Sunday, 27 October 2013

Glimpses of York

York. One of the great cities of the North. Appreciated not for industrial heritage like Sheffield, Manchester or Leeds but for the rich history that you find everywhere you turn, and can practically smell in the air. Yet it is small enough to feel very friendly, is easy to get around on foot, is great for a spot of wandering and soaking up the atmosphere and has lots and lots to see and do.

York was an important Roman fort, a Saxon and Viking settlement, a medieval walled city, a city full of fine Georgian architecture and a hub of the Victorian railways. The two main shopping streets run along the lines of the two main Roman roads leading to the fort. Then there are lots of tiny, twisty passages and alleyways from medieval days. It is such a fantastic place to explore, to wander about and see what you can find. Here are some glimpses from a recent short stay.

It is time to go exploring.

What will we find around the corner?

There are sculptures on many buildings. Maybe we are being watched? Think what they have seen.

The streets are so interesting but remember to look up or you will miss many sights and details.

Look out for the cat!

And the sheep!

We come across a round stone building, maybe part of the old wall?

Then some beautiful old timbered buildings, look how uneven they are.

We see some scary faces looking down on us.

And some beasties.


We look through the gates at the Treasurer's house and decide to pay it a visit.

There is lovely stained glass bought from majestic old houses needing to sell items to survive.

Look at the grand staircase with amazing wallpaper, large portraits and the superb chandelier.

Then we take refuge from the rain in the nearby Minster.

We see the Rose Window and stare at the colours.

Then admire a tapestry, the ram catches our eye.

We look at the most beautiful ceiling in a circular room and feel a little bit dizzy.

And admire a gorgeous tiled floor when we need to look down again.

We come across this and stop still and think.

Afterwards we see there be dragons and we leave quickly.

Suddenly we notice ornate red brick instead of stone, it makes quite a change.

Look at the lion on the drainpipe. The water roars from it's mouth.

It is then that we realise we are a little bit weary and need to go off and find tea and cake before we can explore anymore.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Knit and crochet away for your wedding day.

It is our first wedding anniversary tomorrow which is a great reason to both celebrate and look over and reflect on the events of the past year. In the last couple of months I have been doing quite a bit of 'this time last year I was.....' thinking. Because our wedding had several handmade elements such as the bouquet and posies, the cake, the table centres, and the photograph bunting there was a lot of crafting, making and doing going on throughout the year. Not just by me, by some very kind and wonderfully creative family and friends. For example, this time last year my mum and I were completing the knitting and sewing up of the buttonholes, my sister and my bridesmaid were sewing together hearts knitted and crocheted by friend into bunting and my fiancé and my sister's partner were making up the children's activity bags and the table plan!

There was a point at which I was considering making my dress, either knitting one or sewing one. I found a 1950s Vintage Vogue dress pattern that I really liked but couldn't make up my mind. I saw some knitted dresses that were beautiful but I couldn't decide how well they would work on. Several people told me I was crazy to even think about it and in the end I had to agree that in order to keep a clear head and to enjoy myself I would need to buy a dress. So I did, and I loved wearing it.

I thought it would be interesting to look through a few patterns for knitted and crocheted wedding dresses. I would like to point out that with the exception of the first one these were not on my possible contenders list!

 This is the cover photo for Modern Knitting Magazine - the monthly magazine for machine knitters, March 1957. I think this dress is gorgeous and it fitted exactly with what I had in my mind. Except, I am a hand knitter not a machine knitter. And this only came in one tiny size. I could probably have found a machine knitter to do the honours. I could probably have found someone to re-grade the pattern. But what if it hadn't fitted or suited me or I didn't like it after all that? So it stays as a lovely dress in a magazine.

Here is a view of the lovely full skirt of the dress, the top is actually a fitted jacket. It is knitted in 2-ply and fastens down the back with 18 pearl buttons.

The dress without the jacket. The pattern suggests that it could be worn like this for parties and dances after the wedding.

The pattern also includes an outfit for a bridesmaid, not including the dress.

The shawl is known as a hug-me-tight which is such a delightful name. I have seen patterns for small fitted baby cardigans known as these too. The muff, mittens and socks are also knitted.

 The next pattern is Emu 2816 from the late 1960s/early 1970s. I know this as the price is in both shillings and pence. Decimalisation started in the late 1960s with the official date being in 1971. Dual pricing was run for a while to help people get used to the new system.


These maxi and mini dresses are crocheted in either 4-ply or double knitting, to fit bust 34-38 inches. I like the frilly jabot and think the mini version is the nicest. I am not sure about the black shoes though. The pattern does not specify that they are wedding dresses but I think they look like they could be, especially styled with a vintage 'wedding car'.

This is another Emu pattern, 2914 from the 1970s. It is a 4-ply crochet pattern in 34-40 inch bust sizes which is an unusually good range. The bridesmaid's dresses are also included in the pattern. I really like this little group. The detailing around the bottom of the wedding dress adds a pretty touch.

This dress pattern is from Sewing and Knitting magazine, February 1975 edition. The caption says 'long, lovely and lacy. A dress to charm everyone on that great day'. 'It is the kind of wedding dress every girl dreams about - soft and feminine and beautifully designed'. It is knitted in 4-ply so can you imagine how long it would have taken?! I like the drape, the skirt and the lace pattern but the top half just doesn't do it for me, too reminiscent of a Victorian nightgown. I think the woman kneeling is the mother of the bride. I rather like her suit and corsage. 


I was overjoyed when I found this pattern book from 1973 as it features a whole bridal collection. This is another 4-ply full length wedding dress. I don't like it all that much, it has a hint of dish cloth.

I do think that her simple bouquet and floral headband are pretty though. The blue bridesmaid's dress that you can see in the first picture is included in the book.

The next pattern is for a Victorian blouse in 4-ply.

Look at that 1970's blue eye-shadow! This blouse is designed to be worn with the going away suit.

This cardigan suit can be knitted with a long or short skirt. For many year's brides changed their outfits towards the end of the day into their going away outfit which would be worn when leaving their party and for travelling to their honeymoon destination.

This crochet shawl or stole is a lovely cover up for any of the outfits featured.

This is such a pretty outfit, the twinset is knitted in a lovely rib and the colours are gorgeous together.

Apparently this is a negligee. It is not what springs to mind when I think of that word, especially for a honeymoon. To conclude with the wisdom of my husband - 'too much packaging'!