Monday, 30 May 2011

D is for Doodles

I am an obsessive note-taker.  I attend a lot of meetings and make a lot of notes.  Sometimes the discussion gets too intense, impenetrable, or just downright boring even for me.  In those instances I tend to doodle.  I must stress that mostly I attend useful and interesting meetings to which I can fully contribute.

However, this was the one where I found that we had been discussing bollards for an hour (yep, bollards).  I started to focus on the Exit sign and develop the image.

This was one where people were being a bit too 'open and honest', I got embarrassed and focused on the floor and the coat hook.

And this was the one about invoice processing, which was actually very interesting, but this was just before lunch and a tray of sandwiches had just arrived.  You may be able to spot a bit of a triangular cut sandwich theme.

Every now and then I go through my notebooks, cut out the doodles and paste them into my design ideas scrapbook.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Gold Cape

Seen in the British Museum this Gold Cape from Clwyd, Wales dates from about 1,900 - 1,600 BC (Bronze Age).

Information given in the Wales Directory says that in 1833 workmen quarrying for stone in an ancient burial mound in a field named Bryn yr Ellyllon (Hill of the Fairies or Goblins) found this unique ceremonial gold cape. At the centre of the mound was a stone-lined grave with the crushed gold cape around the fragmentary remains of a skeleton. The cape was made from a single ingot of gold.  It was beaten out, then embellished with decoration of ribs and bosses to mimic multiple strings of beads amid folds of cloth.

It must have been made for very special people in very special rituals.  It would be heavy and would restrict movement, but oh, what design ideas there are here.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Waffle Set 1940s

Waffle Set
This set was in Issue No. 13 of Needlewoman and Needlecraft (price eightpence) - a wartime issue, early '40s I haven't been able to date it exactly.  This is a slip stitch pattern with an 8 row repeat worked on a multiple of 4+2 stitches.
(Odd how all my knitting interest is gravitating towards slip stitch these days).

The pattern is called 'Knitted Waffle Set', but the stitch doesn't correspond to any waffle stitch I have found so far. 
The magazine is small owing to the wartime paper shortages and has mostly black and white pictures.  There are also lots of messages from the Ministry of Food and Board of Trade, advising people how to economise, mend things and deal with the shortages.  This pattern stands out because it is one of the rare colour pictures and looks rather opulent, although the glove and sock patterns in particular would allow knitters to use up odd bits they might have stashed away.

I found some oddments of 4 ply which were close to the colourway in the picture.  This stitch is lovely to knit.

Stitch No. 001
(from Needlewoman and Needlecraft Issue no. 13

Row 1
K3*, s1 (purlwise), K3.  Rep. from * to last 3 sts., S.1 (purlwise), K.2.
Row 2
K.2*, wool forward,  S.1 (purlwise), wool back, K3.
Rep. from * to last  4 sts. Wool forward, S.1 (purlwise), wool back, K.3
Row 3
Rep. row 1
Row 4
Rep. row 2

Can change to colour 2 here
Row 5
K.1*, S.1 (purlwise), K.3.  Rep from * to last st., K.1
Row 6
K.4*, wool forward, S.1 (purlwise), wool back, K.3.
Rep. from * to last 2 sts., wool forward. S.1 (purlwise), wool back K.1
Row 7
Rep. Row 5
Row 8
Rep. Row 6

Monday, 23 May 2011

C is for Crochet

C is for Crochet  - another instalment in the A-Z meme set up by An Accidental Knitter
Throw made in winter of 2009/10

From time to time I try a bit of crochet.  Oddest thing is that while I have known the basic knit stitches for as long as I can remember, I still have to re-learn the basic crochet stitches every time, although it is getting better and doing a few big, repetitive projects like afghans has helped to hammer it home.  Double and treble crochet stitches are pretty natural to me now - unless I'm using an American pattern where the stitch names will be different (and I tend to think they are more logical the American way).

These afghan projects are especially good during the winter months because they keep you warm as they grow, always a bonus in a draughty old Chalk Cottage (which will do for 'C' another day).

This knitting bag is the result of one of my concerted efforts to learn to crochet.  It's lined with a deep pink to show through the eyelets.

I have a feeling the stitch is called 'Owl Eye', but if not it has a very similar look.  There are crochet flowers at the ends of the handles with bead centres.

I've also made dog coats for my sister's Yorkshire Terriers based on a pattern for a baby's blanket that I saw in Inside Crochet.  The pattern was called Pampelonne.  I have made a toile for the dogs and can adapt all sorts of patterns and stitches to fit.  This one had a black fleece lining and adjustable straps to go under adjustable doggy tummies.  Haven't been able to get them to stand still long enough to photograph the coats in use.

Close-up of dog coat

I have particular trouble understanding increase and decrease in crochet and these are samples I made a few years ago to figure it out.  Forgotten it all now.

So, I can do it if I try and I love doing it, but it doesn't 'stick'.  Time for another concerted effort, I think.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

May Blossom

The May blossom is fully out and nearly over now.  My mum has this beautiful big pink hawthorn in her garden.  the contrast of the pink blossom against the vibrant green leaves is a wonderful sight.

The white hawthorn that you see all over England's hedges at this time of year is a native plant and very good for insects.  The plants come up wild in my garden and I keep looking for little places to put them to keep the habitat nice and friendly for insects and the bats that eat them.  I'm rather fond of bats and sit outside late on summer evenings watching out for them. Getting bitten by the insects, of course.  Just another part of the food chain.

May Blossom against an old stone wall - Somerset

Friday, 20 May 2011

A Cuddly Throw

Crochet Throw

My mum is pretty much confined to her chair these days and feels the cold terribly.  I crocheted a throw to match the blue of the chair with some ginger and brown thrown in.  Sounds weird, but looks ok.  It's made in something called Elle Rustica - found it in a bargain bin in a local yarn shop. 
It came up very, very soft and both mum and her cat are very fond of it.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Weald and Downland Museum

We recently spent a day at the Weald and Downland Museum in West Sussex where lots of old buildings have been transported and reconstructed in their original condition.  A lovely peaceful place and there is one cottage in particular (15th century) where we go and sit in front of the fire and pretend we could live there. 

My photos do not do justice to that dark old cottage, so instead here are pictures of a 19th century railway workers cottage very like my first little home in a terrace, even down to the rattling windows.  Mine was Edwardian.  The one at the museum dates from about 1880.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

B is for Blackwork

A Blackwork Pincushion
Years ago I found a pattern in a magazine for a embroidered blackwork pincushion.  I love blackwork and so I had a go.  Lost the magazine long ago, but found the pincushion the other day in an old workbox.  Rather pleased with it.  It's got pattern on the sides as well.

I've always rather wanted to explore blackwork in knitting, so when Charlotte An Accidental Knitter suggested her alphabetical meme on Ravelry, I decided to have a go.  I missed A, but here is 'B' for Blackwork.

Along with Blackwork I also love slip stitches and took the opportunity to try one I found in Barbara Walker's  Treasury of Knitting Patterns.   

This is Sanquar Check - it gives a similar effect to traditional sanquar, but not a smidgeon of fairisle is involved.  It's all done with slip stitch.   Having had a go (and a couple of false starts) I see this as a nifty pair of wristies to keep the mouse arm warm on chilly office mornings.

And here is a version with the colour order reversed.  Not as pleasing to my eye, but has possibilities.

Now how about it in red and white, or blue and white, or toning shades, or ......?

A meme

I'm joining a meme set up by Charlotte 'An accidental Knitter'.  Not at all sure what I'm doing, but it looks like fun. 

The Accidental Knitter ABC

Each Monday we post a blog related to the alphabet.  I missed 'A', so will start with my next blog on 'B' for Monday 16th.  Never done anything like this before.  Thrills and spills galore, I suspect.

Here we goooo.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

Like a lot of others I've been having some trouble with blogger and seem to have lost some scheduled posts so am sticking to very simple things until I'm sure it's fixed. 

I photographed this little flower last week, so coy and shy.  Tucked away in a very untidy part of my garden.  Green and white and fresh.  Makes you feel good to be alive.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


This is Bluebell, a vintage doll I dressed for my mum.  Didn't use a pattern, made it up as I went along.  I also made a little dog called Spike for Bluebell from a scrap of knitted up boucle.  I just knitted a swatch then rolled it up, poked it and tucked it into dog-shape and added a little embroidery wool for a black nose and a red tongue.

Bluebell needed a little dog to protect her as her hand has been slightly damaged by a close encounter with my sister's Yorkshire Terrier.

Bluebell's beret is crocheted.  Her underpants are rather oversized, hence the slight bulge at the hip line.

Yarn for a birthday present

I bought some High Weald Fibre Factory yarn at Unravel in February.  It's for a birthday present.  What a colour.  As green as green can be.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Got no gift cards

Family birthday coming up and I don't have any gift cards to go on the present.  So, knitted a swatch with novelty yarn at cast on and cast off.  I stuck an old business card to it with double sided sticky tape and some paper flowers.

Slightly odd, but a bit different.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Stitch Markers

My new stitchmarkers with a hank of Fyberspates Scrumptious
I occasionally buy up bags of broken jewellery at car boot sales.  Here are some stitch markers I made from the bits I have saved.

The picture below was taken outside on the old swing bench which needs a bit of a clean and has cow parsely growing through it.  Another little job to do.

Thursday, 5 May 2011


When looking for something else, got sidetracked and found this picture of smocking for a child's dress in a Needlewoman and Needlecraft magazine of 1950.  Just lovely.

Thinking about how to turn it into knit.  Of course, I could try doing it as it is intended on fabric.  Looks devilish complicated.  Maybe some things are best left as a mystery.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Summer ain't here yet

It's been very warm here, but definitely too early to think that it's here to stay.  I've been thinking about a cropped sleeveles pullover with plenty of ease in it to layer over shirts and take on and off easily in changeable weather. 

In my exploding stash there is something called Georges Picaud Fifi Multicolore, 51% Cotton, 40% Mohair,
4% Acrylic (goodness knows what the other 5% is, it doesn't say on the label).  It's in muted shades of lilac and sage with a cream slub.  Knits up rather nicely.

I don't know where I got this yarn, I think I bought it on a market stall somewhere.    Recommended needle size is 5-6mm.  I've gone for a 4.5mm as I want some 'firmness' in the fabric.  We'll see how that goes.

Decided to have a go at designing my own top.  Much counting, calculating and swearing went on when doing the armhole shaping, and have yet to do the neckline.  I used Debbie Abrahams 'Design Your Own Knits' to get me through.  Some useful tips, but had to be read over and over again before I grasped  the key points.  All experimental, learning lots so nothing lost if it doesn't quite work this time.  Enjoying the journey.

One of many drawings - it changed when I got it onto proportional graph paper

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Cool Cat

Marilyn relaxing among the wallflowers.