Tag Archives: vintage

Vintage capelet

25 Jan

As I mentioned in the last post, this featured item takes inspiration from the 50s and 70s. I know it sounds a strange era combination but the style is very much from the 50s, but has a 70s knitwear feel which I think complements it beautifully.

I was admiring (read drooling) over the patterns in Susan Crawford’s Vintage Gifts to Knit a few months ago, saw this beaut and thought ‘I gotta have me some of that’.

Town & City Tufted Cape: day-to-day glamour

 I decided to steer away from the green and black combination, and decided on black, with a slight glitter trim, that way I can wear it in the daytime, or use it as an evening capelet.

This project was the first ‘proper’ item of clothing I’d knitting beyond scarves, hats and fingerless gloves. At this point I had a ridiculous fear of knitting (messing-up) sleeves and thought this was the perfect item to knit before embarking on something with *gulp* sleeves.

I had no problems with doing tufted stitch, and found once I’d got the rhythm of it, I could quite happily sit and knit while watching television. The only issue I had was picking up the stitches, it took a couple of goes before I got them picked-up and evenly spaced, but overall, I’m really happy with the result.

My take on the capelet:

 Close-up of the stitches

Ready for my close-up: tufted and garter stitches

Ok, so you can definitely see the fifties influence, what about the seventies? As I was flicking through this month’s Company magazine, I noticed a feature called Blown Away, which focused on homespun knits, a main staple of the seventies . One of the items used was a capelet by Orla Kiely which had a whopping £70 price tag.

Company magazine: January 2012

Not that I’m biased or anything, but I think you get more garment (and value) for the money paid for the wool and pattern book, never mind the satisfaction of it being hand-crafted.

What about you? Any of you knitters had that feeling before?


Where it all began

16 Jan

When those outside of the knitting community think about knitting their immediate thoughts turn to grannies (a lot of blame falls squarely on the songwriters of The Wheels on the Bus), ill-fitting cardigans and jumpers, and finished items so bizarre that only a mother’s love could persuade anyone to wear them.

she knits and purls too...

However in recent years, in a backlash against disposable fashion and a desire to reclaim old crafts, knitting has enjoyed something of a revival, and I for one am glad about it.

One of my earliest memories of my grandma was of her sitting in an armchair, glasses perched on her nose, a pattern on her lap, and the frantic ‘click-clicking’ of her needles as she watched the early evening news. That woman was gifted. She could tut-tut the government’s recent disastrous decision in one department or another yet never miss a stitch. She could turn her hand to any manner of garments, ranging from swimwear (way back when) through to evening wear, and not only would she follow patterns, she also construct her own as she knitted. Fabulous.

Unfortunately I didn’t get enough time with her as she passed away when I was 5 years old. However that striking image of her along with her soundtrack has stayed with me.

But we’re something of a crafty family. My aunty was also a prolific knitter, and after watching her speed-knit her way through another fabulous garment, at the age of ten I asked her to show me how it was done.

The next time she visited she brought along with her a short pair of size 4 needles and a ball of luminous orange wool. I remember being amazed at the contrast of the almost neon wool against the cool slate grey of the needles.

My first few attempts were laughable, stitches too tight and then too slack. Holes where there shouldn’t have been and big knots scattered throughout the piece. However with a lot of frogging, patient explanations and demonstrations I managed my first few wobbly rows of knitting, and gosh was I proud.

Various family members were ‘treated’ to garter stitch scarves of every colour and length, my Dad even got a (too-tight) woolen hat, which he wore  regardless of the marks it made on his forehead.

Then the inevitable happened. After a few months I went to high school where knitting wasn’t considered the done thing, I got stuck into my studies, I took up playing the piano and lived my teenage years.

It wasn’t until I turned 18 that the needles started calling again. A few new stitches were mastered, and I wore my ‘quirky’ (read bonkers) scarves and fingerless gloves to college.

I took all my knitting paraphernalia to university, but was too focused on my studies and university life to sit knitting.

It’s only now since I’ve graduated, undertaken post-graduate studies and been on the hunt for a job that I’ve properly rediscovered knitting. As my previous post mentions my eyes were fully-opened to the vast range of knitted goodies that could be made at the Knitting and Stitching Exhibition in London. It was then that I dived straight back in all guns blazing.

Crafting mecca: The Knitting and Stitching Exhibition

I take inspiration from vintage photographs, charity shop finds and women’s magazines, particularly Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Company. I love looking at their fashion pages, capturing the essence of the trend, and recreating my own take on it.

The next post will look at a piece which takes inspiration from 70s knits.

Anyway, I’m off, the needles are calling!