Saturday, 21 February 2015

Snood day

I am going to start with a confession. I really should have washed my hair this morning. In fact, I really should have washed my hair yesterday morning. But on both occasions staying in bed that bit longer and not having to fight with the hair dryer won out. I know that washing and drying your hair isn't really that much of an effort in the great scheme of things but some days, actually, it just is. My usual dirty hair day style is a quiff and a pony tail, I get a great 50's look and it holds better if your hair isn't freshly washed. By dirty hair, I do mean three or four days, not weeks and weeks on end However, this morning I wanted a change so I had a little think.....

and I realised - snood day! The perfect solution to a less than perfect hair day! I intend to learn to crochet so that I can make my own snoods but to tide me over until that day I have a couple that I bought from a seller on Ebay. This one is emerald green. Please excuse the not great photo quality, they are all taken on my camera phone as I didn't have my camera to hand.

Such a quick and easy solution - a bit of rolling at the front, a few kirby grips, tuck the rest into the snood, a few more kirby grips and done!  So, snoods - the way forward for those who want those extra precious minutes asleep!

Look at all that beautiful woolly goodness and gorgeous ribbon behind me. Thank you Ribbon Circus, purveyors of the finest haberdashery!

I paired my snood with my dark teal velvet dress (I love a velvet dress) and purple cardigan, grey tights and purple shoes.

These are the shoes that I wore on my wedding day so they have very happy memories in every step!

Monday, 2 February 2015

January knitteds

I am loving my knitting at the moment. Absolutely, totally love love loving it. I would be knitting all the time if I could and if it didn't make my shoulder hurt - (extreme knitting injury there)! I always love knitting but there is something about the cardigan that I am knitting at the moment that is making it even better. So I thought that I would share a sneak peak of my progress so far.

This yarn is a beauty to knit with. It is Sublime extra fine merino with silk double knit in teal. It is so soft and has great stitch definition. For someone who loves knitting it is a shame that I struggle to wear wool as it itches me like mad. I turn into a crazed woman screaming 'get it off me NOW' as I contort and writhe to get the offending garment away from me as fast as possible. As this yarn is a) merino and b) has added silk, I can wear it as long as it is not directly next to my skin.

My parents and my sister between them bought me a garment's worth pile of this yarn for Christmas and I knew exactly what I was going to make with it.

It isn't this cardigan! Not that it isn't a lovely cardi but it is not the one. But it is from this issue of Stitchcraft. I started it on New Year's Eve - so only 62 years after it was published! I rather like that, I wonder how many people in 1952 cast on this cardigan.

'To complete her skating outfit, Joan wears an amusing cap and mitts set'!

This is the one! I just fell for it! A perfect short length and fitted shape and that completely amazing stitch pattern. The magazine refers to the stitch pattern as 'chunky blisters' which is possibly the most hideous description of the most beautiful pattern that someone could come up with. I am referring to them as foxglove flower bells as that is what they look like to me.

This is a close up of the stitch pattern patted flat but it is far nicer raised which is how it knits up.

Drum roll............

This is the back of my cardigan, hot off the needles! This is the first time I have knitted a stitch pattern like this so I am very proud of it.

I do like a nice bit of rib! The colour is more like the top photo that this one.

For those of you who have knitted from vintage patterns before you will be well aware that the instructions are often not as full or as clear as they might be or assume a certain level of knowledge. This one is not so bad though there have been a few places where I have had to scratch my head and go 'eh? you what?' a bit whilst I worked it out. Plus a few rows of unknitting when my interpretation turned out to be not quite right! But that is all part of the excitement.

The back and both fronts are complete and I started the first sleeve yesterday. So it is coming on. I just can't wait to wear it! I am planning the outfits that I can make with it. As the magazine styled it with an amusing cap and mitts set perhaps I need to find myself one of those!

This is the back cover of this issue of Stitchcraft. It is such a pretty children's set. There is a bit of snow on the hills around here so it is quite fitting too!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Thank you Secret Santa

I am a bit tardy with this one but better late then never! I kept forgetting that if you don't take photos in the morning at present then it is too dark by the time you remember later in the day. Add to that some very grey rainy days with no decent light at all and you get to this point - a late thank you.

Towards the end of last year Jessica from the marvellous blog Chronically Vintage had the genius idea to organise a vintage themed Secret Santa. It must have been a feat of organising to pull off but she did it and everyone who wished to participate was both given a Secret Santa and became one. People could give links to any social media sites that they are active on and write a short profile about themselves to help generate present ideas. I really enjoyed shopping for the presents to send to the person that I was allocated and I was very excited indeed when a parcel for me arrived in the post.

It was beautifully wrapped and was this is what was inside:

Such a pretty, sparkly brooch. A bunch of flowers tied with a bow. As I wear a brooch everyday I am always really pleased to add to my collection and it will go with everything.

Carefully sandwiched between two thick pieces of cardboard were these two knitting pull out booklets from some 1950's Women's Illustrated magazines. I thought it would be nice to have a further look at some of the great patterns that they contain. So much possible future knitting goodness!

A slim fitting jumper with a pretty beaded neckline.

A high necked jumper with unusual bands of cables up the sides.

A twinset with bands of mock smocking. I really like it when patterns tell you which colours were used originally and this one also gives us an idea of how much making the items would cost.

An amazing spotty jacket which looks like it might be a pain to knit - but worth it!

A ribbed dress with a large collar and elbow length sleeves.

This is a pretty, fitted jumper with its yoke detail and unusual collar.

A lace pattern fitted V neck jumper.

Another lovely twinset with a stitch pattern that looks like peacock feathers. This is gorgeous.

A very jolly stripy cardigan. I like the variation in the width of the stripes.

So thank you very much to my Secret Santa for such a fabulous present.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Alnwick Castle - or should that be Brancaster?

A couple of months ago I had a few days in Northumberland with my husband to celebrate our wedding anniversary. On one of the days we visited the spectacular Alnwick Castle which had been on my places to visit list for a long time. It was worth the wait.

Alnwick has been the home of the Percy family for the past 700 years! There is so much to see and do on top of just wandering around the castle grounds and enjoying the scenery. There is a museum about the history of the castle, an exhibition on the role of the people from the castle in the First World War and the Northumberland Fusiliers museum. The castle was used as a set for some of the scenes in the Harry Potter films and there is a dragon quest and broomstick flying lessons for children.

The Duke and Duchess of Northumberland still live here, using the State Rooms which are open to the public when they are not using them. The State Rooms are located in the building in the above two photos. Sadly, photography is not allowed in the rooms which is a shame as they are sumptuous. I did find this one of the dining room on the castle website. Imagine eating a meal in there!

State Rooms
As you may know, Alnwick was used as a location for the Downton Abbey Christmas special, and many of the State Rooms were featured as the interiors of Brancaster Castle. I love Downton and it was extra special to see it set somewhere that I had visited. It was filmed there for two weeks over the summer.

Christmas Downton Abbey
The programme was set in autumn 1924 and the family were invited to go grouse shooting at Brancaster Castle (Alnwick), an estate that Lord Sinderby (Rose's father in law) had rented. The interior scenes at Brancaster were filmed in the State Rooms of Alnwick and the grouse shooting scenes were filmed on the castle estate. I won't talk about the plot as I don't want to spoil it for anyone but you really must watch it!

Visitors to the castle in 2015 will be Downton Abbey exhibition which will feature props, photography and costumes from the programme. Costumes?! I might have to go! It may put me on until a new series starts!

You can find more Downton Abbey pictures on my Pinterest board.

Happy New Year everyone.