Thursday, February 24, 2011

Unravel and the Launch of Something Exciting!

It's the knitting festival, Unravel this weekend in beautiful Farnham in Hampshire... and we're going to be there!

If you haven't been lucky enough to attend before, Unravel is a three floor smorgasbord of knitting, spinning and crocheting goodies, plus talks, demonstrations and classes on all manner of knitting related stuff. It is all set in the Farnham Maltings, a beautiful old building by the river which is now used as an arts centre.

Susan, Gavin and I will all be there on both Saturday and Sunday manning our stand. This year we are lucky enough to be downstairs in the Great Hall and our stand will be trading as Arbour House Publishing and Susan Crawford Vintage, rather than knitonthenet itself.

Susan will be giving a really useful talk on Sunday morning about how to best choose yarns to knit your vintage patterns with. It's a subject that is very interesting and really important if you want to get your vintage clothing to fit and drape properly.

As for the launch of something exciting... well it all links in with finding that right yarn. Susan and John Arbon have been working hard on a stunning new range of vintage-inspired wool called Excelana. It is spun from 100% British wool from a sheep called the Exmoor Blueface. This sheep's fleece is wonderfully lustrous, and the resulting wool has a soft handle, lots of stretch and knits up with brilliant stitch definition. Sounds brilliant, doesn't it?

  Gavin explains a little further:
Excelana is the result of an exciting collaboration between John Arbon of Fibre Harvest andyou a luxurious knitting yarn evoking vintage wools from the ‘Golden Age of Knitting’. Susan Crawford, the knitwear designer and author, bringing
As well as being derived from British sheep, Excelana is processed and spun in Devon by John Arbon of Fibre Harvest, at Coldharbour Mill, which is one of only a handful of worsted fibre processing and spinning plants still operating in the UK.

Excelana is available in eight vintage-inspired shades, carefully chosen by Susan herself to be a fully complementary range. The four weights of 4ply, Double Knitting, Aran and (very excitingly for vintage knitters) 3ply are available in the following colours:

Alabaster · Nile Green · Cornflower Blue · Persian Grey
Ruby Red · Saharan Sand · French Rose · Powdered Egg

Sounds good, doesn't it? You can come and squish some Excelana and be the first to buy it at Unravel this weekend. I'm certainly going to be getting some in to start the swatches on the forthcoming book on socks that Susan and I are currently writing and I know that Susan is going to be using it for some of the patterns in the eagerly anticipated A Stitch in Time volume 2.

There are still tickets available from the Unravel site and you can also buy them on the door. We really hope to see you there - do come and say hello!

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sun-Ray Ribbing: A Stitch in Time Retrospective

Sun-Ray Ribbing © Arbour House Publishing
Sun-Ray Ribbing is a very wearable, and easy to knit jumper from Susan Crawford and Jane Waller’s book A Stitch in Time. The garment is a lovely 1930s sweater with the quintessential sun-ray pattern, popular in design and architecture of the period. It closes at the back with two buttons, creating a pretty detail along with the zig-zag finish to the neckline.

Tension Squares © Ingrid Murnane

 Knitted in 4-ply yarn, you are well advised to choose a wool to knit with, as the finished rib is very stretchy and needs a springy yarn to hold it's shape well. Knitting a tension square for size goes without saying, and here's why!

  Sun-Ray Ribbing (detail) © Arbour House Publishing

The A Stitch in Time group on Ravelry held a knit-along last year to make Sun-Ray Ribbing, and there were many, many beautiful jumpers made as a result. Here are photographs of just a couple, and you can see lots more on Ravelry by clicking here.

If you are thinking of knitting a Sun-Ray Ribbing for yourself or somebody else, here is a bit more information from the pattern's Ravelry page, and also the link to the page for A Stitch in Time volume 1 on the knitonthenet shop.

As always, if you do knit one, send us a photograph! We'd love to see your hard work.

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Just Popping In... say that the knitonthenet blog will be on it's normal schedule once again next week. Huzzah!

For those not in the know, I have moved house in the past two weeks and it has taken a very long time to get a broadband connection in the new place, and there's really only so much that you can do on a phone!

 Feather and fan stitch pattern. Image copyright Ingrid Murnane

In the meantime, here are a few blasts from the past to give your knitting a creative buzz.

A Stitch in Time through the Generations in which we see garments including the Blackberry Stitch cardigan, from the 1940s  which has been made in the 1980s and is still worn now in the 2010s.

Hearts and Bunnies Cardigan in which the spotlight is on the wonderfully pretty little girl's garment from Vintage Gifts to Knit.

Design your own Knitting Chart which will help to explain how to do exactly what it says on the tin with our own design chart creator which you can find by clicking here.

Happy knitting
Ingrid x

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Another Sneak Preview from A Stitch in Time vol 2!

Editor, Susan, is off for a most exciting weekend in Paris, visiting haberdashery shops, yarn stores, button shops, fabric emporiums, flea markets a little sightseeing, drinking hot chocolate with friends and l'aguille en fete, which is the major needlecraft event in the French calendar. Exciting, hey? 

Before she left, she gave us another sneak preview of a design from A Stitch in Time volume 2, and here it is for your delectation. I have seen this cardigan in person, and it is beautiful.

Happy Knitting
Ingrid x

Here's Susan...

To celebrate the weekend I thought I would reveal another of my favourite patterns from A Stitch in Time 2. 

This adorable sweater was originally published by Golden Eagle knitting wools in the 1940s, and was knitted in 3 ply 'Polynit'. You can see that the pattern is in quite a state of disrepair, which has helped me make decisions quite a few times when picking the patterns to be included in Volume Two. If a pattern or magazine is 'on its last legs' I feel its important to try and pass on its legacy before anything too terminal happens to it. The pattern states that the colours used should be deep blue, hyacinth, silver grey and cerise. I haven't managed to get exactly those colours but I think we've got quite close with a similar colour scheme of teal, fuschia, silver grey and pink.

Copyright Arbour House Publishing 2010
I have used Biggan Design 4 ply which has got a terrific range of colours available making a garment of this type possible. Its 100% merino and all produced and spun in Australia. The company is based in Brisbane but I believe they are on high ground, are all ok and managing to do business! The main colour needs about 5 x 50gm balls depending on size chosen with just one ball of each of the three complementary colours. The little bows are knitted seperately and sewn into place, so the sweater could be made if preferred, without the bows and even in one colour. I love it just as it is though! The pretty gathered sleeve heads are accentuated with neat little knitted sleeve pads which give the sleeves that bit of oomph. The slightly squared off neckline is very flattering and quite unusual for the period. Finally, its all finished off with a cute little back neck opening with four dainty buttons sewn on.

We decided on a bit of an Andrew Sisters vibe for these photos- doesn't Theo look fabulous? Don't forget you can pre-order your copy of A Stitch in Time Volume 2 here.

Have a lovely weekend
for now
Ruby xxx

All images courtesy Arbour House Publishing 2010
Colour photography Susan Crawford


Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Greta Turban Kit - for that Land Girl frame of mind!

Kit bag and contents for the Greta Turban
There are currently 10 kits in the range with more to come. Susan says that she has been getting
lots of requests for the kits from yarn and vintage shops too so hopefully these little red knitting
bags should be popping up at a LYS sometime soon.

The first kit available at the knitonthenet shop is also a new design, well, in fact an enhancement
of an old design: the Greta Turban.
The kit includes 2 balls of Baby Rooster yarn, knitting needles, elastic, the pattern booklet
and project bag.

The pattern is one that Susan has enhanced from a previous design. This is what she says about it:

I brought out a similar pattern to this in the very early days of knitonthenet but always felt it needed improving. The stitch used has stayed the same and the basic principle of a shaped strip being knitted then tied with a knot also remains. The design has moved on though as the turban now has a crown, elastic attached at the back to hold it in place and a secured front knot, so much more a hat than a scarf. Perfect for those bad hair days or when you're in a Land Girl frame of mind!
Sounds good! If you'd like to buy a kit for the Greta Turban, please do visit the knitonthenet shop where
the kits are available to buy for £25 in a range of four colours. Watch out for more new designs which will
be added over the coming weeks too. The pattern will also be available as a PDF download very shortly. 
Happy knitting
Ingrid x

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