Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy new year!

Happy new year

Wishing you all a very happy, healthy, crafty and prosperous 1958 2013! Thank you for reading – I'll be so 'glad if you can make it' for more of the same over the next 12 months and beyond – cheers!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Have a cracking Christmas

christmas cracker
False advertising: no knitting, stitching or crochet in this post (artwork from Stitchcraft, December 1973)

For my short-but-hopefully-sweet penultimate post of 2012, I bring you a two festive projects – just in case you have any spare 'making' time over the pre-holiday weekend...

First up, a leafy hanging wreath adorned with an octet of colourful elves...

christmas elf wreath
Which one is Will Ferrell?

To find out what you'll need to make this charming decoration, and how to go about it, click here.

Secondly, a '70s nativity scene featuring all the usual characters and creatures, gathered in the stable...

Christmas nativity
Mary and Joseph look over the moon

The grid's quite nice to look at:

christmas nativity grid
Love the three kings

And the full instructions are here.

Both these festive furbelows are taken from my trusty St Michael Book of Handicrafts (Sundial Books, 1975). I hope you enjoy making them.

Happy holidays to Glad You Could Make It readers around the world!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Danish embroidery

A Glad You Could Make It reader who got in touch a while back brought my attention to the work of the 'grand old lady' of Danish craft books, Lis Paludan. Somehow, this inspirational person had passed me by, but a quick Google search and I was eyeing some of the folkiest, most typically seventies pieces of embroidery I'd seen since primary school.

Lis Paludan Easy Embroidery
Published in this country by Mills and Boon, 1970

This is my first Lis Paludan book in what I hope will become a collection. I'm not sure how many were translated into English, but who cares when the pictures are this good?

Lis Paludan houses
Village atmosphere

Lis Paludan smiling butterflies
Smiling butterflies

Lis Paludan bird
If only this was in colour

Lis Paludan tigers
Love those tiger feet

Lis Paludan snail
Snail's pace

Lis Paludan sunflower

lis paludan fish
Creature from the deep

Lis Paludan owl tree
Tree of crazy owls

Lis Paludan owl
Last but not least...

Next on the list, Paludan's finest work, Broderier for Alle...

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Cosy crochet beret

In the hat department of Liberty the other lunchtime, I tried on a very nice pompommed beret affair with a price tag of nigh-on £100. It brought to mind this crocheted beauty from my Hats of the Week series back in February:

vintage crochet beret
Tres chic

I thought why not revisit this splendid hat pattern (hattern?) in this freezing cold weather…

I found it in the 1969 book Fashion Crochet by Caroline Horne:

vintage Fashion crochet book
An ex-Hornsey Library book, I seem to remember

 ...published by Mills & Boon – which evidently, before it became chief purveyor of cheesey romance, used to publish craft books and have this lovely logo:

mills and boon
If you're on the lookout for new headwear, you can find another of my favourite patterns from the same series here.

And if you want to tackle the jaunty beret above – here are the materials you'll need, the instructions and a few more instructions. Ooh la la

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Golden Hands fashion drawings

Whenever I'm flicking through my Golden Hands books and partworks magazines which, let's face it, is quite often, drawings by one particular illustrator always catch my eye.

golden hands illustration
Design in dressmaking: pockets (part 3, 1972)

Her name is Anna Kostal and she's credited in issues of the publication dated 1972-1973, but that is all I can find out about her.

golden hands illustration
Design in dressmaking: pockets 2 (part 3, 1972)

As well as loving – almost without exception – all the clothes, accessories and hairdos she chose to illustrate, I also adore the style of the drawings, the movement and interaction between the figures – but mainly the attention to detail.

golden hands illustration
Knitting design: darts and shaping (part 81/vol 6, 1973)

I know that when you're illustrating stitching techniques for craft books and such like, it's essential to emphasise the details – but this lady has really gone to town. For instance, can you spot the heart-arrow brooch in the 'collars' picture below? Nice!

golden hands illustration
Design in dressmaking: more about collars (part 81/vol6, 1973)

I also really like her use of (lovely sludgy) colour for the main article of clothing and black and white for all the rest.

golden hands illustration
Reversible fabrics (Golden Hands Encyclopedia of Dressmaking, 1973)

I mean, checked shirts, tweedy skirts, capes, chunky tights with sandals, sailor collars, clogs... what on earth is not to like?!

golden hands illustration
Reversible fabrics (Golden Hands Encyclopedia of Dressmaking, 1973)

I also think the way she draws hair is just out of this world...

golden hands illustration
Tailoring (part 7, 1972)

I'd love to know what happened to this brilliant artist after the Golden Hands 1972-1973 heyday, whether she carried on drawing and where she is now. Anna Kostal, if you are out there, I hope you are still doing what you do best!

golden hands illustration
Knitting design: darts and shaping (part 81/vol 6, 1973)

Monday, 8 October 2012

Granny square poncho

vintage crochet poncho
Love the nonchalant, hands-in-pockets stance
This cutie in a mini trilby inspired me to crochet a poncho for my niece's fifth birthday a few months ago. I spotted her in a book I found on one of my trawls round the charity shops of Norwich:

vintage craft book
I KNOW: nice gloves
Rather than buy matchy wool specially, I thought I'd go freestyle on the colourscheme and use up some of the odds and ends about to create an avalanche under my craft table. Another part of my cunning plan was that I had around 20 multicoloured granny squares that I'd made a couple of years back, just sitting on a shelf, waiting. This was their moment!

I just needed to crochet 22 more squares...

granny squares pile
I felt a sense of satisfaction at this point

arrange them in the right shape...

crochet poncho squares
Swapping the squares about to get good colours next to each other is fun

stitch them together...

crochet poncho
It took ages sewing in all the loose ends

crochet an edging, add a couple of tassels Рand voilà.

crochet poncho
Pink tassels were my niece's idea, not mine, I hasten to add

The beauty of having a project like this on the go is that you can take it everywhere with you. For about a month, I had my bag of wool and crochet hook with me, ready to do a few rounds on my journey to and from work, on longer train journeys, in the park – you name it.

If you want to make the poncho yourself, you just need to master the granny square and then it's really just a matter of keeping going until you've made 42 of 'em. These are my favourite granny square instructions that I use to refresh my memory, from the Harmony Guide to Crochet Stitches, Lyric, 1986.

And here's how to make the little girls' poncho, with further instructions here.

Don't forget to buy her a cute little trilby to wear with it!

Poncho pattern courtesy of The Book of Creative Crafts (Tigerlily, 1978).

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Man socks

70s men's knitted socks
Marlboro Man

I just love the way this photo has been taken - up the chap's ironed chambray flares with the focus on his 'house socks'. Do you think the photographer could have been under the influence of this album?

curtis mayfield album cover
We'll never know what type of socks Curtis wore beneath his flares

I found the man socks in question in this American sewing guide. It may have been published 35 years ago, but it looks so now with its lowercase Helvetica title:

make it yourself cover
Cute hair, cute jumper, cute mitten, cute expression, rubbish scan

Now, as Jacquard/Fairisle-type socks go, these are quite easy to make. The pattern is embroidered (or Swiss darned, to use the technical term) after you have made the basic sock.

70s men's knitted socks
Three equally 70s designs to choose from

But – as with most sock patterns, double-pointed needles are required. If you're not familiar with this method, why not learn a new skill... in fact here's a guide. It's easy when you know how!

And not forgetting the pattern.

This post has been brought to you by Make It Yourself (Columbia House/New York, 1975).

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

An apple cushion to stitch

apple cushion
The sofa is not bad either

Don't know about you, but with the nights starting to draw in and a harvesty feeling in the air, I'm in the mood to hunker down and embroider a lovely bright apple cushion.

Here it is in all its chain-stitch glory:

apple cushion
From Golden Hands part 55/Vol 4

I'm a big fan of everything about Golden Hands, even the chapter headings:

embroidery logo
Good graphics

The cushion cover is made from a silk linen, which is lovely to work with and has a beautiful texture. The only stitches you'll need are chain stitch, bullion knots and stem stitch, so it's easy-peasy to do.

Even the template is easy on the eye:

apple cushion template
Felt-tip pen on graph paper = pleasing

If you fancy having a go, click here for the full instructions – they're free, naturellement.

For more cushions to make, including instructions on how to make up the actual cushion cover, check out my Make a midcentury cushion post.

As ever, I'd love to hear from you and to see any finished GYCMI projects, so do share in the comments!

Saturday, 1 September 2012

1950s Swedish stitchery

*UPDATE! To see more images from this book, check out my new post More Swedish Stitchery*

1950s Swedish embroidery
Victor Pettersons Bokindustr Aktiebolag, Stockholm 1954

I picked up this sweet 1954 Swedish sewing book, Hemslöjdens Hardarbeten at Greenwich Clocktower Market this morning. I don't understand a word of it Рeven the title, which appears to translate as 'Handiwork Handicraft'.

But who cares – look at the pictures!

Square sunflower
1950s Swedish embroidery hearts
White on black

1950s Swedish embroidery birds

1950s Swedish embroidery  horse
Horses under a strawberry tree

1950s Swedish embroidery colour
A sudden burst of colour

1950s Swedish embroidery birds
Peacock pairs

1950s Swedish embroidery ship
Chapman's clipper

Just wanted to share that with you!

*UPDATE! To see more images from this book, check out my new post More Swedish Stitchery

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Going undercover

It's a sad fact of life that some craft books lure you in with a dazzling exterior, then dash your hopes and dreams by containing nothing but reams of text and a few forlorn grey diagrams.

But that doesn't mean such books are without their charms, so here's a little round-up of books of disappointing content that I have bought for their covers alone...

Published by Hamlyn (1972)
I lugged this 500-pager back from Totnes in Devon years and years ago, already having come to terms with the fact that its content in no way lived up to the cartoon Clarice Cliff landscape with yellow brick road leading to a giant sewing machine that graced its cover. How could it really? Still glad I got it though.

John Gifford (1969)
This was an ex-library book I bought when they had a sale in Hornsey Library in Crouch End c2002. The foxy 60s chick on the cover belies the grainy black and white photos of granny squares within.

Chartwell Books Inc (1973)
Liberated from a south London charity shop, this is an American craft book FOR MEN. It has chapters on woodwork, leathercraft and metalwork as well as printing, weaving and mosaics. Sadly it's all written and illustrated in the most boring way imaginable. Lovely cover though.

Doubleday & Co Inc. (1974)
I picked this up at the secondhand bookshop at the National Trust property Felbrigg Hall in Norfolk. With chapters called 'Something up your sleeve' and 'Pressing your iron into service' the writer had a sense of humour but unfortunately the designer was in no mood for fun.

The Knitting Council for Schools (1973)
To be fair I bought this *for the cover*, off eBay, and it's only a leaflet so what did I expect. Nice though innit?

Van Nostrand Reinhold Co (1973)
And last but least, one of my all-time favourite craft book covers and titles ever. I got this at a car-boot sale on a boiling hot morning in Kent a few years ago and although the few colour plates it does have make it absolutely worth its shelfspace, 70% of the photos inside are in black and white. Nooo... the whole point of patchwork is colour!