Knitting Vintage by Claire Montgomerie is a knitting pattern book worth having for the pictures alone. The patterns, photographs and design drawings are all beautifully laid out. The book is split into chapters by decade from the 1920s to the 1980s, each with a few pages of information about prevalent trends of the time and how knitting was regarded. At the beginning of each pattern, Montgomerie writes about the inspiration and original piece of fashion behind it. I’ve read through Knitting Vintage and gazed longingly at the pictures so many times since buying it, but last weekend I finally picked up my needles and began a project from it.
This is the Hollywood-Style beret (modeled by my lovely sister), knitted with some King Cole Galaxy DK wool that I was given for Christmas. The original pattern was knitted in pink and white, but I thought my Galaxy wool was perfect for a hat. It’s knitted on 5mm dpns.
The wool, whilst being one of the prettiest yarns ever, is also the most infuriating. It had a tendency to split and slide off the needles, so I lost a lot of stitches off the ends of my dpns. Most of them I was able to catch before it was too late, but some were lost and had to be sewn in at the end during the making up stage. Since my number of stitches never matched up with what the pattern said they should be, I’m surprised that my lace pattern looks as regular as it does. I was expecting it to be horrendously wonky! I’m really pleased with how this turned out, it’s just so gosh-darn cute.
Blocking it was fun. As per the instructions in the book, I stretched my weirdly-shaped creation over a large dinner plate and sprayed it with a light mist of water. I then gingerly pressed it with an iron and left it to dry for a few hours. When I took it off the plate, I had something that looked like an actual beret.
I’m not usually in the habit of naming hats, but I’ve called this one Skyfall. Partly because I had the theme song to Skyfall stuck in my head most of the time I was knitting and also because that’s just what the wool reminds me of.
Now working on: A birthday present for the sister.
Saw this cutie in my hairdressing class today. Isn’t she sweet?!
When J looked through my copy of Knitted Dinosaurs, he requested the Allosaurus because it looked like a “cad and a bounder”. He also requested that the dinosaur have a fluffy tummy. Now that the dinosaur is finished, I think he looks more Bertie Wooster than Terry-Thomas. He does have a fluffy tummy though, courtesy of some Sirdar Snuggly Snowflake DK wool I’ve had hanging around for a few years after I bought it to knit my sister a phone case and didn’t know what to do with the leftovers. I love the effect the wool has given his eyebrows, too. I wasn’t sure what colour to do the rest of the dinosaur, I was originally going to knit him in yellow but that looked a bit washed out, so I chose orange in Bonus Hayfield Toytime DK.
I love knitting toys, but I don’t like sewing up so much. I get way too impatient and slapdash. So Bertie’s head droops to one side and he doesn’t look quite as polished as the Allosaurus in the book, but I think he’s adorable. It’s the little imperfections that make knitted toys special. I also love how he’s thread jointed so his legs and arms can move.
Bertie had been sitting on J’s desk for about a day, being given suspicious looks by the cat, before J decided that he looked more like Errol the swamp dragon from Terry Pratchett’s book Guards! Guards! than a caddish Allosaurus. So I knitted Bertie a pair of wings that evening and he became an Errol. I got the pattern for the wings from here.
Errol has been moved to the shelf by the front door where he greets visitors when they come in. He’s also a very comforting weight and just the right shape to cuddle in the crook of my arm.
All of the dinosaurs in Knitted Dinosaurs are really cute and I’ve had requests for a couple of others. It’s an awesome book. The patterns are quite easy too, even if they do mean I have to do a lot of the dreaded sewing up.
Customising the wig took me longer than I expected, I seem to have been really busy this weekend, but I finally have it done. The wig is a Nirvana Wigs one which I bought on Ebay, style Firelight. It’s beautiful, but for cosplaying as the Joker purposes I made a few changes.
The fringe was long and sweeping, so I cut it to above eyebrow length and then randomly chipped into it. It still looked a little too neat so I cut it into rough zigzags, then gelled the ends to help them keep their shape. I’m probably going to keep it like this, but I’m not completely sure yet.
Originally, the dreads came to just below shoulder-length, but I wanted something longer. I cut some dreads off the top where they’ll be covered by a hat. Then I re-attached them using, of all things, a stapler. All the other ways I thought of re-attaching them either seemed too fragile or too dangerous. I then hid the joins with lengths of green and purple material that my sister used to make our Joker and Riddler costumes. Going through her fabric scraps, I also found a couple of lengths of purple sequins, which I tied into the hair. I also tied a few bits of material randomly throughout the wig. The dreads now reach to the small of my back.
With the hat on, I kind of look like a reggae Joker, but it’s quite a cool effect.
Look at the pretty that arrived for me in the post this morning 🙂 Got some customizing to do.
I’m going to cut the fringe into something short and choppy. Also going to take some dreads off the top where its quite thick and add them onto the bottom to make them longer.