Vintage-inspired Diamond Lace Sweater Pattern

As promised in a previous post, the pattern for this Vintage inspired sweater in Rowan Felted Tweed DK is now available to buy as a pdf download in three sizes (34, 36, 38in) from Loveknitting.com via this link: http://www.loveknitting.com/vintage-diamond-lace-sweater-betty.  Happy knitting 🙂

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Renewing my Lust for Life

The last few months of 2014 got a little crazy what with the Knit and Stitch Shows and Christmas doggy head commissions and as a result the drawing side of my art practice took a back seat. So, New Year = Renewed Commitment and following an internet search to check what the local colleges were offering, I found a space in a weekly class at Peter Symonds in nearby Winchester. Just two sessions later I am already reaping the benefits of a structured class format, an excellent teacher (Michelle Buhl-Nielsen) and a welcoming and supportive group. The result: my love of Life Drawing has been well and truly re-ignited.

Each week, rather than trying to create the perfect drawing, we have been concentrating on one aspect at a time. This approach I have found to be both liberating and great fun and at last I have found a suitable and satisfying approach to tackling those frustrating 5 and 10 sec warm up poses which tend to be the start of every session.

Week one was all about gesture and here are a couple of my favourites from this session.

"10 second gesture drawings"

10 second gesture drawings (six superimposed)

I love how gesture drawings can be so full of energy (possibly because the model is able to hold more dynamic poses for this short period of time?).

"15 minute gesture drawing"

Gesture drawing (15mins)

This seated pose was an example of how a slightly longer gesture drawing could be pretty accurate from a proportions point of view despite no measuring being involved. The tutor handed out rectangular grids at the end of the session for us to check this and I was pleasantly surprised at the result.

So on to week two and “mass”. The brief was to create form rather like we would a sculpture, working from the inside out, keeping it solid, no lines allowed and ignoring light and shadow. Having spent much of last year working in 3’d’ and having recently visited and been inspired by a Henry Moore print exhibition at the Winchester Discovery Centre, I found this technique particularly satisfying and loved the outputs.

"creating solid mass in drawing"

Creating solid mass using a back and forth technique

"creating mass by lifting charcoal in a drawing"

Creating “mass” by lifting away charcoal

This is definitely right up my street and I am already excited about experimenting more with this approach.

Next week is about contour and I’ll let you know how it goes. In the meantime here are my attempts at putting a few of these techniques together in an untutored session last weekend at the Art House in Southampton. It’s early days yet but I am already feeling a new (playful) Me coming out of these pictures and I kinda like her 🙂

"10 min warm up drawings of a clothed model"

10 min warm up poses, clothed model

"reclining clothed female figure drawing"

30 min pose, pencil on paper

"pencil drawing of seated female"

30 minute seated pose, pencil on paper

Stash busting 1940s style

I hope you all had a good Christmas and a belated Happy New Year to you. I spent mine with a traditional Christmas bug which gave me the perfect excuse to lounge around in my PJs, listening to audiobooks and knitting all day. Inspired by the fabulous “Knitwear Chanel to Westwood” exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London (still on and well worth a visit), and confined to my armchair, I dug out my steadily expanding collection of “VIntage” knitting patterns (my definition of “Vintage” being those that were published before I was born!).  I have a particular fondness for the neat silhouettes and intricate stitch patterns of 1940s sweaters and a couple of them have been shouting at me to be re-worked in modern day yarns for some time.  After a quick cataloguing exercise and in true Make Do and Mend style, I gave myself a “no purchasing” rule and the challenge was set.

The first to be reworked was this lovely lacy sweater pattern which I had picked up from a University pop up shop a couple of years ago.

"1940s knitting pattern"

1940s knitting pattern

I had previously tried to recreate this in a 4ply but it just didn’t work being too bulky for wear under jackets but not warm enough for an outer sweater. So this time, persuaded by my Stash, I redesigned it for Rowan Felted Tweed, still taking the delicate lace pattern but making it substantial enough for a winter sweater by using a lightweight double knit yarn and adding a roll neck and three quarter length sleeves.

"vintage lace sweater redesigned in Rowan Felted Tweed"

Vintage Lace sweater redesigned in Rowan Felted Tweed

I have written the pattern for this sweater in three bust sizes (34in, 36in, and 38in) and will be making it available for purchase shortly so if it’s your kind of sweater, watch this space.

The second sweater to be re-worked is this 1945 pattern, available for free from the V&A website.

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I often think that some of the fabulous variegated sock yarns available are wasted hiding in shoes all day so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity to show off some beautiful Drops Fabel sock yarn which I had purchased last year, along with a couple of balls of the now sadly discontinued Rowan Cashsoft 4ply which I had stashed away.  Here is the colourful result as worn by Dora (as I was needed behind the camera for this shot) perfect for brightening up the next couple of months while we wait for Spring to arrive and just enough warmth over a long sleeve T for centrally heated houses. It was a bit touch and go at the end as to whether I’d have enough yarn (I was knitting both sleeves at the same time) but thankfully I just made it!

"wavy stripe sweater in 4ply yarns"

Wavy stripe sweater in 4ply yarns

So, I am a couple of sweaters richer, my virus is on its way out and evenings are noticeably getting lighter.  Welcome 2015!  I am looking forward to seeing where you take me this year 🙂