seams up. Due to using only small balls of wool they are a bit untidy on the inside, but they do the job and I think I may have just about gotten my over my teenage leg warmer phobia!

1940s Counterpane Cushion

You might remember a while ago I posted a pattern for a very pretty 1940s counterpane which I had intended to make into a baby blanket for my best friends newest arrival.

Well, said arrival is shortly to be celebrating her second birthday and of the 48 squares I needed to knit to make her blanket I made......7.....yep only 7 squares! The reason, well I'm not sure, I sort of lost interest soon after I posted the pattern.

Whilst watching Water for Elephants, I decided to knit just one more square, this was not the best idea because me+knitting+TV, never ends that well, something always suffers, this time, it was the film, I have no idea what was going on at all. I did, however, notice the costumes which certainly deserve another a watch. 

So with my 8 squares I decided to make a cushion, I used and old pink pillowcase for the insert (which was left over from my bathroom rug) and stitched 4 together for the front and back sections then joined them all around the edge. I think it is quite pretty and perhaps one day it will have a counterpane to go with it. Maybe!

Gertie's Dirndl Skirt
(Stash Buster)

I have had the fabric for this next project in my stash for years, it is a very pretty floral print from Rose and Hubble London. I loved it so much when I saw it that I bought quite a bit, but because I loved it soo much when it came to making something from it, I couldn't bring myself to cut it, which is silly now isn't it! I realised that the perfect project for busting this much-loved fabric would be Gertie's very simple dirndl skirt, as it is quick to make and requires minimal cutting of my precious fabric!

Gertie's Dirndl Tutorial : 
A Tape measure
 Fabric you will need approx 2.5 yards
Matching Thread

Rather than making the paper pattern that the tutorial suggests, I simply measured out my fabric to the required size, also I cut the skirt in one piece to mean that I needed to only stitch one seam. Similarly, with the waistband rather than cutting two and stitching them together I cut one piece double the width and folded it over saving myself another seam! Lazy or economical... you decide:)

The zipper insert is interesting  rather than have a button at the top the zip pulls up right to the top of the waistband which sounds like it shouldn't work but does, and rather well especially as it means not having to sew a pesky button hole!

All in all, I love this skirt and I am sure if the warm weather here, last for more than a few hours at a time, I will get lots of wear out of it. One thing I will say is that the fullness of the skirt does take a bit of getting used to as it can make you feel rather big of bottom, but that may well just be me ;)

Wendy x 

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Women In Wartime - How Iris Became A Land Girl

I am glad you enjoyed the post on our Wartime housewife Olive's busy day. Next in my mini-series of posts of images from the Imperial War Museum, is about the Women's Land Army during WWII. The photographs as before were taken by the ministry of information to aid recruiting and boost morale, and this is the story of Iris Joyce and how she became a Land Girl.
19 year old typist Iris Joyce at work on her typewriter in an office somewhere in Britain, two weeks before her re-training as a member of the Women's Land Army. The original Ministry of Information caption states that Iris was the perfect typist until "...came the third year of war, and a new restlessness".
Iris Joyce talks with a recruiting officer as she enrols in the Women's Land Army.
Iris Joyce (nearest to the camera) and fellow new recruits to the Women's Land Army arrive at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture at the start of four weeks training, carrying suitcases. According to the original caption, Iris gets free board and lodging and 10 shillings personal allowance during training.

Iris Joyce, is weighed at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture, during 1942.
Three Women's Land Army trainees enjoy a 'mite' of milk before their day of training begins at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture. It is 6 o'clock in the morning.
24 year old Anne Keys reverses a tractor out of a shed during her training at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture. She is checking over her shoulder to make sure that all is well as she parks. Before the war, Anne was assistant forewoman in a boot and shoe factory.
27 year old Dorothy Lacey was a waitress before volunteering for the Land Army. She had been bombed out in Bristol and in Bath before training here at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture. Here we see her preparing to feed the chickens, pushing a wheelbarrow full of seed towards the chicken huts.
Members of the Women's Land Army put the finishing touches to a large haystack as part of their training at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture. They are removing the pieces of corrugated iron which form the ventilation framework for the stack.
Sylvia Smith was a shorthand typist before beginning her Land Army training at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture. Here she ties beans or peas to stakes.
A first week Land Army student operates the milk cooler and separator as part of her training at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture. She is pouring a bucket full of milk through the cooler and the milk can be seen trickling down the corrugated surface of the separator and into a churn below.
Three Land Girls work with hoes in a field as part of their training at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture.
Sylvia Smith sprays tomatoes in a greenhouse as part of her training at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture. A shorthand typist before the war, Sylvia hopes to go into horticultural, greenhouse, work.
 Iris Joyce learns to drive a horse-drawn hay rake as part of her training at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture near Moulton in 1942.
After a hard day's training at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture, Land Girls enjoy a sing-song around the piano, played by Iris Joyce.
After four weeks training at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture, Iris Joyce (fourth from left) and friends sit in a railway carriage as they leave Northampton to travel to their respective farms.
Iris Joyce (right) takes tea with her new employers upon arrival at her first farm somewhere in Britain. Seated at the table with Iris are the farmer and his wife and their two sons. According to the original caption " need farm teas when you are working on the land"!

Land Girl Iris Joyce receives her first week's pay from the farmer with whom she is billeted. Prior to her assignment to this farm, somewhere in Britain, Iris underwent four weeks training at the Northampton Institute of Agriculture to transform her from a typist into a Land Girl.
All images and Quoted text are taken from the Imperial War Museums Collection Archive

Wendy x

For More posts from the Imperial War Museum Archive Click the Picture Post Tab at the top of the Page!!

Friday 4 May 2012

Things To Make & Do - Paris in Spring Chapeau

Bonjour mes amis!

Aimez-vous mon chapeau?
(Do you like my hat?) 
The 'Paris in Spring' Chapeau, You've got to love a bit of Leopard print! C'est Tres Chic!

Oui ou Non?

Okay, Okay that's where my French vocab ends, so why has this crazy woman gone all French on you?

Well, the lovely Miss Katie was very kind to ask me to do a guest post for her while she is away enjoying the sights of Paris. I was delighted and very flattered, so I jumped at the opportunity & have created a little Parisian influenced chapeau for her readers with the aid of the above 1950's Stitchcraft of course!

But I wouldn't want you, my faithful readers, to feel left out, so if your answer was Oui! to the above question, then why not hop on over to Katie's blog The Little Red Squirrel where you will find a free pdf pattern and my tutorial on how to make your very own 'Paris in Spring Chapeau', it's all very simple I promise and I think it is rather snazzy, even if I do say so myself:)

Wendy x

If you do have any questions or problems with the tutorial then please feel free to leave me a comment below or send me an email as I am only to happy to help.:)

Wednesday 2 May 2012

A Day in the Life - A Wartime Housewife

Whilst wandering the web I came across the Imperial War Museum's photographic archive, which as you might imagine is packed to the brim with wonderful old images, I thought I would share with you a couple of posts of my favourite sets as they are rather interesting and give a little insight into life on the Home Front during WWII.

First up is the story of Mrs Olive Day. During the war The Ministry of Information's photographic department were commissioned to create information and propaganda photographs, this particular series follows Mrs Olive Day over the course of one 'typical' Saturday in 1941

Mrs Olive Day wakes up at 7am at her home in Drayton Gardens, South Kensington. On the bedside cabinet, her gas mask, torch and a book are ready, in case a quick dash to the air raid shelter is required in the night.
Mrs Olive Day opens the curtains of her bedroom in the basement of her South Kensington home. Unfortunately, as the glass has recently been knocked out of the windows by a nearby air raid, Mrs Day cannot see outside, as oiled linen has been stretched across the windw frame in place of the missing glass. Her cat 'Little One' watches her from the bed.
Mrs Day makes her bed in the basement of her South Kensington home before leaving for work. The top floor of her house is no longer in use.
Mrs Olive Day enjoys tea, toast and the morning papers at the breakfast table in the centre of her South Kensington sitting room. Behind her, evidence of air raids can be seen in that two panes of glass are missing from the window and have been replaced with boards and the other panes have criss-crosses of tape on them to prevent the glass from shattering, should the area suffer another air raid.
Mrs Olive Day collects the milk and newspapers from the top of the steps leading down to the basement of her South Kensington home. The buckets that can be seen on the street at the top of the steps contain sand and water and are provided in case of fire bombs.
Mrs Olive Day rolls away a rug that was on the staircase of her South Kensington home. All carpets have been removed and asbestos laid in their place, in an attempt to combat fire bombs. Behind her, part of the window has been boarded up, with the rest of the panes have criss-crosses of tape across the glass.
Asbestos! If only they had known it was as dangerous as the bombs!
Mrs Olive Day spends half an hour or so on the housework before she leaves for work. Here we see her polishing the bannisters. Above her head, we can see a large patch of missing plaster on the ceiling, caused by a nearby air raid.
This photograph shows how large sheets of asbestos have been laid on the landing at the top of Mrs Day's home to try to prevent fires from incendiary bombs from spreading to other parts of the house.
The top floor of Mrs Day's South Kensington home is no longer in use. Here we see an empty room with a bowl on the floor to catch any drips of rain water that may come in through the bomb-damaged ceiling.
Mrs Day points to a hole in the ceiling where a fire bomb recently came through into her South Kensington home. Scorch marks can be seen on the ceiling next to the hole.
Mrs Day stands alongside a hole in the floor which was made by a fire bomb before the fire was brought under control. This area of the house does not have asbestos sheeting on the floor.
Mrs Day clears the grate in the sitting room of her South Kensington home. She is careful to sort the cinders from the ash, so that the cinders can be re-used in the grate and so that the ash can be added to the garden as a fertiliser.
What amazing Giraffe!!! (and can you spot Olives mystery man?)
Mrs Day separates cardboard and tin from her household rubbish, ready for salvage, outside the basement of her home in South Kensington, London.
Mrs Day makes up a bunk in the air raid shelter in the cellar of her South Kensington home. The bunks are kept ready in case any night raids force her to spend the night in the shelter. The bunk will hopefully mean that she spends the night in some comfort!
A striking portrait of Mrs Day and her cat 'Little One'. 'Little One' is wearing a NARPAC collar. According to the original Ministry of Information caption, the National Air Raid Precautions for Animals Committee was "an animal lover's voluntary wartime organisation that ensures that, should he stray in blitz or black-out, he will be returned safely to his owner".
I love this photo! How Cute is 'Little One'!

Mrs Day, helped by the female conductor, jumps on the bus that will take her to work. In the background, it is clear that quite a bit of air raid damage has been sustained. This photograph was probably taken on Fulham Road. The tower visible in the background is part of St Stephen's Hospital (now the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital), which was built in 1878 as the Fulham Workhouse and St George's Infirmary.
Mrs Day and colleagues work at one of many filing cabinets in the office. According to the original Ministry of Information caption, Mrs Day works as a 'girl clerk in a war-time organisation' and that filing takes up most of her time. She works Monday to Friday between 10am and 6pm, but that as this photograph was taken on a Saturday, she would be finished by 2pm. But 'if there is a rush of work, she will work Sunday as well'.
After lunch, Mrs Day sets out to do her weekly shop on the King's Road in Chelsea. She walks past several women with prams and a member of the RAF as they queue to the left of a large furniture store. The shop has furniture displayed on the street and the sign on its frontage says 'Antique, Second-Hand and Modern Furniture'. Just above the heads of this group of people is a small sign directing people to a First Aid Post. In the background, other people go about their daily business and buses and cars are just visible in the distance. This photograph was almost certainly taken from a point on the King's Road parallel to Walpole Road and is looking towards Sloane Square: the clocktower and spire just visible in the distance is on a building next door to Peter Jones department store.
Mrs Day stops to look in the window of a shop to see what is available to her this week. The photograph is taken from inside the shop, and Mrs Day can be seen next to the shopkeeper. A group of other shoppers can also be seen. This photograph was probably taken on the King's Road in Chelsea.
A close up view of Mrs Day's shopping basket and gas mask case, which she has taken with her on her shopping trip. The gas mask case has a special pocket which enables it to be used like a handbag. Behind her, the greengrocer arranges his wares. This photograph was probably taken on the King's Road in Chelsea.
A shopkeeper stamps Mrs Day's ration book during her shopping trip on the Kings Road in Chelsea. In the foreground can be seen the tea, sugar, 'national butter', margarine, cooking fats and bacon she is allowed for one week.
Mrs Day says goodbye to the butcher as she leaves his shop, after having bought her meat ration. The window of the butcher's shop has been boarded over after the glass was knocked out during an air raid. The sign in the butcher's window says "Help Win the War on the Kitchen Front. Above All Avoid Waste'. This photograph was probably taken on the King's Road in Chelsea.
Mrs Olive Day opens her window to let some air, and light, into her South Kensington home. The window panes have been replaced by oiled linen stretched over the frame, as the glass was knocked out by a nearby bomb a short while ago.
As well as shopping and a day at work, Mrs Day is also learning to use a stirrup pump in a friend's garden. Mrs Day is pumping the water, whilst another lady directs the hose and a gentleman supervises the proceedings.
Mrs Olive Day shakes her duster out of one of the back windows of her South Kensington home. Every visible window of her house, and of the houses alongside, bears witness to the air raids that have occured in the last few weeks. There is not one window that remains unaffected in someway and all are either fully or partly boarded, have had the broken glass replaced by oiled linen, or have existing glass criss-crossed with tape.
Mrs Day puts her dinner into the oven after a busy day. The Ministry of Food encouraged people to cook their entire meal in the oven as a way to save fuel.
Mrs Day sets the table in preparation for the evening meal in the sitting room of her South Kensington home. She is expecting her naval husband Lt Kenneth Day to arrive home on leave, so the table is set for two and a vase of flowers has been added.
While her evening meal is cooking, Mrs Day settles down on her bed with the evening paper and a spot of sewing. She is working on a balaclava and is accompanied by her cat 'Little One'
Mrs Day runs to greet her husband Lieutenant Kenneth Day at the door of her South Kensington home as he arrives home on leave.
All images and quoted text are taken from the Imperial War Museums Collection Archive

Aaah! A happy ending for our Olive and boy did she have a busy day, interesting that she doesn't have to queue for her rations, perhaps that's living in Kensington, or perhaps it's just for the cameras!  I do like her house coat, though I can't quite work out what the pattern is and her Charioteer eiderdown is rather interesting too!

Wendy x

For More posts from the Imperial War Museum Archive Click the Picture Post Tab at the top of the Page!!