Monday 29 July 2013

Knit It - Wartime Farm Pullover

It made its debut at the Haven Street 1940s event, but getting my brother's pullover finished on time became a little bit of an event in itself!

Wartime Farm Knitted Pullover and Stitchcraft Pullover
My Dad and Brother rocking their hand knitted Fair Isle!
I agree they could both look a lot happier about it :)

Wartime Farm Sleeveless Pullover
Designer: Susan Crawford


Style Craft Special 4 ply: 100g Camel (1420), 50g Midnight (1011) Deramores
King Cole Big Value 4 ply : 50g Red (667), 50g Green (675), 50g Mustard (671)
Robin 4 ply: 50g Brown (51)

YouTube-ualr Know How: 

I don't think I need to tell you how much I wanted to knit this pullover, you can read all my January gushing here. I cast on not long my after in February for the 36-38 size, and made my way through the rounds and rounds of knit one purl one rib to reach the required 3 inches, then I flew straight into the pattern and was clicking along nicely until I had got up to the second star pattern repeat, it was then dawned on me that this might be a little big for my athletic little brother, who it's worth noting, prefers his clothes not to be too baggy. At all! - I guess if you've worked as hard as he does to keep fit you want to show it off!

Wartime Farm Pullover Knitting Now, I know this pattern is designed to be a looser fitting style, just like the one in the show, but knowing my brother if I carried on regardless I knew he just wouldn't wear it. So, I ripped it all back (I hate doing this) and started again, this time, a size smaller 34" chest, which I knew would still be a little baggy, but better too large than too small.

It has to be said this set back killed my enthusiasm, I got through the rib welt quickly enough and then, I lost interest and got distracted. So it stayed just a stretchy waistband up until May.

During the last May bank holiday, I finally cracked on with the pattern, ever aware that my 6th of July deadline was, looming not so far off now. Once I got back into it I remembered how much fun it was to knit, and so my enthusiasm and the pullover grew with every stitch, meaning I was making steady progress and was now convinced I would be finished before my holidays.

Oh, I very nearly was. Before packing my knitting in my rucksack on the 4th of July I had just one pattern repeat to do on the front neck section and the arm and neck bands to do (and sew in all those pesky ends, of which there seemed to be thousands!) and 2 days left to do it.

Why don't my Instagram videos have sound, it's very annoying!
Please just imagine seagulls squawking and the waves lapping on the beach...
...Oh, and knitting needles frantically clicking!

This lead to me on the 5th of July, sitting at Colwell beach in the Isle Of Wight, desperately trying to finish the neck bands, whilst trying to enjoy the seaside and the company, with this playing over and over in my mind!

OK, so as dedicated as this all sounds, I should confess there were more than a few moments when this happened...
Wartime Farm Pullover Knitting by the beach
My knitting guru!
So after finishing all the bands, pin curling, both mine and my mum's hair, I managed to get to bed about 3am in the knowledge I still had the ends to sew in before we left in the morning. Thankfully, with my mum's stirling efforts, she did one side while I worked on the other, we finished it!

Wartime Farm Pullover Finished Result Front and Back
Front & Back
I would have loved to have been able to have given this a quick wash and block before it was worn but sadly there was no time, so it's a little bit on the puckered side, I'd rather that though than it have been unfinished. In the end the fit was not as bad as I had feared, it's still quite baggy (not helped by my brother being ill the week before and losing about a stone) I could have probably gone down another size, but it's not as ridiculously big as it would have been if I had not frogged it in the beginning, so overall I think it's a win!

Wartime Farm Pullover Finished Result Front cropped

I chose to use Stylecraft 4 ply for the main body, I've not used it before but it was recommended to me by lovely Lucy from 1940's Style For You - it was what she used to make the beautiful turban she made for me at Christmas; I am so glad I did as it's the first acrylic yarn I've ever used that feels as soft as wool, and doesn't become all fuzzy as your knitting, plus it is a great price and the range of shades it's available in is pretty vast. The other colours were what I had leftover from my dad's pullover, I'd actually bought the pale green for my dad's version but decided against it at the last minute, so this makes this pullover it a bit of a (much needed) stash buster too!

Wartime Farm Pullover Finished Result Back cropped

The pattern was very simple to follow, and actually despite my best efforts did knit up quite quickly once I got going. The only problem I had was just after I had divided for the front and back, I could not for the life of me seem to make sense of how many more rows I had to do, I had a look at the photo in the pattern and winged it from there, which luckily worked out perfectly. I am convinced that if I reread that part now, it would all make perfect sense, I think the pressure of finishing it on time was getting to me!

Wartime Farm Pullover Close up on stitch pattern
By my staggered stars!
Well, there was one other goof. The star pattern which runs up the pullover should all be in line, on my version they alternate, this was caused by me thinking I knew what I was doing rather than actually reading the pattern! I actually rather like how it has turned out (perhaps it was my subconscious making choices for me) so I am claiming it was a decision rather than an overconfident accident!

My brother's opinion? Well, as he is a man of few words, I think this last photo says it all...

Wartime Farm Pullover My Brother gives his a thumbs up
Double thumbs up! Must be good!
And if he's happy I'm flipping ecstatic!

Wendy x

Sunday 28 July 2013

A Grand Day Out - Havenstreet Railway 1940s Weekend

A few weeks ago now (goodness how time flies) I went down to visit my parents on the Isle of Wight. It's not often that we are all able to get together, only at Christmas really so it was rather nice, especially as for once it managed to coincide with the beginning of some lovely weather! I have taken far more photos than is healthy, so rather than bore you all with them here's a quick collage.

The Butterfly Balcony - My Isle Of Wight Holiday 2013
As you can see my time was mainly spent wandering in my parents beautiful garden, taking long country walks and eating alfresco, it was bliss!

The main reason that we had chosen to get together was to attend the annual Isle of Wight Steam Railway's 1940s weekend. I've wanted to go for years, but due to other commitments I've never been able to be down on the island at the right time. This year everything worked out wonderfully and rather sweetly my parents and brother decided to join in on the dressing up too! My Dad had his Christmas pullover to wear and both Mum and I sported 80s does 40s dresses I had found on eBay a few weeks earlier.
Haven Street Railways 1940's weekend 2013 Group Photo

Before we left I ensured we got a proper family photo to mark the occasion, my brother I think had last minute nerves about dressing up (we've all been there) so chose just to wear his Wartime Farm pullover, which I had literally just finished 10 minutes before this photo was taken (more on that tomorrow). As you can't see it in the above photo here is a close up of the lovely new brooch I bought recently, from the lovely Jo of Mrs B's Brooches.

Beautiful Blue and Purple 1940's brooch From Mrs B's Brooches
I was thrilled that I got the chance to properly show off the fabulous 1940s inspired brooch and I think it went perfectly with my dress.
Havenstreet Railway 1940's weekend 2013  Keep Calm and Carry on
Havenstreet Railways 1940's weekend 2013  Waiting to get in
On arriving at the station, we could tell it was going to be a fun day as the station looked wonderful decked out in its 40s regalia and there was an impressive turnout of people all ready to have a good day!
Havenstreet Railway 1940's weekend 2013 Identity card
We were all issued with an identity card which we had to fill out before entering the station, which I thought was a nice touch!
Havenstreet Railway 1940's weekend 2013 Schedule
First off we checked the schedule, to ensure we didn't miss anything!
 Havenstreet Railway 1940's weekend 2013  Mum perusing the salls
First stop was the was the events field where there were lots of vintage stalls...
Havenstreet Railways 1940's weekend 2013 Spitfire
...a Spitfire...
Havenstreet Railway 1940's weekend 2013  Seaview Services pd2 bus
and lots of vintage vehicles, including a Seaview Services PD2 bus that naturally I just had to pose in front of *cough* blame the day job :-)
Havenstreet Railways 1940's weekend 2013  Loco
It was then time to escape the heat for a bit and take a ride on one of the two steam trains running that day.
Havenstreet Railway 1940's weekend 2013 Dad and James
Havenstreet Railway 1940's weekend 2013 Mum and me
As lovely as it was to have some glorious weather, dressed as we were in our 80's polyester and acrylic fair isle woollens, the heat had become a little overwhelming, so we had a blissfully cool hour travelling up and down the line.
Havenstreet Railway 1940's weekend 2013 Corned Beef Hash
It was then time for lunch, so we stopped off at the refreshment rooms and dined on some Corned Beef Hash and chips, which was rather good, if very filling. We even had Viv The Spiv offering to sell us some more wooden cutlery while we ate wich was fun!
Havenstreet Railway 1940's weekend 2013 The three Bells
After lunch, we had another wander and caught 'The Three Belles' singing one of their many sets of the day and I have to say they were really rather wonderful, so much so I bought their CD as soon as I got home, which is also wonderful!
Havenstreet Railway 1940's weekend 2013 Cinque Port Lindy Hoppers
After a quick sit in the shade and a much needed ice cream, it was time to head home, not before we caught a few minutes of the 'Cinque Port Lindy Hoppers', who I really did feel for, it must have been exhausting to dance and jive in such heat, but they did an admirable job.
I think it's safe to say we all had a great time, and we've even discussed going again next year! I think the highlight of the whole day for me, had to be entering into the Isle of Wight Girl Guides raffle and winning a...

Havenstreet Railways 1940's weekend 2013  Me and my Butter beans
A can of Butter Beans!

Wendy x

Thursday 18 July 2013

Things To Make & Do - Mathilde

I made the most of the super sunny bank holiday at the end of may to stay at home and get on with some of the things I have been putting off or to one side lately, in favor of allotmenteering.
Collage of Images Sewing listening to the walker brothers record knitting and gardening
My weekend was spent: Sunny Sewing // Spinning Records // Wartime Farm Knitting // Grumpy Gargoyle watching (I mean look at that face!) // Free Plant receiving - I have the best friends // Dancing shamelessly around my kitchen to Herb Alpert & The Walker Brothers - just like being at a 60's cocktail party!

I had been expecting the May bank holiday to be another rainy affair, there are a few things you can rely on in England and rainy bank holidays are usually one. This meant the only plans I'd made were to stay inside and keep as warm as possible. So the glorious sunshine took me by surprise, we usually like to go off exploring when the weather's right, but as much I love visiting interesting and beautiful places, I must confess I really enjoyed having a whole weekend dedicated to just staying at home, making the most of the space we now have to do all of the above, which means I've actually done some sewing to blog about, hurrah!

Mathilde - A Button Back Blouse
(Stash Buster)
Pattern: Mathilde - £7
Fabric – 2 yards/1.9m x 60”/150cm OR 2 ½ yards/2.2m x 45”/115cm 
Matching thread 
Lightweight fusible interfacing 
7 x 5/8” / 15mm buttons

Recently I was given some floral printed blue cotton mix fabric by one of my Mums friends. I knew that its lovely drapeyness would mean it would make a cracking blouse, though I also knew the 40s patterns I am usually drawn to would not really have suited its flamboyant floral print. So I left the fabric to one side and put it on the back burner, it wasn't until I saw Tilly's cute button back blouse pattern which I knew it would be perfect for this fabric!

Mathilde Blouse Sewing whilst listening to 60's records

It soon dawned on me that 'Mathilde' required quite a bit of fabric for those lovely billowy sleeves, sadly on closer inspection I realised I had only 1m, which no matter how hard I tried to fit the pieces into it, (and I really did try) there was never going to be enough. Drat! After a bit head scratching I remembered I had some remnants of heavy satin fabric from my 50s Butterick sunburst tuck dress which was a close colour match and though a completely different weight and makeup, I hoped would work for the yoke and sleeve cuffs!

Mathilde Blouse Fabric dark blue satin with a large floral fabric

As you will see from the pictures below, I ended up using much more of the satin than I had anticipated. It worked out that the whole back section, as well as the front yoke, would have to be blue satin as once the sleeves were cut, there was nowhere near enough floral fabric left, so as a compromise and to get as much as I could of the floral into the back I created a back yoke.

Mathilde Blouse Finished Front View
Front View
I marked the break at the same level as the front yoke and added a seam allowance to both sections. I actually surprised myself, by it working really well and it all matched up perfectly, which is rather unheard of where I'm concerned!

Mathilde Blouse Finished Back View
Back View
Once I had all my pieces figured out, it went together like a dream, Tilly's detailed instructions certainly ensured that. I have to admit it's the first time I have ironed everything, constantly through the whole process, and I really think it paid off. It's also one of the quickest things I have ever made, I took just over an afternoon to finish from cutting to sewing the buttons on, which is honestly a record!
The Butterfly Balcony - Bank holiday Sewing - Mathilde Blouse Finished
I don't know if it was my choice of musical accompaniment, the bold floral print or the pattern (or all three) that has given this project have a very 60's feel, which I love and as long as the weather stays warm I know I will be wearing it a lot over the next few months!

Wendy x

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Biodiversity Heritage Library - Flora

I found a link to the Biodiversity Heritage Library via Pinterest and discovered that they had their own Flikr site with some amazing images dating from the 1800's, which I just had to share! I have decided to do two posts, the first is with some of my favourite 'Flora' images and the next is Fauna! All of the images are available to be downloaded at a relatively high resolution, so if printed out would make amazing framed pictures!