Saturday, February 25, 2012

Finished Shawls! Also, Post #100!

Citron: a project for process knitters. I am not a process knitter.

I finally finished my Citron Thursday night, after 10 months of working on and off. You may remember me casting on way back in April. I blocked it that night expecting to take pictures Friday morning, but was thwarted by giant piles of slush falling from the sky. Seriously weather, what gives? I managed to sneak out this morning for some icy cold, housecoat clad photos. 

I'm trying to pay more attention to the photos I take for this blog, and I did a few things better here, like daytime shooting with natural light. What I didn't take into account was the vertiginous effect of all those intersecting lines, the wind, and that the charming decrepit state of the old gate would actually cause it to begin falling apart while I was shooting. Learning's what's important, right?

A Christmas deadline miracle. 
I finished this Oana shawl back in December, actually managing to get it to my mother on time for Christmas. I may have blocked it Christmas day in the early hours of the morning with the aid of a hair dryer, but it still counts. I love this pattern. Particularly the way it seems almost inside out, with the plain garter edging and lacy centre panel. Plain centres are one of my pet peeves with shawls, though I still plan to make a gazillion more Ishbels.

I also finished a long over-due Turban-ite for a friend of mine. The unbelievably sheddy angora is still drying after a soak in some lavender Eucalan, so photos have to wait. I'm also thinking of giving the model head a coat of non-neon paint...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Vintage Crochet Distraction Time

The crafting hiatus continues as I realize my studio is a non-functional disaster and needs to be sorted out right now. There was a toddler style foot stomp somewhere in there. There's also a few other doings requiring tons of time in the next two weeks, including everyone I know who ever left Toronto coming back for reading week. I kind of wish schools would stagger their reading weeks just so I could actually see everyone I wanted to without my head exploding. 

So without much to show you fine folks on the creation end of things, I've scanned a great 1945 bag pattern for your enjoyment. It's from Clark's Book No. 219, which I found one hot summer afternoon in a little store on College street that is open for 6 non-consecutive hours every week, over the span of about three also non-consecutive days. It is seriously odd. Much like this booklet, which features a film noire style glamour shot for every design. This is option 2711:

Doesn't she look like she's about to pull a revolver out of her purse? I think it would be adorable done up in some straw-like fibre as a summer bag, either in a tan or a bright yellow. I know I've seen bags like that on my thrifting journeys, and in the closets of my some of my lovely older lady relatives, but is yarn like that still available? Maybe some hemp or craft twine would do the trick. I think that circle on the front is a set-in change purse, which is all kinds of fantastic.

If you click on the pattern image you'll get a bigger version. I haven't actually attempted this pattern, so I can't vouch for its correctness/clarity/lack-of-insanity-causing, but if you end up stitching it, I'd love to see.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Peggie's Book

Phew! Fixing up my studio and sorting through/listing my patterns is taking way more energy than I expected. Still no excuse for dropping off the face of the blog-world. There's not much sewing or crafting going on right now, but I thought I would share one of my favourite sewing artifacts from my collection.

This is Peggie Gibson's Home Economics note book, from 1939/40. One of these days I'll get around to taking the rings out and scanning each page, but for now I offer a few highlights.

I love her drawings, and the way she used bits of fabric for colour. The pictures cut out from pattern and fashion magazines are great for seeing what caught a young girl's eye at the time. I keep wincing when I find cuttings from gorgeous catalogues, but I guess it would have been like cutting up your copy of the Anthropologie catalogue now. Not such a big deal.

I wish I could walk into a fabric store now and buy these by the yard. They'd be more likely to end up as quilts than clothes, except for that great navy at the bottom of the second column.

There are some gorgeous sewing samples in the notebook, and I want to find a way to capture them better than the scanner can. Peggie used a lot of liquid glue in her notebook so the pages are pretty warped and it's interfering with capturing the pages accurately.

In other news, I think I've figured out what my first summer sewing project should be. 

I've totally seen these dresses made up before and couldn't figure out what the slits were all about. Shorts! Of course!

Also, the store is full of new patterns, and I'm in the process of listing a huge amount of plus size and half size patterns over the next few days.

I hope everyone's week is off to a great start!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

January Round Up

Like many of you, I'm trying to focus my crafting this year on reducing the stash and dealing with the mountain of half done projects in my life. With that in mind I'm starting a monthly round up, tallying how many yards/grams/UFOs are in  and out. I'm counting anything I've started this year but left dormant for longer than a week as a new UFO.

January was a bit of a bust with the grand total at 2yds of fabric out, used on my Tulip Skirt. None came in, but I did buy some wool felt for a craft project. I'm going with that not counting. So...

January: -2 yards fabric                 Year to Date: Same
               0  grams yarn                                     Same
               0 UFOs completed                              Same

Here's to hoping February is a bit more productive. Right now I'm knitting away on the last few rows of my long-ignored Citron.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

And the Winner is...

Number 7! I used, but have no idea how to show you guys that...

Congratulations, Lorraine! I look forward to seeing the flies on some hand knitted sweaters in the future.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Vintage Smiles

What attracts me the most to vintage is the evidence of previous owners. With patterns that usually means cut and altered tissue, someone's name carefully penned onto an envelope, or a discarded sleeve tucked away with its pattern piece. And a plethora of old rusted pins. Sharp ones. I love these little connections to past seamstresses, hoard vials of said pins and fabric scraps, and scan each little bit of writing before I can let them go. These are all fairly regular finds, but sometimes a pattern has particularly wonderful secrets tucked inside.

I was planning on letting this Simplicity blouse pattern from 1951 go off into the shop as part of my destash plan. When I pulled out the envelope's contents, I was surprised to find a card backing with it. I flipped it over, expecting a mail-in request for a pattern catalogue, and instead found this: 

I love these ladies and their big, wide grins. A nursing school graduation portrait maybe. Although the pattern was never used, it looks very similar to the blouses in the photo.

It's hard not to wonder about the woman this pattern and photo belonged to. Are any of these faces hers? Maybe a sister or cousin? Why did she never make up the blouse? Did she miss the photo, or perhaps had another copy framed on her wall?

I'll never get to know the answers, but I'm glad for the chance to wonder.

Giveaway Ends Tonight!

Just a reminder, you only have until midnight tonight to enter the Fly Button Giveaway.

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Seriousaurus and Friends

The 80s were a strange time, filled with magical bears that shot happiness beams from their guts, children that grew in cabbage fields and yet were not feared as Village of the Damned style spawn of evil, and... Novelty sweaters? Oh, and I was born somewhere in there too. Let's take a moment to celebrate the decade with a few of its craft pattern offerings.

First up we have a Funshine Bear plushie pattern from 1983. Emma had a store bought one of these back when we were little. She loved that bear. I thought it watched me sleep during slumber parties, but I was somewhat suspicious of all glass-eyed toys.

According to the back of the envelope, you should end up with a little guy that looks something like this:

Not bad for fun fur, craft felt, and just a pinch of wanting to eat you.

Next up is a series of Cabbage Patch Kids Christmas tree ornaments from 1985. Because I know when I think of Christmas, I think of a tree filled with tiny effigies of terrifying vegetable children. Just wouldn't be festive without 'em.

And hey, you can always tie them to your bike basket or neck to keep the festivities going year-round.

Lastly, we have my personal favourite, the great Seriousaur of 1988. Forced to forever dwell on a sweater, he still manages to keep things cool. How do we know he's serious?

His glasses of course! Sadly there are no books on the sweater. But he had time now! Time for reading!

Poor Seriousaur. Someone needs to duplicate stitch some novels in there for him.