Friday, 5 February 2016

Cast off, cast on!

I've finally finished knitting the fair isle tank top I started some months ago. You're only getting a teaser detail photo of this, because I knitted it for Cate, so I shall leave any photos of the garment in its entirety to her. It's taken longer than I'd have liked to complete, but it is all done now, before the cold weather has completely gone. As always with colourwork knitting, I hit the stage of wondering if it would ever be over, and being completely fed up of it, and then there were so many ends to weave in, but once it was done and I saw it I thought it was absolutely lovely and was ready to race on and do more colourwork.

But no! There shall be no more colourwork just yet. I have a sock to complete for Mr Robot, and then my next planned knit for myself is a plain-colour one. I bought a load of grey 4ply ages ago, and I keep wavering in my mind what to make with it. The two things I've been trying to decide between are 'It Cannot Fail To Please' from A Stitch In Time Vol 1 and a 1960s top (the pattern was a freebie from Vix when Kinky Melon was in Bath). And yes, that is the lovely Theodora modelling 'It Cannot Fail To Please'. The two garments are actually not that dissimilar, both being short sleeved and having fairly high necklines. The main difference is that the 1930s design has more ribbing at hem and neck, and a stronger stitch pattern.
1930s knitting pattern, 1960s knitting pattern

It Cannot Fail To Please
Pros: I've seen it on lots of people and it suits all sorts of body shapes; it'll go really nicely with my mid-calf pink and grey tartan skirt; I like the lace pattern; I love the 1930s look.
Cons: I don't really wear much 1930s stuff.

1960s top
Pros: I wear a lot more 1960s stuff nowadays so it'll help with wardrobe building.
Cons: Grey isn't really a 60s colour; it might be a bit boring to knit; I wanted a grey top to go with my tartan skirt, which is not very 60s in shape, so this top might not go with the one garment I really need it to.

Actually, looking at it like that has made my decision – if the only thing stopping me making the first one is that I don't own much from that period, and the only thing in favour of the second is that it might be useful, I ought to go with the one I really like. I bet that 1960s top would be wonderful in a turquoise or lime green cotton for summer instead – just as useful, but in a far more era-appropriate colour. Part of me is worried that era-mixing will make my wardrobe look muddled, but I'm not sure my clothes define my 'look' anyhow. When I think of my personal style, I always start by thinking of brooches and boxy bags and bright red hair. And I can have all that with either top.

You're very good at helping me see sense, you know that?

24 comments :

  1. Speaking of boxy bags, I have a lovely one that I think you'd like. Do you want to see photos of it, or shall I send you a surprise in the post?

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    1. Oooh, I'd love a surprise! And if you can send me Miss Mouse's measurements, I'd love to make a present for her.

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    2. Brilliant, thank you ever so much! I've sent an extraordinarily comprehensive set of measurements because I didn't know what you were going to make, and she is a bit of a funny shape!
      The handbag's in the post - look out for a great big parcel!
      (It used to belong to my Mum-in-Law, she was having a clear out, and I thought it was vintage-enough that it might be useful for you to take to work without having to worry about using a Real One. If it's not your style, feel free to pass it on or charity shop it, as that's what was going to happen to it anyway!) :)

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  2. I will indeed be photographing it when I get a chance. I know exactly what I will be wearing with it too as I've already tried it on with my entire wardrobe!! x

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    1. Excellent! I'm so glad it fitted; that's always my biggest fear when I knit for someone else. (I don't often knit for other people.)

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  3. I've seen Cate's instagram already and have marvelled once more at your deft skills with the knitting needles! x

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    1. I didn't learn till I was 30! But I do love to make something that is useful and attractive, I get such a kick out of it. (After all the swearing while it's in progress...)

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  4. I saw a picture on Cate's Instagram of your fabulous knit, it looked fantastic! You are so good at colourwork! I like both of these patterns but I think the 1930's one in grey would be really lovely.

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    1. Yeah, I think it'll be the 30s one, and I'll save the 60s design, it's crying out to be done in a colourful pure cotton for summer. Patons have some super colours in their 4ply cotton range.

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  5. Mim,
    Being the kind of person that I am, I always go for something that might be useful (actually, I go for something that "must" be useful"). :)
    If you're worried about mixing and matching.. I agree with you on a capital statement in this post:
    It is not clothes that defines the 'look', of anyone.
    We make our own styles.
    I thin there's nothing wrong with combining. Sure, I know there are people out there who are "set" on one era (there's even a lady in Holland LIVING the historically appropriate life). We, on the other hand.. let's just say I will not life a brow if you wear what suits YOU - that's what style is all about: making YOU feel your best!

    So: go for the one you think best of.
    ...care NOT of the world. :)

    M.

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    1. I'm going to go for the 30s one with the grey wool. I'll do the 60s one in a bright-coloured cotton at some point.

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  6. I'm one for era-mixing and totally agree with Maja's post above. I've got nothing against 'purist' dressing, but I've always like to mix things up to suit my own style and bodyshape. Just go with what pleases you and makes you feel happy wearing.

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    1. Era mixing happens with me whether I like it or not... I'm too chaotic for anything else.

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  7. Like the look of your colour work. I think that it looks really complicated and time-consuming but then knitting a scarf does that to me. I love both of those jumpers for different reasons. I think that the 1930's jumper would mix well with a lot of different styles. The 60's one would look fabulous in lime. I really like it in the yellow too. Xx

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    1. Yeah, I knit as much for the process of knitting as for the end result. I usually do it while watching telly or on trains, so time that would otherwise be unproductive turns out to be quite useful.

      I've got a pair of cropped trousers I dyed bright apple green, and I keep picturing the 60s top in a turquoise to go with them.

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  8. I'm not going to be much help to you in deciding which top to knit, I'm afraid - they both look lovely, and I'm sure you would wear either/both. As for mixing eras - I do it all the time, I like it, help me not to feel too costume-y or predictable.
    PS. I picked up a 1940s knitting book, some fab illustrations and photos, would you like it? Message me on FB or email me with your address if you would and I'll send it. Then you'll have even more patterns to choose from! xx

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    1. Ooh, I would very much like the knitting book! I will message you now.

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  9. Just from that tiny shot of the tank top, I can see you are a very good knitter. I've only ever done one thing with colourwork and it was like an explosion in a wool factory on the back. Yeah, go on, mix and match, you'll be fine! Xxx

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    1. The tricky thing was I was working with three colours on some of the rows, so I had to remember not just a 'top' and 'bottom' colour, but a 'middle' one that always had to be brought under the top colour but over the bottom. Those bits were the most time consuming!

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  10. I remember someone (either mum or my sister) having a mustard yellow coat with grey piping on it in the 60's (I *think* it was a Bonnie Cashin, but I can't remember for certain). from my own collection, I have some mid-60's pieces in peach and grey (striped) and a grey dress with a blue contrast collar and cuffs (that one is on the mod side). I guess I'm trying to say that there are always some colours that stand out more in an era, but less iconic shades still managed their way into people's wardrobes. I personally wore a lot of navy blue in the late 60's, judging from family photos, and that certainly wouldn't spring to mind when thinking of the 60's.

    I'm sure whichever you knit it will be lovely, and you'll find plenty to wear with it. I could swear there were sweaters like the 30's one floating around in the 60's-definitely in the 70's, worn with wide trousers. I'd knit whichever pattern would be more interesting to work with, and then worry about finding something to wear with it-but that's easy to say because I'm not the person doing the work.

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    1. Ah, interesting! I do like yellow and grey. Peach and grey always makes me think of the 1980s.

      It takes me a long time to knit things, so I wear them even if I don't like them... which makes getting the project and colour right to begin with essential. I have a top that came out very badly wrong, size-wise, and the colour doesn't suit me at all, but as the silk/wool yarn was expensive and I'd reknitted part of it once, I still wear it! I ought to try dyeing it as the hot water might felt it into a better fit as well as improving the colour...

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  11. Yes to mixing it up! If everything you own is chosen because you love it then that's a common factor. Sticking rigidly to an era is for re-enactors not for real life!
    Whatever you make is going to look wonderful. Get knitting. xxx

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  12. I wish I could knit. Well I can knit to a fashion, but never got the hang of purl and I have this week fallen for a knitting pattern I saw on ravelry, so I am tempted to put my crochet hook aside and give it a whirl, but I am rubbish at following patterns xxx

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