Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month
March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month and ‘Target Ovarian Cancer’ have organised a great ’50s Challenge’ campaign. My very small contribution to the cause is to donate 10% of all Skiff proceeds, plus this free vintage turban knitting pattern. I’ve adapted it from a classic late 1940s/early 1950s pattern – very good for bad hair days I find.
Download the Vintage Turban Knitting Pattern
Cancer affects so many that I know I’m not alone in saying it’s a cause close to my heart. Having lost a mother and sister to cancer before old age had its way with them, then another sister and nephew contracting it recently, it’s been a hard one to ignore. I’m also not alone in finding knitting a consistent fallback for me in life, so it makes sense to use it to help a cause which strives to get rid of the reason why I’ve often needed that strength!
One in fifty women will develop ovarian cancer in their lifetime, so Target Ovarian Cancer are also asking you to inform fifty women of the symptoms of ovarian cancer and to raise at least £50. Check out their website for more details.
The Riddle of the Miss Marple Vintage Scarf
Miss Marple Vintage Scarf - Skiff stylee
It all started with an email through the website from a lovely lady looking for a pattern for a keyhole scarf she’d seen on an episode of Miss Marple. I sympathised – I’ve been known to grab the camera and take snaps of the TV screen myself when something knitted takes my fancy, and what do you know, here was another TV-knitting-snapper.
I thought the pattern had to be out there so did a search on the web but with no luck – what would Elizabeth Zimmerman do in these circumstances (assuming she was a Miss Marple fan)? Grab her needles and some graph paper – and a pen to write down witty, bone-dry comments – and make up her own, so in the spirit of Zimmerman I did the same (minus the witty comments). I ordered some fine yarn (UK Alpaca Super Fine DK in ‘Fawn’), did some tension swatches and off I went. Okay, a scarf’s not the most difficult of things to create, but after a false start I was steaming ahead and feeling pretty chuffed, especially when the keyhole segment worked like a dream.
I typed up the instructions, hit the .pdf creation button … then inevitably found the pattern by chance (through Ravelry of course). My version doesn’t differ that much: the stitch is a little finer, it’s a bit fuller (and bigger overall from what I can see) and the approach to the keyhole section differs where I went off-road and did a simple graft onto the original body of the knitting. Either way, it’s a sweet scarf … I’m planning another one in black with some white crocheted edging for a dressier version.
Skiff’s Miss Marple Vintage Scarf instructions
Original vintage scarf instructions
Elsa Schiaparelli Bowknot Sweater Pattern
Elsa Schiaparelli's Bowknot Sweater
Ever since I saw a sketch of Elsa Schiaparelli’s beautiful trompe l’oeil bowknot sweater in a 1930s Stitchcraft, I’ve been trying to work out how to recreate it for myself but couldn’t get my head around the unusual looking texture … should’ve known the pattern was already out there. Not only that, you can download it for free from Schoolhouse Press. It was adapted by Lisa Stockebrand from the Philadelphia Museum of Art (prior to an exhibition in 2003) to accommodate a more modern fit, and suggests you use Jamieson & Smith 2-ply.
I like a challenge which is lucky as it doesn’t look easy – La Schiap used a special double layered stitch created by Armenian refugees whereby you hold the main color in your right hand and knit with it as in “American” style knitting, then carry the contrasting color in left hand as in “Continental” style knitting (and that’s only part of it). Inevitably and thankfully there’s a specific Ravelry ‘Schiaparelli Bowknot Group’ to help you through the tough spots.
Italian Schiaparelli was heavily influenced by the surrealist and Dadaist art, counting Cocteau, Dali and Giacometti amongst her collaborators. This sweater, along with her shoe hat, is one of her most influential pieces.
As ever, I want to get started on it immediately. There’s just the small matter of two other jumpers I’ve been extremely close to finishing for a while now, another one I’ve just started and a nasty case of knitter’s elbow to overcome dammit. Still, I’ve waited this long, what’s another couple of weeks/months/years?
Free Vintage Knitting Pattern
I’ve added a rather splendid downloadable free pattern to Skiff’s Free Vintage Knitting Pattern section, this one from a 1956 edition of Stitchcraft. Elegant stripes around the welts make this ‘Afternoon Style Jumper’ stand out (clearly not deemed suitable for the morning), finished off with a natty striped tie effect. I’ve added this to my ‘to knit’ list – let me know if you complete it and we can compare notes!
Free Vintage Knitting Patterns
1940s Bestway pullover
I’ve added a couple of free vintage knitting patterns to the site to download in .pdf format … a 1940s Bestway sleeveless pullover (see left) and an unusual 1950s Lee Target cardigan. I’m hoping to add some more as I go along so keep checking back here for the next installment.
Rather loving the hairstyle on the cover of the Bestway too, she looks great.
How to Knit
How to Knit
Okay, it wasn’t a figment of my imagination, my ridiculous imaginary project I’d dreamed up to keep me company instead of doing any real work … here it is! No really, it’s a book about How To Knit (did you guess from the title?). And you can download it from this site, lucky you. It includes a cool 1940s dress trimming pattern as an easy first project, hopefully to tempt you further down the road into those wonderful vintage suits and blouses.
Tell your friends and watch out for the next one, coming soon … well … this year sometime, hopefully, erm … did I mention it’s the first in a series?
How to Knit … coming soon
How to Knit
I haven’t blogged for a week or so – not just being lazy, I’ve been trying to finish off a small booklet I’ve been working on about knitting basics. Should be finished in the next few days so I’ll post it when I’m done in a .pdf format. It’s the first of 3 or 4 instalments and covers the very basics – casting on, knit & purl, casting off … I’ve been working on it for the last few months and it’ll be good to finally get it out there – check out the free 1940s dress trim pattern!
Handbags at Dawn
Wow, an imaginative, creative and yet useful promo download from a commercial website for once … in a tribute to the blonde icy legend, Hermes have got a ‘Download Your Kelly‘ section on their website where you can choose a cutout handbag design, print it, fold it, glue it et voila. I’m thinking with a bit of trickery these could be printed onto fabric for a beautiful and more permanent solution … okay on my printer it would only be A4 size, but big enough to keep my make-up in right? (only just)
Not a fan of the traditional slipper so I decided to make my own this year over the holidays, experimenting on a friend’s late Christmas gift first … actually that’s probably the wrong way round, I should test them on me first, but I ran out of time and hey, it’s the time for giving and there should be no time limit on that stuff (I use that excuse every year). Anyway, I’m about to start on a pair for me so perhaps I’ll finish them before I get to see my friend (ooh way too long-winded).
They’re so quick and easy to make, the only difficulty was getting slightly stiff fingers from trebling up the wool for the soles (I wanted them to be a bit sturdier) but it was worth it. I used a huge ball of Aran going cheap in the local wool shop and damn they’re cosy and warm, especially on bare toes. I think what makes them is the black sole, they seem a bit slicker than your average knitted slipper. I’m hooked, I think all my friends are going to get a pair next year, and I’m thinking of embellishing a bit by embroidering a red star or something festively appropriate on them.
I got the pattern from Sue’s Crochet & Knitting site – http://www.crochetandknitting.com/mocslipk.htm. She also gives us this more traditional shape crocheted slipper: http://www.crochetandknitting.com/mocslip.htm. Again, thanks to the black sole which is heavier on this version, they’ve got a look of a skate shoe about them which is quite cool!
I haven’t crocheted for some time … it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve heard that it’s back in fashion, I think I still view it as a bit of an old-fashioned art and I’m reminded of too many nasty old 70s waistcoat patterns and dodgy tea cosies to entertain it seriously (what a snob).
But I do love the Crochet Me site and its spirit and I particularly love this ‘Lucid’ hat pattern (complete with embarrassed look alongside the Lunatic football fan) so I might just give it a go … better re-learn how to crochet first …