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

Monday, June 23, 2008

49 (and a half) skirts and a load of fish

On Sunday I went to the Liverpool Design Show, which is a great new event similar in emphasis to the design shows in London. It was at a great new venue called the Contemporary and Urban Centre, which is an old warehouse built in the 17th century and originally used for receiving and selling fish from the trawlers coming in from Greenland - the building is actually on Greenland Street.


It has been empty - in fact, derilict for eight years and a truely beautiful renovation has taken place, completely sympathetic to the original building whilst making it a contemporary, useable space.

cuc interior last

At the show I had the opportunity to meet and have a lovely chat with one of my favourite textile artists, Alison Willoughby. I first saw her work about three years ago at an exhibition at my local art gallery. Alison produces fabulous circular skirts constructed in the most amazing ways. These are a couple of them

willoughby 1

willoughby 2

They are just fantastic.

What was really great was that I had just bought both myself and Charlie, a copy of her book 49 and a half skirts - this cover is of the US edition printed by Interweave which is just called 49 skirts, but other than the cover the two books are identical.

49 sensational skirts

It has inspired us both, and Charlie had already started planning her first Willoughby skirt. Its a great book with guidance on many of the techniques Alison uses to achieve the effects that she does. There is also a circular skirt pattern at the back of the book to help you get started.

It was lovely to meet Alison, she was extremely friendly and happy to talk to all her fans - even those of us who got giddy with excitement!

On the knitting front, I have nothing I can reveal right at this moment, I have just sent off a project that is being included in a book! And other than that am working away on designs for knitonthenet which are due to be photographed very soon. I'm using silks, cottons and hemp yarns this time. I will hopefully have a couple of little sneak previews shortly.

for now
Ruby xx

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

at the very bottom of a dark, dark trunk...

there was ... a bag, and in the bag was, this


a crochet project I had forgotten all about, using Jaeger alpaca 4 ply, long since discontinued yet gorgeous, gorgeous stuff, and which had been and gone by the time our love affair with alpaca really kicked in. In the bag was the pattern, which is from RYC book 4 and is called holiday

holiday shawl

Its a very simple crochet pattern.


You join each motif to the next to make strips then you join the strips together.


Its really effective and very, very pretty. And the yarn just turns it into something so sensuous. I think this will be a good project to take on holiday at the end of July. It will be very hot so little crochet squares could be just the thing.

I had been reading about Rowan's 30th anniversary recently, and finding this hidden pattern made me think about the earliest Rowan patterns I have knitted.

This is my earliest project that is still in existence


Its from Rowan number nine, it took me four years to make and I hated it from the moment it was finished. Mainly because of the shape, the armholes were at my elbows!
It now languishes in a bag in the attic, never to be thrown away because it took so long to make but never to be worn again!

A slightly earlier project that unfortunately is with us no more is this beauty from Rowan book seven

who I really am

I wore and wore this little top to the extent that it eventually fell apart. From when I first saw this image in the pattern book, I believed when I wore a Rowan garment I would magically turn into this vision of perfection. I didn't of course, and I never even got the basket!

My very earliest project of all is from Rowan book four and it is in this photo of the perfect Rowan family

the ideal family

Can you guess which garment it would be?

That's right. The one the old bloke with the beard is wearing! The pattern came in two sizes, enormous and so big you could fit 6 people in it (it was a unisex pattern) and was a long, slow knit. I loved it, but rarely wore it as it was so big, heavy and hot. In the end an ex boyfriend benefited from it, and I regret it now - I wouldn't like to wear it, but I would love to still have it - however, I certainly won't be knitting it again, I must have had a lot more time on my hands in those days.

for now
Ruby xx

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Its my birthday and I'll sew if I want to....

Sorry for the gratuitous misquoting of song lyrics but as it is my birthday I am going to take a bit of time out to sew. I have a number of knitting projects on the go, and they are all 'getting there' but I just thought an hour or two today cutting out the pattern and making fit adjustments wouldn't be the end of the world (Listen to that guilt!). So I found a different pattern in my stash to use with the barefoot roses fabric and it is this New Look pattern (no 6587)

newlook 6587

I am going to do version C without the ribbon trims at the bottom. The cap sleeves and collar will be in the contrast pink spotted material. If I have enough of the spotted fabric I may try to make a length to insert in the skirt near to the bottom but I don't really know if I have enough. I will cut the sleeves and collar first to see. Here's the two fabrics together again.

roses and spots

I'm going to have to adjust the waist length as waists are always in the wrong position on me so I'll take some photos as I do it to share later.

I got a lovely bouquet of flowers off my beloved which show our chosen kitchen colours really well.

kitchen colours 2

This is the purple by itself, which will be the colour of the doors.

kitchen colours 1

and here it is with green as a supporting colour. The shade of green isn't right but it does illustrate really well how they will work together. This is the tile that I'm hoping to use.

green tile

Its from Fired Earth from their French Glaze range called Haute Provence. This is green 152 and there's also green 21 which is very similar, so I've sent for a sample of each to see which is the right one. They're not cheap and I'm adding birthday money to my kitchen fund to get enough together for them. Saying that we're only using them in moderation and at the same time they are so important to the finished look of the kitchen that it will be worth it.

I'm off to tea at my parent's tonight, mum is making us a roast dinner with lots of roast potatoes and I hope (if you're reading this mum) an enormous pile of carrot and turnip.

In the meantime, I'm off to try and find our stepladder so I can search my buttons for the right ones to go with my dress.

Have a lovely day

for now
Ruby xxx
P.s. edited FOUR times for spelling mistakes. Disgraceful.

Monday, June 09, 2008

And the winner is.......

I went for the old fashioned approach as I don't have a random number generator and wrote everyone's names on a piece of paper, folded them up, put them in a bowl and then got a third party to draw out the name. (I found it really exciting!)

And the lucky name pulled out is .... Stephanie N.

Congratulations, Stephanie. Its a lovely book, I hope you enjoy it. I'll email you shortly to get your postal address. And commiserations to everyone else and don't forget to try again next month. I haven't managed to reply to everyone over the weekend but I will do so during the week.

for now
Ruby xx

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Barefoot Roses

roses close up

Despite not getting any sewing done recently I couldn't resist buying these fabrics a few days ago when I went to a very exciting but hush hush meeting. The floral cotton is called Barefoot Roses which is such a beautiful name. I bought a smaller piece of the spotted fabric to put with the floral as a trim.

barefoot roses

I just love the colours.

I also bought this Amy Butler pattern which I'm considering using with these fabrics

amy butler

Its a very different shape for me and although I really like it I don't really think the tunic shape is right for my shape. I think its going to be tight over the hips so I might incorporate the top section which I love into a different skirt shape. I'm going to start with a toile of the existing pattern though and see what I think. I'm probably going to have to move the waist position and make the skirt shorter.

I've been thrilled at the number of comments I've received this week, Its great to 'meet' some of you for the first time. I will try and reply to everyone over the weekend. Don't forget there's still time to post before the end of the competition on Saturday morning for your chance to win Knit so Fine. There's even a Knit So Fine Kal and blog now here

for now
Ruby xx