Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Simple is Best

Forget-Me-Not and Wild Strawberry
It's May, it's finally stopped raining and the garden is a riot of big bright plants bursting out to meet the sun, overgrown and in need of some discipline.  Where to begin - energy levels low.  At my feet a little vignette of simple flowers.  Uplifting.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Vintage Slip Stitch Pattern

From Needlework Illustrated 1950
I still haven't been able to sit down to serious knitting.  It's weeks and weeks now.  I cast on, look at the stitches and feel slightly icky. There is so much going on that I don't seem to be able to make myself sit still and concentrate.  So, in times like these - I swatch.

Slip Stitch With No Name
And what better to swatch than a slip stitch.  I'm still into green and white (or off-white) and thought this pattern  from 1950 looked interesting.  The original is in grey and white according to the instructions.  The original pattern was in something called Dewhursts 'Tuffle' - a cotton  yarn.  This may be in Barbara Walker or Mary Thomas somewhere and when I have a few minutes I'll see if I can find a name for it.

There is an error in the instructions and I had to figure it out.  I may be wrong with the change I have made, but I quite like the effect anyway.  That's the beauty of slip stitch.

Multiple of 2 plus 1

Rows 1-4 (green) stocking stitch
Change to white
Row 5   K1 (slip 1, keep yarn at back of work, k.1) to end
Row 6   K1 (yarn forward, slip 1, yarn back,  k1) to end
Change to green
Row 7   Slip1 (k.1, slip1 keeping yarn at the back of the work) to end.
Row 8   Slip 1(yarn back, k.1, yarn forward, slip 1) to end
Row 9 and 10   K1(slip 1, k1) to end, always keeping yarn to wrong side of work.

The error in the original pattern is in row 7 where it says,
Slip 1 (k1 keeping yarn to back of work) to end.

That doesn't make any sense, so I put in my version.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Look on the Bright Side

Approximately fifty of the photos in my blog were corrupted. I still don't know why, but it was something to do with the Blogger upgrade.  I had to reload them all.  What a pain.  Still, I managed to capture a couple of the more interesting effects.  I'm wondering about swatching these.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Dolly wash

Lace on the line
My sister has collected dolls all her life.  When we were small and occasionally even now she will do a dolly wash and sort out all their clothes.  I've never been into dolls in quite the same way, but I do my version of a dolly wash occasionally which involves opening up my cupboard of lace oddments I've picked up in various sales and doing a bit of a laundry day.  That's my dolly wash.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Now here's a funny thing (peculiar, not ha-ha)

This was a mossy log - now looks like a fast train
This was an old post from early May with a photo of various plants growing on and around a mossy log.  Something weird has happened to it.  It was ok when I posted it, but just browsing back through photos in old posts, I see it has become corrupted somehow.   And I think I deleted the original photo.  Typical.

But I thought, waste not, want not.  It does present an interesting colour exercise

...And I've just discovered that the upgrade of Blogger has corrupted a lot of my old photos.  Wonderful.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Latest Reading

Picked up in a Charity Shop at the weekend - mid 1950s
The Wonder Book of Railways
This is the 21st edition of this obviously much-loved book.  The pictures are a joy.  The Man Who Can helped me date it by supplying information on the engine it describes as the most recent of its class. He had a copy when he was a little boy (in the early 70s).  He also had a gigantic and very detailed train set in the roof of his parents house.  In his late teens he swapped this for his first car.

The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk
Published 1990
A fascinating book about the struggle between Britain and Russia for supremacy in Central Asia, including Afghanistan and all the neighbouring fiefdoms as well as Persia and even Tibet.  Lots of young officers, (very young some of them) trekking out alone into uncharted wastes and mountains to check on what the other side was doing, trying to win allies among the people who lived in these wild places and charting new territories.  Britain was trying to protect its possessions in India and constantly feared an invasion by Russia either through Afghanistan, or from the Caucasus via Persia (modern day Iran).  Russia was always looking for opportunities.  This tussle lasted right through the nineteenth century and many, many people died. 
They are still dying. Helmund, Kandahar, Kabul, Jelalabad.  Same places, different generation, different reasons.

Parrot and Olivier in America
Published 2010
Shortllisted for the Man Booker Prize
A fictional account of two unlikely and unwilling emigrants to America in the early nineteenth century and their reactions to the American Dream.  The New World looking back at the Old.  Subtle and entertaining.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Vogue Knitting Magazine -  Spring 1952
This suit is knitted in Sirdar boucle wool on 'old' size 11 needles at a an approximate tension of 32 stitches and 40 rows to 4 inches.  Not a light undertaking.  Boucle was definitely the trend that year.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Hidden Treasures

My Favourite shady Wiltshire walk
I have fallen behind on the walking for one reason and another so on Friday I made myself get out in the fresh air.  I make a point of not turning for home until I have found something to photograph, but tired and aching and uninspired and feeling a little low I started back without a picture, choosing my favourite shady walk which is an old track way covered over by hawthorn and crab apple and dense with blackthorn.

In the space of two hundred yards I found all these little treasures opening their early flowers for the insects.

Ransoms (Wood Garlic)

Bluebell - we get very few around here - not the swathes of blue  I knew as a child in Hampshire
Lords and Ladies, or Cuckoo Pint - distinctive dark splodges on the leaves

Garlic Mustard
Mouse-ear flower among Goose Grass leaves

Friday, 11 May 2012

Pretty things

Car Boot Find
Went to a car boot sale last weekend.  It was 6th May and absolutely freezing cold.  And as I type it is pouring with rain - again.  So concentrate on pretty things.  I got a slightly damaged table cloth for 10p which I will cut up to make more pretty things.

Life is good.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Buttons again

Went to the Knit and Stitch Show at Shepton Mallet (Somerset) last weekend.  There is less and less for knitters each year and more and more for paper and card crafters.  So the highlight of the show for me was the lady who sells vintage buttons.  Oh the glory.  I was very restrained and bought these little beauties.  They are about 1.5cm across and very art deco looking.

I can just see them on a smart little suit with a cloche hat.  Oh my.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Still Trying to Find the Mojo

From Vogue Knitting Book No. 40
March 1952
Still not getting into the knitting.  But this may help.  I have been looking for a long time for patterns using the vintage yarn I have, in particular 3ply Patons Bouclet in a wonderful soft blue, green shade.  Just looking through my old Vogue Knitting books one night and there it was, the exact yarn and in my size (I'd love to pretend I am the same shape as this beautiful girl, but I ain't)..  I'm going to try for the cardigan.  2.75mm and 2.25mm needles.  Kill or cure.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Branching Out

New Premises in Beulah's Attic
I've branched out with a friend and taken a little pitch in an antiques attic above an auction house in the next village.  We don't aim to make much money, just to play at shops and have a bit of fun.  The ladies renting us the pitch are kind and lots of laughs.  They have created a beautiful antique arcade called Beulah's Attic.

Still trying to get the presentation right

The building is an old mineral water bottling factory and the roof is ridged glass.  It's a wonderful space with a wooden floor.  These photos were taken when we had just set up the stock - a happy few hours one Saturday morning.  We are still learning and have to load the space up much more with stuff.  Our aim is to intrigue the punters.  We have all kinds of ideas. I covered my fee for the pitch in the first few days, so I'm happy as I really didn't expect to sell anything for weeks.