Saturday, 31 August 2013

Quilt for August

Another Dutch quilt with alternate squares of reproduction 18th century floral chintz and indigo block prints, creating the effect of tiles. The fabric is all from Den Haan & Wagenmakers in the Netherlands.*

The backing is a red solid. By the time I made this quilt, I had gained access to more research about Dutch quilts and had learned that the red backing was quite common.

The quilt is entirely hand pieced and hand quilted. It is 48” square with each interior square measuring 5 ½” and 7 3/4" across. The quilt has a knife edge border.

Friday, 30 August 2013

Famous Knitters – Joan Blondell

Joan Blondell  (August 30, 1906 – December 25, 1979)

She may have usually been cast in supporting roles but she always stood out!

Here she is with Mary Astor who is working on a lovely piece of needlework.

Another interesting knitting bag - the slogan says "Let's Hit Back Hard" so she is knitting for the troops. My computer will only let me make out the word "America" on the lower part of the bag but there is more above it.

Terrific shoes, and a lovely little footstool.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Famous Knitters – Ingrid Bergman Redux

Ingrid Bergman (August 29, 1915 – August 29, 1982)

I noted Ingrid Bergman’s birthday two years ago - /2011/08/famous-knitters-ingrid-bergman.html

I think that she, along with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, are the three actresses who have the most photographs of them knitting available on the Internet. The  young, always luminescent, actress appears at the very top of this post.

Here she is, putting Alfred Hitchock to work.

Not letting the makeup man interfere with her knitting.

Is this this knitting bag the same as the bag in the previous photograph?

Look at the red in this photograph, including the knitting!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

One Last Painting for Summer

The artist’s wife, Evelyn, knitting on a daybed, 1934
Gerald Gardiner (1902-59)
Oil on canvas
Private collection
Credit: © Liss Fine Art
Image No. LIS 425802

The light in and atmosphere of this painting makes me think of  late summer, be it morning or afternoon. I want that room in my house, with its cosy corner, simple furnishing and a daybed to relax on and knit. The dress and shoes are nice, too.

I don’t often have detailed information about the room in which a knitter is sitting but the listing for this painting on The Bridgeman Art Library (see link above) states the following:

“The setting is the artist’s home, Lower Nash End, Bisley in Gloucestershire,where the Gardiners moved in 1934, the year of this painting.”

I also like this painting as it reminds me of a favourite line of fabrics by Kaffe Fassett.* I have made several quilts from its different colourways, and a little workbag for knitting from two of them. Here it is with my Weeping Angels sock in progress.**

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Knitted Striped Bag from the V&A – Smaller Version

Regular readers of this blog may remember a knitted striped bag I made some time ago which is based on one in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum (

Two bags were started but only one was completed ( The smaller version is closer to the size of the original bag in the museum. Due to demands on my time and the deadlines of the Year of Completion (2012), the smaller bag, still very much just started, fell by the wayside that is clogged with infant, if not, embryonic wips.

With these bags, I had reversed my usual process as I occasionally make a miniature version of items to puzzle out any problems, practice the stitches, etc. It was easier, however, in this case, to make a larger, more visible version which is now my pattern.*

The smaller bag is back on the needles now and I am enjoying watching it grow, each row taking around five to ten minutes to knit, depending on the section of the pattern. The needles are extremely fine as is the DMC Coton Perlé 12.  The weather, however, has turned cooler, and, if it lasts, I should be able to make some progress.

*I cannot give any more details of the pattern as the original is in the collection of a museum. When I wrote to the V&A, asking for permission to reproduce another item from the textile collection with the agreement that I would not sell or share the pattern. I received a very nice reply from the museum that granted me the permission along with good wishes that I might enjoy working on such projects.  

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Famous Knitters – Sylvia Sidney

Sylvia Sidney (August 8, 1910 – July 1, 1999)

Quite a hat!

I would love to know what she was knitting!

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Non-Historical Summer Knitting

This sweet little octopus had an outing at the beach today.

The pattern is by Hansi Singh from Amigurumi Knits. I experimented with several weights and kinds of yarn (cotton, wool, blends) before my kind friend KM let me have some of her precious leftover, gorgeous Codex from The Sanguine Gryphon in The One Between. The cool blue, purple and grey shades, plus the silky texture of the 100% Merino was perfect for creating this underwater creature. I wanted a bright contrasting yarn for the underside of the tentacles so Colinette’s Jitterbug in pinks and purples from a pair of fingerless gloves I made a few years ago was just the thing!

The octopus was knit on 3.75mm/US 5 needles. The eyes are embroidered in DMC Coton Perlé 8 in Ecru and Black. The tentacles are threaded with pipecleaners. My thanks to another friend, JK, for shaping them so beautifully. 

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Famous Knitters – Lucille Ball

Lucille Ball (August 6, 1911 – April 26, 1989)

Seen here, at the far right, with Patricia Wilder (left) and Anne Shirley, knitting behind the cameras, or, perhaps, posed for the photograph in 1936. I’m not sure how much real knitting was happening but all three have small baskets for their yarn.

Love those wide leg trousers!

Monday, 5 August 2013

Famous Knitters - Joan Hickson

Joan Hickson, OBE (August 5, 1906 – October 17, 1998)

The quintessential Miss Marple?  In my book, yes!

Joan Hickson had a long career on stage and screen before she took on the role of one of the most famous knitters of all time.  Just one look at the list on the IMDB* brings back many memories of her delightful, menacing, heartbreaking and funny performances whether in a major role or an uncredited one or just a fleeting appearance.  One of her films was Murder She Said (1961), a mystery involving Miss Marple but played by another actress.

I have a blog post about the various portrayals of Miss Marple coming up so I will not dwell too much on the knitting aspect of the character now. To fulfill the criteria for this  post, however, here is Joan Hickson in one of my favourite knitting scenes from The Body in the Library (1984). She did a lot of knitting on that yellow project during the investigation.

Miss Havisham in a television production of Great Expectations (1981.) Terrific dress and hair!

Most decidedly un-Miss Marple-ish!


Friday, 2 August 2013

Famous Knitters – Myrna Loy

Myrna Loy (August 2, 1905 – December 14, 1993)

Only she could carry off some of those fashionable  hats in the Thin Man movies!

Here she is knitting at the end of After the Thin Man (1936), the second film of the series.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Quilt for July

A day late but a nice, bright, cheerful summer quilt.

This quilt is made out of cotton reproduction Provençal prints.  The batting/wadding is Warm & Natural's Needled Cotton. I use this brand, which has a slender but sturdy texture, for my reproduction quilts as the finished product most closely resembles antique quilts.

This quilt is entirely hand pieced and hand quilted. It measures 45" square.