Archive for the ‘Free Patterns’ Category

more home decor knitting

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Hi Knitters,

This is a photo of my friend Alison, a fellow kiwi-American expat, outside Imagiknit in San Francisco, where she spied my book in the window display! It’s in the bottom right of the photo. I was quite excited about this. Check out their website. They have an astonishing selection of yarns including the best selection of Madelinetosh colours I’ve seen anywhere.

I waited patiently through the Olympic closing ceremony, was brought to tears by John Lennon singing Imagine – what a beautiful touch – and by the end, still no Elton. I’d imagined him bringing it to a rocking close. No Sting, The Clash (how could London Calling not be included?), Eric Clapton? And may I ask why George Michael had two songs, one of them a new single to be released the following day and therefore hardly appropriate for a retrospective selection of popular British music. Who let that one through? That’s my only grumble. I enjoyed the ceremony, and after Lennon, my favourite moment was Ray Davies singing Waterloo Sunset. No lip synching thank you very much, and no pitch correction. Reaching for the high notes. What a brave man, and in the spirit of the Olympics. The Kinks were my teen heart throbs, so I’m biased.

What did you knit during the Olympics?

I made this bath mat as part of a spring home-sprucing.

It took 3 hanks of Allhemp6, doubled stranded on size 5.5 mm needles. The stitch pattern is an easy rickrack that goes like this with a multiple of 4 stitches (I cast on 56):

Row 1: K1, * take right-hand needle behind work, skip 1 st and knit the 2nd st through the back of the loop and leave on needle; then knit the skipped st through the front loop; then slide both sts from the needle together; k2; repeat from *, ending last repeat k1.

Row 2: K1, *p2, k2; repeat from *, ending last repeat k1.

Repeat Rows 1 & 2.

I worked a single crochet around the edge of my mat, but it’s not necessary.

I love making things for my house, don’t you?

I’m still using the bath mat I made for Knit 2 Together. Six years on, it’s still going strong. What a great investment of time and materials.



deciphering vintage patterns

Monday, July 16th, 2012

Hi knitters,

I’ve now posted the pattern for the vintage service pullover, from the same WW2-era pamphlet as the service cardigan. The pullover can be made with short or long sleeves. Make a twinset!

Lately I’ve been in that delicious mode of deciding what to knit. Don’t you love that feeling, when you’ve completed a big project, and the time has come to decide on a new something, maybe even for yourself?

My search has taken me through my vintage books once again. One is a pamphlet of blouses from 1938 by the NY company Jack Frost. They are all very Kate Hepburn, photographed with linen pants and shorts with sailor pant button closures. I’ve chosen one of them to publish in my vintage dept. It’s the Bellecond blouse.


The description reads “because you like nice things you will enjoy wearing this beautiful Lace Duveen Blouse”. Duveen is the name of the yarn, long gone from production so you would have to substitute.

The pattern itself is very concise, which is a polite way of saying short and sweet and leaving much to the knitter’s intelligence. It’s one paragraph written in just one size, 14, and there are no measurements, nor is there a mention of gauge. Knitters back then must have been more independent (not to mention smart and creative) because they were evidently able to size garments for themselves.

To make this, what I would do is experiment with yarn I think is the right weight, make a swatch, and calculate the body measurement based on the swatch gauge and the number of stitches in the pattern. Measurement = number of sts divided by gauge. In this case, there are 111 sts for the Back; 111 x 2 = 222 divided by a gauge of, say, 6 sts per inch = 37″ chest. You could alter the gauge (and size) by changing needle size.

The other stand-out detail in these patterns is that the sleeves are all worked from the top down. Stitches are picked up across the top of the shoulder, then worked back and forth, more stitches being picked up at the beginning of each row, to accommodate the armhole shaping.

I love this kind of project. It’s an adventure!

Here are three more designs from the book. If you’d like to make any of them, let me know and I’ll post the PDFs.

Eldora and Carole (below left and right)


Aren’t they fun? Quick to knit, too, especially Sylvanne which does cite a gauge: 4 sts to 1″.

see you soon,


sharing the vintage love

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

I love vintage patterns, don’t you? I have an eclectic collection, many bought during a new-to-ebay obsessive buying frenzy, with a few handed down from my Mum.

This week I was a guest blogger at the Lovecrafts website in the UK, talking about my childhood spent waiting with my mother for the English Womens’ Weekly to arrive. Even then, it was all about the knitting patterns. I still have some. You’ll see them there.

I made a wonderful discovery this week that I’d like to share with you. Highly inventive designer, author and blogger Annie Modesitt reviews my book here, and while cruising around her website I discovered her online classes. Watching the sample steam blocking class, I learned so much about blocking, the need for it, how to do it and best of all, it’s infused with Annie’s wickedly dry sense of humour. It whet my appetite for more. If they’re all that informative and funny, I’m signing up!

Now, back to vintage. Ingrid, a reader from Sweden, wrote and asked me if I might be willing to share a design I included in my 2009 post about vintage patterns. It’s a cardigan from a WW2-era pamphlet of practical designs suitable for wearing while you contributed to the war effort. 

It just happens to have been Anzac Day here. For any non-antipodeans readers, Anzac is an acronym for the Australia New Zealand Army Corps, who fought together during both the world wars. We honour their memory every year and there’s even a delicious biscuit named after them which we eat all year round, not just on the day, because it’s so rich, crunchy and delicious, You can find a recipe on Ryan Reineck’s blog. Ryan lives in Brooklyn NY, is an avid knitter, gardener and foodie, and seems to know about Anzac.

Back to the cardigan. I decided to share it, and I may share a few more of my vintage patterns. I feel that they’re not my designs to sell, and what’s the point of them gathering dust in my closet?  The one Ingrid requested is the Utility or Service Cardigan (below), a v-neck with a nice ribbed yoke. You’ll find the PDF in my list of free patterns.  If you download it, please, be so kind as to leave a comment.

Happy knitting!