Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Beret Project: The Second Installment

Berets are addictive to knit and a girl just can't have too many. The documentation of the The Beret Project on this blog began here. After the success of the first berets, I was now ready to try lace berets.

The first beret the girls tried to get me to buy was a light and lacy leaf patterned beret. It was gorgeous but too expensive. I haven't ever found a pattern that was quite the same but this one jumped out as being close. The pattern for this beret is the Lace Tam and Scarf by Susan Rainey of The Rainey Sisters which can be downloaded as free pdf file here. When I saw the pattern I immediately knew that the beret had to be red too. (Plus I'm old enough that the Prince song Raspberry Beret was running through my head too).

Actually the stash had several gorgeous red / cherry / maroon odd balls of yarn. Mel's beret is knitted in a Bendigo Woolen Mill's 8 ply wool alpaca blend on a set of four 2.75 mm needles. The eldest daughter also has the same beret knitted in a slightly different shade or red in a wool acrylic mix. I don't have any photographs of this one as it lives a few hours away and is rather shy. However, Facebook stalking has located it on holiday in Daylesford (see the small photo at the end of the post).

Mel wearing her red beret
I should apologize to my family (Mel is particular). Since I started blogging I do tend to creep up on people who are wearing knitted garments I have made for them with the camera yelling 'Stand still and Smile'. I do seem however to end up with photos of people looking startled, annoyed or grinning manically till I go away. I think the photo above probably illustrates "Just take the stupid photo and go away'. The scarf Mel is wearing was hand-knit for her by  little Italian lady from Spinete, a small town in Italy where she was on a home stay a few years ago on a school trip.

This is actually the first photo. I sneaked up behind her.
The underside of the beret while it is being blocked. Note the gathering thread run through the brim stitches. For a more complete description of how to block a beret see The Beret Project: Chapter 1
Close up of the blocked beret
The underside of the beret after blocking
The finished beret
The other elusive red beret on holiday in Daylesford

Sunday, 9 October 2011

How to wear a dead fox

I have vivid picture memories my Oma (my Dad's mum) wearing her Sunday Best, a tailored wool coat and a fox fur scarf. I'm not fond of real fox furs, the musty small of vintage fur and those fake glass beady eyes always put me off. However, I've always thought the concept is cool.
Oma (second from left) wearing the dead fox at Mum and Dad's wedding

Here are some of the best knitted dead foxes out there that I've found recently. 
Knitted fox scarf. Made by Eugenia Kim and available through Anthropologie. (Unfortunately they are sold out).
Nina Furher Uniques Knitwear
Pattern available from the Etsy store Pretty Flamingo
This is by an Australian Fashion label called TV.
By English Designer Donna Wilson
Knitted and Felted animal scarves by Mia Underwood
Crochet fox scarf pattern from Esty store Bees Knees Knittin
And finally two free dead foxes to knit for yourself:
From Katie Boyette at CaffaknittedThe Stone Cold Fox Scarf.

 And from Knitty Magazine, The Vegan Fox.
 My dead fox is still a long time work in progress (about 10 years or so). The design genesis comes from three sources both predating all the foxes I've since found on the internet.

The first was a visit about 10 years or so ago to the Royal Melbourne Show. The Head of the Household and I were looking at the prize winning knitting exhibits (especially the knitted toys and novelties) and I said I could do better (there was an overabundance of Jean Greenhouse dolls and toys which seems to be the knitted toy designer of choice for the over 80 knitting brigade). So he dared me to try.

The second was a pattern for a knitted tiger scarf which I had made. This comes from an early pattern book written by Debbie Bliss for Hayfield Yarn. (And I've just realized that that this is yet another knitted cat-like creature inhabiting my house).
As well as the tiger scarf there is a knitted bear and crocodile scarf.
Tiger in the grass
I think his tail looks like the keys on a piano
Close up of the tiger face

The third inspiration was some yarn from my stash. One ball in particular reminded me so much of a foxes tail. Another ball was foxy colours. Eyelash yarn had just become popular and one day I found some in a junk shop the exact red orange of a foxes coat. So I knitted the head and tail. I'm still working on the body...
Inspirational fox wool
A fox in progress
Foxy's Head: Needs a tongue and possible some wicked teeth
Foxy's tail
The reverse of the knitted body piece. It is actually a random mix of three different yarns knitted singly.

I should finish this someday. Dead knitted foxes appear to be trendy at the moment.