Sunday, 30 June 2013

Quilt for June

I always put this quilt out on a bed in the summer. Its cream background and multititude of reproduction fabrics from the 19th century have a calming effect on someone (me) who is not overly fond of this time of the year.

The pattern is probably one of those geese-doing-something. Being of a nautical frame of mind, however, it makes me think of sails – many, many sails, out on a cool body of  water.

I loved making this quilt. Selecting the fabrics from my stash and stitching the blocks was like revisiting old friends. The outer thin border is of a two shaded bronze, and the backing is a soft shade of pumpkin with a subtle floral print. Neither of these are reproductions but are, rather, from the “inspired by” category.  Since they compliment the other fabrics beautifully, and I liked them both so much, I sneaked them in and I always explain their presence when others see the quilt.

This quilt was entirely hand-pieced and hand-quilted. It measures 61” square. The blocks are 11” square and the triangles are 3 ½” by 2 ¾ x 2 ¾” each.  The borders are finished in a knife-edge and the quilting is simply straight diagonal lines.

Apologies for the slightly wrinkled look of the quilt. It must have been a little pushed about in storage this past winter.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Famous Knitters – Anne Revere

Anne Revere (June 25, 1903 – December 18, 1990)

One of my favourite character actresses, superb in all of her films, and a descendent of Paul Revere - just one of her connections with significant history.  Seen here in National Velvet (1944), wielding dpns and wearing an interesting shawl.

Two films, amongst the many notable ones she appeared in, are Song of Bernadette (1943), with Jennifer Jones 

and  Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), with Gregory Peck.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Lady’s Knitted Hood – In Progress

This pattern comes from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 1, First Series (1886). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 1, Interweave Press, 1999.
The original pattern calls for “Beehive wool, white or any colour preferred,” “Bone knitting needles No. 10 (modern equivalent 3.50mm/US 4), a crochet needle, (“No.10”) and ribbon for shaping. “The hood can be lined or not as preferred.”

I knit this hood on the original sized needles with Knit Picks Palette’s Edamame.

The hood is made up in four sections. First, this strip which is begun at “the top of the headpiece” and knit until “you can count 43 holes straight along.” This part ends up looking ridgebacked or ruffled, or even just crumpled, but measures just over 11” long, flat.

The second part, knit flat or back and forth, is picked up along the sides and cast off end of the ridgebacked strip.

I had to start this section on three double pointed needles but I was able to eventually change to two single pointed straight needles when I had about six inches knit down. This part, when finished, measures 11 ½” down all sides from the pick-up row of the ridgebacked strip, now pulled almost flat but still a little puffy, by this added section.

The third part is a “curtain” or skirt or long fringe which will be sewn around the bottom of the hood. It measures 18 ½” wide and 8” long from the top flat edge (when straightened out) to the end of a point at the opposite edge.

The fourth part is a strip of lace edging to go round the face. Instructions for a crocheted edge are included in the pattern but I do not crochet. I have tried to learn for years, even taking a special class in crocheting for knitters. I can do many kinds of handwork but I just cannot seem to get the hang of or follow a pattern or “read” my crochet work.  Thus I had to find a knitted edge. In spite of having finished all of the parts of the hood last year, I spent the last few months going back and forth with edgings, looking though many of my 19th century patterns and repeatedly trawling though all of the facsimiles of Weldon’s, knitting out samples. I finally settled on the No.26 - Wheat-Ear Pattern from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Sixth Series – Edgings (1887?) which is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 2, Interweave Press, 2000. This one comes out at about one repeat of the pattern to one inch, and measures just over 2 ½” wide. The facial border of the hood measures 25” so I suppose that will be the number of repeats although there is a wavy bit around the middle of the border (the cast-on edge of the ridgebacked strip) which may call for more repeats.

I do think, however, that this hood would really be better with a crocheted edging as the slightly heavier crocheted stitches would balance and hold the hood more securely on the head with hair arranged in the variations of the popular style of the era as seen in this image from La Mode Illustrée  (Dinner Dresses - 1886.)

All quotations are from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 1, Interweave Press, 1999

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Worldwide Knit in Public Week

Cottagers in North Wales Knitting
From Scenes in England by the Rev. Isaac Taylor, London, 1822
Hand-coloured engraving
Image from Universal History Archive/UIG
Image number: UIG 526522

There are still a few days left in this year's Worldwide Knit in Public Week!  I have been knitting lots of socks and hope to get a pair of Blueberry Waffle* ones finished by the end of the weekend.


Monday, 3 June 2013

Historic Reproduction Knitting and a Hiatus

A Lady and Her Knitting, 1915
Gabain, Ethel (1883-1950)
Private Collection
Image from Photo © The Fine Art Society, London, UK/The Bridgeman Art Library
Image No. FAS 214408

This is me, distancing myself from some of my historic knitting. I have had to take a long break of some months from working on the projects knit with fine cotton yarns and very fine needles as they made my hands, arms and shoulders ache and throb. Instead, I have been trying out lace edges to finish a woolen hood from Weldon’s, reworking a lace nightcap from Myra’s Knitting Lessons, also from the 1880’s, and knitting lots and lots of modern socks, Fair Isle Fish and Wee Cottages* – all in wool with that nice bounce that is missing in the fine cottons, and which is so much easier on the hands.

There are about eight 19th century projects, apart from a handful of woolen ones, that were not finished in my Year of Completion (2012.)  All are in cotton on fine needles, all are started and all belong to that class of tedious, repetitive knitting which tend to drive one mad when in a rush but are rather nice as long-range projects.  A few are pictured here. The plan is to work on one per month and at an easy pace, mixing n a bit of sock and larger garment knitting (for physical and mental relief) as well as a little bit of piecing and quilting as this is a Year of Completion for my stack of quilts, ranging from mini-wall hangings to full bed size ones.

Fingers crossed – when not knitting, sewing, stitching, etc.!

*Home Sweet home Wee House Brooch and Key Ring by Julia Marsh from and

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Quilt for May

Posted in June – life is rather busy around here.

This quilt is made from a line by RJR Fashion Fabrics, based on the Clarissa White Alford quilt owned by the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vermont.  The original quilt, according to the Museum’s shop’s website, is called the Windmill Blade Triangle Quilt and measures 75” x 85”.  It is variously dated on the internet as from 1886 or circa 1885-1890.

This is another example from my series of quilts using the squares on point blocks, showcasing the prints rather than a pattern. Green is my favourite colour and so I used this gorgeous iron green shade for my backing as well. If you look closely, however, you will see how well this print also shows up in red.

This quilt may look somewhat familiar as I have used it or its reverse side for many backgrounds of photographs of knitting, both here and on my Ravelry pages.

The quilt measures 62” tall by 58” wide and has a thin knife-edged border. It is hand pieced and hand quilted with a simple X pattern with a line through the middle of the X in each square.