Vintage Knitting, Retro Dressmaking, Make do and Mend, Original and Vintage Inspired Knitting Patterns, Vintage Inspired books

Friday, March 21, 2008

Vintage Textiles

With the last post being so wordy, this post is going to be mainly visual. From a completed projects point of view I don't have much I can share right now. However, a couple of days ago I went to a Vintage Fashion and Textiles fair in Liverpool and had, after having several button crisis' recently, given myself a button budget to have a stock up. I've found lately that all I seem to have are odd buttons, mainly as I always buy an extra button in case I lose one, so keep getting left with single buttons.

The fair was great for button buying; I bought predominantly vintage including a gorgeous bakalite belt buckle. I also found some great vintage patterns which seem intact - you can never be quite sure but I can usually make the missing pieces up.

Here we go...













These are just bags of allsorts of mixed buttons but are so useful to have.




I also found these two needlework magazines - I love the knitting projects in both of them, but I think I like the blue cabled cardigan best, or do I? Oh, I don't know they're both lovely.



Hope everyone has a lovely Easter

for now
Ruby xx

Monday, March 10, 2008


I have finally found hidden amongst my computer files the information I collected about RSI for a college course I was teaching a couple of years ago. I had promised to forward the information to a number of people who asked for it and I will do my best to find the appropriate emails and do so, but in the meantime here it is. I hope it is of use to fellow RSI sufferers

We all hear and talk about RSI but exactly what as knitters are we vunerable to?

The chief forms of RSI which affect knitters are:

Carpal tunnel syndrome
Tennis elbow
Golfers elbow
de Quervain’s disease
Trigger finger
Cubital tunnel syndrome

What is RSI? It is classified as a neurovascular syndrome and is identified as chronic or prolonged pain in the hands, shoulders, back or neck, caused by the constant repetition of a series of movements. Its onset can be insidious, its diagnosis problematic and its results irreversible.

It affects the soft tissues, nerves, tendons, muscle and cartilage. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent disability.

The truth is, that as knitters, we spend hours repeating a small number of motions, so therefore are at risk of RSI; as is anyone who sews, crochets, plays a musical instrument or works on a computer.

RSI develops over time and its symptoms often come on gradually. Once you become aware of the symptoms there is another catch. Diagnosing RSI is difficult.
Therefore we needs defensive tactics whether already a sufferer or just a concerned knitter.

You can do many things to keep your symptoms in check or to prevent RSI.




Knitters can be at risk the moment they sit down. Many of us slouch, shoulders drooping and head bowed. Manipulating the needles forces the hands and elbows into an unnatural fixed position for long periods of time. The wrists are flexed up, stretching the tendons. The fingers and thumb exert pressure to hold needles and yarn. Passing the yarn over the needle involves repeated finger movements and the weight of the work in progress also drags on the wrists. Over time the rhythmic sequence of knitting and purling can pinch nerves and other soft tissues.

Sitting properly can spare your aching hands. The back supports your entire body, and proper spinal alignment is needed. Sit up straight without hunching your shoulders and neck. Your feet should be squarely planted with legs bent at a right angle – NOT CROSSED. Keep your elbows close to the body, bent at a comfortable angle, not sticking out from the body. Hold needles in your hands, not tucked under your arms – causes shoulder problems.

There is no correct or wrong way to grip the needles but try not to bend the wrist back too much. Circular needles are better than straights as they spread the weight of the knitting and wooden are better than metal or plastic as they flex with the hand rather than resist.

If you are having problems thicker needles are better than thin as you are not gripping as tightly. With crochet hooks you can make a handle out of sponge rollers to prevent you having to grip the hook so tightly.

In addition tight knitters put extra strain on their hands, so try and loosen up and relax your tension slightly – use a bigger needle.


CTS is probably the best known RSI. More than 8 million Americans alone have this condition in which the hands’ median nerve is trapped inside the carpal (wrist) tunnel. This cavity is formed by the transverse carpal ligament, an elastic tissue that surrounds the eight bones in the wrist. When repetitive movements irritate the slippery protective lining of the flexor tendons, they become swollen inside the carpal tunnel, compressing the median nerve. This leads to pain, tingling, loss of strength and reduced range of motion.


Also know as Ulnar Neuropathy. Caused by leaning on elbows, holding the telephone, knitting, typing – anything that requires repeated bending and straightening of the elbow. This can lead to inflammation of the ulnar nerve, which travels from the neck to the elbow then to the fingers. Symptoms are similar to CTS except the pain is felt in the ring and little fingers.


Also known as Epicondylitis, results in small ruptures in muscles and tendons located in the inside of the elbow. The muscles and tendons that bend the wrist start in this region. Wrist and hand movements create small tears and scarring in the muscle and tendon fibres. Symtoms are the same as tennis elbow but felt on the inside of the elbow. Tennis elbow is felt on the outside of the elbow, travelling down the forearm to the middle and ring fingers. Bending the wrist back or turning the palm upwards makes it more painful.


This is a condition where an irritated tendon cannot slide easily through a cavity. A knot forms blocking the space leaving the finger bent.


Warm up soaks and stretches

Perform the stretches in a basin large enough for you to immerse your hand, forearm and elbow. The water should be as hot as you can stand.

Finger stretch: Stretch out your fingers as wide as you can and hold for a slow count of 10 to 20 seconds. Bend your fingers and hold for a count of 5. Repeat up to 10 times.

Wrist stretch 1: Pull your hand backwards gently with your fingers and hold for a slow count of 10. Repeat with the other hand.

Wrist stretch 2: Make a fist. With your other hand, push down on the fist and flex it forwards towards the wrist. Hold for a slow count of 10. Repeat with the other hand.

Quick stretches during the day

Wrist tendon stretch

Place your hands together in the prayer position. Raise your elbows out to the side, keeping the palms together. Spread your fingers wide and bring them together again, slowly, five times. Repeat.

Chin tuck

Good for in a car with a headrest, or lying down with a cushion under your head. Tuck your chin down toward your chest and push your head against the headrest or cushion. Hold for a count of twenty then relax. Repeat 3 times.

Shoulder shrugs

Stand or sit up straight. Shrug your shoulders as high and tight as you can and hold for 10. Relax. Repeat 3 times. Then shrug your shoulders back as far as you can and hold for 10. Relax. Repeat 3 times.


Don’t keep wrists bent towards you for long periods.(flexion) as irritates the nerves and tendons in the wrist.

Don’t tilt your hand in the direction of the little finger(Ulnar deviation)
this position folds the tendons over the wrist bone putting needle strain on the tendons.

Don’t grip or grasp an object for long periods of time. This contracts forearm muscles, pull tendons and creates pressure and rubbing in the carpal tunnel.

Don’t pinch (grasping with only the fingers) – causes additional pressure in the carpal tunnel.

Don’t keep elbows bent forward (as in at a keyboard) for long periods – causes compression of the nerves causing irritation.

Don’t slouch.

Don’t lean over your work. Strains neck and shoulders. Also can impinge on nerve roots.

Don’t keep your arms in a work position for a long period of time, the constant stress of supporting the weight of your arms and your work can irritate the shoulder.

This information has been gathered from various sources, however I can't as yet find the file with the bibliography but will edit the post when I track it down.

off to do my stretches,
for now
Ruby xx

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Download Available!

I'm feeling very pleased with myself. I somehow managed to actually follow instructions and use Ravelry's download pattern facility for my Tippet.

tippet pattern

Please excuse the image being in black and white - not quite sure what I did wrong then when I made the jpeg copy. The actual download is in colour. And I've managed to add it to the side bar of my blog! Actually its all down to Gudrun, who gave me excellent instructions on what to do. I would have been lost without her. Thank you Gudrun. Ravelry provide figures of the number of downloads and since 10pm last night 31 people had downloaded my Tippet pattern. I find that quite amazing. Before the internet, and before Ravelry, would that have happened? I doubt it.

My aches and pains were getting to me yesterday, so to cheer myself up I placed a 'little' order with yarnmarket. I ordered the second Loop d Loop book from Teva Durham/Stacey Charles.

loop d loop

I loved the first book in this series and a good while ago, bought some of Teva's Moss yarn for a project from the book, but this is still in my to do pile. I also ordered Norah Gaughan/Berroco book 2 - again loved the first book, bought yarn.... you know how it goes.

norah gaughan

Then to make the postage worthwhile a pack of the new Berroco yarn, Seduce in this wonderful sexy and indeed, seductive jewel colour


and 6 balls of Twinkle 'Soft Chunky' in peach with a tension of 6sts to 4 inches. Not quite sure why but just have an urge that I need to follow.

I love the colour of the Seduce yarn and it looks a really interesting yarn. The write up on yarn market says the following:

Crafted with fine Italian craftsmanship in a corded, slightly nubby strand, "Seduce" helps you knit & crochet a light, lustrous, breathable fabric with little effort. We especially enjoy the way each of the fibers absorbs the dye at different rates for a luscious tone-on-tone sheen. Beautifully spun of 47% rayon, 25% linen, 17% silk & 11% nylon.

Hope its as good as it sounds.

Other than that, its one of those posts, with secret knitting projects that can't be revealed or talked about. With losing so much of last week through my neck related problems I really feel up against it at the moment. I have a number of garments to get done for the knitonthenet photoshoot and the patterns finished so they can be uploaded ready for the March issue coming out on 22nd. (I think its going to be announced today so I'm ok saying the date). I'm really pleased with my designs for this issue and desperately want to make sure they are all ready on time.

I've also been working on A Stitch in Time, which again is top secret, but I can say its looking fantastic. Every garment that's been knitted up I want. Knitwear design in the 1930's and 1940's was so beautiful, with such attention to detail and exquisite finishing touches. Working on the book is definately influencing my designing and really emphasises how much there is always to learn. A project I've been looking at has little crocheted buttons that you stuff with cotton wool, or old 'nylons' or oddments of leftover yarn from your project so you have yarn left to darn with that has been washed along with the sweater and will therefore look the same when darned in!

To paraphrase Eliza Doolittle, 'I want to knit all day, I want to knit all day, I want to knit, knit, kniiiiiiit all day!'

for now
Ruby xxx