Thursday, 5 September 2013
Today's post was originally intended to be a post about ties and waistcoats for my series on knitting for weddings. But when I researched tie designs, I soon realized that they deserved a post of their own. So although this post may certainly used as a resource for knitting ties for weddings, I've tried to write a fairly comprehensive post on ties for all occasions.
Knitting a tie that looks right can be a bit of a challenge. Many of those I looked at looked too limp, too thick, had rough-looking or uneven edges, were twisted, or just didn't hang right. They looked homemade as opposed to handmade, and I'm sure you all know the difference between those two looks. It's so important that an item that is worn front and centre with a suit in a professional or formal setting looks doesn't look "loving hands at home". And achieving that seems to be a matter of getting the shape, proportions, and weight just right.
The best and most classic width for a tie is 3.25 inches, although any measurement from 2.75 to 3.5 inches is fine. The successful patterns I looked at all recommended fingering weight/4 ply yarn, and though silk was often used, a wool/nylon blend will also work, or a cotton yarn for summer wear. It seems to me that no knitter will ever need a lot of tie patterns, but should just select one good pattern for each shape desired (standard, straight, and/or skinny) and keep using it, changing the colourway and patterns as desired.
The Preppy Tie depicted above was probably the best example of the standard tie that I found. The fact that it is knit on the bias is probably the key to its success, as the usual three or sixfold woven tie that men wear is cut on the bias. It might be a little difficult to get a hold of this pattern, as it was originally published in the January/February 2011 issue of Knitting Today!
Here's another bias knit tie from Interweave Knits. It's very similar to the one above, but this time the pattern is readily accessible as a $4.50(USD) download. It is too short on the model. Make sure the length is right when the tie is on: just touching the waistband of the wearer's trousers. It always looks a little...Freudian...when men get their tie length wrong.
This pattern for Traditional Neckties, also from Interweave Knits, again looks very similar to the two above, but might provide some pattern variations, and is available as a $5(USD) download. I really like the pattern of the tie in the top right-hand picture.
If you'd like to make a straight tie, this basic seed stitch tie pattern from Benyamen Conn might serve you well. It's a free pattern.
The Ed's Tie design, by Sally Melville, has a good texture and seems to hang well. It appears in The Knitting Experience: Book 3: Color.
The Angelus Knit Tie is another straight tie with a great texture and bit of stripe. It's a free pattern.
Here's a striped tie, designed by Christy Pyles for Knitter's Magazine.
This New School Tie is from Knit 2 Together: Patterns and Stories for Serious Knitting Fun.
If you'd like to make a skinny tie, the Rustic Elegant Tie is a good textured skinny tie pattern. It appears in Knitting Classic Style: 35 Modern Designs Inspired by Fashion's Archives.
If you like a more sporty skinny tie, the Tsubaki Cotton Necktie might be the design for you. It's a free pattern.
And of course, I can't leave out the bow tie. Here's a pretty good one, the linen stitch Gestrikt design, by Malia Mather, as modelled by Stephen West. It's a free pattern.
Tuesday, 3 September 2013
Today is the first Tuesday in September, and that means it's the first day of the school year for most students in Canada and the United States. So I thought I'd do a back-to-school type post, and soon settled on the idea of picking out a selection of pencil case knitting patterns for you all. I can hardly think of a more classic going-back-to-school purchase. My father still has the pencil case that was bought for him when he began first grade back in 1944, although his pencil case was not the zippered fabric or plastic envelope that is used today but a narrow wooden box with two compartments and a sliding top. He tells me the cool kids in his class had a three-decker wooden pencil boxes, and that in his day schoolchildren didn't have backpacks to carry their books in but fastened a strap around them and carried them by the end of the strap.
The pencil case above is, of course, quite literally a Pencil Case, and is designed by Katie Startzman. I'd almost feel like making a book-shaped backpack to go with it. The pattern is available as a $4(USD) download, or as part of an eBook.
This Abacus Pouch pattern by Derya Davenport harkens back to an even older educational tradition than wooden pencil boxes and book straps. It's a free pattern.
This plaid pencil case pattern by Debbie Bliss appears in her book, The Knitter's Year: 52 Make-in-a-Week Projects-Quick Gifts and Seasonal Knits.
This Bright Pencil Case, designed by the Lily Sugar n' Cream yarn company designers, seems perfect for holding a selection of coloured pencils. It's a free pattern.
The Daisy Dachshund pencil case might be perfect for a small child who doesn't like leaving the family dog or his or her stuffed toys behind at home during the school day. The pattern is by Mel Clark and appears in Knitting Everyday Finery: Practical Designs for Dressing Up in Little Ways.
Here's a simple yet eye-catching striped pencil case, designed by Stephanie Mrse, from the book 50 Knitted Gifts for Year-Round Giving: Designs for Every Season and Occasion Featuring Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted.
The Cabled Pencil Case pattern, by Dissolved Girl, is a free pattern.
The Sanquhar Pencil Case pattern, by Tom of Holland, is available as a £2.50 download.
The pattern for this flowered pencil case, made by Ravelry member Cassidy Clark, is not available but would be easy to copy.
For that matter a pencil case would be an easy beginner design project and a good way to use up some odds and ends of yarn. If you're making it for a child, it's a good idea to involve the child in the design process. There's always a schoolyarn social dictum as to what's in or out, and as an adult, you may not have any idea as to what the equivalent of today's three-decker pencil box is.
Wednesday, 7 August 2013
This post is the third in my series of posts on knitting for weddings, and features a selection of patterns for purses and gloves for the bride. (You can see the other posts on knitting for weddings here.)
Let's look at the purses first. It may take some planning to manage both a bouquet and a purse on your wedding day, but you may want to do it anyway, because you will likely want to freshen your makeup and to have some tissues handy. (Or, if you have second thoughts, bus fare.) The purses here may be used as an evening bag after the wedding, or perhaps as a handy sachet for the bride's dresser drawer. The purse above is the Heirloom Bridal Bag, and the pattern is available for £3.00(GBP).
The pattern for this simple little beaded bag is available for free. There will be a lot of ways in which a bride's purse can be made to go with her dress and/or the wedding decorations: by using similar beading or other notions or a similar lace pattern, or lining the bag with fabric that is in the wedding colours or is left over from some other item or garment that has been made for the wedding.
Here's another beaded bag, the pattern for which appeared in Knitting the Easy Way by Terry Kimbrough.
This Valentine's Day Wedding Bag uses beading and also an elegant silver frame. The pattern is available as a $6 download.
I would want to use a more polished-looking yarn than the one employed in this Bridal Clutch, but it has a cute shape and I love the frame. You can also add beading if you like. The pattern is from the November 2011 Crafty Ever After.
Here's a felted Bridal Rose Bag that may make you decide you don't need to carry a bouquet. The pattern is available for $7.50(USD).
There are so many beautiful glove patterns on Ravelry that you'd be much better off looking for yourself than just looking at the few I can feature here. But, since we are here, I've picked out a half dozen or so I think are lovely. The Terzetto Lace Mitts are quite something. I'd put these with a fairly simple dress that didn't have much lace on it. The pattern is a $7(USD) download.
The Lillyana Fingerless Gloves are simpler and, if knitted in cashmere as shown here, perhaps more suitable for a winter wedding. I did try to find fingered gloves for this post but didn't like any of those I saw and had to settle for a selection of fingerless ones, which after all are better for the ring ceremony. This pattern is available as a £3.00(GBP).
The Armstulpe wrist warmer pattern, with its falling ruffle, might appeal to the bride who doesn't want a full glove. This pattern is available as a $2.90 download.
These beaded wristlets are a little more dramatic and arty. This pattern is available as a €3.90(EUR) download.
The Water Lilies Gloves are a simple pattern that would probably suit the most brides of any of those in this post. This pattern is available as a $4.75 download.
Another pair of beaded lace wristlets. This pattern is available as a download for $2.90.
I don't think a bride will want to wear these Wedding Mittens for her wedding unless there are skis, snowboarding, snowshoes, ice skates, rubber tubing, or snowmobiles involved in the ceremony, but they were too cute not to include. They'd be nice for a honeymoon at a ski chalet. The pattern for these mittens is available for $6(USD).
Wednesday, 31 July 2013
Last week I published a post of selected bridal gown knitting patterns, and I've decided that post will be the first in a series on knitting patterns for weddings. I can't say how many posts there will be in this series, but I do have quite a few ideas in mind, so I'll just try to do one a week until I'm done. (You can see the other posts on knitting for weddings here.) This is the second post, and it features selected patterns for garters and hand-knitted bridal stockings. I'm trying to write this series of posts in such a way that they can also be of value to those who aren't planning a wedding. I've no intention of ever getting married myself, but I'd just love to knit myself a fancy pair of thigh-high stockings at some point.
Let's look at the garters first. They're a purely decorative item for most bridal outfits, and though garters are normally not an item for public display, bridal garters are commonly tossed to the male guests by the groom at the end of the wedding (as the bride's bouquet is tossed to the single female guests by the bride), with the catcher being supposed to be the next person to get married. Brides often consequently supply themselves with a second, simpler and/or less expensive bouquet and garter specifically for tossing so that they may keep the more elaborate bouquet and garter that saw actual use during the wedding. If you're knitting a garter for a wedding that will feature a garter toss, you may want to make one special garter to be worn and buy or make a simpler version for tossing.
Garters are probably one of the items a knitter might be most likely to make for a wedding, because it can be done so quickly and inexpensively. As I found when I looked for garter patterns, they are very likely to be the standard white lace with a blue ribbon threaded through it, and so be the "something blue" the bride wears for luck. I've tried to find some different styles, but even then they were pretty much all in blue and white or ivory. There's really no reason why a bride can't wear a garter made in her favourite colours or wedding colours.
The garter above is knitted of ribbon, and of course it's possible to use a variety of ribbon types or colours. The pattern is designed by Julianne Smith and is available for free.
This Angora Mohair Garter pattern appears in Luxury Yarn One-Skein Wonders: 101 Small Indulgences, edited by Judith Durant. I'd say this one is for a winter wedding, because if I had to wear anything angora all one hot summer day, I'd be taking it off and chucking it at someone long before the end of the wedding.
Pretty garter with a ruffle and a bow. I'd be inclined to make this one in a higher-end or more delicate fibre than is used here to give it a lacier, more lingerie-like look. This garter is designed by Deby Lake and is a free pattern.
A classic lace garter with two shades of green ribbon run through it to give it a bit of a different look. This garter was designed by Diane Willett and is a free pattern.
This garter pattern is actually a slightly altered version of the one above, and uses a single ribbon and a different fibre for a softer, more ruffled look. This garter was made by Christy Wall and is a free pattern.
Gina's Wedding Garter plays with the usual proportions and the result looks like something different. I also like the idea of adding a little charm to the garter, though you'll need to make sure whatever you add doesn't catch on the bride's dress. This pattern was designed by Lara Neel and is a free pattern.
Now let's have a look at some knitted stockings. Some of these stocking patterns won't be compatible with wearing any of the garters above, so you may have to choose which item you'd like most to wear. Fortunately you won't need to wear garters with these stockings because they're designed to stay up on their own. Some have garters built right into the pattern. This pair of lace stockings have a different view front and back. They were designed by Mari Muinonen and are available as a $5 download.
Susie's Long Stockings are one of the stocking patterns with built-in garters. This pattern was designed by Elizabeth Wolden and is available as a $6 download.
The Agnes's Silk Stocking pattern is probably the most traditional of the stocking patterns I've picked out, and I should think it would be impossible not to feel like a princess while wearing them. As long as you can keep from yelling at the caterer. These stockings were designed by Karen E. Hooten for the September/October 2011 issue of Piece Work.
These ribbed stockings would be for the more informal winter wedding and perhaps one for which one was wearing traditional Scottish dress. This pattern was designed for A Handknit Romance: 22 Vintage Designs with Lovely Details by Jennie Atkinson.
The Haapsalu Lace Socks pattern looks quite racy in black, but of course they could be made in any colour and would have a completely different effect in the traditional white or ivory. This pattern was designed by Tiina Kaarela and is available for €5.00(EUR).
The Delphyne is another lacy stocking pattern, this time less openwork than the previous. This pattern was designed by Stephanie Mason and is a $7(USD) download.