Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Decades of Stitches

Over the past couple of months my Stitchery Archive has been supplemented with a host of needlework ephemera that spans the 1910s through to the 1960s - all thanks to a wide variety of charity and junk/collectibles shops.

The earliest magazines comprise Weldons, Needle & Home and Fancy Needlework Illustrated that date from the 1910s and are filled with some fascinating advertising images:

I love her hair

Then we head off to the 1920s, '30s, '40s and '50s with a selection of more Fancy Needlework Illustrated (these have some stunning colourful covers), Good Needlework and Knitting, Stitchcraft, Bestway, etc. 

And finally, here's a whole cache of knitting patterns; the majority found on a charity shop browse whilst I was driving around the Forest of Dean. I think one knitter was particularly keen on her Fair Isle:


I really love the thrill of the hunt when looking out for these, especially when I come across a stash of patterns hidden under a load of '80s and '90s stuff that doesn't appeal to me at all. But what is really special is when I find something totally unexpected between the pages of a book or magazine, like this printed tapestry canvas dated '1930' for an evening bag that I found wrapped in waxed paper and slipped between the pages of a copy of Fancy Needlework Illustrated. 

That made my day!

Friday, 5 December 2014

Fair Isle Favours the Brave

In a moment of vagueness the other week I asked Monkeychild if she would like me to knit her something for Christmas, thinking that she might ask for a hat, scarf or gloves that even a hideously slow knitter like me might manage to finish before the 25th. She gave it some thought then said "Yes, one of those old jumpers that boys wore"; my response: "Eh?"
"And a hat like June wore in "Our Zoo".

Turns out that not only did Monkeychild like the character of June in the BBC series, but she was secretly admiring her wardrobe too - and there was me thinking that it was only June's pet monkey that she'd like! As for the jumper, she'd also had inspiration from another BBC series: Just William and from the illustrations in her books...

So I asked about suitable patterns on Ravelry and was directed to some online...

...and after attempting numerous tension squares and going up and down in needle sizes, I have finally made a start on the jumper - though I've  ripped out at least five rows already!

I've explained to Monkeychild that there's no way either is going to be finished this side of Christmas - let alone her birthday in August if I'm realistic! But she appears to be content with that. However, I have a sneaky feeling that by the time they're ready (for next winter), she'll have gone off the idea of wearing them. Motherly love, huh?

Friday, 7 November 2014

Psychedelic Miss Marple

And the summer became the fall
I was not ready for the winter
It makes no difference at all
'Cause I wear boots all summer long
'Nightbird' by Stevie Nicks

Here's a question for you: What do Stevie Nicks and Margaret Rutherford have in common?
Answer: They have both worn capes when performing! 

Sources: Google Image Search
Okay, I know its a tenuous link but it does give me a chance to quote lyrics from one of my favourite Stevie songs and also celebrate the versatile cape. My first was an Edwardian black velvet number that I brought in the late 1980s to channel a Stevie vibe, but I wore it so much that it disintegrated to the extent that it was well past the repairing stage. After that I didn't bother with capes for many years until I brought this 1960s Welsh tapestry one:

I love Welsh tapestry coats, waistcoats and what-not, being more familiar with the muted shades like those that I previously blogged about, but this cape is so bright in comparison to others I've seen; I call it my 'Miss Marple on Acid' cape! As today's gloomy weather called for something colourful, I wore it out this morning to meet up with fellow blogger Gilly B and it gained quite a few compliments. 

I also wore one of my latest buys too: a 1960s souvenir bracelet. And look, its even got Brussels' famous Manneken Pis statue on it - talk about quirky! But hey...I love quirky.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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