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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

Posts Tagged ‘Knitting’

Edward Hopper Inspired Portrait Cloche Hat Pattern by Lady Violette de Courcy , Part 2 ~ Knitted Bow Tutorial

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

My Edward Hopper Inspired Portrait Cloche Hat Decorated with a Knitted Bow

The Edward Hopper Inspired Portrait Cloche Hat is trimmed with a knitted bow which both adds a decorative vintage touch to the hat and conveniently covers and conceals the side seam over the right ear. The pattern for this hat is in yesterday’s blog post here.

Cast on 18 stitches on Size 8 US needles and work 12 inches of stockinette stitch to make a piece of fabric for the bow.

To make the bow cast on 18 stitches on size 8 US needles in the same bulky weight yarn as you use for the hat. Work in stockinette stitch for 12 inches, then bind off. (Stockinette stitch is Knit one row, Purl one row.) Cut the yarn but leave a tail of yarn about 12 inches long to sew the center seam of the bow together.

Do not block the piece of fabric you have made for the bow. You will want the selvedge edges to curl in order to create a nice soft plump looking bow.

Sew the center seam together on what will be the back underside of the bow when it is attached to the hat.

Turn the bow and fold ends inward toward the center. Sew the ends together along the center seam which will be on the underside of the bow when it is sewn to the hat.

Turnover and cinch the bow fabric together in the center with a piece of yarn to create the bow tie shape.

Turn the bow so that the right side is facing upwards. Place a piece of yarn under the center of the bow and tie it together to cinch the bow together in the middle.

Gather together , cinch and tie yarn on the backside to form bow.

Bow should be about 6 inches in length.

You have created a fat puffy little bow about 6 inches long. Smooth the edges and both sides of the bow with your fingers to make the shape pretty.

Place bow on side seam of hat to check the fit.

Set it over the seam of the hat to be sure it is long enough to cover the sewn seam and conceal it.

Wrap yarn tightly around middle of bow several times to create the center. Tie securely on back side and tuck in ends.

Next: Wrap a generous length of yarn around the center of the bow several times tightly to create the middle section of the bow. Tie it firmly on the back side so it will stay put. Tuck in the yarn ends. Your bow is now finished and ready to sew onto your hat.

Center the bow over the side seam and make sure one narrow edge is along the edge of the brim fold and the other is along the edge where you picked up and knit the stitches to create the crown of the hat. I think it is a good idea to try the hat on at this point and make sure you like the position of the bow.

Place bow on hat and sew in place.

When you are satisfied with the placement sew the bow to the hat using yarn and a large yarn needle. Sew the bow on securely but only sew through the bottom layer of the bow fabric so that the top layer of the bow fabric is free and stays puffy and full. I sewed my bows to the center along the side seam of the hat and sewed it down along both short ends ~ sewing along the bottom of the brim and attaching the other end of the bow to the joining stitches along the crown.

Only sew the bottom part of the bow loops to the hat. Leave the top sides of the bow free and open so that you can put your fingers inside to plump up the bow.

I left the top loops of the bow free so that I can shape the bow with my fingers by reaching inside them to plump up the bow.

The bow will cover the side seam and the wearers right ear when the hat is worn.

When wearing the hat the bow should be placed over your right ear. It should completely cover and hide the side seam of the hat.

This type of bow can also be attached to a barrette or hair comb and used as a hair ornament. You can make these bows larger or smaller and use them to decorate hair ornaments, hats, gloves, the backs of little girl’s dresses, and sweaters, even gift boxes! Knitted bows are very pretty and very easy to make. Small ones can even be used to decorate mittens and booties or baby shoes! I made one and applied it to the back of a little girl’s knitted coat at the top of a pleat. They are easy to make and have many uses.

The Edward Hopper Inspired Portrait Cloche Hat in two color ways designed by lady Violette de Courcy

Edward Hopper Inspired Portrait Cloche Hat and Free Knitting Pattern ~ Part 1, by Lady Violette de Courcy

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Edward Hopper Inspired Portrait Cloche Hat Designed by Lady Violette de Courcy

I created this Edward Hopper Inspired Portrait Cloche Hat to attend an art museum opening of Edward Hopper’s paintings. I wanted to make a hat in the style of the ones the women in his paintings wore. I also wanted it to look like a proper 1920’s – 30’s formed felt cloche hat, rather than a knitted cap so I made it very thick and sculptural with a turned back rim and graduated shaping. I made a very thick sculptural bow to cover the right side seam of the hat. It comes down over the right ear and has the added benefit of being like a very warm ear muff!

 

This hat is very thick and warm, but I may have to try making one with a bow earmuff on both sides now! I’m thinking of ways to keep even warmer on my 4th day of being completely snowed in! And it is still snowing out! We are in the middle of a huge snowstorm in Seattle and I am taking advantage of using this time to post my recently knitted stuff on Ravelry! You can take a look at my  Lady Violette Ravelry project page here .

 

I’m really happy with the way this hat turned out. The construction was an experiment that fortunately turned out perfectly and is exactly what I had in mind. I am writing the pattern so I can offer it to other knitters who would like to make one. I am making this pattern available to you as a free pattern ~ a kind of Happy Valentine to all you knitters out there. I hope you enjoy it.

I wear this one with a vintage navy blue 1930’s coat in wool gaberdine and a purple wool dress. The outfit is totally inspired by the women in Hopper’s paintings who are always dressed in strong clear distinctive colors. I get a lot of inspiration for my clothing from painters. I like to recreate the moods of the paintings in the way I dress. I can also wear this hat with a purple wool wrap coat with a big ruffled collar. This is more of a 1970’s look, but also very successful.

Size: This hat is made with slight negative ease. I made it to fit myself with a 21 inch head but it fit a 22 inch and 23 inch head just fine as well because it stretched, comfortably, to fit. Note: When you fold the brim back you should try on the hat and adjust the amount of fabric you fold back to the individual wearers preference and your opinion as to what amount of fabric turned back looks the best. Based on my knitting experience I do not think you will find it necessary to adjust the number of stitches or the gauge to fit people within the above size ranges for a comfortable and attractive fit. That is between a 21 – 23 inch head circumference. Please note: I am very finicky about patterns being written clearly and correctly. I have tested this pattern by making it twice myself. I have finished knitting a brown one as well and will photograph it to add to this post within the next few days.

Yarn: Use a BULKY weight yarn.  I used Baby Alpaca Grande Hand Dye from Plymouth Yarn in the color way of Blue/ Purple. This is a Bulky weight yarn. The hat and big bow took 2 skeins. Thus the yarn for this hat cost $40 plus sales tax! Each ball retails for $19.95. Rather expensive for a knitted hat but soft, warm and really beautiful so well worth it. The hat itself takes well over 1 skein of yarn and with the bow you will use about 1 and 7/8 skeins. These skeins are 110 yds each. If you are substituting another bulky yarn with the same gauge you should begin with 220 yds.I plan to use the small amount of left over yarn to make small bows like the one on the hat to decorate a pair of purple gloves I have made. There is just the right amount left over to accomplish this.

Needles:  sizes: US 10.5 – 6.5mm, US 10 – 6 mm, US 9 – 5.5 mm, US 8 – 5 mm, US 7 – 4.5 mm. ( Yes! You will need all 5 sizes of needles to create the sculptural shaping required for this hat!) I used 10 inch long sets of straight needles for the brim of the hat and a set of longer size 9 needles for the crown. I think they are 15 inches long. They are the long old fashioned straight needles and I found it really helpful to have the extra length to handle all the stitches at the beginning of the crown section.

EDWARD HOPPER INSPIRED PORTRAIT CLOCHE HAT

Using 10 inch long straight needles as I did or your choice of alternatives:

Work the BRIM:

1) Begin by casting on 42 stitches on size US 10.5 needles

2) Change to size US 10 needles to work the brim:

Mark wrong side with a small safety pin to help you keep track of your work:

Row 1: (Wrong Side) *K2, p1,: repeat from * to last 3 sts, k3.

Row 2: ( Right Side) Work stitches as they appear.

Repeat Rows 1 and 2 until fabric measures 14 and 1/2 inches from beginning edge;

Change to size US 9 needles and continue in ribbing as established until fabric measures 16″ from beginning edge;

Change to size US 8 needles and continue in ribbing as established until fabric measures 17.5 ” from beginning edge;

Change to size US 7 needles and continue in ribbing as established until fabric measures 20″ from beginning edge.

Bind off all stitches in established rib pattern still using the size 7 needles.

The Crown will look like this from the top when finished !

Work the CROWN:

Using long set of straight US #9 needles, Right side facing, begin at Cast On edge and Pick Up and Knit 68 stitches evenly divided along the selvedge to the Bind Off edge.

Rows 1,3,5,7, and 9 : ( Wrong Side) Purl.

Decrease Rows:

Row 2: K1, *k4, k2tog; repeat from * to last stitch, k1 = 57 stitches total.

Row 4: K1, *k3, k2tog; repeat from * to last stitch, k1 = 46 stitches total.

Row 6: K1, *k2; k2tog; repeat from * to last stitch, k1 = 35 stitches total.

Row 8: K1, * k1, k2tog; repeat from * to last stitch, k1 = 24 stitches total.

Row 10: K1; *k2tog, repeat from * to last stitch, k1 = 13 stitches total.

Row 11: P1, *p2tog; repeat from * to last 2 stitches, p2 = 8 stitches total.

Break the yarn, leaving a 10″ tail. Weave tail through remaining 8 stitches twice, then tie off on inside.

SEW SIDES OF HAT TOGETHER:

Thread yarn on a large eye yarn needle and sew sides of hat, including the sides of the crown, together in method of your choice,  being careful to match the lines of ribbing together.

FITTING AND FOLDING BACK EDGE OF BRIM:

Try on hat. The seam should  be on the right side. The narrower portion of the graduated size ribbing should be in the front of the hat. Turn edge of brim back approximately 1.5 to 2 Inches. It should be turned back the same amount all the way around. How much is a matter of desired preference. I turned the brim back so that the edge rested on the lower portion of the 6th ridge of ribbing. Make sure it is evenly turned back all the way around and the hat and brim are adjusted to your preference. Thread yarn needle with yarn and starting on Inside of hat, under the folded back brim, insert needle all the way through the brim inside of a ribbing channel. Then insert needle from front to inside so that you are making one invisible stitch through all the layers of the brim to tack it down securely and hold the folded back brim in place. Tie this single tacking stitch down, then cut the yarn and repeat the process about 4x evenly spaced inside of the hat to keep the folded brim securely, but invisibly in its folded back position.

MAKE BOW:

Using US #8 needles cast on 18 stitches. Work in Stockinette Stitch until piece measures 12 Inches in length. Bind Off. Sew the two 18 stitch long edges together.  Fold so that the seam is inside and  underneath and in the middle of the piece. Take a generous length of yarn and wrap this piece in the middle cinching it together to form a stylized bow. Secure on the wrong side under the seam. Place this bow over the side seam of the hat vertically and sew it down firmly to completely cover the seam on the turned back section of the brim and the side seam of the hat above it. Sew it down firmly all the way around. It should be worn placed over your right ear.

I have added a Part 2 to this pattern, The Knitted Bow Tutorial

FINI

The bow sewn into place covering the right side seam of the hat. Bow is placed over the right ear when hat is worn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jane Austin Discussing Her Hat

Monday, January 27th, 2014

From Jane Austin – Letter to Cassandra, 1798

“Next week shall begin my operations on my hat, on which you know my principal hopes of happiness depend.”

Just began knitting a new hat and remembered this delightful quote from Jane! Times haven’t changed. If this turns out well I, too, shall be very happy!

Inspiration – Gorgeous Greta Garbo in a Beautiful Fur Trimmed Coat

Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Greta Garbo in The Torrent Wearing a Fur Trimmed Striped Coat

Great Greta Garbo.

She did not say I want to be alone. That was a misquote. She wanted to be let alone by the press and the crazy fans. And crazy men.

Here is a lovely photo of her in The Torrent. She is sporting a unique fur coat. At least the hem is trimmed in fur. And the cuffs. I cannot tell what the rest of the coat was made of. Perhaps it is a knitted coat as it is striped and so fitted. I love the whole outfit. Hat, coat, shoes, silk stockings. And the color tonalities. They had to think about how they would photograph in black and white. The stripes and the shading of the different colors in the zone system of greys makes me wonder what colors the coat was in real life color.

The Torrent was Garbo’s first American film. A silent in black and white.

Look at her eyes! Lovely!

Dainty Victorian Lace Vintage Cotton Gloves ~ An Inspiring Recent Lady Violette Flea Market Find

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

A pair of fine cotton knit lace long dainty Victorian gloves perfect for a garden party!                                                                                                                        

I recently found this amazing pair of delicate cotton lace gloves. They must be from the turn of the twentieth century. They are a machine made fine cotton knit with several different lace patterns going up the arms – almost like a sampler of different lace designs. I have had several photos taken to show the design and construction. The gloves are very old – near to falling apart – so can only be used as study pieces in the service of making similar pieces.

Note how the gloves fastened at the wrist with two snaps ....

They fasten on the inside of the wrist with two snaps – now nearly disintegrated – but this was where a lady would undo the glove and roll it back ( or have her escort assist her in doing so) to expose just her hand for eating or drinking at the garden party – without removing the gloves, a custom I described in a recent previous post.

Note the three lines of decorative ecru stitches on the back of the hand ...

I like the three lines of decorative ecru colored stitches on the back of the hand – I assume they assisted in shaping the glove as well as adorning it.

The gloves are about a modern size 6 – very small – and have hardly any give. They are in good condition considering their age, but not tough enough to last for more than one wearing. There are a few holes which have been expertly mended by hand ~ a touch I happen to like myself as it adds to their authenticity as a treasure of the original owner. Therefore I have decided to save them as study pieces. I intend to create a hand knitted summer glove pattern that is inspired by this lovely pair of vintage gloves. I am currently searching for the right yarn to use for this endeavor. Does anybody out there have any ideas on an appropriate yarn? I will be happy to take suggestions. When I finish making my pattern I will post it on my blog for other people to use.

Utterly beautiful feminine long vintage Victorian gloves

These gloves were knit as a flat piece, then sewn together. There is a seam up the outside of the arm, then along the inside edge of each finger. The seams  are very hard to see when the glove is worn which is as it should be. The thumb is also knit as part of the original piece but seamed together at the side gussets during the finishing process. The seams are finally cut very close to the edges upon finishing them so that they fit close up against the hand and become nearly invisible. All in all it is a very elegant and you are unaware of the seaming and construction of these gloves when you are wearing them.

The final effect is one of elegance and refinement.

I intend to knit my modern version on five needles in the round to avoid seaming. I also intend to use very small needles – probably size 0 to 00 – and the finest yarn I can find. This original pair has become a bit stiff with age – like a pair of cotton sock does. I am hoping to avoid that by using a blended yarn with some nylon in it for durability. I also intend to use small glass pearl buttons instead of snaps. I have ordered the tiny buttons already. The original snaps were made of the kind of metal that oxidized over time and now looks really bad! Pearl buttons and button holes should be a big improvement!

I think these gloves would also be lovely made up in bright colored yarns for winter use ~ such as royal blue or magenta. That will be period accurate as well because such colors were proper during the time these gloves were originally made. They were made in bright colors to show off the new dyes at the beginning of the industrial revolution. I hope to made a bright blue pair to wear with my long black velvet hooded opera cape lined in blue silk plaid to wear to next winter’s holiday parties. I will honestly have to start making them in the summer if I am to get them done in time for the holiday season.

The Flock – A Group Portrait with Violet Knit Hat & Scarf

Friday, March 9th, 2012

The Flock ~ Valcero, Zheed of Estonia, & Measuring Sheep

These are my toy sheep. Like many knitters, I have a collection of them as mascots to the art of knitting.

Valcero is the big one with a black face and paws who is modeling a new knit hat.

The medium sized shaggy white one is Zheed of Estonia.

And the little one is Measuring Sheep. (He has a tape measure that roles up inside him!)

Valcero is modeling a knit hat made of Rowan’s Plaid yarn in a color called Sea Grass which is actually a mix of violet, pale green and bright dark pink.

Measuring Sheep is posed atop the matching scarf in progress.

Did you know that, in Mexico, having a few toy sheep in your home is supposed to bring comfort, financial success and security? I suppose this is based on the fact that having a few real sheep did this for you in the old days – as their fleece gave you wool for warm clothing and you could sell what you didn’t use yourself for income. the larger a flock you got the better off you would be!

They are also good friends. Mine keep me going when the knitting projects gets challenging! Plus they are soft and comfy.

Everyone should have a sheep mascot in their home – even if they don’t knit!

Violet Gloves ~ Knitting Work in Progress ~ Continuation Part #2

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Violet Shetland Woll Gloves - A Handknitting Work in Progress Using Five Double Pointed needles Per Glove.

What an undertaking making gloves is! I’m finally through the palm and have begun the fingers. I worked the little finger first. Next, a bit more on the palm to get up to the beginning of the fingers, then each finger one by one. Each finger is knit as a little cylinder of about 12 stitches that are divided up onto four needles with 3 stitches on each that you knit with the fifth needle. When the finger is the desired length, you insert a darning needle threaded with the end of yarn into the remaining stitches, gathering them up at the tip to close off the finger.Then you weave the end of thread/yarn invisibly and securely inside the end of the finger where it will not show.

It is quite a feat to maneuver all these needles at once without creating an immense tangle of yarn and needle danger! But it is fun and challenging in a weirdly interesting way. I am glad to be accomplishing it. I will forever more appreciate and understand the way knitted gloves are made!

I’m not delighted with this wool. It is rough and scratchy like a loofah treatment! I wanted a strong yarn to make a tough pair of gloves for my first pair. I was afraid I might destroy a more fragile delicate yarn if I was ripping out my knitting and redoing it to get the proper effect. Sure enough I have had to reknit some sections several times to get the construction method right.

One Advantage to Making Your Own Gloves is Being Able to Try Them On As You Knit to Adjust The Fit to be the Way You Like It. And It Is Admittedly Fun Trying to Keep All the Wicked Looking Knitting Needles In Place

This takes way more time than it is worth! Of course! It is no wonder people seldom knit their own gloves anymore! Unless you want something really special. I am only interested in doing it again if I can design and make unique and beautiful gloves. This time around is only for learning purposes – to become familiar with the construction methods.

We have learned how to make the gusset for the thumb and divide the stitches for the individual fingers, etc. All worthwhile knowledge that is only understandable once you have gone through it preferably with a teacher and other students also struggling. I initially tried to understand and make a couple of patterns for these things on my own, but both of them were missing crucial steps in the explanation! No wonder they didn’t work!

After knitting the thumb gusset I removed the needles from the thumb section to use them on main the hand section. I held the live thumb stitches ~ so they would not unravel ~ tied off on the contrasting colors of yarn ~ in this case pink and red ~ while I continued to work on the hand.

As I struggle with this challenge I am reminding myself of all the beautiful vintage glove designs I am hoping to make once I accomplish this skill! There are a lot of beautiful vintage glove patterns still in existence. That is my goal. I know it looks far off as I struggle here with my initial attempt!

Note: I am using 6″ double pointed needles here. they are too long. I must get some shorter ones for my next serious attempt of glove and sock knitting. These are too unwieldy for knitting tiny circles of stitches like fingers and toes. I am searching for a set of short 3 ~ 4 inch long DPNs in a selection of sizes. They are hard to find. four shops in my city are out of them and several online stores are currently back 0rdwred. Any tips on finding good quality double pointed knitting needles will be appreciated.

PS: This is serious business for which one needs the best tools!

Learning to Knit Gloves ~ Living Up to My 2012 New Year’s Resolution ~ Getting Started ~ Part #1

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Knitting Gloves? Well Yes, that is one of the things I resolved to do in 2012. I love gloves. I have small hands with long fingers and new gloves never fit me as they usually come in one size fits all or med. & large only. And vintage gloves are hard to find. I figure if I learn to knit my own I can make the hands and wrists small enough, the fingers long enough, and choose the styles and colors I really want.

Red Fuzzy Mittens All Knit Up on Two Needles - Flat Technique - Ready to be Sewn Up & Finished

I really am learning to d it. It is a challenge! Fortunately I already know the basics of knitting. I began with a pair of red mittens – so I could learn to understand the basic structure and how to shape thumb gussets before attempting to do 5 fingers. I knit a pair of two needle mittens, on size 6 needles, in the red yarn, now all knit up and ready to be sewn together using mattress stitch so that they can be worn. Hopefully I get that done within the next couple of days. Blocking them and sewing them up all around is all that is left to do. I may also add a decoration of some sort to make them not so basic.

Next, I am knitting a pair of basic 5 finger gloves in violet Shetland wool. My purpose being to learn how to do the thumb and fingers perfectly on a plain pair of basic gloves before I take on making lace or decorative stitch fancy gloves.

Violet Shetland Wool Hank Knitted Gloves In Progress

Here they are, so far! I have done the ribbing for the cuffs, making them four inches long on size #4US needles, then transferred to size #6US needles for the section of the glove up to where the thumb gusset will begin. Next comes the thumb gusset, then the thumb, after that, the little finger, then a bit more knitting around on the hand to bring it up to the base of the other fingers, then each individual finger – each one has to be knitted using four double pointed needles in the round in a tiny circle to form a cylinder. The silver needles are my working set, the red needles are just being used as holders for the live stitches on the other resting glove. I am doing each section on one glove, trying it on to be sure of the fit, then moving over to the second glove so I do the same thing on it, then switching back to the first glove again to continue with the next step. It is very fiddly! Especially since it is being done on a set of 5 double pointed needles in the round instead of two needles, flat, as I did the red mittens above.

Gloves are definitely harder to make than two needle mittens. I highly recommend learning on a mitten first, then graduating to a harder glove with double pointed needles and five individually knitted fingers. I am using Jamieson Shetland DK weight wool here at a gauge of 6 sts per inch. This is a rather large gauge for gloves, but I wanted to be able to make them relatively quickly as my practice set, before moving into a more challenging tiny gauge fine yarn – which is my ultimate intention. I want to “graduate” to knitting fine gloves in refined styles in beautiful colors ~ using many of the interesting fingering weight sock yarns which are very well suited to gloves as well!

I love the yarns! I can hardly wait! Discipline, discipline! I have 2 skeins of lovely yarn picked out, on hold, for my next 2 pairs of gloves, but I won’t buy them until I get these finished. They will be my reward for getting through these first two projects!

I am off to do more work on these today, so will keep you posted with my progress. I am determined to finish them this week! I have to stay on schedule here to accomplish my goals! My first goal is to finish knitting the red mittens and the purple gloves shown above during this January. Then to move forward throughout the remainder of the year by knitting a pair of gloves every month. Each pair must be increasingly more difficult to knit so that I make technical progress. I feel that I will be quite a good glove knitter by next New Years 2013 if I manage to accomplish this. Plus, I will have a good collection of hand made gloves made up from practicing!

After I finish these two pairs I will be looking for glove patterns or a book of gloves to make! I want to make authentic vintage styles, of course! This is only the beginning!

A Knitted Kaliedescope of Colored Lace is a Work of Art Hat in Japenese Artist Eisaku Noro’s Fine Art Yarn

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

I am fascinated with the Yarn Art of Japanese painter Eisaku Noro. He hand dyes his yarns which are all organic and made of fibers from silk, through cashmere, wool, cotton, bamboo, etc. He dyes and spins the yarn in small batches all produced by hand – and they are absolutely amazing. I see his yarns, fall in love with one and must make something from them! They can be used any way a fiber artist/designer wants to use them – the sky is the limit and the possibilities are endless. I have made several garments from his yarns and have several batches of it stashed for future work. It comes out in extremely limited amounts so you must get it when you see it.

Kaliedescope of Colors in a Spiral Lace Knit Hat in the Making by Lady Violette de Courcy

Currently I am working on another knitted hat – my first experiment using Noro Yarn in a millinery project. I got the yarn, last Monday, came home and stayed up most of the night casting on and knitting until I had to get a little sleep. I woke up and started to knit immediately until I ran out of yarn! I had put more on hold, but I could not get to the yarn store to buy it as I was snowed in completely, now going on a week! But I cannot wait! I have to show you this as a WIP (work in progress) as I am so excited by the way it is turning out!

I am making this in Noro’s Silk Garden Yarn – a very soft blend of silk and wool. That is not a dark hole on the left side in the brown stripe! Just an indent in the lace prior to finishing and blocking the hat. The crown, which isn’t done yet, will be a round burst of all the current colors on the top in a spiraling snowflake~like shape. I underestimated the amount of yarn needed. In a project like this you never know until you make it. It is hard to tell now, but this again will have a 1920’s ~ 30’s vintage vibe to it when I am finished. And I’ll be adding a special surprise at the very end.

I hope I can get out of the house, off my steep Telegraph Hill like hill and back to the yarn store this weekend. Or early next week. The snow is not coming down now but we are experiencing really high winds. Branches are banging against the house and the trees are weaving and swaying. I can hear branches crunching and breaking off from time to time. This could be worse than the snow has been. Winds are whistling through the house too! When this happens here trees often fall across the roads and they are shut off. There is inevitable loss of electricity in the area as well. This is already up to 4,000 homes now which translates to a lot more people. My power is currently on – but It has failed 4x already. I will not be surprised if we are without power again! In nearby areas it has been out for three or four days and they cannot predict when it will get back on. The wind is so loud and violent it was impossible for me to sleep ~ so I got up and wanted to knit, but I am out of yarn on two current projects!

So I decided to write this blog post instead amidst the whistling wind. I imagine Wuthering Heights was like this. It feels very bleak! And it is dark and drafty and cold! I am feeling really housebound. I’m bundled up in knitted tights, mufflers and cloaks to stay warm and I haven’t been to the grocery store for over a week! The food choices are dwindling! Just like the yarn! This storm is difficult for someone who usually goes to the yarn store as often as she goes to the grocery store! At first the snow was nice, but now everything has turned to black ice and it is very dangerous. School has been cancelled for four days.

I am going to cook some old fashioned oat meal now. I am burning off calories trying to stay warm and I am really feeling hungry!

For more information on this hat in the works visit me at ladyviolette on Ravelry and check back to see this piece when I get it finished. The yarn is by Noro and the lace  pattern I have adapted is designed by Linda Medina. Details, including yarn sources and the lace pattern are available on Ravelry, the social website for knitters and  fiber artists.

 

Lady Violette ~ Erte Inspired 1920’s Style Hand Knitted Cloche With Pearly Vintage Accent

Friday, January 20th, 2012

Lady Violette's Rambler Spiral 1920's Cloche Hand Knitted in Cashmere and Silk

Another of My Recent Creations in the 1920’s Mode is a Hand Knitted Rambler Spiral Patterned Forget~Me~Not Luxury Fiber Flapper Style Cloche Hat With Pearly Vintage Accent. I am currently exploring making and wearing elegant knitted hats as feminine fashion pieces as they did in the 1920’s ~ 40’s. Versus the knitted granola hat destined for the ski slope, skate board park or shapeless grunge fashion accent  There are so many beautiful yarns out now that I cannot resist making something gorgeous out of them to put on my head!

I had to attend a 1920’s themed party so I made this little Erte inspired hat to wear with my blue 1920’s vintage dress of the same color rayon brocade combined with a darker blue velvet. I also wore many pearls so I trimmed the hat with a vintage pearly and blue trim piece that I had. I love the way this turned out! And I am already in process making it in two more colors – a dusky berry and a woodsy brown. I have two other stitch variation in mind to try out as well.This is such a cute shape I want to make several of them in many colors ~ perhaps a full bouquet! I am fantasizing about opening a drawer full of them overlapping each other in a rainbow of pretty yarns in many colors!

I used Sublime Cashmerino Silk Aran 10 ply yarn from England and found the basic cloche pattern in  Sublime’s Aran Hand Knits Books. You can use the basic hat pattern with any stitch variation you like. Like all vintage British patterns this one is written to be knitted flat on straight needles and seamed together down the back in finishing. It fits perfectly and looks adorable on. It required 2~50 gram balls of Aran weight yarn but I’m sure I have enough left over to make a knitted flower corsage to pin on one side of the hat. I think that will make a nice accent ~ instead of the pearl piece – when I want a different look. This is definitely a pretty hat design one can wear in the summer!

It’s still snowing here! And very dark outside! When I have the corsage finished and the snow has melted I will get a friend to photograph me wearing the hat and post pictures of it again. I wore it to the 1920’s themed party and it was a hit.

The pearl accent piece is not a vintage brooch. It is 3 vintage buttons wired together in the back and meant to be sewn onto something as an accent. It is a great idea to wire any number of buttons together to make such a “garnish” which is what I have decided to all it. You could also do the same thing with clip earrings. You can untwist the wires anytime to use the buttons as originally intended too! Such a garnish could be used on a coat, jacket, hat, dress, stole, even in your hair! The idea is probably something women came up with during the mend and make do era when they needed to whip up an embellishment in lieu of a jewel to trim an outfit before going out. It is very clever and a great use for pretty vintage buttons.

You can visit my site on Ravelry to find out more about my knitting and see more of my projects. I am ladyviolette on Ravelry. I post photos of the item, yarn and pattern information there so that you can find it if you want to create the same or similar article. If you are a knitter or interested in knitting I urge you to visit Raverly. It is a terrific resource for people with interests in knitting and crochet.

Lady Violette Design ~ Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

I know, you have been wondering where I am and what I have been up to. I haven’t been idle! Here is some of the stuff I have been doing!

I have been working really hard on knitting and designing hats, mittens and gloves over the last three weeks. This is a new discipline for me. I have never made gloves or hats before January 1, 2012! And I made a New Year’s Resolution to do so this year! As I mentioned yesterday I am taking classes in these subjects. And, as it is my best personal mode of learning, I am just jumping in and doing some designs of my own at the same time. I feel ready to share a few of them now. So, starting tonight, I’ll unveil one to show you!

Lady Violette's Design ~ A Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper

Voila! I created this hat which I am calling my ” Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper.” It is hand knitted of hand dyed 100% alpaca which is incredibly soft and warm. Pure Luxury!

I designed and made it to attend an art museum opening of Edward Hopper’s paintings. I wanted to make a hat in the style of the ones the women in his paintings wore. I also wanted it to look like a proper 1920’s ~ 30’s formed felt hat, rather than a knitted hat so I made it very thick and sculptural with a turned back rim and graduated shaping. I made a very thick sculptural bow to cover the left side of the hat. It comes down over the left ear and has the added benefit of being like a very warm ear muff! You could place the bow over the right ear instead if you preferred to do so.

The Overhead View of the Crown of Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper

This hat is very thick and warm, but I may have to try making one with my trademark earmuff bow on both sides now! I’m thinking of ways to keep even warmer on my 4th day of being completely snowed in! And it is still snowing out! We are in the middle of a huge snowstorm in Seattle and I am taking advantage of using this time to post my designs and knitting projects and related stuff on the knitting website Ravelry! (Honestly, I would rather be knitting!)

I’m really happy with the way this hat turned out. I wasn’t exactly sure of what I was doing as I made it but it is perfect and exactly what I had in mind. I am considering writing the pattern so I can offer it to other knitters who would like to make one, but, to do that, I must make another one and carefully write down the steps as I go. I think I should do it in a lighter color so the details really show up. As usual I kept copious design and construction notes on this one, but nobody but me can understand them! I always work the initial design out that way, then redo it for a final run through and perfection test to be sure somebody else can understand and follow them. I probably should point out that this hat requires good technical sewing skills as well as knitting skills.

I wear this one with a vintage navy blue 1930’s coat in wool gaberdine and a purple wool dress. The outfit is totally inspired by the women in Hopper’s paintings who are always dressed in strong clear distinctive colors. I get a lot of inspiration for my clothing from painters. I like to recreate the moods, styles, and colors of the paintings in the way I dress.

Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper ~ Viewed From the Front ~ Features Deep Sculptural Horizontal Ribbing, a Turned Back Brim for Double Thick Forehead Warmth, & Her Trademark Thick Earmuff Bow

My “Portrait Cloche in Honor of Edward Hopper” also reminds me of Dorothy Parker, the brilliant writer, who also dressed really well. She was known for her feminine suits and adorable accent hats like this one. I just know she would have wanted to wear one of these! Do you English majors out there who are interested in fashion agree with me?

I can also wear this hat with a deep purple wool crossover wrap and tie coat with a big ruffled collar. This is more of a 1970’s look, but also very successful. It looks great with this hat. In fact, once I finished the hat I found quite a number of interesting things in my closet that I could use it with. So many I want to go out! I am feeling so horribly house bound! I haven’t been able to get out to go anywhere since last Saturday night. I’d love to get bundled and dressed up in my purple and blue winter ensemble and go to some elegant cafe wearing my “Portrait Cloche.” As soon as I can get out of here I will and I’ll get someone to take a proper photograph of me in the Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper in the right atmosphere worn with the right era vintage clothes. This may still be a few days off as it is still snowing like mad! The airports are closed and the streets are blocked off! My classes have all been cancelled.

We only get snow like this in Seattle once every 2 or 3 years. It is inconvenient, but I also love it! I like the opportunity to stay home because I must and get some other things done. And I love the cold and the whiteness and the excitement in the air that the snow brings with it. A lot of people get very upset about their busy schedules getting interrupted, but I don’t. I see it as an opportunity to slow down and get a few things done that I normally do not have time for. Like making a couple of new hats! And setting up my Ravelry knitting site – which is a hugely time consuming project.

And, of course, get back to posting on my blog. So, back to the blog, as I promised and back to the “Portrait Cloche” : Let’s look at some pictures of it from all angles so you can really see what it looks like.

A Profile Shot From the Right Side of Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper. Here I have turned the hat and placed the bow on the right side and toward the back to show a different way to wear it!

I used Baby Alpaca Grande Hand Dye from Plymoith Yarn to make this hat because I happened to already have two balls of it in the perfect colorway of Blue/ Purple. I had hoped to get the hat and big bow out of one skein, but no such luck! It took about 1 and 3/4 altogether. Thus the yarn for this hat cost $40 plus sales tax! Expensive for a hat! But worth it to me. It is very stylish, warm and soft. Alpaca yarn is very luxurious and not at all scratchy. Even people with wool allergies can often wear it successfully. It is important to select non-scratchy or itchy yarn for a hat. I have made the mistake of using 100% wool that caused my forehead to itch and gave me a rash after a half hour. That quickly ruins the hat I spent hours making for me!

I plan to use the small amounts of left over alpaca yarn to decorate the violet tweed gloves I am currently making with little bows to co-ordinate with this hat. That should be really feminine and appropriate to the era that inspired me. And the gloves will be beautiful with the two ensembles I have described above. Here is a picture of them now as works in progress. I am finding it really interesting to construct them on the tiny tiny needles

Violet Tweed Five Finger Gloves With Bracelet Length Cuffs. This is the first pair of Five Finger Gloves I have ever made!

I am going to try to find another suitable yarn to make a spring/summer version of this hat – hopefully using one ball of a nice looking yarn and costing under $25 to make. I want to offer beautiful patterns that can be made up in affordable yarn. Anybody have any good suggestions? This one needs to be really bulky!

I keep trying to make hats out of one ball of yarn but I keep running out and needing to get a second one. This has happened on the Noro Spiral Beanie hat I am currently making as well. (See my work in progress in Noro Silk Garden in pastel colors and gray. I’ll post a picture of that here tomorrow.)

I am about to begin writing up several of my personal knitting pattern designs so other knitters can make them. I know cost of yarn and supplies is an issue for many people so I am planning to suggest several types of yarns in different price ranges so people have a choice. I am always making new things out of old ones and creating new things out of found fabrics and supplies – so this issue is always on my mind. I’d love to hear suggestions from readers of alternate materials you think would work as well. I’ll seriously consider them.

Lady Violette's Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper Folds Flat For Convenient Packing

I will be writing out the design and instructions for making Lady Violette’s Portrait Cloche In Honor of Edward Hopper Soon. When it is done & available I will post it here and on Ravelry. Check back if you want the pattern. We could even do a supervised knit along to make it here on my blog if a few people are interested.

If you are  interested in making this hat let me know.  It is not hard to make. In addition to the ability to read a knitting pattern, you only need  these basic knitting skills:

1) Cast On

2) Knitting,

3) Purling

4) Decreasing

5) Binding Off

6} Sewing a straight knitted seam together in mattress stitch

7) Picking up & Knitting stitches

8) Steam Blocking

About Ravelry. It is a knitting and crocheting social networking website, like Facebook for knitters and crocheters. In order to access it it is necessary to join it, even if you are not a knitter or crocheter or other needle worker. However, it doesn’t cost you anything to join. It is am amazing resource and I feel it is well worth joining even if you  currently simply enjoy looking at what other crafters and fiber artists are doing.

It is also the last word on finding information and sharing your work.  I am ladyviolette on Ravelry.

If you visit me on Ravelry you can view all my current projects in these areas and see pictures and read about my past work in those disciplines.

I’d love it if you come by and see me sometime. So will you, I guarantee it!

 

Classic Museum Quality Child’s Vintage Scandinavian Sweater ~ A Successful Restoration Story

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Classic Vintage Child's Norwegian Sweater~ Successfully Rescued & Restored From a Rag Pile

I am an avid knitter and am always on the lookout for amazing hand knit vintage sweaters that I can rescue from oblivion. I love hand knits and cannot bear to see them abandoned and unappreciated! I especially cherish children’s sweaters which were made with love by a grandmother, auntie or mother long ago. I know what is involved in making them since I knit myself and finding one and returning it to it’s original splendor is very exciting! Seeing it worn by children in my family and appreciated again is the icing on the cake!

The Inside of This Sweater is as Beautifully Done, Technically, as the Outside ~ a Really Good Example for Modern Knitters of the Stranding on the Backside of Two Color Fairisle Knitting

I recently found this little boy’s Norwegian sweater in a filthy thrift shop. It was dirty, and terribly damaged. And only $2. But it was a total disaster. I should have taken before pictures, but I was in a hurry to clean and repair it to send to a little boy as a present!I needed to get it to him quickly so he could use it before he outgrew it. As we know little children grow like weeds so no time was to be wasted!

First off, I gathered up the live unraveling stitches on safety pins, then I washed it very carefully in cold water by hand, as I was afraid of moth or other infestation. I washed it over and over to get the disgusting amount of dirt out of the wool. It is made of beautiful quality old style yarn – of the nice stiff type that is now very hard to find. It still contains its natural oils.

The Intricate Snowflake and Geometric Pattern Covers the Entire Sweater ~ Back and Front ~ Beautifully

The navy is a very dark inky shade, almost black, also impossible to find! I know as I searched every local yarn shop with the tattered, but now clean, little sweater looking for matching yarn to use for the extensive repairs needed. I could not find a match. I also want to find this type of yarn for my own knitting. Thus, if anyone reading this has a source I would be grateful if you would inform me of it.

The Sleeves Were Full of Holes When I Acquired the Sweater, But Now They Look as Good as New!

The ribbing on the wrists was unraveling and torn, the ribbing at the neckline was coming out and the sweater had holes in the elbows, the button placket and the back. It looked like it had been worn as the main winter coat by some child and his three older brothers before him as a hand-me-down and never mended or washed! But old wool wears like iron, fortunately!

Unable to match the yarn in it I finally had to unknit sections of the sweater in order to get enough of the navy main color yarn to make the necessary repairs. I undid all the ribbing at the bottom and both cuffs and then picked up the live stitches and reknit them using the resulting salvaged yarn and making the new ribbing sections shorter than the originals had been. The ribbing at the bottom of the sweater and the cuffs of both sleeves is now about an  inch shorter than originally. And it looks as good as new!You cannot tell that I have reworked it. I know this was often done during the mend and make do era. People also used to save a bit of the yarn and extend the ribbing to make the sweater larger as the child grew bigger.

Interestingly the B.K.S. Handmade in Norway label was still hanging by one thread so I resewed it on to retain the authenticity of the sweater.I think B.K. S. must be the initials of the woman or man who knitted this sweater. This nice touch makes me think I should get such a label made to sew inside the items I knit myself. I try to do as good a job as this and I want them to become heirlooms for my own family in the future.

Label of Knitter and Pewter Reindeer Button

The vintage pewter reindeer buttons are real beauties. And I was charmed by the fact that an extra was attached to the chest of the sweater with a red and navy striped grosgrain ribbon like a little military medal. The maker provided this extra button in case the child who got the sweater lost one! Fortunately none of the buttons were lost.

This Amazingly Detailed Sweater is Made to Fit a Boy of About 4-5 Years Old. Note the extra Button Sewn Onto a Striped Ribbon Like a Military Medal in Case the Child Lost a Button!

I took pictures of the sweater from all angles and both inside and outside to keep a nice record of how the fairisle work was done. It was both beautifully and expertly done. This is a textbook example of Norwegian knitting. It is worthy of a place in the Scandinavian Heritage Museum. I think it was made in the late 1940s or early 1950’s. It is a real treasure! Now restored to it’s rightful original splendor! I only wish the original knitter were able to know how much I appreciate her (or his) work! I would love to be able to tell her (or him) that myself! She (or he) so deserves it! I hope posting it on my blog garners the admiration and attention it deserves.

Expert Color Work! It Looks as Pretty on the Inside as it Does on the Outside ~ At least to an Avid Knitter!

I will include photographs of the stranding closeup so you can compare the way it looks on both sides. Here goes!

Fairisle Work ~ Another Detailed Shot of The Stranding

I shipped it off the restored sweater to the lucky little boy I repaired it for just in time for Xmas. He will wear it, his little brother will wear it and it will be a treasured heirloom in our family now for a few more generations! I made them new sweaters too. I love making small ones because they work up so fast! It is good practice in these difficult techniques prior to taking on an adult size sweater. I often tackle a little one for a family member before taking on the challenge of doing an adult one. After this repair job I feel quite ready to undertake a full size Norwegian sweater. I just have to find the perfect pattern. I want to do an adult one for myself and a man’s size with reindeer and snowflakes on it.

The Finished Restoration of This Museum Quality Child's Size 5 Year Old Sweater

I think this pattern is perfect for a child’s sweater. Does anybody out there have great classic vintage Norwegian sweater patterns for adults? Or know of a good source? I am looking now. Any suggestions will be most appreciated. I would like to find hat and mitten and glove patterns as well. And yes, I really will make them!

The red and white baby blanket under the Norwegian sweater in the photographs is my present for a new baby who is coming into the world in February! It is never too soon to start making hand knits and crochet heirlooms for the next generation! I am determined that they grow up with handmade knits so they enjoy them and learn to appreciate them! I did and that is what got me started as a knitter.

I was taught to knit by my grandma when I was only 4 years old. I was fascinated by it and couldn’t put the needles down! She later told me that she taught us to knit so she could busy us  and get her own work done! She said it kept us occupied for hours enabling her to work on her own sewing and knitting! Brilliant!

Under her supervision I very proudly made my very first scarf for my grandpa for Christmas when I was five! It was copen blue wool and consisted of knit and purl stitches only. She made me rip it out and reknit it until it was absolutely perfect! He wore it for years and told everyone that I made it! He even wore reading in  bed on cold nights and tied it around his bedpost so he could have it ready if a chill came on! They were very encouraging and supportive of the craft of knitting. They were sheep ranchers so their interest ran deep! They raised their own wool on their ranch in Southern Idaho. They sent it to the Pendelton Woolen Mills to be processed.

When I was a little older I went to the Pendelton Mill myself on Saturdays where they had knitting classes for children and teenagers. We were allowed to choose yarn for our projects from the overruns of the mil. It was a goldmine of fine wool in beautiful colors. I remember making my first sweater out of a beautiful emerald green merino held double with green mohair all the way from Italy. The yarn was free if you were a student there so cost was no object. The mill was interested in developing future knitters and demand for their products. I know of no such program these days! I attended those classes when I was in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades. Then we moved away from the area. The teachers were excellent and I still remember what I learned there! It was an excellent  basic foundation. Amazingly I was only 6 to 10 years old when I took those classes. My mother went to the advanced adult knitting groups and they created amazing items some of which I still have and will photograph and post on my blog in the near future.

I decided yesterday that I should photograph these beautiful vintage sweaters and share them with others. Once again, the exquisite vintage needlework produced by these women deserves to be seen!

And One More Fairwell Picture of the Norwegian Sweater Because I Cannot Resist!

Lady Violette’s Dji~Dji Hand Knitted Winter Scarf of Vintage Boucle Mohair & Fine Fingering Yarn ~ A Complimentary Lady Violette Knitting Pattern!

Monday, April 18th, 2011

The Dji-Dji Scarf Designed by Lady Violette

The Dji-Dji Scarf Designed by Lady Violette

The Dji~Dji Scarf is 42" Long, but You Can Make it as Long as You Like!

I had about 2 & 1/2 balls of old vintage mohair boucle yarn called Dji~Dji in a heathery purple and grey melange. They were not complete balls and the yardage was unknown. I also had a bit of skinny grey wool yarn, fingering weight, but not enough to make a pair of socks. I wondered if I had enough to make a scarf? It was a gamble, but I decided to try it. I knit a small swatch holding the two yarns together. I used size 8 needles and they worked fine. I wanted texture, so I made up a simple pattern and knit until I ran out of yarn! I am posting this as a complimentary knitting pattern that anyone may use! Enjoy making & wearing it!

Here’s the pattern for the Dji~Dji Scarf! I used size 8US straight knitting needles.

To Make: Cast on 32 stitches.

1st & 3rd rows:(K2,P2) to end

2nd & 4th rows: (P2,K2) to end

These 4 rows form the pattern.

Repeat until you nearly run out of yarn or the scarf is the length you like. I was able to knit to 42 inches. Then cast off. C’est fini!

You can use any yarn or combination of yarns held together that will give you an approximate gauge of 4 stitches and 4 rows to an inch. You can make the scarf any length you like from about 40 inches to 96 inches! The Blackberry scarf I posted earlier is 96 inches long including the fringe if you wish to use the way it looks as a guideline. The good think about scarves is that you can easily take them off the needles and try them on to decide what length you actually like and want to make!

A Close Up Showing the Texture of the Yarn & the Pattern Stitch & the Pair of Hair Sticks Used as Shawl Pins!

I didn’t block this piece because I wanted to retain it’s lofty nature. It is a little short for tying so I simply crossed it over at the front of my neck and stuck two hairsticks in it, one above the other, to hold it closed. You can use children’s chopsticks as well. They are shorter than adult ones and make great shawl pins. I have a shawl pin that would also work just like a hair stick! I like the look of two hair sticks slightly juxtaposed one above the other. Chopsticks make great scarf pins or shawl pins which is really scarf/shawl jewelry. You can wear them in your hair too to keep it pinned up when knitting! And I encourage you to try hair accessories such as these, lobster clips, and barrettes to hold your scarves and shawls in place. Hair jewelry can often double as scarf  and shawl jewelry!

This scarf is great over a high necked sweater or tucked inside the collar of a woolen coat. The double layer of crossed over knitted wool or mohair keeps your chest cozy and warm. It’s easy to make, looks good with black or any co-ordinating color. It’s a good solution to keeping warm and looking stylish at the same time!

Depending on the color and type of yarn you use this can be used as a man’s or a woman’s scarf. It is extremely easy to knit. And the results look very professional. This would make a great first scarf pattern!

Please feel free to use and enjoy it with my compliments! If you do so please credit me and refer people to my blog. And, if you make it, please send photos and I’ll try to post them for others to view. I recently sent photos of a finished project and the link to my blog to a designer  whose sweater pattern I knit and she wrote back thanking me. It was very encouraging getting that feedback!

The Delicious Blackberry Scarf by Lady Violette ~ Making and Styling a Fabulous Extra~Long Handknitted Winter Scarf with Fringe! Made with Noro’s Yarns Using a Jane Ellison Pattern

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

The Blackberry Hand Knitted Winter Scarf of Noro Yarns

Everything about this scarf is scrumptious! The yarn, the colors, the softness, the easy to execute pattern, the design, how warm and thick it is and how finally how elegant it looks! I love the name too! I think the stitch pattern is sometimes referred to as the blackberry stitch, but the Noro book doesn’t explain that. Anyway, it was easy to make. I am often working on really difficult knitting projects in which I have to concentrate closely on every stitch and row I make. This was a good break being a repetitive easy to do and remember pattern that I could work on while talking to people, watching a film, waiting for an appointment, etc.

Because I was only knitting with two types of yarn it was also an easy to carry around project! I need to take on more like this. It is hard to lug around a basket of 50 different colors and types of yarns when I want to knit away from home. All serious knitters usually have several different kinds of projects on needles and in the works at any given time. Of late I have been finishing a lot of things and don’t have something easy that I gan grab as I leave the house and work on when I get a chance while out. It is time to set up another one.

 

Close Up View of the Blackberry Stitch

The Blackberry is another pattern from the book Naturally Noro by Jane Ellison using Noro’s yarns. This is actually a booklet, rather than a book. It looks like a magazine. As far as I know these are not available from bookstores. I believe they are only sold by specialty yarn shops that also carry Noro’s yarns.

The yarns specified and the ones I actually used are Noro’s Iro in shade 9 and Noro’s Kochoran in shade 17. You work with one strand of each type, held together throughout the entire project. It is also done on giant size #13 US knitting needles so it knits up really quickly. That means instant gratification! I used Clover bamboo needles.

I have experimented with many types of needles and these are my favorites. I have found that stitches and the finished fabrics actually look very different knit on needles made of different materials. I recommend using the same type of needles made by the same company of the same material for your entire project.

I once made a pair of gloves on size 7 wooden needles. I had a pair of Clover and a pair of Brittany – both wood, both size 7. I wanted to make both gloves at the same time. I launched into the knitting. Unfortunately both gloves looked different! They were knit of the same yarn in the same technique, by the same person. The difference came from the two brands of needles made of the same type of wood. I showed them to many people at my local knit shop. They could all tell there was a pronounced difference. Caused by using two different brands of wooden needles in the same size! The one knit on Clover needles looked the smoothest. So I ripped out the other one and reknit the entire glove to match the better looking one done on the Clovers. A tough lesson learned the hard way! You don”t have to go through that because I am warning you ahead!

The Fabulous Dramatic Hand Made Yarn Fringe

This finished scarf is 96 inches long. It is mighty long and mighty thick and I love it that way! It’s very warm! Mighty warm! It also has fabulous fringe on both ends! I also love fringe! It is so dramatic! I love tossing it! This scarf is so long and big and thick that is is almost like wearing a coat! It does it’s job as a winter scarf! I also like having all the warm thickness of several layers of it cuddled up around my neck.

Noro’s yarn is hand dyed and hand spun in small batches in Japan! When they come out with a color it is usually not available very long. In fact I have had a lot of trouble actually getting enough of it in the same type and color to make entire sweaters – even size small women’s sweaters and children’s sweaters which is what I am usually making!

Noro, himself, is a painter who became a knitter and spinner. Working with his yarns is like painting. They are spectacular! To me at least. I actually like the immense amount of variation in each skein and the difficult to get enough of it aspect. I like the uneven spinning and unpredictable differences found in each small batch because It is like painting. I approach knitting with it like painting and I am willing to experiment and work with it’s unique qualities to achieve the effects I want. Incidentally these are unpredictable and they evolve as you work with the yarn. They cannot be planned in advance. There is an element of chance involved. I like that in my knitting. Even though I am a technical perfectionist! In the end, when I have finished knitting a garment out of Noro’s yarn I know I have a unique to me one of a kind piece!

The Fabulous Blackberry Scarf Designed by Jane Ellison & Knitted by Lady Violette with Yarns by Noro

Now I am all excited and I want to go buy yarn and start another one! I am worried about what may happen to Noro yarn given the Tsunami disaster in Japan. Of course I am more worried about other things in Japan, but the Noro yarns are definitely important elements in my work! They have always been hard to get and I am concerned that their availability may be seriously impacted. I am going to investigate this.

The oak leaf pin with an acorn looks like it is made of copper, then enameled. It is a vintage piece that I found at the Goodwill! It is a perfect accent on this scarf!

People often ask me how much it costs to make something like this. The kinds of yarns I use are luxury yarns of natural fibers. In the case of Noro all the steps of production are done organically. All of them! From raising the sheep to getting the ball of yarn onto a shop’s shelf! The fibers used are the best available and often rare. Consequently, Noro’s yarns are very expensive. These are $20.25 per skein and the sweater required 6 skeins total! So the yarn cost was $121.50 before tax, The pattern book is $24 and you will also need a pair of Clover bamboo or similar wooden knitting needles in size 13US which are about $10.  Allowing for a few other miscellaneous supplies and tax the project cost comes to about $170 just for the materials.

Blackberry Scarf Simply Wrapped

That is the cost to make this sweater if you knit it yourself! No allowance is figured in for the amount of time and expertise for an expert knitter to make if for you!  I am often asked why I do not sell the beautiful hand knits that I make on eBay or Etsy. It would not be worth it for me to do so. The honest truth is that people are not willing to pay what it costs to make them! Or to pay me anything for my time to make them! I have friends who knit and sell their work that way and I have watched the process. They make wonderful things but cannot charge enough to even cover the cost of using top quality yarns. I have had many discussions with fiber artists sharing their experiences selling in these venues. If they continue to do so they knit items in acrylic yarn and make only uncomplicated things that they can produce quickly. The online buying public is not willing to pay for hand knits in particular. Too few people who do not knit themselves understand what is involved and are, thus, unwilling to pay for it.

I have sold on eBay and Bonanza and I know how these systems work. It usually isn’t worth the effort involved. I have written an article about selling on eBay which I will intend post on my blog soon. I am quite willing to share what I have learned about that! I sold high end high quality vintage clothing on eBay for over a year. It was difficult and not worth the effort involved! More about that later!

The bottom line is that, if you want a really gorgeous hand knitted scarf like this one you will have to knit it yourself or find a friend who will do it for you. Or, better yet, teach you to knit! And that is a good thing as you will have the enjoyment of the knitting process for your time investment as well! Knitting is a wonderful fulfilling meditative calming, and grounding experience.

I honestly hope seeing this Blackberry scarf and the other projects I have posted inspires you to knit!

The Blackberry Scarf ~ A Wonderful Hand Knitted Winter Scarf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As far as I am concerned that is the big picture!  This is the softest, warmest winter scarf I own! The easy pattern is appropriate for a beginning knitter who knows how to knit, purl, cast on and off, and can read a basic pattern.

Scarves are worn in every culture and knitting is done all over the world. Every country has techniques and styles to contribute to the great knitting, scarf  design and styling repertoires available for us to draw from.   Interestingly the Blackberry is truly an International Scarf because the yarn is from Japan, the designer, Jane Ellison is British and it was knitted in the United States by Lady Violette! I find this crossover of influences fascinating and it adds interest to the scarf for me!

Short Ribbed Poncho/Capelet/Shawl/Scarf – Hand Knit of Noro’s Iro Self-Striping Yarn in the Brown Color Way by Lady Violette

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Hand Knitted Ribbed Poncho of Noro's Iro Yarn in the Browns Color Way

This is a short ribbed poncho or capelet that just covers the neck, chest and shoulders. Sort of like a scarf, actually, but in a circle so it stays on. Vogue has put out a knitting pattern book with scarves, shawls and ponchos so they, too, feel they are all in the same category. The keeping warm stylishly category!

The pattern is called Cat and is in the book Naturally Noro by Jane Ellison beginning on page 44.  It is hand knit of Noro’s Iro self-striping yarn in shades of brown.

It takes 300 Grams which is 3 skeins of Iro yarn in the color of your choice and is worked on size 10.5 US needles. It is an easy pattern and is very quick to knit. The poncho is a very cozy cover for the upper body. I like wearing it to grocery shop because I get really cold  in the super cold store grocery stores! The yarn is a little scratchy so I wear a tight cotton turtle neck sweater under it.

This Poncho is knitted in one piece on straight needles and seamed together down the back.

Handcrafted Scatter Pins Made From Vintage Buttons & Seed Beads

I felt the poncho needed a little embellishment so I made three accent scatter pins to decorate the left shoulder. These are very easy to make out of  vintage buttons stacked together, then glued and attached to a metal craft brooch pin. The flower pin is made of seed beads strung on thin wire, twisted into the shape of a flower and, attached to a craft brooch pin.

Pins like this are very lightweight so they won’t stretch out and damage hand knits. They also make excellent personalized embellishments for hand knitted or felt hats.

The book, Naturally Noro, by Jane Ellison is full of cute modern knitting patterns. I have finished two scarves out of it and am working my way through a vest and a sweater now. The designs are fairly easy to make, and are casual and wearable. Maybe I will be able to knit them all! I’m trying!

 

Lady Violette’s Hand Knitted Blue Violet Striped Cardigan Sweater

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Lady Violette's Blue Violet Striped Top Down Circular Needle Hand Knitted Cardigan

This is the first cardigan I have ever knitted using the top down circular knitting technique. I used scrap yarns in blues and purples left over from years of projects people in my family had knitted. Thus my name for it:Lady Violette’s Blue Violet Striped Cardigan!  The yarns were in many different weights so I had to adjust the needle size to maintain the gauge throughout the project. Sometimes I knitted with one strand, sometimes 2 or 3 combined or held together, and I used sizes 6,7,and 8 US needles. There was a lot of guess work and re-knitting involved. Fortunately I’m pleased with the finished results.

Blue Violet Striped Top Down Cardy Sweater ~ Back View

The shape looks a bit odd on my mannequin, but it looks good on my body as I fill it out in the right places and I actually have shoulders and arms! Those are required to make the sweater look good. The arms look long in the photos but they actually fit me. I have measured and carefully worked to get the sleeves to be the correct length. Of course real human arms fill them out and pull them up to make them look the proper length and  shape. And a lot better! Someday I hope to get a mannequin with arms! Meanwhile this will have to do.

The Blue Violet Striped Top Down Cardy Can Also Be Worn Unbuttoned

I’m taking these photos by myself and don’t have equipment to photograph myself in the sweaters so the mannequin will have to do as my model until someone is here to photograph me modeling my sweaters.

It is better to take these photos than none! It has taken me forever to get around to photographing my finished knitting projects. I think that is because I am very concerned that I do a good job! I do not like seeing photos of knitted garments that do not do them justice.

I also would rather be knitting than photographing and posting photos of my knitting! Knitting is the most relaxing thing in the world. Photographing knits and writing about them is not as pleasant in my opinion. It requires discipline! However, now that I am blogging I want to get them up and I want to post them on the knitting website Ravelry.

I created this pattern myself as I went along. I kept notes, but I think it would be very hard to recreate the pattern and rewrite the instructions for someone else as I did  many try-ons for fitting and adjustments as I knitted along. Also, having used many old yarns which no longer had their labels and are of mysterious identity even to me, I would find it hard to write the pattern and advise people on exactly what currently available yarns to use.

If you want to make something like this I suggest you find a plain sweater pattern that you like. Then dive in! Decide what you want to use for the ribbing and front bands, start there, and add yarns when and where it looks good to you to create the stripes as you work. That is how I did it!

Blue Violet Top Down Cardy Knit on Circular Needles From a Medley of Scrap Yarns

I have also used self striping yarns such as Noro and Tonalita for other striped sweater projects. I love them because there are no ends to weave in or splice! And no gauge changes to calculate. You can safely knit them mindlessly going along and end up with excellent striping results. The yarn makers have dyed the yarn to make the stripes for you. If you want to make a striped sweater similar to this, with less work, I advise you to choose a Noro yarn in the color way of your choice and knit a plain cardy. You could use a solid color yarn of the same weight to make the ribbing and button bands if you chose to. Using a self-striping yarn for a sweater like this would be an intermediate level project. Using the varied yarns as I did is more challenging and I would rate it as an advanced level project.

I will post a brown striped cape/shawl soon to illustrate how one of the Noro Iro self striping yarn works up.

I got a spinning wheel! I knit, I sew, and I want to spin my own yarn!

Monday, April 11th, 2011

The Wonderful Spinning Wheel I Got at the Children's Hospital Auction

Yes, I got a spinning wheel. am I crazy? As if I don’t have enough to do already! But I have always been interested in spinning. I love using vintage sewing machines and other tools and have a penchant for acquiring them, renovating them if need be and learning to work with them. Almost all my appliances are vintage and I seem to be going further and further back in time with what I am acquiring lately!

It’s fascinating! Maybe it is a good way to fight aging! It keeps me so absorbed I don’t think about that! Plus it takes me back to my own childhood experiences.

I spent summers on my grandparent’s sheep and cattle ranch in southern Idaho as a child. My grandmother raised sheep for the wool and had her shorn pelts washed and carded at the Pendelton Woolen Mills, then sent back to her so that she could spin her own yarn. It was soft and luxurious.

She taught me the basics of knitting when I was 5 years old. I learned on five needles in the round. I learned fair Isle multi-stranded and multi-colored techniques and I learned on small needles. I do not recall her owning any needles larger than a size 2! I was fascinated by knitting then, as I am now, and found it difficult to put it down once I got started. There was a long period in my adult life when I was too busy with other things to do much of it but I always managed to go back to it again and am heavily involved in it now.

Knitting is slow going but the best way to handle stress I have ever discovered. And there is always more to learn.

Yarns are also gorgeous. I didn’t learn to spin from my grandmother but I always wished I had.

I happened to stop into the Children’s Orthopedic Hospital Thrift Store when they were holding a silent auction and saw this beautiful wheel in perfect condition with all it’s parts in tact. It had been very well cared for. It was on a triple bill with a treadle sewing machine, also in great condition, and a beautiful old rocking chair. You had to bid on all three together. I did it. But I really didn’t think I’d win. I wasn’t able to place a very high bid.

As it turned out I was the only person who placed a bid! I ended up winning all three items. All of them were from the same donor, are in very good condition and are complete. I was really lucky. All I have to do is get a new belt for the treadle sewing machine which I intend to do in the summer. The machine is a White and it is in a lovely oak cabinet. I learned to sew on one of these as well. My grandparents had their original treadle and several Singer electric machines. Everyone sewed a lot so they kept them all.

I don’t know what ultimately happened to their old machinery. It either went to other family members when they died or was disposed of. I was far away in other parts of the country when that happened.

But, ultimately, I think I was lucky to have been taught all these skills growing up. I think about my grandmother and everything she taught me whenever I work on any of the projects I do using those skills. She was a very good teacher, but I was so young I think I also absorbed these skills through osmosis just being around her. She said she taught us how to sew and knit so that she could keep us busy while she was doing it and get her work done. She taught me, my brother and my cousins all the basics about sewing, knitting, gardening, cooking, and animals. She loved animals and had a multitude of pets ~ dogs, cats, peacocks, horses, chickens, sheep, goats, etc. ~ as well as farm animals. She was also a woman of great style as she had trained in Switzerland to be a couturier before marrying a rancher. Long story, more later….

And I’ll post pictures of the rocker and the treadle sewing machine later as well.

 

Lady Violette’s Interpretation of the Hand Knitted Poppy Sweater in the Iris Color Way ~ Just Finished and Successfully Figure Fitted Like a Corset Through the Use of Negative Ease

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

My Iris Color Way Hank Knit Sweater

I have just finished knitting this beautiful blue, purple and green striped sweater from the pattern for the Poppy sweater in the book Yarnplay by Lisa Shobana Mason. Poppy was originally done in reds and browns using Noro yarns Silk Garden and Cash Iroha. I substituted Tonalita for the striped sleeves and the striped portion of the yoke and body and an old unlabeled purple mystery yarn in a silk and wool blend for the solid red sections in the original pattern. The mystery yarn was given to me by a friend and I had it for years without any tags or labels so I have no idea what it is. I do know it is an old yarn and isn’t carried by yarn stores now as I have taken it around to several with me and no one recognizes it. I luckily had just enough for this project!

I am calling this my Iris sweater, because it is done in blue and purple iris colors, not red poppy colors. They are both named after flowers though, which was one of my attractions to the design ~ being Lady Violette and having an interest in all things floral!

The original pattern was knit of scratchy yarns and I chose to do mine out of very soft yarns. I cannot wear rough yarns. They are way too itchy for me, even during the knitting process. I did use yarns that worked up at the same gauge. I had to adjust the pattern to fit me and measure and make adjustments constantly as I was working. It was a difficult project. I only recommend undertaking it if you are an advanced knitter and have a great deal of patience to see it through to finishing. I had to stop and work on other projects that were not so demanding, then pick it up again and continue several times before I finished it. It is beautiful now that it is finally done so I guess it was worth it!

Fashionably Long Hand Covering Sleeves in Tonalita Knit In the Round on Five Douple Pointed Needles

The sleeves may appear long in the pictures. That is because they are designed to be the trendy long type of sleeve that goes over the palm of the hand. They are also taken up when worn so they really do fit perfectly. The bottom edges of the sleeves cover my hands and reach the bases of my fingers exactly. This is very pretty and very cozy ~ but definitely makes for a dressy sweater rather than one you would wear for cooking or doing the dishes! ( A great excuse for avoiding those activities!)

The bottom part of the sweater is knit in a strip from side to side in stockinette stitch with occasional stripes in garter stitch and stockinette stitch. The knitter adds these whenever and wherever she likes, so each rendition of this pattern is unique. I put in a lot more stripes than the original designer did ~ originally to be sure I would have enough of the solid purple color to finish the body ~ ultimately because I really liked the design better that way!

I knit the sleeves in the round on double pointed needles in order to avoid seams. I made the stripes on both sides match each other as well ~ on the yoke and both sleeves. This required cutting the yarn and reattaching it and carefully keeping track of the rows worked in each color. I did the back yoke on mine with a lot more texture and garter stitch worked into it than the designer used in hers as well. I tried to do the same method in the front but it didn’t work out as well there! So my yoke ended up being highly textured in the back and smooth stockinette stripes on the front. this was risky, but it worked.

The Back of the Iris Sweater Featuring Garter Stitch Stripes in Two Directions

 

All in all this sweater was a huge experiment. I added a double row of garter stitch around  the bottom to tie it in better with the edging around the neck. The designer originally finished off her edges with a line of single chain crochet! Because I used different yarns and am a different knitter, my Iris sweater almost looks like a different sweater than the original Poppy design. This often happens when you knit something in very different yarns and make fitting and design adjustments along the way.

My Iris Sweater is an interesting project that evolved using bits and pieces of leftovers from two other projects. And using a lot of determination! It is sometimes fun to see what you can do working with limitations. In this case only having small amounts of two types of yarn that weren’t even the ones called for in the pattern. If I had gotten stuck without enough to finish I would probably have added yet another yarn or changed the design to accommodate my limitations.

I was anxious to photograph it and post it. After the agony of finishing it I am anxious to get some feedback from other knitters and designers! Of course I am interested in the opinions of non knitters as well. I photographed it with a black pleated skirt, but, for a more casual look I plan to wear it with dark green or dark blue vintage jeans and dark green boots or a dark purple skirt and purple tights that I have.

Corset~Like Figure Forming Fit

I knit my Iris sweater to be very fitted with a slight negative ease. To me the body of the sweater has a corset~like effect with the shape of the body and the slimming vertical stripes simulating the stays of a corset. This is form fitting and figure flattering. The yarn is fairly fine in quality and certainly in feel, so I wanted a refined looking fitted  sweater rather than a loose fitting one. It is possible to make fitted knits when you make them custom to fit yourself or another person for whom you are knitting. The trick to achieving that is negative ease. I made the sweater tighter than the designer did hers. I achieved a dressier more formal look. Her looser fitting one is more casual.

Knitting is an art form, and in making art, each artist’s interpretation is individual and unique, even when using a pattern. In knitting I find a pattern is really just a guide to get me started. I rarely make any pattern the exact way it is written with the same materials the writer used. In fact I do not know if I ever have.

 

Side View of beautifully Shaped Iris Sweater

I always wonder if people who do not knit have any idea how complicated making something like this sweater is. Think about it! Every single stitch is made by hand and has to be counted and kept track of while you go! It requires a tremendous amount of concentration and time and self discipline. Hand knitting takes a lot more time than sewing.

 

It breaks my heart when I see a beautiful hand knit sweater that someone lovingly made somebody given to a thrift store. I have found them and It is my personal mission to rescue them whenever I do. It is on the same level as rescuing an abandoned animal for me! Knitting is an art form and to do it well is an amazing accomplishment. It takes hundreds of hours to make a hand knitted garment. I will be pleased if people who didn’t understand anything about what was involved in knitting before reading my blog develop an interest in it from reading what I write and looking at the pictures I post. Not only does the knitting take a lot of time and expertise, but the yarns and fibers themselves are amazing, fascinating and very valuable. I will write more about that in the future.

Fitted Knit ~ Like a Corset Through the Torso

The Original Poppy Pattern, in red yarns is pictured below. More photos in red can be seen on the blog of Lisa Shobhana Mason and can be found in her book Yarnplay, available from Amazon. This sweater is photographed on the cover of her book and directions begin on page 98. It is rated  advanced level for experienced knitters. I would definitely agree with that rating! You can find photos of other knitters completed versions of this pattern on Ravelry if you would like to see how their interpretations of the same original pattern turned out. I always enjoy seeing them!  You can see them on Ravelry (requires free account). I just looked at these other knitters works – and what fun it was to see how they differed from mine! This is always the case with the feminine arts like quilting, knitting, sewing, crocheting, embroidery, etc. – each woman’s personality comes out in her needlework. Check it out, you will see what I mean! The sweater has been made up in many different yarns, colors and sizes.

Incidentally Ravelry is a great place to get ideas and find patterns for knitting and see other peoples work.

 

Original Poppy Sweater in Red by Lisa Shobhana Mason

If you want to make a fitted garment with negative ease experiment with the following suggestions. Knit a size smaller than you normally would. Be sure to make the pattern pieces long enough though! You will want them to end up tighter around but not a lot shorter! Try knitting on a size smaller needles than the pattern calls for. This will create a tighter knit, thus smaller, piece of knitting. Be sure, again, that the length is adequate. In this case I experimented and ended up using one size smaller needles than originally called for in the pattern and adding length by knitting a few extra rows to get the length I needed through the torso. I knit sections, take them off the needles and try them out by holding them up to my body or that of the person I am knitting for. I put them back on the needles and make any necessary adjustments, then continue. I sometimes have to take out fairly large sections and redo them, but I do it because I want perfect results. The trick to avoiding having to redo large sections is to try things on to test the size and figure out the measurements fairly often. theoretically you should be able to do this by calculating it out on paper, but that is not the same thing as a try on! The only true test is actual fitting on the body of the person for whom you are making the garment. It is always worth the extra time it takes.

 

I’m Having fun sewing 50’s skirts! I can’t stop! Here’s another, hot off the press!

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Sewing 50's Styles on My 1952 Singer Featherweight Sewing Machine

Sewing these colorful little cotton skirts is so fast and so rewarding! I’m suddenly caught up in it! So I have just finished another one! Again, size 3T, for the three year old princess Mademoiselle Coco who loves pink and loves twirly skirts! I am loving them so much that I am going to make myself one as soon as I finish the Princess Wow concert dresses!

I’m whipping these up out of leftover fabric from other bigger projects.

Hot Off the Press Today ~ Three Different Cotton Prints & and Five Yards of Rick~Rack! Size 3T

Here is today’s creation! Amazingly, it required two full packages of Rick~ Rack! For a child’s skirt ~ size 3T. That impresses me as a lot of Rick~Rack. I don’t know what to expect when I make an adult’s dress! But I can tell you that I intend to use a lot of the stuff as I love the effect! It is crisp, fresh and decorative! But it is not cheap! The wide stuff ~ called Jumbo, is $4.99 for a package of 2.5 yds. and the Medium is $2.99 ~ so this small skirt contains $8 worth of Rick ~ Rack, $1.50 of elastic, two spools of thread, and the fabric which I cannot really cost out as I used left overs. When I make it again I will calculate the yardage and price it out. It is important to know how much a project is going to cost to make.

People used to sew to save money, but nowadays it is actually quite expensive. You just get to make exactly what you want and get a perfect fit. Those are the advantages. Fabrics and trimmings have gone way up in prices. Of course fuel prices effect these costs as well. Sometimes I take apart old clothes and reuse the fabric and buttons, and other parts in new creations. I actually really enjoy doing that at times.

Two Twirly Skirts

Here are the two little pink twirly skirts I have made for Coco over the weekend. Both pink, of course! And super cute.

What’s in that pink heart box? A little bumble bee tea set! A tiny teapot, 4 little cups and saucers. and a  sugar and creamer. Yes, I will probably photograph it and post it soon.

These would be the perfect skirts to wear for an Easter tea party! I will have to get cooking.

Pink and Green the Ultimate Preppy Combo!

Here’s a close up of the other skirt. It’s a full circle. The bows are removable for washing and ironing or can be taken off and untied and worn to tie the hair back in a pony tail.

Yesterday I read that in the 1950’s ~ 52 million sewing patterns were sold! And that 50 million women and girls in the US were sewing on a regular basis! They  were making clothing for themselves, their children and their families. And making curtains, slipcovers and pillows and so on for decorating their homes. That sounds like domestic bliss to me!

The majority of patterns sold were for women’s dresses. And were they ever pretty! Super full skirts, based on Dior’s New Look, nipped in waists. Bright beautiful prints  and  solid  colors, crinolines, hats, and high heels! I would have been in heaven! So lovely and so inspiring!

What would happen now if 50 million American women suddenly started making the majority of their own clothes again? Would everyone look pretty? I think so! Would shopping malls with store upon store of ready made go out of business? Or collapse? Hopefully!

Personally, I love the old styles and I love the old patterns. I look at Vogue Patterns Catalogue for the Vintage Vogue  Pattern reissues every time I am in a sewing store. And I have bought some on eBay as well. But now that I know the statistics I wonder where all the original 1950’s patterns are?

I want to discover a warehouse full and make them all! Tell me if you know of one! Seriously!

Important Anti-Moth Information – for knitters and vintage clothing collectors as well as all other people!

Saturday, March 19th, 2011

MOTH EXTERMINATION AND PREVENTION INFO:

First let me list my qualifications: Then let me share what I have learned about moth invasion.

1) I am an ardent knitter and I have boxes of precious hand knit sweaters. And boxes of expensive luxury knitting fibers in the process of being knit or awaiting being knit. Now everything is in plastic sealed bags as well as in boxes.

2) I am a  serious collector of fine historic textiles.

3) And I have collected and own an immense amount of valuable vintage clothing.

4) I also own several fur items and these can be offenders. Moths love to live in a nice soft cosy fur collar or coat or muff. Or a lovely oriental carpet, or a wool needlepoint purse! Cashmere socks or a fur purse! Or a silk scarf, especially if it is Dior or Calvin Klein it seems! And pets!

Think carefully about where they might be and be sure to inspect that item and work on keeping those items moth free. Freeze any suspect item for 72 hours. You cannot freeze a pet for 72 hrs but you can wash one.

Thus I am very concerned about preventing invasion and damage by moths!

For decades I had good luck, was very careful and never had a problem. then, suddenly, last summer, for a reason we cannot track the source of successfully, I discovered an outbreak of moths. In my house! In some hand knitted sweaters! I was horrified. And flew into action. We actually found very little information on the problem.

I have always stored my clothes with an immense amount of lavender. I always read that this fended off the offending critters. I have had fresh lavender sachets everywhere. In almost every drawer, hanging in little sacks from every hanger. Stuffed in little bags in my shoes and on every closet and cupboard and shelf and drawer in existence in my house. My friends have always teased me about being the lavender lady. Because my entire house smells of the stuff. Subtly though. It is not overwhelming.

Moths are said to dislike the strong fragrance of lavender and stay away from it. It did not fend them off. They came in spite of it and attacked my cashmere and alpaca and natural untreated Scottish and Irish woolens. By the time we discovered them they had made it through an unfortunate number of nice things.Luxury fibers and designer clothes are their favorites.

We found out after reading everything online and researching like crazy that lavender doesn’t really kill them. It just slightly discourages them. In our case the strain we had seems to have liked it a lot! I suspect they had developed a taste for it!

You have to kill the moths and the eggs and the larvae which are the wretched creatures that eat your silks and wools. cashmere and alpaca, etc. All luxury fibers and nothing else. The one and only way to surely wipe them out is to put every item you suspect them of being in or getting near in your freezer at temperatures lower than 32 Degrees F for at least 72 hrs. Enclose each item in a zip lock bag, get the air out and then put the bag and its contents in your freezer for 72 hrs minimum. After removing it keep the item stored in its sealed plastic bag with a small silk bag of lavender inside it. You can get the small silk bags in which to make the lavender sachets at dollar stores. Fill them with bulk organic lavender from the health food stores. That is right. Not one bag for a drawer full of sweaters. One for each sweater in each zip lock bag.

To be absolutely safe that is then how you have to store your clothes for eternity.

Moth larvae do not fly or climb onto clothes.  They walk or crawl onto them. So you should have your coats and suits and the like hanging up not sitting folded  on shelves or in drawers. No more elegantly folded stacks of cashmere sweaters. That is what I had and they just ate their way through them!

Moth balls are not an option because  they will poison you and your clothing. They stink and they are completely out of date. Passe! Unsafe and disgusting.

I inspected everything I owned and cycled everything through my freezer for 72 hours. I now keep everything I own sealed in plastic bags and in each of those I keep a lavender sachet in a small silk drawstring bag. This process took me three months. It was awful. A lot of work!

Any new item – especially anything from a thrift or consignment shop that I bring into the house – I immediately put in a plastic bag and pop into the freezer for the 72 hour freezing treatment. That includes children’s stuffed toys and all sweaters, ties, wool clothing items, etc. Even yarn and fabric. If I buy a scarf, into the freezer it goes.

I fear that we contracted the original moth problem from an item bought at a thrift store that seemed perfectly clean and got folded up and put on a shelf with another stack of sweaters. I fear it had moth eggs in it, the larvae hatched and then began munching their way through essentially everything in our home. They can get into silk drapes, wool carpets, pets, any silk or wool items and all fine natural animal fibers. They spread like wildfire.

I originally understood that dry cleaning items killed them. But I do not think it actually does so every time. I have spent an immense amount of money on dry cleaning and still found moth damage on the items. the freezer treatment is the only thing I know of that actually works.

Our freezer now has clothes in it all the time. I have cut way back on what I buy at thrift stores because of this problem. I am afraid every sweater in there is harboring moths. Same with consignment stores.

I am absolutely fastidious about caring for my clothing. I know not everyone else is. I know items may look ok but may not be. You cannot see moth larva or eggs in a knitted sweater. You can only see devastating holes after they have done their thing. Same in a silk scarf or a cashmere coat.

Most of the time moth damage is permanent and cannot be repaired. Heartbreakingly I had to throw out several cashmere sweaters this summer that got infested and had moth holes in them. The moths prefer the most expensive fibers. That is angora, merino wool, cashmere, alpaca, llama, and other expensive fibers.They also will infest fur items. Rugs and drapes, pillows stuffed with feathers, blankets, and shawls. We found out that they like clothes that have been worn the best. So the little scent of a person having worn the item attracts them as well.

Fastidiously inspect everything and freeze things for 72 hours at 32 degrees F or lower is suspect. Better to be safe than sorry.

Please share any more information you have knowledge of for killing them and controlling them without causing risk to humans.