Category Archives: Vintage

Victoria’s Stitches?

Is this a portrait of who I think it is?

Is this a portrait of who I think it is?

While on a break, Mum, Papa and I visited the antique stores. In a dim corner, hung low on a wall in a frame that was almost in pieces, I spotted this photographic print. The print was marked by the dealer: “Queen Victoria and ?” I squinted at it and thought, “I’m pretty sure that is Queen Victoria and that looks like the then Princess Alexandra.” I hadn’t seen a lot of photographs of Queen Victoria at that age, so I wasn’t 100% sure and to be honest, I’m still shy of calling it (I’m chicken like that!). I noticed the ball of yarn, though, and the dog, and showed it to Papa. He offered to buy it for me, since it wasn’t horribly expensive, but I demurred. I’d just made another purchase and I didn’t want to be greedy. So I walked away.

Thankfully, Mum and Papa returned a week later and Papa surprised me! And what a surprise. In the light, I could make out that both the women had knitting in their hands!!! I ran online to see if I could trace the image, but I can’t find it. I can find an older Queen Victoria knitting, but no younger images.

So, what is “I’m-pretty-sure-this-is-Queen-Victoria” knitting? I think she’s knitting a stocking! I could be wrong, but she has a very find needle in her hand and the work looks quite small.

Is that a stocking?

Is that a stocking?

And “I’m-pretty-sure-this-is-the-then-Princess Alexandra” appears to be knitting a sweater or cardigan with an openwork design.

Sweater knitting

Sweater knitting

Queen Victoria did love to knit (there’s a piece about it here) and around that time, knitting became increasingly popular as a past time. I laughed at this little poem about it! So, irrespective of royal status, I love my little glimpse into knitting history.

In fact, of late, I’ve gone a little Victorian.

Friends have been rather bemused by my insistence on kitchen gadgets and tools from the 40s, 50s and 60s… well…

Back to the Victorian kitchen

Back to the Victorian kitchen

Ummm… yes, I decided that, really, the Victorian kitchen is the place to be!!! Mum and I developed a slight jelly mania over Christmas as earlier indicated. Add to that a copper kettle. Happily, we found a very old household hints book that advised cleaning copper with buttermilk (you pour it on quite thickly and let it stand for just a few minutes and then rub). See the difference between the kettle and moulds? Buttermilk. I know some will throw up their hands in horror and talk about patinas etc, but I’m afraid I like using my Victorian kitchenware, so I’d rather it be clean. It’s all tin-lined and safe. And I like the look of shiny copper.

We were in part inspired by an episode of Royal Upstairs Downstairs. Trust me, you’ll never think about jelly the same way!

Although… we did have a slight failure on our hands yesterday.

An extreme wibbley-wobbley jelly

An extreme wibbley-wobbley jelly

That’s pink champagne and rosewater blancmange with flower petals… alas, the titanium strength gelatin wasn’t quite strong enough. Still, it tastes divine! And next time I know… more gelatin. After all, I can’t always be showing off the successes. Sometimes I think it’s good to celebrate the mistakes along the way!


The Best Vintage Knitting Book Ever

I have to admit, the moment I saw this little vintage pattern book, I had to have it.

The happiest dog in the world.

How can you resist patterns for ‘coke glass jackets’ and compact covers, the headline “How’re you don’ toots?” and a little hat described, “Going our way, babe? Angelic little baby cap with plenty of know-how when it comes to that mow-’em-down technique. Add a tiny velvet bow and what you’ve got is a Heart Specialist and no mistake”? I wish I had had this pattern book as a teenager! (That isn’t as improbable as it sounds – as a teen, I listened to Herman’s Hermits, the  Monkees, the Rolling Stones and Cliff Richard and watched films like Casablanca, Notorious, How to Marry a Millionaire and Sabrina.)

Fingers have been chilly the last few nights, but I’ve been chained to the keyboard rather than my cardigan. Although the pattern mash up does seem to be working.

Cardigan in Progress

And that’s my ‘new’ camera! It’s a 60s brownie and is adorable. I just wish it was easier to find film for it! Still, I’ve been admiring these little bakelite gems for a while and found one just cheap enough to justify.

The Happiest Sight Of All

We went on the Million Paws walk on the weekend. My friend said it was like being in a Disney film: dogs, as far as the eye could see. Big dogs, little dogs,  dogs with bows, dogs with drool, all friendly and tails wagging.

The cutest dog at the Million Paws Walk

The Scot had a splendid time, even though his little legs gave out towards the end. He met so many dogs!

Look! There’s other dogs like me!

Can I bring him home? Please????

I think, though, that the Scot has developed a passion for wolfhounds! But what a sweetie was that wolfhound? So gentle. We had a fantastic time with great weather and afterwards went for lunch with our dogs. Perfect.

In the meantime, I’m busy making vintage colour blocking plans. I need a new, compact wardrobe for a certain upcoming trip and plan to emulate the 60s. The pattern on the left isn’t strictly colour blocked, but I saw a similar pattern with the bodice ‘V’ made in a contrasting colour. I think it’ll be brilliant.

Vintage Colour Blocking

I’m almost finished another sock design too. I’m really excited about it!


Bringing Sexy Back

As I write this, the Scot is padding about the room whining. He can’t find a spot to bury his toy bone. By the time I finish this post, this will probably be a major international incident…

But in the meantime, I’ve been Doctor Who knitting again! This is a project I’ve been wanting to start for positively ages. I bought the pattern back at Knit Nation 2011 (eep) from One Hand Knits. It is, of course, the pattern for T.A.R.D.I.Socks. I went a little ninja at the Knit Nation market place because I only had a limited amount of time. This is one of the patterns I had on my ninja list.

Of course, having obtained the pattern, I was then on the hunt for the perfect yarn. I actually didn’t want to go too blue. I wanted something more of a tenth doctor T.A.R.D.I.S. Thankfully, Knitsch had ‘Deep Thought’ and on the confirmation of a certain enabling friend, I went ahead and bought my yarn.

And then things got busy. Drat.

But last night, I was tired and wanted something simple I could just follow and I really, really wanted to start these socks. So I did.

“What do you call me? Sexy.”

I already love these socks! The yarn is perfect – it is beyond perfect! The cabling goes all lovely and squishy and the semi-solid works those purled backgrounds. It looks dynamic. I went down a needle size, as I usually end up doing, and it’s fitting perfectly. I’m not going to kid myself though. This is a long term project. I’m just going to enjoy the ride.

It’s been cold and windy, so I also decided to break out my 1940s toaster and make toast.

That’s right. This is how a 1940s toaster TOASTS.

Wow! It takes seconds. This is full-on toast. And oddly more delicious than boring old regular toast from a 21st century pop-up toaster (which takes forever and never toasts evenly – I’m absolutely converted).

Now this is toast.

Okay, the Scot is on the horn to Switzerland. I’d best be going. I’m sure there’s an old towel that can serve as a hiding place…

Half Way There and Other Developments

I’m now at the half way point of ‘The Doctor’s Wife’ shawl. Here is a very bad photo.

1/2 'The Doctor's Wife'

Well, I wasn’t going to give up all the secrets of the shawl at once now, was I? And I haven’t figured out the whole blocking a WIP thing. Let’s just leave all that to the end.

In the meantime, the yarn has been drying and I’m really happy with the purple carrot dyeing process.

Drying the carrot yarn

All dry

The darker is the first batch, an 8 ply. The lighter is the second batch which I whipped up before heading off to an early meeting. I decided there was at least one batch left in my dye, so I refrigerated it overnight and added a little water in the morning to produce a lilac on some 4 ply I had soaking in alum the day before. I like the lighter shade best.

I’m now just slightly obsessed with the idea of trying out more vegetables and vegetable matter. I’ve been reading about walnut husks producing a gorgeous dark brown, but to get the husks, you really need to find a walnut farm. Anyone know of a handy walnut orchard?

I also finally found my perfect vintage toaster.

1940s toaster

It’s straight from the 1940s and in excellent condition. And, of course, it works!

Very toasty

In fact, it’s hot. The heat just radiates from the little appliance. It won’t be my every day toaster, but it will be perfect for lazy weekends and crumpets.

I came down with a whim

It’s Easter and it’s my birthday, too. Both seemed to be good reasons to celebrate by indulging a whim.

I was looking through Tiny Owl Knits and, wow, have I a developed a bad crush on her design aesthetic?! I had encountered Rose Red‘s sexy puffs on her blog, so I knew the Beekeeper’s Quilt was out there. However, as I procrastinated one evening, I hit upon all the Tiny Owl Knits patterns together and it was just too overwhelming!

I straightaway bought and downloaded Orchids & Fairylights. Since I happened to have just under a ball of Malabrigo in Ravelry Red left over from Amy Pond’s scarf, that impulse purchase practically smacked of logic.

And, at the tail end of Easter?

An Orchids & Fairylights hat

I can not tell you how much I love bobbles. Here’s a close up.

Bobble View

It’s a slightly fiddly hat to knit, since it has both cables and bobbles, but the effort is completely worth it. It’s tremendously snug, too. With just the right amount of slouch.

Plus, it goes with the kitchen canisters Mum gave me.

Vintage Canisters

I have the full set! They’re glorious things.

Speaking of the kitchen, I made my favourite mushroom risotto soup. It’s one that I reverse engineered from a soup I had at Pret years ago.

Purple Soup!

Remember that blue soup incident from Bridget Jones’ Diary? No, this wasn’t as bad. This is all about using purple carrots!

Thankfully, my fiendish plans to get pizza delivered on my birthday also worked out (I live just out of the delivery range of Crust, which does gluten free pizza). So, there was the Scot, myself, pizza, and a marathon of The Princess Bride and Firefly.

Mmmmmm... pizza

Who needs a big party when you have that lined up?

More Knitting Time Needed

I got my copy of A Handknit Romance by Jennie Atkinson. It’s gorgeous. My favourites?

I love Edwardian fashion and this blouse is a terrific, wearable adaptation. Incidentally, my love of Edwardian fashion indicates I should be watching Downtown Abbey. I might download the first season for plane viewing in the foreseeable future. I seem to be absorbing it by osmosis anyway.

This 30s look is perfect, too.

The only problem? These are knitted in crochet cotton. That’s a big time commitment. It’s practical for Australian summers, but… I need more knitting time. It’s that simple.

Oh, the other day I made a whimsical purchase – an old vintage brooch of a scottie dog playing tennis. My Scot was amused.