Thursday, 4 April 2013

Knit One, Purl One, Drop One.

Did you see the BBC programme The Great British Sewing Bee this week?  I'm no seamstress but I thoroughly enjoyed it. What with this and all the other shows encouraging us to bake or make, it seems that there's a renaissance for all things home/handmade.  I'm not sure why this is, could it be as a result of austerity or brought on by a desire to make something original which in turn gives one a sense of enormous satisfaction?  Whatever the reason there's no doubt that sewing, knitting and crochet are definitely en vogue.  

Last week at 'Stitch and Bitch' the ladies persuaded me to pick up knitting needles again, the last time I did so was 1977 or thereabouts and I was rubbish thenFast forward thirty five years and I'm still rubbish although valiantly trying not to look stupid before my group of accomplished knitters.  I have started a jumper to be knitted in one piece for an African baby as according to the pattern, newborns are often wrapped in newspapers.  It also informs the knitter to use a vibrant colour, not pastels as the garment may never get washed.  The pattern says an average knitter can knock this out in one evening and I pointed out that I was very much a-less-than-average knitter but they chanted 'it's easy' and against my better judgement persuaded me to go ahead.

As you can see I haven't progressed far in a week, I keep dropping and picking up stitches, then I get very cross and revert to my crochet where I know what I'm doing.  In order to embark on this knitting project I obviously required needles so I went back home and found mum's knitting basket containing an abundance of needles, wool and 'vintage' patterns.

I don't know whose dolly this was for.... even I wasn't born in 1961!

I remember wearing this fright to school, which my nan knitted for me in maroon. I loathed it and desperately wanted a deep rib cherry red V-neck jumper from Chelsea Girl.  Worse still my brother had to wear this!

I was knitted a few things I liked such as this waistcoat on the left that Mum made for me when I was about ten, I remember wearing it often. 

And I unwrapped this lovely Sindy bridal gown one Christmas morning even though I didn't have a Ken...or whatever her boyfriend was called.

 Times move on but this outdated phraseology still caused a snort

  .........we'll never see the like of these two patterns again.

I should think ones mood might be changed abruptly if this was worn nowadays!  Anyhows, do check back same time next year to see how far I've progressed with the knitting.

Judging by the weather I'd better get a move on with the crocheted blanket I'm making, as even though we're in April there's been more snow today.

When will it end?


  1. Go on, Fiona, you can do it, don't lose heart! I am the world's worst knitter, so there is someone more cack-handed than you, if that helps your confidence at all!
    I love vintage knitting patterns, the photos are always hilarious. Anything with a Golly seems madly dated now, doesn't it? (We had one when I was little, bought for my eldest sister in the 1950s, I presume my mum still has it somewhere...) That little fringed waistcoat is very groovy, what colour was yours?
    Sindy's boyfriend was called Paul. But maybe she nicked Ken off Barbie, it's tough out there in teen fashion doll world! xxxx

  2. Fell about laughing when I saw the V neck cardi - I had one just like it too for school - knitted by my Mum - my gran knitted the frivolous things - like clothes for Tressy ( couldn't afford Barbie in our house - so I got the one whose hair 'grew' when you pressed a button in her back!!!)Thanks for the memories!

  3. Hilarious. I had two Nan's who used to knit stuff for my sister and I. My Nanny Shaw used to knot 'magic' jumpers, you could never grow out of them! They just seemed to grow with you.
    As for the gay gifts? Remember when I was in Norfolk and I bought a load of old Women's Illustrated magazines? Kitty's buns tasted lovely in the sunshine!

    Take care and carry on knitting


  4. Cool knitting patterns! How amazing that your mum kept them and you remember the garments. My Sindy was in a relationship with Luke Skywalker! xx

  5. I've got a huge stash of vintage knitting patterns, I can't knit for toffee but love the insane pictures!

  6. Oh, Fiona, what a FABULOUS post; a real trip down memory lane for me and a real good laugh! I remember my brother having one of those balaclavas. Don't you just love the poses of the models too, lol!

    I had a good giggle at the Gay Gifts but 'look at the name on the knob' had me in stitches!!

    Keep up with the knitting - practice makes perfect!

    Thanks for cheering me up!

  7. Love those vintage pics - did make me giggle. Particularly the helmet head hairdo on the cardigan one! I've never taken to knitting, though have tried to many times over the years. So it was a revelation when I started crochet and loved it. I think the difference is that there's only ever one stitch going on at a time, which makes it far easier to deal with, as far as I'm concerned!

  8. Great post, it brought back memories of my childhood. Mum always knitted clothes for us kids and somehow managed to teach me which was a challenge as I'm left handed and very cack-handed too. I haven't knitted for many years but am tempted to take it up again one day. I always remember as a child, walking behind a neighbour and her daughter (I must have been 8 or 9) and I noticed she was wearing her hand-knitted cardigan back to front. My Mum said her Mother made her wear it like that to stop her taking it off! One of those funny moments that's stuck in my head for some reason :)

  9. Brilliant post Fiona, a real touch of nostalgia! Good luck with your knitting,I made several of those one piece baby knits for the fish and chip babies after not knitting for about twenty years:)
    Val x

  10. This just reminds me of Jack Dee doing a sketch where his gran talks to his mum about what he wants for Christmas and says 'Oh don't buy it," and then in a dark voice: "I'll make it for him...!" Good luck with the knitting - I have every faith in you! Vicky x

  11. Love seeing 'antique' knitting patterns. My cousin and I cried laughing a little while ago when we came across a pattern for a 'Dutch Cat'! (Of course a knitted hat with ear flaps.)


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