Wait! Wait! I have one or two last things to show you!

Not as late as the Great Prophet Zarquon – but a little close to the wire for my liking.  Here we have not one but two makes to round off my Vintage Pledge year.  The first is a pattern re-visit:


Advance A106


In something indestructible in the way that only a mystery-man-made can be.



Advance A106

I look at these photos and marvel that it was ever mild enough to venture out of the house in short sleeves.

The second thing is a new-to-the-blog pattern:

Style 1225

In a weird, thick knit roll end.

Style 1225

Cor, look at my lush rhubarb!  Hope that it comes up like that next year…

I like how this pattern allows stripe play.  I do not like the length of the sleeves, I might tinker with them in the new year.  I might also tinker with the collar, because despite reigning in the pattern’s exuberance at the collar prep. stage:

Style 1225

That collar is still a bit of a clunky-chunky beast.

So how did your Vintage Pledge go?  The makes that made it to my blog this year were the two tops above, plus

A crochet hat


Gingham trousers

Gnome t-shirt

Floral hat

Pink floaty top

Orange jumper

Black shirt

Purple pants

Zebra scuba jacket

Thanks to Kestrel Makes  and A Stitching Odyssey for their Pledge enabling!  Right, I’m off to visit the other pledgers on Pinterest, see you there?!


Posted in #vintagepledge, Advance American Pattern A106, Sewing, Style 1225 | 1 Comment

Sometime Cinderella

Ever think that we who crochet get a somewhat Cinderella service?  I do!  Now, I know that I am not a natural knitter. Not for me, the comforting clickity clack of pins as I glibly watch the telly whilst my fingers unconsciously, and completely competently, create.  Each of my knitted items has been hard fought.  This of course makes my judgement clouded, I’m not in any way impartial.  Impartiality or no, I think that crochet could be served better.

plaited fringe

To fuel my misplaced sense of indignation, I rooted about ravelry.  Do you know that for every crochet cowl pattern the lucky knitters have 4 patterns to choose from? For shawls the ratio is 4.5:1 and for scarves it’s 3.5:1.  Want to know where crochet had the edge?  Blankets.  Here the crocheteers nudge a 4:3 victory.  Are blankets really the only thing that crochet does best?  There must be other things that crochet does as well as – or better – than knitting.  Let me know!  I want to expand my crochet repertoire.

If you are one of the crocheteers of the world and you would like to fashion a massive scarf-thing like this. You need:

  • 200 g/400 m/437 yards of 4 ply
  • 3mm  and larger hook

Don’t do as I did and cast on with the same sized hook, it’ll make your foundation chain tight.  Make your foundation chain with a larger hook.  My scarf is about 200cms by 23 cms.  According to my notes, I cast on 402 stitches.  This is pretty odd because you need multiples of 3 plus 2 for this stitch.  Who knows what I did there.  To get a fringe, leave a long tail at the beginning and end of each row.  The yarns that I used are sock mini skeins from the (retired) Natural Dye Studio.

Do you know the other interesting thing about this scarf?  Despite, quite literally containing all the colours of the rainbow, it goes with naff all in my wardrobe.

Posted in crochet, Natural Dye Studio | 4 Comments

Not a natural knitter

A little self-knowledge is a valuable thing and I have come to the conclusion that I am not one of life’s natural knitters. Would that I were.  Oh to effortlessly slip from my needles exquisite lace shawls, historically accurate river ganseys and drawers and drawers of colourful, fine-gauged socks.

I have tried to improve my knitterliness. I attended a day-course where I was, by a few hundred yarny yards, the slowest wielder of the twin pins of doom.  As far as I am concerned the final dropped stitch in the very fabric of my non-knitterness came this week.  I had the urge to create a scarf from these luxurious, rainbow-hued mini skeins.

I took up some needles and

Lumpy, mis-shapen and what do I know about designing a scarf for multi-coloured mini-skeins?  Yet, when I pick up a hook

The first (parquet) stitch-y experiment is a success.

Warming to the theme that it is not just knit necklines that are my nemesis, I present the following:

An adored ensemble.  A crocheted hat, mittens from a pattern by Made in Oxford and a scarf that literally and figuratively had me going around in circles for nearly two years.

Don’t even get me started on this attempt to merge crochet and knit and socks:


Holey heel-y moley!  Heel-y holey moley?

In conclusion, whilst I continue to aspire to knitting proficiency, I fear knitterly excellence might always elude.

By the bye, would you Adam and Eve it, I’ve snuck in another #VintagePledge.  The pattern that I used for my excellent hat appears in my 1981 printing of A Complete Guide to Crochet and it’s brilliant!

Here are the other eight #VintagePledge makes 8, 76, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.  xx




Posted in #vintagepledge, crochet, knitting, knitting pattern, Natural Dye Studio, work in progress, yarn | 7 Comments

Goth Gingham

Posting this, I’m as nervous as a Bake Off contestant approaching the Gingham Altar after a particularly gruelling technical challenge.


What will everyone think?  Will it be good enough for The Handshake.  You know, The Hollywood Handshake.  Sure, I start every make hoping to be worthy of such an accolade.  However, as things progress, you reach hurdles of a practical and philosophical nature.

Do I have enough fabric for some pocket improv?

Is gingham really me?


Gah!  There’s a choice to be made between good bum fit and good pattern matching.

Bum Fit

Instead of The Handshake, my sights are lowered to a “It looks a little informal but I bet that it tastes lovely” from Mary.


There is yet more self-doubt.  Have I made the best of that interesting hem feature and the double sided nature of the fabric?

Finally, I begin to doubt the entire escapade.  Checked trousers?  What was I thinking!  All these will be worthy of is a quip from Mel or Sue about how I’m wearing a Goth’s tablecloth.  At least it’ll make my fellow makers smile.  Oh, and I like them!  The trousers that is.  I also like my fellow makers.  In the weird Bake Off/Sewing Bee hybrid that is currently inhabiting my imagination, I’m not that sort of contestant.

In conclusion.  Thank you for organising a Ginghamalong Karen.  I enjoyed the challenge and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what everyone else has made – be they technical, signature or showstopper!

Smallest print:  As a special and exciting bonus for me, these trousers count towards my #VintagePledge2016. This is Make Eight.  Here are makes 76, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Posted in #vintagepledge, self-drafted, Sewing, Simplicity 5631, Vintage, Woman's Realm Special Pattern L147 | 24 Comments

gnome-one has trousers like these


One could argue that gnome-one else would want trousers like these.  But in counter-argument I would say I care not a jot because I like them a lot!

A lot a lot.  I was sooo pleased to see them after the delayed-baggage-debacle.  If only the little garden gnomes could talk they could tell me where they spent those nine nights…  Baggage reclaim, lost luggage, Heathrow, JFK, Boston Logan International ….  I suspect that only the gnomes will ever know what really happened during that week and they have been suspiciously silent on the subject.

The only thing better than garden gnome trousers?  Garden gnome trousers and a matching top.


All the look of an all-in-one without the hassle of totally undressing to take a tinkle.  The top is based on this Betsey Johnson pattern:


Fancy a gnome-y close up?  Fair warning, they are quite enchanting and there are more gnomes that need a home.



I think that’s a pretty neat neckline given that knit necklines are my nemesis.  On this occasion I would like to record…  moderate success. Moderate success by way of a turn under and stick with Prym Wonder Tape, followed by a wide-as-it’ll-go triple step zig-zag.


As you can no doubt tell from my joyful expression, these gnomes make me very happy.  All the more so because they count towards my #vintagepledge.  That’s Pledge Number 7.  Here’s where you can find 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Posted in #vintagepledge, Betsey Johnson, Butterick 3719, jersey, Margo, Sewing, Stretch, Vintage | 8 Comments

Hot Weather Hat – Simplicity 5631 #VintagePledge16


I love the idea of a hat in hot weather.  Something to shade one’s face.  Something to look elegant and sophisticated beneath.

The reality of a hot weather hat is that I can’t get one to stay put.  The merest whisper of the most gentle of on-shore breezes and pooft, my hat is cartwheeling its way into the nearest rock pool.  Ah me.  Perhaps I’ll stick to gazing lovingly at my handiwork:

Simplicity 5631

I adore the colour and texture of this fabric.  It’s a brocade-y, terry-toweling-y, stretch something and it is an absolute blighter to work with.  Every manipulation is an opportunity for this cloth to fray and distort.  The hat band?  A bias strip some 62 centimetres long .  Knowing a bit about bias I kept the band carefully folded with the pattern piece.  Over the course of one night it grew a whopping 8 centimetres. 8 centimetres.  Overnight.  I know fabric can relax but this hat band must have spent the evening at an expensive spa resort.  In the hot tub.  Being massaged by attentive staff.


Despite having reservations about the whole concept of a hat for hot weather I found the construction entirely engrossing.  Crown.  Brim.  Decorative top-stitching.  Inner ribbon for stability.  Teeny-tiny shiny bead at the top.

I want to have another go!  Would this work in a wintery fabric?  Must put my thinking cap on!


#VintagePledge16 small print.  This is Pledge Number 6.  Previous pledges took the form of, a pink floaty top, an orange jumper, a black shirt, some purple pants and a zebra scuba jacket.

Posted in #vintagepledge, fabric scraps, jersey, Sewing, Simplicity 5631, Stretch, Vintage | 8 Comments

annual rhythms – sewing, not in circles, but in cycles


I sometimes wonder if I know myself at all.  There’s a rhythm to my sewing productivity and I’m astounded that I have, until now, been so blissfully unaware of this that at the beginning of the year I made a pledge that involved a monthly sewing target.  A monthly sewing target! I’m putting in a request to HR that the figure be annualised because, well, because I should have known better.  Nothing gets made or blogged in the summer.  There’s so much else to be done.  The thrill and disappointment of the new raised beds:  Will the rambunctious pumpkin/courgette-cross that has already escaped the confines of the bed make it to the end of the patio?  Will I get more than 3 purple mangetout?  Will the tomatoes ever ripen?


Then there’s the decorating.  Sewing has to take a back seat when you’re convinced that the sills, soffits and fascia might part company with the rest of the building and the two teens request (quite sweetly actually) age-appropriate decor.

All of this is a very long way of introducing my latest vintage pledge.  A seventies Style, number 1834.


(Nearly) view 4 in a fine, gauzy, (vintage?) fabric find.  It’s a very simple raglan sleeved top.  My sleeves don’t have much puff because I didn’t have enough fabric.  I never have enough fabric.  It’s not a tricky sew, apart from threading the neckline, which was tricky at the sleeve seams.

Style 1834

The matching beads were a late addition and please me way more than I think that they should.  What also pleases me is that the fabric could have been fashioned from my palest pink, grown-from-seed-i’ll-have-you-know hollyhock. Look:

That’s it my lovelies, that was, and indeed still is, my fifth #vintagepledge.  In reverse order the previous pledges were:

4. orange jumper

3. black shirt

2. purple pants

1. zebra scuba jacket

Posted in #vintagepledge, foraged fabric, Sewing, Style 1834, Thrifting, Vintage | 6 Comments