puff sleeves

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Alright, alright, I’ve held your hands long enough, with the helpful hints and detailed directions and graph charts. No more mollycoddling- you got a picture and some instructions, go knit that cardigan already!

Perhaps the extreme brevity of this week’s pattern, with its ‘you get the idea’ attitude and lack of any detail whatsoever (“Embroider flowers, as suggested on sketch”) is due more to cramped layout than churlish writer. The paragraph-long charmer was stuck far in back of Handicrafter Vol. 10 without even a picture of someone wearing the finished garment. Just ‘there it is, have at it, kids’.

It’s a pretty adorable cardigan to just be stuck in the back of a magazine when all the other patterns get full-page photos and layouts, what with its pleasing chevron effect, crew neck that’d go nicely with collared shirts, and ease of chunky gauge. It would look great in any sort of jewel-tone, or pastels, I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Pictures of Woolydown, the yarn used, can be seen here on Cathy Knits – a similar substitute would probably be Lion Brand Thick & Quick or a similar all-wool yarn. Enjoy!

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I’m well-aware a ‘major’ ‘holiday’ came and went with not a wisp of acknowledgement from this corner of the internet. While I dearly love all things crafty and realize Valentine’s day presents many opportunities to do something cute and handmade for your loved ones, I detest how the point of the day’s somehow gone from celebrating existing romance or possibly starting a new one to proving your love. I could go on a whole tirade (and probably have in past years) about how if you’re using one sanctioned day to prove you care about someone through shopworn gestures it probably ain’t love to begin with but why focus on the negative?

Instead, let me demonstrate how much I love humanity by presenting it with this:

…AFTER Valentine’s Day. Because single or taken, NO ONE deserves to blearily stumble in Monday morning and come face to face with a coworker dressed head-to-toe in some pink and red version of this chirruping about ‘wuv’. It would be EXACTLY like coming in on St. Patrick’s Day and seeing them in this:

Far, far too much. (Although, if you’re truly thrifty, you could dye the whole thing black and reuse it on President’s Day.)

No, something like this should be worn much the same way love should be celebrated- unexpectedly throughout the year, with charm and happiness in and of the moment. Also maybe ditch the heart pockets, or at least move them so they don’t look like giant pasties.


(a detail shot of the texture)

Love is a many-splendoured thing! It’s lighter than air! It’s also a potential battlefield!

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I thought this pattern was one of the first I’d posted- excellent lace pattern, scooped yoke neck, puffy sleeves, what’s not to love? Color me surprised to find it languishing on my external hard drive. Well, better late than never; enjoy!

Opalsheen sounds like an 80s feminist superhero in touch with her emotions.

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As a knitter, I am aware of the painstaking amount of effort that goes into each knitted garment. In a process like sewing, you cut the needed pieces out of a plane of existing fabric and reshape them into a three-dimensional garment. It’s a negative process, excising elements and leaving remnants behind. Knitting on the other hand is a completely positive process, creating only that fabric needed for the garment at hand, loop by individual loop. Nothing is wasted as it’s being created exactly for the needs of the project, except perhaps your time as it takes FOREVER.

The sheer amount of time involved in knitting is one of the reasons I like it – I get a visual record of that time passing by. There’s an artist who only ever knits one enormous project, sitting in museums as an installation piece knitting ever more of it as it rolls out the museum and down the steps. Unfortunately the internet fails me in finding her name (damn you, Google!), but if anyone knows who it is drop a line.

This amount of life and time poured into a hand-knitted object, when combined with the fickle and ephemeral nature of fashion, seems the cruelest waste. I get angry flipping through Vogue Knitting, as page after page of ridiculous trend pieces sure to be passè by the time one finishes working them up flash by (not to mention their projects use rather expensive yarns, so not only are you spending a month or two working on something already dated, you pay $200 for the privilege).

As Jean Cocteau said, “Art produces ugly things which frequently become beautiful with time. Fashion, on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.” Well put, and part of the reason I so enjoy vintage knitting. These lovely objects have already passed the test of time, and are sure to… reward….. your…..uh, investment……. huh.

Well then. Fugly apparently spans the decades.

Click if you want to look like Big Bird at the Ren Faire.

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I’ve become particularly enamored of 1930s patterns for all the delightful reasons the fashion industry recently has: a winning combination of elegance and clean lines with feminine detailing. Of course, it really helps make the look if you’re a tall, slender, small-chested young lady who has nothing better to do all day but drink and drape herself over sofas.

If not, no worries: the styles are surprisingly practical in economy and design as they are fanciful in attention to detail, adding a bit of polish and charm while remaining versatile and comfortable to wear. This week’s pattern is an excellent example: a 3-piece suit for summer designed to keep the wearer cool and looking sharp.


The blouse’s open-back design is alluring without being trampy, cuts down on yarn use and prevents the wearer from overheating while wearing a jacket.

The pattern provided knits up the entire suit; unfortunately there’s not an available picture of the blouse front on its own, but I think you get the idea that it’s adorable.

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