Archive for September, 2009

Avoiding the Per Una effect

September 20, 2009

A little while ago, I noticed that my favourite jacket was dying.  It’s a very plain asymmetric jacket with a mandarin collar and a subtle pinstripe.  I bought it for £10 in the sales a few years ago and have worn it almost constantly from spring to early autumn ever since.  And this constant wear has taken its toll as the cuffs and hem had become very visibly frayed.

So, in order to keep it, it was suggested to me that I could trim the jacket to hide the damage.  But, the dilemma then was how to do this without the Per Una effect.  Per Una is a phrase that fills me with fear.  The Per Una department at M&S fills me with horrified fascination.  The effect of every garment in the collection is that they finished designing it, then gave it to a tartrazine-filled six year old with a box of ribbons, buttons and bows to finish off.  Take this latest beauty from their collection –

Note the unflattering length and fit.  Note the polka dot frill hanging down beneath the large check pattern of the skirt.  Then, note the snail trail of ribbon which does absolutely nothing to enhance the garment in any way.  Why would you do it?  Even on a fairly plain garment, there is still the fear that some stealth frills will appear from nowhere (probably down the back like fluffy dinosaur spines).

So, this is what I wanted to avoid.

What I started with was a length of black chiffon roses on net ribbon (huge Per Una potential in these if used carelessly).

After I had bound all the damaged edges with bias binding, the roses were attached to the hem of the jacket and to the collar.

roses attached to hem with grosgrain ribbon trim

roses attached to hem with grosgrain ribbon trim

Roses attached to collar with silver velvet ribbon trim

Roses attached to collar with silver velvet ribbon trim

At that point I thought that adding any more roses to the jacket would be entering into Per Una territory. So I stopped.  On the hem I had added some wide grosgrain ribbon and on the neckline some fabulous silvery grey velvet ribbon I had pounced on in MacCulloch and Wallis and which echoed the fine pinstripe in the jacket very well, I thought (any excuse).

The final touch was to draw the two types of ribbon together, on the sleeves, by setting the velvet over the grosgrain.

grosgrain and velvet on cuffs

grosgrain and velvet on cuffs

Per Una effect avoided.  I think.

Steampunk Socks

September 20, 2009

I’ve been making slow progress with my Pomatomus Socks.  Very, very slow progress.  The pattern itself is achingly beautiful

The knitting of the pattern, however, is unbearably boring.  So very, very boring.  K1 P1 rib is my second least favourite thing to knit (only moss stitch beats it) and the pattern is essentially a twisted K1 P1 rib with yarnovers and k2togs inserted at set points along the way (which means it’s not even really possible to go onto auto-pilot).

So, I’m pretending they’re not there waiting for me.  They don’t really exist – honest.  And, I’ve started on some other socks that I’ve had my eye on for a while.  I saw Ysolda’s Rapunzel stockings a while ago and fell in love with the mix of cables and laddery rows of eyelets in the knee high socks.  They had to be mine.  Knit in a deep steely grey, they are so steampunk.  So, having bought the deep grey yarn a little while ago, I cast on for them.  And they’re so easy.  They’re so quick.  The cable pattern is easy to memorise and knits so, so quickly.  I’ve done a foot already and am onto the leg.

I might even manage the second sock straight away.


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