Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 in knitting

Happy New Year. Wishing you a wonderful year full of many more ups than downs, health and happiness and plenty of time for crafting!

I have to admit to feeling rather disappointed about my knitting output this year. I have so many, many things that I want to knit and looking at this year's rather paltry output makes me feel like I will never get to knit all the things like I really want to do. But then I have to remember two important things. Firstly, I am proud of what I have made and have really enjoyed making it. Secondly, and significantly, my neck and shoulder problems which I discussed in last year's round up are still having a large impact on my ability to knit as much as I want to. I have seen big improvements in the problems this year; I have been having regular physio and it is really helping. I have moved on from hardly being able to knit at all and being in constant discomfort to much more regular knitting and much less pain which is a definite win. So I need to be a bit more patient and a bit less unrealistic and a bit more satisfied with what I can do rather than thinking about what I can't. But that is hard. And all the things need knitting!

I have only made one garment for myself this year and it isn't a vintage knit which is unusual for me.

It is a boxy raglan cardigan, reminiscent of a 1950's jacket which is why is appealed. It is knitted in Debbie Bliss Roma Weave which is a super chunky yarn with lovely colours in it. I mostly knit 4 ply and double knitting so it was quite a change and I did feel like I was knitting on sticks. Whilst I wish that I had knitted a size smaller I am very pleased with it as it is lovely and warm. I don't have a photo of the whole thing yet though.

This is a first size baby cardigan for my friend's little girl who was born in October. It is a dolman jacket from a 1950's pattern and is knitted in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino. It has mother of pearl buttons. It was great fun to knit and I like the shape and the little lace panels.

These bootees are for the same baby and are knitted from a vintage pattern which I think is an early 1950's one. They were a lovely little knit, interesting and reasonably quick. They are knitted in Cygnet Superwash DK.

I did some pattern testing for Ribbon Circus. Helen designed two fabulous new hat patterns, both of which are lovely and snuggly.

This is the Love Hat, knitted in Debbie Bliss Roma Weave and it would make a great first hat project. It also has a massive pompom which is always good. I don't have a photo of me in mine yet.

This is the Stoodley Beanie and I loved choosing the colours and knitting the cables. Though I did mess some of mine up as I was knitting it when I was ill and I later found out that my brain had been too hazy to manage it! It is knitted in Sublime Extra Fine Merino Worsted which I just love, both for colours and softness.

This 1940's jumper was a commission knit for the lovely Bianca who blogs at The Closet Historian. If, by some chance, you don't know Bianca's blog I suggest you go and visit straight away. She is a fabulously talented seamstress and makes some very gorgeous outfits. You can see her in this jumper here. The jumper is knitted in Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 ply which is very nice to work with.

This 1930's tennis jumper was also a commission knit and was for the wonderful Cate who blogs at Vintage Gal. Again, if by some chance you don't know her blog you should head right over. Cate is another super talented seamstress who makes the most amazing, period accurate outfits.

It was a joy working with these two fabulous vintage wearers.

I knitted a lot of autumn leaves, way more than are seen here. I loved making them, they were so satisfying. I had hoped to make them into an autumn garland and also into a hat. I ran out of time for these as other, more urgent, projects needed attention. So I'm going to finish them off during this year so that come autumn I am all ready in my leafy splendour.

I'm sneaking these two in as they are so nearly done that most of their knitting counts as 2016! They are both scarves. The top is for my niece, she requested, repeatedly, a pink scarf with yellow spots so I am doing my best to oblige. It is knitted in Sublime Extra Fine Merino Worsted. The bottom scarf is for my husband, actually it is part of his Christmas present but it isn't quite ready. I just had to wrap a ball of wool for him to open and apologise for the delay! It is knitted in the Sublime Worsted too.

These are my completed (mostly) projects of 2016. I have knitted a few other things but they are languishing in various works in progress piles. They are mostly incomplete as they needed to be put aside for other things that had completion deadlines. However, my incomplete works pile is quite large, and a little shameful, so one aim for the start of this year is to finish some stuff before starting all the other stuff. I love a shiny new project though so this is going to be tough. I might put them together into a blog pot to spur me into action!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Missoni Art Colour

I am jumping back to the end of August here because I have to get this post written and these photos used before the end of the year. It has been in the planning and editing stage for a while and I just need to get it written so that it doesn't go to waste!

The Fashion and Textile Museum hosted this Missoni exhibition from May-September and I was fortunate to catch it the week before it finished. My friend and I had a couple of days in London and this was one of the reasons that we went and we were very glad that we did.

The premise of the exhibition was to 'explore the creative process of the Italian fashion house Missoni and the textiles of Ottavio and Rosita Missoni in the context of 20th century fine art'.

Spatial structure in tension. 1952. Nino Di Salvatore
Ballerina. 1957. Gino Severini.
The beginning of the exhibition showed some of the artworks that have been an influence on the style of the Missoni house. These two were my favourites, I loved the colours.

We then walked through into the large exhibition space where there were lots of mannequins dressed in Missoni standing on tiered platforms. It was very dramatic and there was a sequence of lighting which illuminated the mannequins in various stages. It was very impressive but did make it harder to get to see everything in good light.

On the opposite wall there were textile hangings made by Ottavio Missoni, some of which he used to trial different colour ways and patterns.

We spent quite some time looking at the tiers of mannequins and their marvellous clothes. Mostly we were choosing our favourite outfits and deciding which our top five would be. There was no information available about the outfits so I am not able to say anything useful about when they are from or what they are made of. So these are just some of my favourites:

Look at the belt buckle.

I managed to get a few detailed shots of colours or patterns that I particularly liked. This was quite difficult as it was not possible to get near the mannequins except for those on the first tier.

Might need to knit something lovely and lacy in these colours.
This reminds me of patchwork.
I like the autumn colours.
The exhibition continued upstairs in the museum and showed some more of the Missoni design process including fabric swatches, sketch books, colour and pattern ideas. It was fascinating to get an insight into this process.

The above pictures show the sketch books, I found them really interesting, seeing the charting out of and the playing with the colours.

These are some of the fabric samples, including some of the very famous Missoni zigzags.

The final room showed a film about Missoni which we watched whilst sat on Missoni fabric covered bean bags surrounded by Missoni fabric framed mirrors. It was a whole wonderful explosion of colour and pattern.

 The above two photos are of the fabric mirror surrounds.

I wore the most Missoni like patterned dress that I have!

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Top Ten vintage Christmas gift wrap

As I have been busy wrapping presents for the last few days I thought that I would take a little break before finishing off to look back at the gift wrap I might have chosen if I went back in time. I'm quite drawn to highly illustrated, brightly coloured, slightly kitsch vintage gift wrap which sort of surprises me as in real life I am a brown paper and a nice piece of ribbon wrapper. Perhaps it is my alter ego coming out. You can find more vintage Christmas goodness on my Pinterest board The ghost of Christmas past and in this post.

In no particular order here are my Top Ten, all found on Pinterest:


Poodles wearing ribbons tying ribbons. What is not to like?!

Jolly snowmen in a variety of scarves and hats on a lovely coloured background.

Clever typography, a colour scheme with impact and beautiful illustration.

I had to include a reindeer and these ones have decorations swinging from their antlers.

Mid Century, atomic and a fabulous colour scheme.

Cute little colourful houses all lit up and glowing in the snow.

Unusual but lovely colour scheme and a real feeling of movement.

Snowflake ballerinas? Go on then.

Pine needles and snowflakes and pretty colours.

More poodles. I love their extreme curl coats and their turquoise noses.

Are you a kitsch or classy gift wrapper? Merry Christmas everyone.