Thursday, July 21, 2011

Susan Crawford Vintage at KnitNation 2011, in photos.

We have all been really busy since coming back from Knit Nation last weekend. It has been a whirlwind, make no mistake, including manic sewing up and lots of work on the book. For that reason, I do apologise for the short delay in getting some pictures to you of the Susan Crawford Vintage stand.

So, with no further delay, here's a photostory of some of the things that happened at Knit Nation 2011.

On set-up day I got there a little bit before Susan, to set up her Susan Crawford Vintage Knitting stand, so made the most of my time and knitted like the wind in the quadrangle at Imperial College to finish the last piece of my Jan Sweater to wear on Sunday.

It was great to get lots of new garments from Susan's A Stitch in Time volume 2 out on display for the public to see. It took a whole day's worth of sewing up this lovely nile green Excelana fair isle cardigan, and it was worth every stitch, as it looked stunning on display with the other half of its twin-set.

The grey ribbed jumper with bobble detail was a real crowd-puller, with it's simple lines and easy wearability, as was the mustard coloured cardigan behind it. When  cover model, Theo wore the cardigan on Sunday she really turned heads. I'm only sorry that I didn't get a picture of her.

Julieta from Knitshop came along to help out on the Susan Crawford Vintage Knitting stand while Susan was teaching on Saturday. She modelled one of the new designs from A Stitch in Time 2 which is made from her own mercerised cotton.

Susan's was a gorgeous stand, with lots and lots of garments to look at and try on. As well as showcasing those from the new book, there were four from A Stitch in Time volume 1 and lots of beautiful accessories and garments from Vintage Gifts to Knit. The Perfect Christmas Jumper, which you can just see on the right had an amazing amount of interest for a humid July day!

Look! There was even a digital frame with lots and lots of beautiful shots of the knitwear from A Stitch in Time volume 2. It was a really great way to share a little of the work that has been going on behind the scenes with you all.

Of course, there was Excelana by the bagful. The Jan Sweater, seen here in powedered egg, the slip stitch jumper that can just be seen behind it, and the gorgeous fair isle accessories on the top of the cabinet showed a nice range of different ways to work with the wool. I think that ruby red was the runaway success of all the colours at knitnation. I wonder what you will all make with it?

All images copyright Ingrid Murnane

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Susan Crawford Vintage at Knit Nation 2011

It is a busy week here at Arbour House, as we plan our stand, decide on our outfits and gather lots of books, patterns and yarn for this weekend's knitting event in London, Knit Nation.

Jumpers and Hats - see them in their entirety at Knit Nation!
Image copyright Ingrid Murnane

We have a stand this year in the marketplace, so do come over and visit us if you're attending. We shall have lots of goodies on display, with lovely vintage garments from A Stitch in Time volume 1. We shall also be taking lots of new garments and accessories, previously unseen which are from the forthcoming A Stitch in Time volume 2.

The marketplace is open on Friday evening for a class-attendee's preview from 5-7pm, then on Saturday from 10am-6pm, and Sunday from 10am-5pm. Our stand, Susan Crawford Vintage, will look somewhat like our Woolfest one below.

Woolfest 2011, image copyright, Susan Crawford

As you can see, as well as our books and Susan's patterns, we shall have lots of 4ply Excelana, which Susan has used for many of the patterns in A Stitch in Time volume two, including the two garments on the left of the picture above.

In exciting news, Susan thought it would be nice to offer a 10% discount on Excelana yarns to any pre-order customers of A Stitch in Time, Vintage Knitting Patterns, Vol2, who buy from her stand. To claim your discount please bring a print out of your order confirmation from the knitonthenet shop (only pre-orders directly made on the shop I’m afraid) and we will deduct 10% off any Excelana purchase.

Come and find out what this is at Knit Nation!
Image copyright Ingrid Murnane

We shall have a guide available for all of the garments that we have on show to work out how many balls of Excelana you'd need to knit them up in your size. Please do just ask, if you'd like to be ready for the book coming out, or would like to knit something in Excelana from Vintage Gifts to Knit or A Stitch in Time volume 1. We can work it out for you and advise which projects would be suitable.

We do hope to see you at Knit Nation. Do tell us in the comments if you're going to be going too.

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A Little Finishing

We're all still working hard, here, on the final parts of A Stitch in Time volume 2. Today, Susan has been pattern grading, Gavin has been laying up some of the patterns on the computer, for printing and I have been sewing up and finishing some sample garments.

Here's a sneaky peek behind the scenes.

The set-up for seaming and finishing includes equipment for blocking and pressing, including a large blocking board. We have copious supplies of darning needles, pins, the right yarns for sewing the right garments, and of course, the making-up instructions. The guitar in the background is entirely optional, but I find that listening to some podcasts or a bit of Tim Minchin helps it along!

 Here's a garment, almost finished. I'm setting in one of the sleeves here.

This is a cardigan made from Excelana -the main colour is Nile Green. It has some fair isle along the top of the two fronts which made for a rather epic session of weaving in ends.

 A little further along in the process - the ends have been woven in, the shoulders and side seams sewn up, the sleeve seams sewn, and here again I'm setting in one of its sleeves.
I'd love to show you the finished items, but I'm afraid you'll need to wait just a little bit longer!

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

All images are copyright Ingrid Murnane

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Warm Weather Knitting

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, the weather is hotting up. These past few days, we have had a British heatwave (which those of you from warmer climes may rightly chuckle at). With temperatures reaching 32°c (90°F) over the past few days, and set to continue, somehow a chunky wool jumper just doesn't seem the most comfortable item to be knitting or crocheting right now.

 Call of the Sea! Image copyright Arbour House Publishing

So, what to do when you've got the urge to knit, but the temperature is against you?  There are a few tips that will allow you to keep your hooks and needles going if you don't have the luxury of air conditioning.
  1. Wash your hands before starting to knit or crochet, and regularly throughout, as your hands warm up (I'm sure you do this anyway)
  2. It might help to knit or crochet using cotton or cotton blends rather than wools if you find your wool starting to felt in the heat of your hands.
  3. Knitting smaller items is a bonus, so you don't have a lot of knitting sitting in your lap, heating you up. This also works well for larger garments - knit jumpers or cardigans in flat sections rather than in the round.
  4. Use an electric fan (or switch on your air conditioning if you're lucky enough to have it)
  5. Take it slowly - don't rush through.
Of course you could also sit and knit in your bathing costume, but I for one don't think I'll be doing that!

 Lost in Music cover up by Susan Crawford. Image copyright knitonthenet

A nice pattern to knit in the hotter weather, and that you'll be able to use at this time of year as well, is our Lost in Music cover up by Susan Crawford. It's a lovely, versatile shrug, which is worked flat. The original is made using a cotton yarn, but it would really work well with most 4ply weight yarns (fingering weight). It's also a surprisingly quick knit which means that you'll easily have it done to last out the rest of the warm summer weather.

It measures approximately. 153cm (60 inches), not including cuffs and can easily be lengthened if you need it a little bigger - it makes a great stashbusting project and would look great with cuffs in an accent colour.

Whether you decide to knit a cover up or crochet a hat for the autumn, keep cool and enjoy your summer making time.

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Woolfest: 2011, with a recap of 2010 too!

Yes! We shall indeed be at Woolfest this Friday and Saturday on stand D79, so if you are coming along, do come and see some of our lovely vintage garments in real life.

For those of you who either haven't heard about Woolfest, or aren't in the vicinity of the Lake District, here's a review of what we got up to last year, when we attended as visitors.

 Woolfest bunting. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography
On a blazing hot Saturday at the end of last June, the knitonthenet team travelled up to Woolfest at Cockermouth in Cumbria. Set in the hills of the Lake District it was a beautiful setting for a great day out. It was my first time visiting Woolfest (I’m usually at the other end of the country) and it was different to any other knitting or yarn event that I’ve ever been to.

The show took place in Mitchell’s Lakeland Livestock Centre, which is a large purpose built barn and livestock auction house. As you might guess, there were lots of sheep, some angora rabbits and even some alpacas on show in pens for everyone to admire. 

 Woolfest venue. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography
Earlier in the week, there had been a number of Woolfest Masterclasses led by Galina Khmeleva and Helen Ritchie, held at nearby Higham Hall. The importance of local yarny businesses was apparent in the Wool Clip display area, and we were especially encouraged to support them as the recovery from the previous year’s devastating floods continued. 

 Roving. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography
There were row upon row of stands selling everything that the spinner, dyer, weaver, knitter and crocheter could ever want and far too much to list here. There was a brilliant selection of yarns on offer from John Arbon, Natural Dye Studio, Texere Yarns, Tall Yarns and many more. There were knitting accessories from p2tog, and some brilliant sheepy accessories from The Herdy Company. Fibre was available from many British breeds including Teesdale, Gotland and Shetland sheep and there were plenty of the sheep there in person too.

 Sheep. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography
In the demonstration area, there was a chance to have a go at making rag rugs, hand spindling, watch Herdwick rope making and even have a sit down at the Cumbrian Knitting Café. We were all invited to knit a triangle of bunting to add to the long string already displayed at Woolfest (see picture, above). They hoped to be able to encircle the building by this year! We'll let you know if their plan worked.

  Egg cosies. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography

One of the highlights of Woolfest is the sheep auction: that’s both livestock, and textile sheep too (separately, of course!) I was lucky enough to see the textile sheep auction, which raised money for the charity Farm Africa. It was carried out just as a normal sale is, with the auctioneer, Adam Day shouting ninety-to-the-dozen as there was a frenzy of bidding. 

 Knitted Sheep Auction. Image copyright Giles Babbidge Photography 
At the end of a long, but very enjoyable day, we all had a lovely ice cream made with sheep’s milk (what else?) I’d highly recommend trying some if you're there this year. 

The Jan Sweater. Image copyright Arbour House Publishing.
So, don't forget - we're on stand D79 this year. If you're there, we'd love it if you'd come and say hi to Gavin and Susan, browse the books and kits, and take a look at some of our beautiful garments from A Stitch in Time volume 2 (that's The Jan Sweater above.)
Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tea Garden Dress: A Stitch in Time Retrospective

 Tea Garden Dress images copyright Arbour House Publishing

This lovely knitted dress is a real head-turner. Originally published in the Sun-glo Knitting book in 1943, it  appears in The Square Look section of A Stitch in Time, volume 1. It was originally knitted in a solid colour, Soldier Red and its style reflects the military look of the time (mid World War Two.)

The Tea Garden Dress is knitted using 4ply yarn; the garment in the book uses a pure wool tweed in two contrasting shades which really lends itself to the herringbone pattern of the skirt. It comes in two sizes and the change is made by using different size needles. If you're interested in why it was done this way and not graded in the usual fashion, there is a really interesting article on Susan's blog about grading vintage knitting patterns here.

The dress has a lovely breast pocket detail, button openings, a Peter Pan collar and knitted shoulder pads. By using two distinct stitch patterns, there is enough going on to keep the knitter's interest over a larger garment. The Tea Garden Dress is knitted flat, in pieces, starting with the whole back of the garment. Having said that, it could easily be adapted to a skirt and top, if liked too. 
You can really put your own stamp on the dress with your choice of buttons too. Do you have a stash of beautiful vintage ones? 

A little behind the scenes fact: the dress in A Stitch in Time that you see modelled by Theodora was also knitted by her.

The Tea Garden Dress works well in different colourways - both keeping the striping and going for a solid colour.

A great example from Ravelry is IreneVienna's Tea Garden Dress where she has used a brighter blue and a laurel green colour for her dress.

Other colour combinations that might work well are pinks and greens, a soft yellow and blue contrast, or autumnal colours.

Image left courtesy of IreneVienna; image below copyright Ingrid Murnane

Have you knitted a Tea Garden Dress? Perhaps you want to now! If you haven't already got a copy of A Stitch in Time volume 1, you can buy one from the knitonthenet shop by clicking here.

Don't be without one for visiting your local tearooms or rose garden!

Next time we're going to have a retrospective of the bathing suits from A Stitch in Time. We've been chatting about making them over on Ravelry recently. Do pop over and have your say.

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Animated Knitting

Here's a lovely children's stop-motion animation from Charlotte Blacker that recently won her a prestigious animation prize from the Royal Television Society. The Little Red Plane tells the knitted story of a boy and his cat who deliver parcels by air, throughout the land.

As well as working on her animation for 6 months, Charlotte stayed up til about 2am each night knitting the characters and pieces needed for the film. That's dedication!

I'll be back with another post in the A Stitch in Time Retrospective series later this week.

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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