Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Exciting beginnings and satisfying endings

Last weekend I gathered up several half completed projects and finished them off.  I was going to blog about my success and call it The End of Loose Ends.  Then we had some exciting family news which sent me running to the wool shop.  Well it doesn't take much to do that, in fact I'm really not to be trusted in wool shops, fabric shops or Haberdashers at all.  

Soft Sublime double knitting cotton and kapok mix in delicious pastel candy colours.  To make a baby blanket.  Yes The Little Model is to have a new baby brother or sister, a lovely new beginning.  The first project I knitted after taking knitting up again was a blanket for her (from The Baby Knits Book by Debbie Bliss) so it follows I would knit one for the new baby.  It is to be in a modular pattern with stars in the centre I will blog more about it later.

Back to the weekend and the satisfying endings. Firstly I finished my 'New Look' summer dress, made from some 50s style lawn and a Vintage Vogue pattern.  

The pattern was a joy to make up, using techniques like covered buttonholes that I had not practised for years.  But I learned one big lesson - Make a Toile.  If I had, I would have discovered I needed to add an inch to the waist length and a couple of inches to the skirt if the dress was to be truly New Look.  But it fits well otherwise and with a wide black patent belt the slightly raised waistline doesn't show. I already have some navy spot to make a second dress (did I not say I should not be trusted in fabric shops?) incorporating all the modifications.

Our new kitchen was finished a while ago as far as the 'man jobs' of plumbing, carpentry and electrical stuff were concerned but I had still to pull out some vintage fabric from my stash for a blind and a sale bargain meter of black and cream Toile de Joie for kitchen chair cushions.

The blind is 50s Rayon, a mainly black and yellow oriental style pattern.

The cushions have simple buttoned flaps.  No covered buttonholes here - my clever Elna has a sort of jig foot where you insert the button in a slot, press the buttonhole button on the control panel, down with the presser foot and sew.  All this requires is courage to put your foot down on the pedal and keep it there until the machine comes to a halt.  I had enough of the vintage fabric left for a tiny cushion to go on the Little Model's chair too and some proper vintage buttons from my mother-in-law's button box for the fastenings.

Finally I finished the socks that I began on holiday

And mastered the grafting stitch for the toe.

Of course this is not the End of Loose Ends as I have many other projects on the go, and not just the navy spot New Look dress and the baby blanket but a sleeveless top for me, a cowl for a friend... and more.   But that just makes me happy to think I have more days and weekends ahead sewing and knitting.  



Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Triptych 3 - slashes

My third cushion is made out of an old sweater. It came from Toast and it was very beautiful, was because I washed it carelessly and it got all felted.

I couldn't just throw it away could I?  So it joined my other old worn out favourites that still had some good bits in them,  Because it was so badly felted I knew I could just cut into it with out fear of it fraying.  That is how I came to the idea of doing a modern take on a slashed design. I have always been fascinated with historical costume, particularly the Tudors.  This portrait of Henry VIII in the National Portrait Gallery shows the old technique very clearly, the fabric of an outer garment cut at regular intervals with puffs of the under shirt pulled through, caught in places by gold clasps.  I wanted to use the idea in a little more random way.  

Using the Kidsilk Haze again, I knitted lots of irregular banana shapes

I began by placing the shapes fairly regularly when I first planned where they would go, but got bolder as I began to dig my little sharp pointed scissors in to snip and slash.

I pushed the woolly bananas up from the inside, sandwiching them between the cut edges of the cushion and back stitched them in place.

This one took on a nice natural curve

I thought it would be fun to use odd buttons and stitched the button holes in blanket stitch using red, green and purple wool to match.

 This cushion is the biggest of the three so it is going to go in the seat of the Windsor armchair.

So there you have it, three quite different pieces of good cloth cut from worn out garments, a handful if yarn left overs and a lot of fun.