It seems that everyone is having babies lately; there seems to be a case of Baby Fever these days. Which means that one is always in need of good baby gifts to whip up! I transcribed this 1925 baby knits pattern before Audrey made her debut, and I kind of wish I had knit it up for her. But I’m sure someone else will find it useful–for either someone they know or for their own tiny babe. The pattern includes three pieces: thumbless mitts, booties and a cozy bonnet. I hope you enjoy!

Download the free pattern here.

June 17, 2013 · 7 lovely thoughts
posted in knitting · tags: , , , ,

I was going to share some knits I had finished for me as well as the baby things I’ve been working on, but realized that the post would be enormous if condensed altogether! So this one will be just the adorable baby stuff, and the “grown up knits” will follow in a couple weeks. Needless to say, since discovering the baby’s gender and starting to knit miniature things for her, it’s gotten addictive. While I haven’t had time to devote to large scale sewing projects because of various things, I’ve needed something to keep my fingers occupied and that is transportable. It’s kept me happily employed and feeling useful in those odd, otherwise blank moments that one finds at times (mostly at doctor’s appointments, these days!).

So what have my knitting needles been occupied with? A cute little baby turban that I found a pattern for–she needs some retro style in her wardrobe from an early age! I want to knit another out of some thicker yarn too (probably in red…), as this particular fiber (a silk blend, I believe–it was leftover from an older project) is a bit loose. But it’ll be good for warmer weather. [ pattern | similar crochet version ]

How about some darling booties? I knit these literally days after we found out we were having a girl–using some lovely yarn odds and ends I had in the stash. The buttons are vintage mother of pearl. So cute! [ Ravelry project page | pattern ]

A delightfully pink confection from a 1950s pattern booklet I thrifted years ago. The pom poms got me (can I have a grown up version, please?)! It’s the kind of thing I’m hoping that she’ll be big enough to wear as her “coming home” outfit as I adjusted the original sizing a bit to newborn sizing. As with sewing patterns, vintage knitting patterns sizing can be wildly off–thankfully I feel like I’ve got enough experience knitting (and sewing!) to adjust things as needed. [ Ravelry project page ]

Another “so sweet it makes my teeth hurt” cardigan! This one (the “Ladylike Cardigan” from Stephanie Japel’s Mommy & Me Knits) I knit in a 6-month size, and used a yarn appropriate for summer or fall wear. I wanted something she could grow into, and had stuck in my mind that she needed a yellow cardigan with duck buttons! [ Ravelry project page | pattern ]

Finally, I have a green baby kimono I’ve been working on for weeks–it’s just a simple, sideways knit. There is not much to show right now, hence the lack of photos. Hopefully I’ll have it finished soon!

I do love how quickly baby knits come together: almost like instant gratification knitting! I’m just almost out of projects, once the green kimono is finished. Lucky for me, I found a fabulous local yarn store recently–so I guess I’ll have to make a stop there sometime to pick up yarn for another baby project! Just to decide what is appealing to me? I think this bunny hat may be a contender!

December 7, 2012 · 50 lovely thoughts
posted in knitting · tags: ,

Why, hello and happy August, friends! Things have once again been a bit topsy-turvy around here (health related stuff… I’m okay, but it’s just an ongoing issue that is putting a serious cramp in my mojo!), which just leads me to the conclusion once again that this year is not my year for consistent blogging.

I can’t believe the summer is nearly over–though I am a bit glad that in the next few months the weather will cool down and autumn will start to make an appearance. That is my hands-down favorite season, and I have a ton of plans (and ideas!) for the autumn and can’t wait for it to come!

Judging from previous posts on knitting, it seems many of you also enjoy this particular handcraft. I’m a bit of what I call a “seasonal knitter” (and a slow one at that!): during the spring and summer I seem to loose my knitting steam. But come August, my fingers start itching to hold some knitting needles and fuzzy yarn, creating a few things to keep me (or family) warm during the coming fall and winter. So almost on cue, I found myself at the local yarn shop down the street the other day, dreaming of some upcoming projects and browsing all the beautiful fibers. (So many yarns, so little time to make everything I want to!)

A ball of yarn did come home with me–nothing special, but seemed perfect for a knit beret that I needed. I seem to have only knit red and bright pink ones in years past for myself, but not all my coats work well with those colors. (Yes, I am too picky about color coordination!) So I grabbed a ball of this pretty white (Cascades 220 Superwash) and paired it with a lovely cabled beret pattern (available free here; Ravelry page here). I’ve been tinkering away the last few evenings on this project, watching the cables forming and enjoying the rhythmic and calming nature of knitting.

Do you have anything you’re knitting right now? Daydreaming about a new project?

August 6, 2012 · 56 lovely thoughts
posted in knitting · tags:

almost-not quite sweater almost-not quite sweater

This sweater has been sitting in my to finish pile for too long. It was halfway put together, and then I never finished it. Totally finished, I think I remember why I wasn’t falling all over myself to wrap this project up: it’s a bit wonky in the shoulder area (a bit tight and the armholes are higher than I like). Which I can only attribute to having finished knitting this during our last trip to California (1 1/2 years ago!): I’ve noticed I tend to tighten my gauge a lot when I knit while traveling.

almost-not quite sweater almost-not quite sweater

But a little background first! This was knit from the original Stitch in Time by Jane Waller and Susan Crawford and is a 1930s sweater. The 1970s edition of this book is only facsimiles of the original patterns (while the new editions of the book have been thoroughly updated), which also makes me wonder if perhaps part of it was not only my tension but the original 30s pattern as well. Anyway: lesson learned! I remember sitting on the plane, thinking to myself “this looks rather narrow through the shoulders“, but soldering onward. At the time I wasn’t quite as confident with my knitting skills: now I would go with my gut and alter the pattern!

almost-not quite sweater

Even with it’s little fitting misses, it’s still a cute, wearable sweater. The yarn is a very nice, undyed, fingering weight merino that I picked up on the cheap. I love the button detail along the left shoulder too (I used some shell buttons I picked up on Etsy awhile ago). It’ll work especially well on days where the weather is chilly, but not frigid (such as today! We’re once again bouncing back from some rather cold days and hitting the upper 50s!).

For those interested, the pattern has been included in the newest edition of A Stitch in Time: Volume 1 (or so Ravelry tells me; I sadly don’t own a copy of either the first or second volume of the Stitch in Time books!), and is called “It Cannot Fail to Please”. Fellow Ravelry members can view my project page for this sweater here.

More pictures of the sweater here.

December 14, 2011 · 65 lovely thoughts
posted in knitting · tags: , ,

I’ve been contemplating this post for awhile, as it’s the sort of thing I wish I had been able to find when I started exploring the world of vintage knitting. There is a lot of information out there, the problem is finding it half the time! Like sewing with vintage patterns, it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming, the sizing can be funky, and terms and needle sizes have changed over time. So where do you start if you’re interested in knitting with vintage patterns?

For general knitting information I’d highly recommend reading Retroknit Design series. Everything from substituting modern yarns to how to alter specific aspects of a pattern, to vintage pattern copyright are included. It’s pretty extensive and well worth book marking for future reference.

Ravelry is almost always my first stop when I’m hunting for patterns. It’s members only access, but it’s free and easy to sign up for (if you’re a knitter and haven’t, I don’t know what you’re waiting for–it is too much fun!). Not only can you find loads of vintage patterns that have been cataloged here (many of them available for free online), but if another Ravelry member has knit the pattern, there are often photos and notes on those individual project pages.

There are many websites that offer reprinted patterns and booklets, my favorite being Iva Rose. But others I have run across are Vintage Knitting Patterns (a variety of eras) and Vintage Knitting (mainly 30s and 40s).

Of course, free patterns are something we all like finding! They are a bit hard to track down sometimes, but here are a handful that I’ve managed to find:

  • A Good Yarn – Mainly 1900s through 1920s patterns. Some very lovely sweaters patterns from the 20s!
  • A Rarer Borealis – A large variety of vintage patterns for everyone from various eras.
  • Free Vintage Knitting – Lots of patterns available in a wide variety of categories.
  • Glamarama – Lots of styles from the 1950s.
  • Grandmother’s Pattern Book – A variety of enticing patterns. (Submitted by Galadriel.)
  • Helen Heath – A .pdf of 1940s ladies jumpers available for download.
  • KnitWiki – Search for “vintage” and there are quite a few interesting patterns that pop up!
  • The Old Sewn – An Etsy shop with a variety of vintage knitting patterns available for download. (Submitted by Kennis.)
  • Rather Do Knitting – A gallery of vintage booklet scans; quite a treasure trove.
  • SLAF! – Check out the sidebar under “free patterns” for a handful of patterns, including two 1930s booklets.
  • Trove – Digital archive for the National Library of Australia; the knitting search yields quite a few interesting patterns from the 1900s forward.
  • V&A – A collection of “1940s patterns to knit”.
  • The Vintage Knitting Lady – Lots of patterns from a UK based site; many of which are available in pdf format. (Submitted by Nancy.)
  • Vintage Purls – Patterns for women, children, and men from the 1940s and 50s mainly.

One of the things that I find most often can be intimidating when working with vintage patterns is the yardage of yarn and gauge. Needle sizes are often a lot smaller than most modern patterns call for (I often work on 0′s or 1′s!), and therefore require finer yarn. Since most of the yarns specified in the patterns have not been manufacturer for decades, information on yardage and weight can be scant! This is where you often need to do a little detective work. Wise Needle is a good starting point for figuring out yarns, but if you can’t find anything start with the needle size specified for the pattern. (Just be aware that many patterns use vintage UK needle sizes, so you’ll need to figure out the conversion.) Familiarizing yourself with what yarns work with certain needle sizes will help a lot. Finding similar modern patterns that are similar in design (such as if you’re knitting a long-sleeve sweater, find a long sleeve modern sweater) and use similar needle sizes can help with estimating yardage. But most importantly: the gauge in the vintage pattern is what will really help! Make knitting a swatch prior to casting on your entire project a habit; it’s helped save me from a couple recent knitting projects gone wrong! (Believe me: I have been lazy about this and there are a couple mostly-knit sweaters that are either too big or too small, waiting to be unraveled!) Yes, it’s a pain–especially when you’re itching to get started. But often it’s the different between a sweater and fits and one that is grossly off (especially since vintage sizing does differ from what we’re used to!).

What are some of your favorite vintage knitting resources? Please feel free to chime in with more links and such–I’d love to see them!

( 1940s knitting image found via stay fancy free )

October 20, 2010 · 34 lovely thoughts
posted in knitting · tags: ,