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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pioneer Laundry Mystery Pattern

Folded up inside an old knitting book I found two sheets of paper from the Pioneer Laundry -

I don't know where the Pioneer Laundry was but as can be seen they are the van salesman's summary sheets of work taken in, given back and money taken - all in pounds, shillings and pence (d) - so pre-decimal. On the back of the two sheets is typed a knitting pattern. It is stated as using 'extra double knitting wool' using old UK 4 and 6 needles which interestingly are 5 and 6 mm needles respectively. There are no finished work measurements or pictures given so it is very much a mystery knitting project. Here are the two pages of the pattern below:

I have yet to attempt knitting this pattern, but if anyone would really like to give it a try email me and I can send you a better quality pdf version of the pattern. I would really love to see what this pattern could look like. There is the odd mistake that I've spotted in the typing but I think thats part of the fun of solving the mystery by also sorting out the mistakes. There are also no sewing up instructions and no tension quoted! It does say it is to fit sizes 36 and 38 inches so gives us a bit of a clue as to likely finished dimensions. Maybe this could be the first of many mystery knitting patterns that we can all solve. I have been sent another far more complicated mystery pattern that maybe we could move on to if any one finds these things as interesting as I do!

I would also love to hear from anyone who has other examples of patterns like this, typed or handwritten, with no real explanation of the project to be undertaken. They would fit quite nicely with a major project I am starting on in the new year but I will tell you about that nearer the time.

for now
Ruby xxx

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Perfect Christmas with the Andrews Sisters

The single most exciting thing for me this week was the release of The Perfect Christmas Jumper from Vintage Christmas Knits as a downloadable PDF. You can also use the link in the right hand column of the blog to download the pattern on ravelry. It can now be bought individually for £3.00 but it also means all the lovely readers who have pre-ordered Vintage Christmas and start knitting their christmas jumpers (if they want to of course!) I have just heard today of the first casting on which is really, really exciting. I can't wait to see photos of finished winter woollies. Some of the pages of the PDF and the book have been such fun to put together and I think, look just right for the period and the books they are emulating. I can't wait to show you the rest of the patterns I've been working on!

I have also been 'attending' one of Stefanie Japel's online classes. In actual fact, the class I have been doing online, is 'How to teach an online class'. I am hoping that in 2010 I will be able to offer vintage inspired online knitting (and hopefully dressmaking) classes. As a teacher I'm finding the potential behind this really exciting - being able to make contact with people all over the world who otherwise you might never get the chance to connect with. So over the christmas period I will be thinking of a selection of online classes to make available. Is there anything in particular you would like to learn? I've got lots of ideas of my own but would be really interested to know what appeals to you. It would be a great help to know I'm heading in the right direction.

There are a lot of plans beginning to come together for 2010 which will involve, naturally, a heck of a lot of work. On that front I now have a wonderful freelance, part time, long way away assistant, who I already couldn't do without. This is Ingrid, and you can read her own craft adventures on her blog, IngridNation. She is also now writing, very regularly, on the knitonthenet blog and dealing with a lot of queries that come through by email and also on ravelry groups. She is brilliant. On this point of too much to do, I am looking for knitters, preferably in the North West of England (so I can meet up with you in person) for sample knitting for all types of projects. I need experienced knitters who can understand a pattern and who can identify when something isn't working. If you are interested please contact me at ruby[at]dentrassis(dot)com. I probably won't sort anything out until the new year but it would be good to know if there's anyone out there who would like to get involved.

And finally, with 12 days to go until christmas what better way to start counting down than with the wonderful Andrew Sisters with their rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas with that old crooner, Bing Crosby. Enjoy!

for now,
Ruby xxx

Monday, November 30, 2009

Vintage Christmas Knits can now be pre-ordered!

I am so excited about the launch of this mini collection. The booklet contains 16 glamorous yet practical knits for the christmas season and those chilly months beyond. Inspired and adapted from patterns of the 1900s to the 1950s. All the projects can be knitted as gifts or for yourself. Would you like a look at the cover? I haven't stopped looking at it since last night and even dreamt about it when I did fall asleep!

It is very much inspired by and evokes the styling of Stitchcraft and my other favourite, Needlework illustrated. The cover features our mystery knitting project with its companions. The design knitted in 4 ply alpaca is called Hugs and Kisses and includes the Dutch Bonnet already featured, a luxuriously soft and squidgy scarf and snug little mittens. The mittens and bonnet are both multi sized and include a child's fit.

Other projects include: The Perfect Christmas Jumper, Child's dressing gown, hot water bottle cover! tea cosy, motoring hood, fair isle gloves, victorian stockings, simple corsage, bed socks, the most beautiful bed jacket, slippers, cape and a cuddly toy!

It can now be pre-ordered by following the links on the blog or via ravelry (ravelry links will be added to the post and the blog as they become live). Each pattern can be purchased individually as a PDF download for £3.00 as they become available or the book can be pre-ordered as either a print or a PDF version. The printed booklet costs £14 (+ shipping) and the e-book version £10. PLEASE NOTE PURCHASERS OF THE PRINTED OR E-BOOK VERSIONS OF THE BOOKLET WILL RECEIVE PDF PATTERNS AS THEY BECOME AVAILABLE SO THAT THEY CAN GET STARTED ON THEIR CHRISTMAS KNITTING! The booklet should be despatched around the 14th of December.

All pre-orders of the print version will receive a signed copy.

Here is a glimpse of the lovely Charlie wearing her own Perfect Christmas Jumper.

Very obviously influenced by the 40s, this festive sweater has T shaped sleeve heads to create that fabulously boxy line. Body length is short and fitted but the pattern includes advice to get the right length. The christmas trees are knitted using fair isle technique and the reindeer a mix of fair isle and intarsia. The pattern uses 4 ply yarn.

The back features a neat little button band with pretty, decorative vintage buttons. Charlie is off to feed the chickens in her land girl dungarees. The pattern is available for a young teen upwards.

Hugs and Kisses and The Perfect Christmas Jumper will both be available for purchase as downloads over the next 48 hours.

I do hope you enjoy the collection. I think it has projects you can knit as gifts all year round and I hope you think so too.

You can pre-order your signed copy of Vintage Christmas Knits here.

Monday, November 23, 2009

And the winners are...

Picked by Charlie's own fair hands the winners of the mystery knitting competition are

Ms Lestat
Alabama Whirly

Ms Lestat actually had the closest guess of anyone so I am particularly pleased that her name was picked out of the hat. If you could all email me at ruby[at]dentrassis[dot]com with your addresses and I will get your vintage prize sent out to you as soon as possible.

Congratulations! I do hope you like the goodies I have picked out for you.

So what was I knitting? It was actually part of a three part set which I have called Hugs and Kisses because of the resemblance of the stitch pattern to kisses. The proper photographs are not yet available but Charlie made herself available once again and here she is, in her Dutch Bonnet

A real favourite of the late 40s and 50s this pretty little hat comes with a separate enveloping scarf - see how close you were Ms Lestat?

and snug mittens - not yet photographed. The bonnet is knitted in one piece using different yarn combinations and needle sizes, plus it will have an applied I cord around the lower edge to match the mittens which have an applied I cord right around them. At the front edge a contrast turning row is worked and the under layer of the hat is worked and then sewn in place on the inside of the hat. If knitting the hat for a child the I cord can be extended and used to tie in a bow under the chin.

You can see on this photo that the I cord hasn't been knitted yet and how the hat grows from the centre back panel.

All three pieces come in the one pattern so you can pick and choose which you knit and all three use this lovely textured stitch which is a really pleasurable knit.

The stitch does feature again in one other item in the pattern booklet but I'll keep that a secret for now. Interestingly some of the items that have been mentioned do appear in the booklet but I will tell you more about those at the end of the week.

On Saturday night Charlie went to a fancy dress party where the theme was the circus and clowns and she went as Pierrot. We had a lovely afternoon customising her outfit and then doing her make up. She looks quite different to the sweet little thing in the photos above.

I have to say, I just love doing fancy dress on other people. So if anybody needs me you know where to find me!

On that note, congratulations once again to the three winners but

for now,
Ruby xxx

Competition Winner(s)!

Thank you everyone who entered the competition to guess the mystery knitting. Unfortunately, nobody actually got it right. However, what I am going to do is draw out three names later today and send a little goodie bag to each of those names, so good luck!

I will reveal what the knitting is when I give out the names later. Photographs for this project and the reindeer jumper are being done on Wednesday (weather permitting!) and the patterns should be online by the end of the week. It will then also be possible to pre-order the complete booklet.

I will be back with the results later today.

for now
Ruby xxx

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A Vintage Christmas Competition

Over the last few weeks I have been working on a very special project. A little knitting pattern booklet called "Vintage Christmas Knits". It features between 12 to 15 vintage inspired and adapted patterns from Victorian time to the 1950s, focusing mainly on the 40s and 50s. It will be available to pre-order in the next week or so in both print and digital versions. The 'proper' photos aren't done yet but here is a sneak preview of a couple of the designs featured.

knitting vintage

This is the perfect 1940s christmas sweater in classic red and white, to fit a wide range of sizes. Just enough kitsch but not too much with that quintessential sweater girl shaping and christmas motif. It is knitted in Jamieson & Smith 2 ply Jumper Yarn.

knitting vintage

The repeat pattern almost looks like snowy peaks!

The next design is still a bit of a secret, but will give you something to think about.
This is inspired by a late 40s, early 50s design but I have reconstructed it completely to make it an easier knit.

knitting vintage

It is knitted in 4 ply alpaca yarns and is dreamily soft. The main part of the design which is on the photo is worked in a simple slip stitch.

Sometimes your favourite part of a design is a detail, something that not everyone will even see. Its the case with this design. I really, really love how this section looks

knitting vintage

Nothing complicated but completely different from the original design which had the piece you can see sewn in place rather than joined as you can see here. This just works so nicely I think.


I'll reveal more next week but I would love to see in the meantime if someone can identify exactly what it is that I'm knitting. And as an early christmas treat I have a little goodie bag of vintage patterns, buttons and yarn to give away to the winner who I will draw at the end of next week. Just leave a comment on this post saying exactly what you think it might be.

Good luck!

I am also hard at work at some other secret knitting for The Knitter. I am very excited to have a number of patterns coming out in their magazine from about March/April of next year. For now however this is all I can reveal.

knitting vintage

And finally, the Knit a Poppy Appeal draws to a close at midnight tonight. Donations have surpassed our wildest dreams standing at present at £2632.00. Its quite astonishing, thank you all so much. There is still time however if you would still like to get your poppy pattern by making your £2 donation here.

I have been asking for images of the poppies to put on the knitonthenet blog and here is a very special one from my lovely husband, Gavin, who daringly decided to knit his poppy this year from embroidery thread and 2mm needles. I think its come out fantastic. The centre is a vintage button.

knitted poppy

This tiny little poppy is about the third of the size of the original but is knitted to exactly the same pattern on 2mm needles. Particularly great for men who might want a more discreet poppy to wear.

Hope to hear from you all soon,

for now

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

knit a poppy on BBC Radio 2

This morning I had my 5 minutes - or should I say 20 seconds - of fame. Sarah Kennedy of Radio Two told her listeners all about the Knit a Poppy campaign. You can here a little clip from it below.

The response was fantastic and the appeal has now received over £1000 in donations which is unbelievable. So a big thank you to everyone who has donated and again I would love to see photos of your completed poppies, so please send these to ingrid[at]knitonthenet[dot]com.

for now
a big big thank you
Ruby xxxx

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Knit a Poppy

The official Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal launched a couple of days ago in the UK. Our own Knit a Poppy Appeal has been running for a couple of weeks and is doing really well, but if you haven't yet had a chance to download my knitted poppy pattern here is the link. A donation of £2 is required for the downloads with all proceeds going to the Appeal.


You can knit the poppy just for yourself or you can knit a few, sell them to family, friends or colleagues and donate the money direct to the Poppy Appeal. I would love to know if you have done this so I can estimate how much the poppy pattern has really raised for the Poppy Appeal. We also have started a Poppy Gallery on the knitonthenet blog and I would love to see photos of your poppies so please do send them to ingrid[at]knitonthenet[dot]com and she will share them on the blog.

I'm thrilled to hear that many people in Canada are also knitting the Poppy for Remembrance Day too. I'm honoured that there will be people around the world wearing my little poppy on such a significant day.

for now
Ruby xxx

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Stitch in Time fashion night

The day finally dawned yesterday when our fashion show was to happen at the Cath Kidston store in Liverpool.

The main aim of the evening was to promote knitting and to hopefully get some non-knitters to pick up needles and have a go. The fashion show combined selected garments from A Stitch in Time with those from the latest Cath Kidston clothing range. The Cath Kidston staff laid on tea, cakes and jam sandwiches which went down a treat.



The cakes were all made by the lovely Genevieve, seen posing below in the Diagonal Rib cardigan in royal blue


The show got underway with Lianne very bravely coming out first in The Call of the Sea



The brief for all the models was 'ham it up' and enjoy themselves which they all did fabulously


This is the adorable Yuki in Greet the New Season playing at being a domestic godess.



Lianne following in the domestic vibe using a Cath Kidston handkerchief as a turban - they are the perfect size and shape.

A certain amount of frivolity ensued and the urge to reveal knitted underwear became to much for some people to bear -



This young lady is Meg, who had no fear of the catwalk at all, modelling the Blackberry cardigan


followed by Sunray Ribbing



She shows really well how the garments can be worn in a casual way.


We gave Light and Lovely and Enchanting in Black and white a playful feel with vintage shorts and skirt respectively



Frilly Jumper is modelled by Suzie who looks really elegant here. She's also wearing my great grandmother's polished jet beads and earrings.

Yuki is wearing my daughter's dungarees for a modern take on the Land Girl look. The jacket is a second version of To Set off your summer frocks which I finished sewing up on Monday night! This time I used Pure Castlemilk Moorit with 30% silk from The Natural Fibre Company. The firm texture was perfect for this jacket which needs a lot of body for the sleeves to stand up.



I think this is my favourite look of the night actually.

Next is Michelle looking slightly more demure showing off Made So Quickly rather than her undies!


Not to be outdone Lianne closed the show 'revealing' her Slimline Undies



The store very kindly let me have a table just for the books


I was rather tired by the end of the evening but I did agree to one photo of me in my own Made So Quickly and Cath Kidston Tea Dress - looking slightly relieved that we had got through it all ok.


And finally here's my favourite photo of the night of all the girls together

the girls

Thank you girls for a really enjoyable evening.

for now
Ruby xx

All photographs courtesy of Charlie Moon

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A Stitch in Time with Cath Kidston

I am so excited to show you this poster. To see my name on the same page as Cath Kidston - I really can't believe it

Cath Kidston event

If you do fancy popping along to the evening I think places are limited so it is advisable to phone the store to reserve a place. I think the first 20 places get front row seats at the fashion show!

for now,
a very excited
Ruby xx

Edited: Date wrong on poster! Said Weds instead of Tues - corrected poster now uploaded.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What do Cath Kidston, Ysolda, Selvedge & buttons

... have in common?

Answer: They are all in this post.

I have been waiting to tell you about a visitor to my stand at IKnit but was waiting for the photos to be available. Well now they are. Ysolda Teague came and spent some time with me and we had a great time dressing her in garments from A Stitch in Time and discovered that the first garment she knitted was from the original Stitch in Time and was Such Flattering Puff Sleeves.

Such flattering puff sleeves

This is also shown on Ysolda's blog. Funnily enough I finished sewing yet another of these sweaters at the IKnit show to wear for an evening out whilst I was in London. This is the end result.

lemon flattering puff sleeves

I knitted the second size, but again played with the fit to suit my excessively narrow shoulders and much preferred the fit as a result. I kept the length short and have added some pleated interfacing to the 'puff' to provide some structure and shape. It was a technique used a lot in the 40s in both knitted and woven garments to add structure. I'll show how its done in another post. I used RYC Cashsoft which is much softer than the recommended Jamieson & Smith so doesn't have as much natural support from the fabric itself so needs that little bit of help.

I haven't as yet got the full details, but I am hosting a very exciting evening in Liverpool on October 20th. I have been asked by the Cath Kidston store in Liverpool to present an evening of vintage knitwear alongside their Autumn/Winter 2009 clothing range. We are having a fashion show, presentation, enormous quantities of tea and cup cakes, followed by a chance to mingle and knit. It is a ticket only event but I should have full details of that side of things by the end of the week. The knitted garments will all be from A Stitch in Time and I am styling them for the fashion show with the lovely vintage inspired pieces from Cath Kidston. I'm so excited about this event as I am a big fan of everything Cath Kidston does and it is hopefully only the first in a number of collaborative events that we will be doing.

If this wasn't enough for me to cope with, I have a small article in the latest issue of Selvedge (Issue 30).


It is their 'Guiding Hands' piece and explains what to look out for when buying vintage knitting patterns. I am so proud to be included in this magazine and plan to order the free rosette you can get as a contributor. (Is that very sad? I don't think so?) I think its a little late coming out so is only beginning to appear in shops this week.

So what can top all of this? Well, after yarn there's only one thing for me and that's buttons - vintage buttons. On Sunday I went to the Vintage Textile Fair at the Armitage Centre in Manchester. It only takes place twice a year but it is a great fair.
I bought A LOT of buttons. Many of them are destined for pieces in A Stitch in Time Vol 2, but some are also for personal projects.


This first group are plastics from the 1930s to the 1950s.


This more varied group are predominantly plastics from 1930s to 1950s with one set of horn buttons. The red, white and blue buttons are coronation ware and I would really like a way to fit these into Stitch in Time 2.


The black buttons in this group are glass - the larger ones from the 1950s, the tiny ones from between 1890 and 1920. The third button is hand painted mother of pearl from around 1900


This last bunch are a mixture from 1940s to 1970s in plastic.

art deco buckle

This beautiful art deco buckle was a gift off the lovely Maureen who I buy most of my buttons from. This needs something very special but I amundecided whether it will be a sewn or knitted garment.

And finally, I've been playing with a beret/tam to complement my flattering puff sleeves. I'm using leftovers from the sweater itself, a spare ball of Jaeger Matchmaker 4 ply in charcoal, and the lovely lighter grey from Jamieson & Smith.


I'm designing this organically - making it up as I go along! Its knitted in the round from the brim up in traditional manner, however I have tinkered with the increasing but I'm really pleased with it up to now. The increases are usually done on one row shortly after completing the ribbing, but I've increased more gradually to alter the shape slightly. We shall see! I've got to start working the crown next which might need a little forward planning. I haven't completely decided yet what is going to be the centre but I have a few ideas to choose from.


Phew, so for now,

Ruby xx