Friday, 26 September 2014

Old buildings and knitted knickers

I have a long-standing crush on old buildings, especially those dating back to the 14th and 15th century and in the summer we paid a visit to some local treasures.

Great Dixter, Northiam, East Sussex.  The original part of the house dates from the mid-15th century. When Nathaniel Lloyd bought it in 1910 he had a 16th century house moved from Kent and combined with the original building.  A third section was designed by Edwin Lutyens and added on.  It's probably better known for being the family home of Christopher Lloyd, gardener and garden writer, and for the beautiful garden he created but those photos are for another day.

Everything to the right of the porch is 15th and 16th century, everything to the left was designed by Lutyens and yes, the porch really is as wonky as it looks in the above picture! 

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Ightham Mote, near Sevenoaks in Kent.  The oldest part of this moated Medieval manor house is almost 700 years old and when it was acquired by the National Trust in 1985 it was in a dilapidated state.  The Trust spent 15 years and £10 million to restore it and it is beautiful. 

This Victorian dog kennel in the courtyard is apparently the only Grade 1 listed kennel in the country. I don't know whether you can get a sense of proportion here, but it looks as though it was built for the Hound of the Baskervilles.

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The cobbled streets of Rye, East Sussex.  I want to live here.

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Rye is a great place if you like 'vintiquing' and we took the opportunity to have a good rummage. Surprisingly, I exercised quite a lot of self-control (unusual, I must have been out of sorts that day) and bought just the one item, this knitting book.

It doesn't look much on the outside but it's an absolute treasure.  There's no publication date inside but a quick google revealed it was published in 1941.  It's packed with patterns for just about everything for every member of the family with a mixture of wonderful photos and illustrations.

The women just pose and show off the clothing; the men, however, all seem to have been given an object to hold like a pipe ...

... or an axe ... as you do ...

With yarn rationing and prices, some of the designs were probably a little ambitious for war time knitters but there's a brilliant 'wool economies' section at the back on how to make yarn go further and lots of ideas for unravelling and remaking.  

Amongst patterns for the usual items, there are also patterns for nightdresses (I'm not convinced this would survive a night's sleep on me) ... 

... and undies ...

... yes, that is a knitted bra above.  The recommended material for these is silk, but for this apparently 'smart, warm and sensible' set below, the recommended material is two-ply wool - ooh, sounds itchy!

And of course you can knit some nice warm undies for your man too.

Control yourselves ladies!  I'm more than pleased to share the pattern if you're thinking about home-made Christmas presents :o)

Thank you for your lovely comments on my last post and welcome to new followers. 

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane xx

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Blue blanket, ceramic poppies

At last, the blue blanket is done just in time for Alice to take it with her to uni.  I don't know why it took so long, stitching the squares together seemed to take an age, but I'm pleased with the result.


There was no time left for blocking, but that can be done another time and Alice is pleased with it, which is the main thing.

The blanket is made up of simple crochet grannies and garter stitch knitted squares.  (For the flower in the centre of the granny squares I used Kate's tutorial here.)

And finished with a plain double crochet edge and a flowerhouse flower.

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On Sunday we went to see the evolving art installation of ceramic poppies in the moat of the Tower of London, which marks the centenary of the outbreak of, and British involvement in, the First World War. The poppies, of which there will be a total of 888,246, will encircle the Tower.  Each poppy represents a British military life lost during the First World War.

You can find out more about the Tower of London poppies here.  

Thank you for your lovely comments on my last post and welcome to new followers. 

Hope all is well out there ...
Jane x