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 – and voilĂ .

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).