Vintage Knitting, Retro Dressmaking, Make do and Mend, Original and Vintage Inspired Knitting Patterns, Vintage Inspired books

Friday, February 28, 2014

Gavin and Susan's Excellent Adventure

Tomorrow sees the start of our big adventure, when Gavin and I commence our move to our farm in the North Lancashire hills, with Cumbria just to the North and the Pennines stretching out in front of us to the East.

We are both so very, very excited and have many people to thank who helped us both achieve our life long ambition to have a farm.

I still have the plastic farm animals that I played with almost daily throughout my childhood. My wonderful Albert granddad who had kept animals for much of his life on a tiny plot of land had instilled in me a love of all things farm. We built minature wooden farm houses and pig styes together. I painted cabbages and lettuces onto a piece of hardboard to represent my kitchen garden. My favourite plastic farm yard character was a girl in a red dress with white apron over who was carrying a bucket laden with milk. Things did get confused occasionally, such as when I introduced figurines from my brother’s medieval fort and suddenly several of the farm horses were walking round the farm in full protective armour!

I will have much to share over the forthcoming months and years but over the next couple of weeks I will be very quiet online as there is so, so very much to do. Not only are we moving two hoarders accumulated lifetimes of stuff but also the entire business plus chickens, plants, greenhouses, sheds etc. So there is a lot to do and we are keen to get straight as quickly as possible so work can begin on all our plans. We therefore plan to work solidly on the move for the next 9 days. I will have very limited internet access at the farm for the first couple of weeks whilst new services are provided but I will keep a check on emails whenever possible. However if I’m not able to reply immediately please don’t fret. I will be in touch as soon as I can.

The movement of the business side of things has been very carefully planned to create minimum disruption so despatching of orders will continue pretty much as normal from the end of next week. Again so many exciting things to share design and yarn wise, so I’m very keen to get back to normal as soon as we can!

In the meantime if you want to see what’s happening do take a look at my instagram page where whenever I get the chance or the internet, I’ll be posting pictures of what’s happening down on the farm.

Speak very soon but
for now,
Ruby xx

Monday, February 17, 2014

Knitting Terminology

I had a collection of fascinating conversations on twitter and facebook earlier today about the use of certain knitting terms. Specifically these were yfwd, yrn and yo.

Traditionally in the UK, the terms yfwd and yrn were used to describe particular actions, which tend to now be replaced with yo or even wyif.

Having grown up using vintage patterns and being taught to knit by two grandmothers who both only ever knitted from a narrow selection of UK patterns I began my knitting life familiar and comfortable with the terms yfwd and yrn. As terminology has changed these two terms seem to have become less familiar and sometimes confusing to knitters not brought up on these types of patterns.

In fact to add further confusion to the whole terminology complications, what has become known as yo was previously also known by M1. M1 now means make 1 by picking up the loop between stitches and knitting into it to create an additional stitch. In the 1930s and 1940s when it was used it actually meant to perform a yfwd, a yrn or a yo as was appropriate. Like 'inc' 1 it was a way of using a generic instruction without having to be precise.

The main reason for this is that yfwd was used when the stitch just worked and the stitch to be worked next was a knit stitch and a yrn was used either if the stitch just worked was a purl and was to be followed by a purl OR if working a knit stitch followed by another knit stitch but a bigger loop was required between them than what a yfwd would create, the yarn would be wrapped around the needle - from the back, over the top of the needle, then back round to the back. By avoiding saying which to use, by simply saying M1, it left the interpretation to the knitter.

If you try using a 'modern' M1 on lacy knitting patterns from the 1940s however, you'll find your lace has no holes! But by using M1 back then it didn't matter whether knit or purl sts where preceding or following, one term would fit all. I guess this is what YO does now?

So back to yfwd and yrn. I am currently using a stitch pattern that I have reworked from a 'vintage' book. This 6 stitch, 10 row, lace pattern uses both yfwd and yrn in its instruction. Yfwd between two knit stitches and yrn between purl stitches.  My interpretation of these is as follows:

yfwd - bring yarn to the front of the needle. As you prepare to knit the next stitch you will lift the yarn over the top of the needle to the back of the work then knit the next stitch. Also known as YO or possibly, wyif.

yrn - wrap yarn around the needle from position at front of needle, over the top of the needle and back round to the front again before purling the next stitch.

Obviously within the pattern, a distinction between the two types of yarn 'movement' is needed - or is it? What are your thoughts? I would love to hear from both vintage knitters, who I would imagine know exactly where I'm coming from, but also from knitters who use more contemporary patterns and let me know what these terms mean to you.

And one last little gem. What do you think 'N' means in a lace pattern instruction?

for now
Ruby xx

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Limited Edition Excelana Colours are now available!

Some of you may have already heard me excitedly shouting about this on Twitter, but the three fabulous colours of Excelana 4 ply that I shared with you a couple of weeks ago are now available to purchase.  The yarns have all been wound into 50g skeins in the garden studio, wrapped in their special skein bands and are waiting to meet their new owners!

The yarns can be purchased from my new look online shop! This has been a long time coming I know, but the shop is now Its not yet perfect but its a lot better than before! If you already have a knitonthenet shop account you can still log in with the same details but at long last the styling is all beginning to match.

My website is also getting an overhaul and within a few days the shop and website should be flowing 'seamlessly' together with far less duplication and variation.

A lovely retailer of my books and yarns based in Sweden, sent me this wonderful image from a Swedish childrens story called " Tant Brun, Tant Grön och Tant Gredelin" or "Aunt Brown,  Aunt Green and Aunt Lavender" by Elsa Beskow.

I could pretend that I had carefully matched my colours to the illustrations from the story but it has happened quite by chance, although I am a lover of the books and was thrilled when the subliminal inspiration was pointed out to me. The story book was first published in 1918 and you can still get hold of english language versions as well as the original Swedish. Her books are published in the UK by Floris Books.

Elsa Beskow was an author and illustrator born in Stockholm in 1874 and published her first book, Tale of the Little Old Woman in 1897. During her lifetime she had 40 books published. Her love of fairy tales throughout her life is very close to my own heart and her illustrations and in particular the colours that she uses are a constant source of inspiration. You can read more about Elsa and purchase her books on the Floris website.

Anyhow, back to the yarns! Although they have only been for sale for a couple of days they are selling very quickly and I unfortunately do only have a limited supply so please click on the links below if you would like to purchase.

Each 50g skein retails at £6.60 including VAT (If you are entitled to VAT deduction, the shop will automatically take the VAT off before you go through checkout).

 I'm off to read about Aunt Brown's birthday and do some knitting!

so for now,
Ruby xx