Victorian and Edwardian Patterns

I’m currently working on 2 projects for historical sew monthly that require the use of knitting and crochet patterns written around the beginning of the 20th Century.

The crochet patterns aren’t too bad and I only needed to tweak them here and there to produce the lacy bits I need as embellishments. I will write up a modern version of them as a pdf download to go with the forthcomingpost… Once I finish the sewing part!

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However the knitting patterns are far more interesting to fathom out. I am currently swatching a lace border and am on my 4th cast on. The key problems are:

1. No needle sizes for the main section – take a large pair of wood or rubber needles and cast on… I tried to research the possible sizings and see if I could find anything about rubber knitting needles but drew a blank. My solution was to grab a size of the largest imperial wooden needles I own – size 0 or 7mm and try it out!

2. No tension / gauge stated – I decided to knit a few rows and then measure. The size of the mystery make was within the range I wanted so I went with it.

3. Obsolete yarns – I tried to Google but again drew a blank. I had some pre used pure wool in my stash so I  decided to use it. It’s somewhere between 4 ply and DK, which was very appropriate so I decided to try it and see how it knitted up. I’m happy enough with the outcome.

4. Inconsistent or Uncommon  Abbreviations and terminology – the book I am using, appears to contain patterns sent in by knitters who all have their own pattern writing style. The lady who wrote one of the 3 borders I am using even changes her thinking from one row to the next. The best approach I have come up with is to count my stitches a lot and write the pattern out in modern format on squared paper so I can see what I am knitting, plus keep checking to ensure the increases and decreases match up across the row.

I will write out a guide to using old knitting patterns in the next few weeks, explaining the abbreviations and how to approach the actual knitting.

Victorian and Edwardian Patterns

I’m currently working on 2 projects for historical sew monthly that require the use of knitting and crochet patterns written around the beginning of the 20th Century.

The crochet patterns aren’t too bad and I only needed to tweak them here and there to produce the lacy bits I need as embellishments. I will write up a modern version of them as a pdf download to go with the forthcomingpost… Once I finish the sewing part!

image

However the knitting patterns are far more interesting to fathom out. I am currently swatching a lace border and am on my 4th cast on. The key problems are:

1. No needle sizes for the main section – take a large pair of wood or rubber needles and cast on… I tried to research the possible sizings and see if I could find anything about rubber knitting needles but drew a blank. My solution was to grab a size of the largest imperial wooden needles I own – size 0 or 7mm and try it out!

2. No tension / gauge stated – I decided to knit a few rows and then measure. The size of the mystery make was within the range I wanted so I went with it.

3. Obsolete yarns – I tried to Google but again drew a blank. I had some pre used pure wool in my stash so I  decided to use it. It’s somewhere between 4 ply and DK, which was very appropriate so I decided to try it and see how it knitted up. I’m happy enough with the outcome.

4. Inconsistent or Uncommon  Abbreviations and terminology – the book I am using, appears to contain patterns sent in by knitters who all have their own pattern writing style. The lady who wrote one of the 3 borders I am using even changes her thinking from one row to the next. The best approach I have come up with is to count my stitches a lot and write the pattern out in modern format on squared paper so I can see what I am knitting, plus keep checking to ensure the increases and decreases match up across the row.

I will write out a guide to using old knitting patterns in the next few weeks, explaining the abbreviations and how to approach the actual knitting.

Historical Sew Monthly 2016 – Introduction

 

On my first post for this month, I mentioned I was taking part in this year’s Historical Sew Monthly. The idea is to take clothing or accessories from the past up to 1938 and remake them. You can use authentic materials or take items from your stash. Each challenge can take up to 2 months to make and must be completed and entered by the last day of the month it is due. Items can be as simple, a bag or fichu or complex as you wish, up to a full period ensemble, complete with underpinnings, but must be researched and use authentic materials and techniques where possible. The Dreamstress, who organises the challenge has written a useful blog post, exploring what  historical accuracy means.

The Challenges this Year are as follows:

  • January –  Procrastination  finish a garment you have been putting off finishing (a UFO or PHD) or make something you have been avoiding starting.
  • February – Tucks & Pleating – make a garment that features tucks and pleating for the shape or decoration
  • March – Protection – make something to protect yourself (from weather or injury) or your clothes (from soiling etc.)
  • April – Gender-Bender – make an item for the opposite gender, or make an item with elements inspired by the fashions of the opposite gender
  • May – Holes – sometimes the spaces between stuff are what makes a garment special.  Make a garment that is about holes, whether it is lace, slashing, eyelets, etc.
  • June – Travel – make a garment for travelling, or inspired by travel.
  • July – Monochrome – make a garment in black, white, or any shade of grey in between.
  • August – Pattern – make something in pattern, the bolder and wilder the better.
  • September – Historicism – Make a historical garment that was itself inspired by the fashions of another historical period.
  • October – Heroes – Make a garment inspired by your historical hero, or your historical costuming hero.
  • November – Red – Make something in any shade of red.
  • December – Special Occasion: make something for a special event or a specific occasion, or that would have been worn to special event of specific occasion historically.

My Plans To Date:

January: Medieval Relic Bag – I’ve been putting off starting as they knitted on very tiny needles – 1 – 1.5mm

February: I’m still researching but its likely to be a baby bonnet with tuck pleating around the crown in crochet

March: A Sontag – A Victorian knitted Shawl that wraps over the front of the body and ties at the back, ideal for wearing out on spring days without having trailing bits to catch in my wheels

April – This is puzzling me, so I need to research this. Am wondering if an early male knitted cap might have been remade and restyled in late 19th / early 20th C for a lady who was interested in sport?

May – I have a couple of lovely tops that are just a little too low cut so I plan to make a crochet fichu / neck piece to wear with them.

June – I want to make something linked to travel for the wool trade: going to market, sheep droving, using a crochet method called shepherds knitting, gloves, a pouch

July – Monochrome, am thinking towards socks are there medieval examples of knitted socks and cushions with interesting monochrome patterns

August – Pattern, I’ve seen some beautiful beaded knit purses and reticules, with fantastic colour patterns!

September – Historicism – this will need research, ideally I would like to do something warm for the approaching winter or practical like a simple bag

October – Heroes – I bet you thought I was going to avoid naalbinding as I’d not said anymore about it! But my heroes are in part those medieval women who spent much of their time spinning, weaving and naalbinding clothes. There is an interesting pair of socks I would like to try to replicate!

November – Something Red – thinking back over my accessories, I don’t have gloves and I really like the long evening gloves so I plan to crochet a pair in red silk or cotton

December – Something Special – this is my tatting challenge, and I’m thinking I might make myself a collar, which could double as a necklace or adding a tatted motif to a simple, silk drawstring bag or pouch, brooch or hat band.

This will give me a range of accessories I can make over a number of eras of history and the opportunity to hone skills and develop new ones. In future years it is my intention to choose a period of history and make myself a full costume with authentic accessories, meaning that I will need to tackle dressmaking.

I’m assembling a Pinterest board and hunting through the Antique Pattern Library for inspiration and ideas. I also plan to do some reading in the local library and online to discover the techniques, yarns etc in use at the time each item was made.

Creating Canvas – Crochet, Beads and Stitching

I have been experimenting for sometime with combining crochet and embroidery to create canvases to hang on the wall. Over the coming weeks I will share a series of images I have created in the last 6 months or so and talk about the inspiration for them.

As a starting point I thought it might be helpful to show how I take a finished piece of crochet and attach it to a canvas, ready to be displayed. This heart is a gift for my daughter to hang in her bedroom.

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Before creating the filling for the heart, I loosely attach a piece of fabric to a canvas and tack down the outer frame or cordonet. I then create a series of Irish crochet and freeform shapes to fill the shape, using crochet cotton and 1 and 1.5mm hooks. Once complete I fill in the gaps between the shapes and connect them together using a combination of irish and freeform lace filling stitches. I then worked a row of dc over the cordonet I laid down for the frame. The filling was then stitched to the frame and I worked a scalloped edging around the frame to complete. This left me with the piece above. The next stage was to sew in all ends and steam block the heart to shape, ready for mounting.

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There was a slight flaw in the canvas and I wanted a black background so I used a piece of surplus black lining fabric to cover it. I started by cutting a rectangle of the lining material that covered both the front of the canvas and the frame at the rear

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I pinned the lining material to the canvas at the back and stapled it down, one side at a time, ensuring I kept the fabric taut. I also made sure the I tucked a small hem under to keep things looking neat.

imageThe next step was to pin the heart to the front of the covered canvas. I would normally iron the backing fabric but my daughter preferred the texture of the unironed material. I also played around with using beads to add a bit of sparkle to the finished heart. I then whip stitched the heart into place, working very carefully and keeping it taut to achieve a good finish. I used an earring that had lost its friend form the large gem and bent the post and used some invisible thread to keep it in place. For the other beads I rifled through my collection of random beads and old bits of jewellery that a lady at church kindly gave me. I think they finish the piece nicely.

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Baby Shawl Diaries 2 – Finished the Lettering!

Over the weekend I carried on working on the filet crochet for the centre of the shawl and completed it on Saturday night.

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The centre includes Baby’s initials and the year of birth as he has not yet arrived!

 

Next step – Add the Borders.10965617_1780787538813915_1770169662_n

The border designs, like the style for the central lettering, are chosen by the parents or parents to be or the proud grandparents. We talk about what they like and I sit down with pen and paper and come up with some filet panels that can be worked around the edges. In this case its teddy bears.

I charted a bear in pencil and then messed up a bit when drawing in the solid blocks in black so anywhere with an X shouldn’t be a blocked in square. Will redraw the chart properly and use it for a filet tutorial at a later date.

 

I also show the customer a range of lace crochet border designs and we talk about what they would like to use to edge the centre panel and then add a final edging to the shawl.

Mum to be wants crowns as her baby will be born fairly closely to the new Royal Baby so we had a trawl through pinterest and arrived at this design.

If you would like to crochet this border you can find the chart HERE – the site is French but the chart is universal and easy to read.

Mum has decided to have the crowns first to provide a pretty break between the filet centre and the filet bears, so I will need to work a row of crochet that fills in around the crowns to get me back to a base for the filet….

Then we will select some more edgings to increase the dimensions of the shawl

Next post will be the finished crowns band with the fill in row….. lets see what I can come up with!

 

 

 

Trauma Teddies for the Middle East

Trauma Teddies in Action

Image from Teddies for Tragedies

As we are all too aware from the news, the situation in the Middle East is pretty dire – I don’t want to get into the politics of the situation, that’s not the aim of this post – so please refrain from leaving politically motivated comments!

As with any conflict there are children involved, and some of them have seen things, heard things and experienced things that we as adults wouldn’t even want to think about. Many have lost their homes, their toys and perhaps even their entire family. And its hard to imagine what would bring them comfort…. but there is something – a small knitted or crocheted bear to love can make all the difference.

And that is where you, dear readers can help…. we all have that dreaded thing called a yarn stash… it lurks in cupboards, bags and boxes, and often we end up with odds and ends we can’t think how to use up…… so grab your hook, a pair of needles and some DK yarn, download one of the free patterns below and get clicking!

And once you have made your bear, (if you are local to Southampton, I may be able to collect it), then please post it to the address below, where the lovely people concerned will make sure the bear is well loved by a small person who needs him or her:

The Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East, PO Box 229, Petersfield, Hampshire, GU32 9DL phone no. 01730 267673.

I’m planning to hold a couple of social crafty sessions for friends so we can have a natter and make our bears – why not host a Teddy Making Party of your own or ask people at a group you attend or at your local church if they would like to join you?

PATTERNS

teddypattern crochet– Please note this is a pattern I have converted from the knitting pattern – I would appreciate it if you could let me know if I have made any mistakes so I can improve it!

teddypattern knitting  – this pattern is supplied by http://www.teddiesfortragedies.org.uk/