Knit & Natter – A Vintage Knitting Update

It seems like it’s all sewing around these parts, but there’s actually quite a bit of knitting going on! All vintage knitting, of course (although only one pattern from the seventies, which is rare for me). At any rate, I thought it was high time I gave you all an update on what’s been coming off my knitting needles lately, as well as what’s currently on them.

Bascially, it’s time for another Knit and Natter!

Keep reading to find out what I’ve added to my knitted vintage wardrobe.

Watch the video

Better Late Than Never! Or, The Saga Of The Knitter Who Hates Sewing On Buttons

You may remember seeing this cardigan (or possibly jacket) some time ago. In fact, I showed you the finished garment on my channel way back in June. (You can see it here: June Makes – Knitting, Sewing and #thesewbackproject).

Knit & Natter Patons 502 Cardigan

It was completely finished… provided I never wanted to do it up. For some reason, I really hate sewing on buttons. I will put it off in favour of more enjoyable pursuits such as washing the dishes or marking out twelve darts with tailor tacks. It doesn’t even take that long, but I seem to build it up as being an impossible task in my mind.

Thankfully, I finally gave myself a good talking to and just sewed on those buttons.

Knit & Natter Patons 502 Button Detail

How did I manage to get over my relucatance? I laid out the cardigan on my sewing table with the buttons nearby and essentially sewed on a button whenever I had a spare minute or so. In no time at all, it had its six buttons and I could finally call it a complete garment.

Speaking of the buttons: how amazing is that colour match? My mum originally found these and I talked her into giving them to me because I knew they were pretty much made for my cardigan. Plus, there were only six of them and cardigans generally require seven buttons, but mine happened to need just the half dozen. It was meant to be!

Madam’s New Jumper

Who on earth is Madam? you may be asking, and with good cause. Madam is the name my mannequin managed to give itself, in flagrant breach of the fact that I rarely name inanimate objects. Despite this, the name kept coming out of my mouth every time I moved the mannequin around.

“Out you come, Madam,” I’d say as I dragged her out of her home in the wardrobe.

“Sorry, Madam,” as I bumped into her.

“I’m just going to pop this on you for a tick, Madam,” as I eased my lovely lilac jumper over her decorative knob.

And doesn’t it look gorgeous on her?

Knit & Natter Patons 332

When I put it on, all you can see is boob. This is what happens when I wear garments knitted in a wide rib, but I wasn’t aware of this fact when I started knitting this mid-century pattern. I love this jumper to bits and I’m hoping I might be able to wear it with a jacket or coat in Winter; or that I’ll feel more comfortable in it if I keep losing weight thanks to cutting out sugar in my diet.

In the meantime, Madam gets to enjoy wearing this beauty with the diagonal cable detail.

Knit & Natter Patons 332 Cable Detail

It’s such a fabulous design feature – and it’s done so simply, too.

This jumper has actually taken quite a while to complete, although not because it’s difficult. I shelved it a couple of times to focus on garments that were more seasonal, such as a Summer cardigan. Then there were other times when I failed to read the instructions and had to un-ravel vast amounts of knitting, as seen in this pic on my instagram:

What happened there? Well, I should have read the instructions. The pattern directed me to make the front piece first, so when I’d finished it, I cast on the stitches for the back piece and assumed I’d just use the same amount as the front.

As it turns out, there are more stitches used in the front piece to compensate for the effect of the cabling. I actually needed to cast on a completely different amount of stitches for the back. It’s so frustrating having to unravel hours of work just so you can start over again, especially when you know it’s all your own fault.

Eventually, all of the pieces were complete and blocked and ready to be assembled. The finishing touch is the opening on the left shoulder that enables you to put the jumper on. Garments from this era have very tight collars and a shoulder opening is the only thing that will permit your head to fit!

Knit & Natter Patons 332 Shoulder Closure

Most of these openings are made with crochet at some point, so it’s very handy to be able to crochet if you’re interested in using vintage knitting patterns.

That Cardigan With The Ruffles

Have I mentioned how much I hated knitting the ruffles on this? Yes? Then I shan’t labour the point.

But I did not enjoy it.

The only thing that kept me going was the thought that those ruffled sections would look lovely when they were done. And they do! I think it’s a clever way to create a design feature that doesn’t involve fancy techniques or extra needles or anything like that. If you know how to knit increases and decreases, you’re fine. Of course, you then need the patience to knit your way through 300+ stitches tightly wedged together on a knitting needle, but once that section is past, everything else is plain sailing.

With my front and back pieces complete, I thought I’d do a before and after shoot to demonstrate why blocking is a form of magic. Have a look for yourselves.

Knit & Natter Blocking Demonstration

On the left, we have an unruly and mis-shapen mess; on the right, a beautiful cardigan ready to be sewn together. That is what I call everyday magic!

I’ve almost finished this cardigan now; the only thing I have left to do is sew on the buttons, so you’ll probably see it some time around August.

Now on the Needles

Now you’ve seen the garments I’ve been sewing together – but what about the things I’m currently knitting? At the moment, this beauty is currently adorning my needles:

Knit & Natter Sun-glo 112

It’s a pattern from my favourite company, Sun-glo, and it’s one I’ve been wanting to make for ages. I’m knitting it in this beautiful purple 3ply wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills, although the pattern asks for 2ply. Given that it’s not that easy to find 2ply wool around here, I thought I’d try 3ply and hope that it would also enable me to size it up without any additional effort on my part.

I’ll be able to test that theory soon as I’ve almost finished the first piece. The lace pattern is fun and relatively easy to memorise, although things get a little tricky when it comes to decreases. I can’t wait to do another before and after shoot when I’m blocking this. If you think blocking is magic on plain garments, just wait until you see what it does for lace patterns!

Now you are all caught up with my knitting shenanigans. Which is your favourite garment? Are you knitting something at the moment? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.

5 thoughts on “Knit & Natter – A Vintage Knitting Update

  1. Wow these are fantastic patterns. The lilac jumper is quite a dramatic look, although I can see that the ribbing might make it tricky to wear. I do like the ruffles on the turquoise one such a simple technique, but looks fabulous.

    1. Luckily, the lilac one looks fabulous on my dress form! I’ll wait until Winter and see if I’m tempted to try it again. The ruffles on the cardigan make me happy (especially now they’re over and done with!).

  2. Those garments are truly beautiful and gorgeous colours. It’s difficult to choose a favourite but I’d probably opt for the cable knit jumper. I love 1940s knitting patterns as they are so much more stylish than today’s offerings. However I do admire you knitting in 3 ply as double knit is the finest I will go. At the moment I am knitting the Rosa jumper from Jaeger handknits JB43.

    1. That jumper is my favourite, too – I jut wish it suited me! Still, it’s getting quite chilly here now, so I might try it when it’s cool enough to wear a jacket or coat over the top. There’s always something new to learn from 1940s and 1950s patterns, isn’t there? A lot of mine specify that you knit the first row into the back of the cast-on stitches – that’s something you’re not told in more modern patterns.
      My preferred size range is 3ply – 5ply – I just like it, for some reason. It’s always funny when I knit something in DK because it seems to fly off the needles!

  3. That’s interesting about knitting the first row into the back of the stitch. I’m tempted to try that to see what effect it gives. I hope you get to wear the jumper, it’s so special.

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