Friday, 27 August 2010

Going Down To Liverpool To Do Knitting ...

 "Hear the sound of a tugboat on the river has a music of its own
the Goodison choir an' the Anfield army who never walk alone 
then the sun comes out an' the Liver Bird stands up to stretch his wings
an' the music starts in a million hearts and that's when Liverpool sings"

Last week I hopped on a Pendelino bound for Liverpool to see my family. Gosh, I really love Liverpool. I spent a lot of time there growing up, so it feels like going home to me. My mum (me mam) is a Liverpool Lass and so every year we would go for our summer holidays, to visit my granddad and relatives. I have always found the people of Liverpool to be so friendly with an unbeatable sense of humour and you can always be assured of a friendly chat at the bus stop.

Although my brother and myself, were brought up in London (a few streets away from where I live now) when my parents wanted to sell up and leave London they decided to go and live in my granddad's old house in Liverpool. My brother not having a job at the time decided to go with them and though he was dubious at first he really loves it.

My parent's house is in Woolton Village, it is really not what people expect when you talk about Liverpool, most people expect only back to back claustrophobic terraced houses (of Bread fame), yes these do exist but much of Liverpool is full of large parks and wonderfully open spaces.

 Village from Woolton Woods
The village itself is famous for a few things, one being its stone quarry. Woolton quarry supplied the sandstone for many of Liverpool's buildings including the Anglican Cathedral - the red building you can see in the back of the top picture. Also as you would expect much of Woolton's architecture has been made from the same stone which I think gives it a very warm and welcoming feel.

Another thing Woolton is famous for is its associations with The Beatles - though I'm not sure if you will have heard of them!
St. Peters Church Woolton
St. Peter's Church is the resting place of a lady called Eleanor Rigby, though Sir Paul has said that the connection between this grave and the song is coincidental, this does not stop the stream of Beatles fans who swamp the graveyard daily, for a photo and a closer look at the gravestone, and if that's not enough across the road is the church hall where the Quarrymen first played. Oh and another thing, Lord Woolton, the WWII pie man (bet he's never been referred to quite like that before) took his name from the village as he had lived here!

Around the corner from St Peter's church is a small cinema called the 'Woolton Picture House' it was built in the 1920's and has recently been restored to all its vintage finery. This has to be my favourite place in the whole village, the best thing about this cinema is that it still has an interval between films so that you can buy a dinky ice cream from the usherette! Also on the last Sunday of the month, they show a classic vintage film. This months showing will be the fabulous 'Maltese Falcon', I wish I lived closer!

Whilst I was there my Mum reminded me that I had a parcel to open. Inside was my copy of 'Vintage Gifts to Knit' by Susan Crawford. Now, if like me you love old Knitting patterns, then you will utterly love this book, it is packed with 16 knitting patterns all inspired by Vintage patterns ranging from the 20's to the 50's.

The Butterfly Balcony - Vintage Gifts To Knit

My favourite by far is 'The Perfect Christmas Jumper' it has a wonderful 1940s feel with the puffed sleeves and a gorgeous intarsia reindeer pattern. I have to confess that I have already bought all the wool I will need to make it up and hope to be starting it soon (so it should be ready in time for Christmas.) There's just a small matter of finishing all the other knitting projects I have on the go at the moment!!

The Butterfly Balcony - Vintage Gifts To Knit

If you pop over to Susan's Blog Just Call Me Ruby you can see all the patterns for yourselves. I really recommend this book as there are so many diverse patterns, including Men's Socks, a wonderful Cropped Cape, Fair Isle Mittens and a Flower Tea Cozy, plus much more, you are bound to find a gift to knit for everyone.

I had better go, as I'm off camping in Norfolk this weekend and I am supposed to be packing. I do hope it stops raining!

Wendy x

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Sew It - Simplicity 3688

At last, I have something vintage and sewing related to write about!! I seem to have hit a bit of a lazy patch with regards to expanding my vintage wardrobe, I have started a few things and have left them half finished. It seems at the moment unless the item is a gift I can't seem to finish it, I guess I must need the pressure of a deadline to work keeping me on track. Anyway, one project I have managed to finish is a long awaited pair of trousers from a new old pattern.

~ High Waisted 1940s Swing Trousers ~

The Butterfly Balcony - Simplicity 3688 1940's Trousers

2m of Cotton blend fabric
7" Zipper
1 Button

I decide to make the high waisted trouser as I have wanted to make them for a while now (about 4 years) and as I needed some new work trousers desperately. I used a dark blue lightweight cotton/nylon mix fabric, which I bought from Walthamstow market for just £1 a meter! The fabric is a little thinner than I would have liked, but it is light enough to make it perfect for summer wear.

After having made up mainly vintage patterns for a while now, I found it quite a chore to have to locate all the relevant pattern pieces and then cut them from the tissue - I did say I was lazy! Once three the pieces were located they were ever so simple to make up and could be easily done in a couple of hours - providing you have someone the help with pinning the hem!

The Butterfly Balcony - Simplicity 3688 1940's Trousers

I am really happy with the result, I did have a bit of trouble with the sides being a little baggy at the hips, but after washing and wearing them a few times this seems to have settled down, also the darts have flattened out and now don't look so puffy. I will definitely be making another pair as they have been so easy, and are so comfortable to wear. Hopefully, It won't take me quite as long to start them this time!!

Wendy x

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Knit It - 1940s Knitted Counterpane

I decided to knit a baby blanket for my best friend Diane's new arrival Millie. Now a few months have gone by and I am still working on it. So I thought I would share the pattern with you all as it may help to give me the incentive to finish it. Or it may not!

1940's Counterpane Square Apricot leaf with feather pattern border

The pattern itself is very easy and makes for very rewarding and quick process, I really love the leaf design it is so simple to do and makes you feel quite clever too!

~ 1940s Knitted Counterpane ~
(Stash Buster)

This pattern can be knitted on any size needles and using any type of yarn. I used pink double knit (DK) yarn from Yarnfair and Knitted on 4mm / 8 UK / 6 USA needles. It looks lovely knitted up all in one colour, but I am sure it would also look great in a patchwork of many colours!

1940's Apricot leaf Counterpane pattern with border
(Free Knitting Pattern Click to make bigger. Right click to Save As)
One VERY Important thing to point out is all the M1 increases in this pattern are to be done as Yarn Overs to make the lacy holes. NO other increase will work. See the below video.

Wendy x

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Knit It - Such A Debonair Little Jumper The progress...

Well, it nearly killed me with all that rib, but I have finally finished the main part of my Debonair Jumper and thankfully it looks like I will have enough wool left to do the sleeves after all, hurrah!!

The Butterfly Balcony - Such A Debonair Little Jumper

I had to add an extra pattern repeat (which by the time did the front I was cursing just slightly) to make it longer but other than that I kept to the pattern in the book. 

I did have to refer to the vintage copy, as in the book there was a typo on row 9 of the leaf pattern in the modern version, luckily the book shows both the vintage pattern and a retyped modern version so the confusion was sorted out quite quickly.

I really am pleased with the result, it is the first big project that I have started and I still feel really positive about it which I was not expecting- I tend to loose enthusiasm about half way in normally!

So now on to the sleeves...

Wendy x