Sunday, 31 March 2013

Quilt for March

Quilts, by name, imply warmth and cosy colours but I have made quite a few in bright, spring-like prints or shades. When it comes to reproductions, however, I only seem to have one that shouts “Spring!” and that one has already been featured in the background of a photograph on this blog ( That delicate 18th century print was part of a line manufactured by P&B Textiles called the DAR Museum Collection from, obviously, the DAR Museum in Washington, DC.  The complete line dated from 1780-1830 and represented a wide range of printing techniques including woodblock and roller prints.

I have, however, a quilt top (pictured here) that has been perpetually in progress as I use it to demonstrate hand piecing. It has lovely reproduction prints from the late 18th through the mid-19th century, and, like a few other reproduction quilts I have made, the fabric has been culled from mail-order samples and fat quarters I have found in shops or at shows that I absolutely had to have or I would die on the spot.

Not squares on point this time but elongated triangles or pyramids, sewn in strips and then the strips sewn in reverse to each other. The triangles each measure 3" high and 3 ¼ wide at the base. I am not even going to try to name a pattern as there are so many variations on the basic ones. Safe to say, this quilt, like most of  my reproduction ones, celebrates the prints and, when finished, will have a square quilted over hexagons of pyramids.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Famous Knitters – Simone Signoret

Simone Signoret (March 25, 1921-September 30, 1985)

Superb French actress. Catch her here, with Véra Clouzot, in Les Diaboliques (1955), a fabulous thriller, one of the best of its kind.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Famous Knitters – Joan Crawford

Joan Crawford (March 23, 1904-May 10, 1977)

There are so many stories about Joan Crawford and her knitting – just put in those last few words on the internet and they will pop up, legends and all.

She was, however, one of Hollywood’s Golden Age’s champion knitters and continued to be so throughout her life.  Here she is teaching or helping Ann Blyth who starred with Crawford in Mildred Pierce (1945.)

Some shots from behind the cameras.

Notice the striped knitting bag in both.

You, too, can make this dress knitted and modeled by Joan Crawford in Modern Knitting and Needlework, Spring 1949 if you go to

Here she is featured in Lady’s Circle from 1972.

Images from and other sites on the internet

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Sock and Shoe Purse

This pattern comes from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 130, Thirty-Second Series (1896). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 11, Interweave Press, 2004.
The original pattern calls for “knitting silk of two colours – one light, the other dark” and “four steel knitting needles No. 15” (modern equivalent 1.75mm/US 00.) A crocheted edge at the top of the sock, ribbons and “a small silk tassel or metal ball” are added to finish the purse.

I knit the purse on the suggested size of needles in DMC Mouliné Spécial 25 – four skeins of 0848 (gray) and three skeins of 33 (blue.) Three kinds of stitches make up the toe, foot and leg. The lace pattern of the leg of the sock is a nice sturdy one and could be used for other objects. I cannot really crochet so I did three rows of the most elementary stitches of that technique along the top.

Not being fond of jewelry, I avoided the metal balls and made tassels out of the ends of the braided drawstring cords. The little imitation satin ribbons were put on last.

The finished purse measures 5 ¾” tall from the top to the heel, and 2 ½” wide at the calf. The foot is 3” long and 1 ¾” wide.

This purse would be best used for small coins although 19th century English pennies would also fit into it.

All quotations are from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume Eleven, Interweave Press, 2004

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Kællingesjal, 1897

The pattern for the recreation of this lovely 19th century shawl from the Vendsyssel Museum, Denmark is by Mette Rørbech. To read more about her work on this project and to see more photographs, including historic ones of the shawl, go to

The pattern is available on Raverly in several languages. The shawl is knit in four sections, and is easily adapted to different sizes. Basing the interior triangle on the wingspan of the first edging, I had to add an extra 150 stitches to it as my arms are rather long and so the edging came out very long, too. Not to worry, though, as the lace patterns of both of the edgings was easy to memorise and the interior triangle, once past the ridged area, was plain garter stitch.

I also did not mind knitting and knitting this shawl as I was working with the wonderful Wool Out of Wales (100% Leicester Longwool, fingering, 400 yards.) It is a glorious fine 2ply undyed wool with a slight halo to the knitted fabric. 

The photograph of the shawl draped over the chair, with the light shining through, shows how finely it knits up but is deceptive in that the shawl is also extraordinarily warm. This shawl took just under four skeins on 3.75mm/US 5 needles.

The shawl comfortably wraps around the body and shoulders and ties at the back with specially shaped points. We had fun taking the photographs to show off the shawl from various angles, illustrating all of its merits.

So thank you, Mette Rørbech, for working out and sharing the pattern of this lovely shawl. My thanks, also, to my friend, JK, for posing so elegantly in the shawl, both indoors and outdoors in snowy weather, and for arranging the shawl so beautifully on the chair and in the window sill.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Toilet Tidy from Weldon’s

This pattern comes from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 130, Thirty-Second Series (1896). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 11, Interweave Press, 2004.

The Tidy is a cone shaped receptacle to hold personal items for one’s toilette that can be hung by its ribbons. It is described in the pattern as a  “convenient” object whose “lining, when soiled, is easily renewed,” as are “the ribbons while the knitting itself can be carefully washed more than once and made up again and again with fresh trimmings.”

The original pattern calls for “Strutt’s knitting cotton,” “No. 8” in two colours (“any…but white,” and “four steel needles No. 14” (modern equivalent 2mm/US 0.) Cardboard and ribbons are also needed for the finishing touches.

After trying out several different kinds of cotton thread on the suggested size of needles, I settled on Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet (Size 10) in shades of burgundy and yellow. It knit up nicely although the finished object is, once again, smaller than the description leads one to believe. A conical cardboard lining, made up “in the form of a “sugar-paper”” would stretch out the lacy lower section and ”keep it of a good and even shape.” More board, run though the folded over and stitched top section would also make that part more prominent and supportive of the weight of the contents of the Tidy.

The Tidy is knit from the top down, the rim around it being folded over with an eyelet row at the fold, creating “a little ornamental finish for the top.” It is gathered at the bottom, like a drawstring, with ribbon and garnished with “several ends or streamers, made from some of the same ribbon,” as seen in the illustration. I, on the other hand, was stash busting and only had enough ribbon for the “loop” at the top and so made the lower tassel out of the cotton yarn.

My Tidy measures 4 ¼” long and 2 ¾” wide across the top yellow band. It does not have the cardboard inserts.

All quotations are from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume Eleven, Interweave Press, 2004