Tuesday, December 23, 2008

24: Merry Christmas

Nothing as festive as an 80s C-list celebrity family in a range of knitted cardigans. I hope you enjoyed the calendar!

23: Hands On

And again, Hot Gossip! A set of ill-fitting dancing Pyjamas with "a trompe l'oeil effect that will be a summer stunner for any extrovert girl" who loves to look like she's being groped. This lady doesn't really look like she's particularly loving it, though.

Monday, December 22, 2008

22: The Hand that rocked the 60s

I think I may have copied this out slightly wrong, but according to my notes, "this is the shit which makes every woman look like she wants to look". It can't possibly get any more 80s than this. Interestingly, the pattern makes no mention whatsoever of shoulderpads, so maybe people in the 80s just had naturally angular shoulders.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

21: "Patrick Hughes, the painter"

Not that much wrong with this, and it's quite Christmassy!

20: So Flattering!

Oh, this is one of my favourites. It's described as "well cut", bringing out Geraldine James' "glowing physical appeal" with the benefit of "instant streamlining", as, unbelievably, she was "six months pregnant when photographed". It's amazing what a huge, garishly coloured blanket/tent covered in bobbles can do for your figure.

Friday, December 19, 2008

19: More Hot Gossip!

A "delicate pink and grey twenties-style playsuit with silver laces" AND it has space for a diaper!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

18: Kiki Dee

"Colour coordinated hit number. Dont break your heart over this little wrap style coat, sweater and skirt. just get out the needles and run them up for yourself. Pop singer Kiki swears it's her favourite cover up." Again, what's with the naked bellybutton?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

17: a quick breather: a NICE jumper.

Polly Hemingway, Roy Marsden's wife, does have terrible hair and a weird fake watch, but this jumper (with a deep scoop neck) is actually really nice so I might make this one!

Monday, December 15, 2008

16: like mother, like daughter

Jilly Johnson "makes the most of legs that have already made her a fortune", fair enough... but making her daughter wear this as well? It would be cool in green as a sort of sexy turtle fancy dress.

He's free to wear whatever he wants.

Ah! Finally a celebrity I recognise. The jumper is so garish you hardly even notice the nasty curtains and tacky knickknacks in the background. But then John Inman *is* "an elegant connoisseur of unusual colours".

Saturday, December 13, 2008

14: Fluoro adult bib

With Zoe Brown, I don't have to feel too bad that I've never heard of her, as she's really not famous at all, but someones niece, and "loves her aunt's country-lady shawl and wears a version hotted up with wild stripes".

14: Fluoro adult bib

With Zoe Brown, I don't have to feel too bad that I've never heard of her, as she's really not famous at all, but someones niece, and "loves her aunt's country-lady shawl and wears a version hotted up with wild stripes".

13: Yes. Lace gloves AND white slacks.

"Bonnie Langford can dance like a star, sing like a star" but still looks about as glamorous as a first-round X-Factor auditionee. There's many things that could be said about this, but for some reason I can't think anything but "haemorrhoids".

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sensible use of time

Instead of packing up all my stuff, deciding what to take and what to put in storage, doing my corrections, or even making some sort of plan for the next few months of my life, I made this a dress with strawberries on. Bit see-through unfortunately.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

12: His repertoire includes Beethoven AND opera!

Robert White is "especially adored by the Queen Mother and Prince Charles" and is wearing another horrific piece. You know those very ugly handbags old ladies like, that are made of a patchwork of scrap pieces of leather? That's how I see this jumper.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

11: A gentler sort of chap

Tim Pigott-Smith has designed this mind-bogglingly clever jumper that can be worn in three different configurations. Really though - if you think about it, there are at least 9 combinations, especially considering the 80's preference for asymmetry. Even more, if you join the pieces up in different ways! Oh, the possibilities!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

10: Julie Waters facing her always busy day

Julie Waters looks like the photographer surprised her in her teenage bedroom at her parents house, that she recently had to move back to after being jilted at the altar. Having her hair and makeup done would have been just too much of an ordeal after she'd been crying for weeks so she just wrapped herself in her favourite blankie and put a strained smile on.

Advert break

Even though my dream of a yarn stall never materialised, I have three needle rolls that I have already made and am now selling on ebay. Clicking on the pictures will take you to the auction if you're interested.

If you know anyone who might be interested do pass it on...

Monday, December 8, 2008

9: It's as if Barbie ate too many marshmallows and puked all over a tablecloth

"David Shilling, international hatter and dress designer, models his flamboyant colour blocked sweater which guarantees that any man or woman who wears it steals the show."

I won't dilute the hilarity of this photo with silly comments.

By the way, if anyone is interested in the actual patterns, let me know. Who wouldn't want to make this?

8: "almost as much style as her close friend Boy George"

Elbow warmers are what it's all about. The 80's were terribly harsh times for elbows, they needed all the protection they could get. The dress is quite nice I guess, but psst, Kate Garner, "lead singer of the pop group Hayzi Fantayzee", I can kind of see your boobs.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

7: Migraine inducing bodystocking

"Patti Boulaye is one of Prince Charles' favourite artists" and is *almost* managing to pull off this daring dress. The sleeves are rather reminiscent of those paper sleeves on a roast chicken, and I don't know how she's avoiding VPL, but overall actually quite sexy.

Friday, December 5, 2008

6: Tudor Ms Nikolaus

I don't even know where to begin with this one. The "Tudor" sleeves? The strange knotted hat thing (a "1985 hat", apparently)? The lady is called Molly Parkin, "comedienne, poet, novelist and chat show stirrer", if that means anything to anyone. Ah, it's no use pretending. The fact is that I would probably wear the whole thing.

The reason this is today's picture is that she does look quite a lot like a modern day female St Nicholas. Well, more so than anyone else in the book.

Christmas presents

I have a compulsion to make presents myself. I am quite aware that most of my friends would probably be much happier with something simple from a shop, but I can't help it. I guess being unemployed and having nothing else to focus on helps!

Anyway, I've been crocheting (I know! I still don't really like it though. Very hard to watch TV while crocheting.) Christmas decorations for my friend M. It's the first Christmas she's living with her boyfriend so she's really going for it with the decorations I think. According to him she's going for a deep red and silver colour scheme so these Norwegian hearts and snowflakes/stars should just about work.

For her boyfriend however, who a) loves drinking a LOT of tea and b) is missing Bristol quite badly after moving to Leeds this summer, I bought a massive teacup shaped plant pot and painted a Bristol skyline on it. I am definitely spending too much time on all this stuff!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

5: If you knit a legwarmer a couple of sizes bigger, you can wear it as a skirt!

Clare Grogan off of Altered Images sporting a suitably shocked expression & hairdo with this ensemble. This will keep you nice and warm in most places while still offering you a pleasant breeze round the midriff area.

It's Japanese inspired dont'cha know.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

4: Hot Gossip - wooly excercise pyjamas.

"Floid" from Hot Gossip, who Wikipedia informs me were an "erotic dance troupe". I'm thinking Pan's People. This is the first in a series of knitted dance outfits. Hawt.

I don't know why, but I have a strong feeling that ponytail isn't real.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

3: Pretty Woman, nananana na

"Debbie Brett, the top model who was dubbed 'the most beautiful girl in the world' has a stunning 21-inch waist' and is still only photographed with her arm in front of her belly in this bizarre creation. This is the sort of garment where you can really show off your pubic hair (bottom left). I presume Prince Charles was a fan of this one too.

2: Ms Oatmeal-Doubleboob

"Eve Pollard is a favourite TV AM personality [...] and has chosen an ultra-conventional neutral shaded cricket-style sweater with an absolutely shocking cleavage."

One of the more normal offerings here, but with a really incredibly ill-fitting bra. Ouch.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent Calendar

I thought I'd cross-post these from my Facebook. I'll be giving you one picture from "Celebrity Knitting", a wonderful 1985 book, every day til Christmas eve. Enjoy.

"Three Degrees", Prince Charles's favourite girl rock group, apparently (remember this was before the Spice Girls grabbed his arse). Prince Charles' approval seems to be generally a proof of quality, this will be a recurring theme in this book.

The girls "went wild over these designs and let them go to their heads in the most flattering way". Can't argue with that. I like to think they look a bit like the three wise women. Certainly exotic.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The ultimate twee shopping experience

I went on a bit of a shopping spree at Cabot Circus yesterday to celebrate passing my PhD viva (whoop! major corrections to be done though).
I am so easy to please. If something is either red, has bows or polka dots, I want it. If this goes on much longer, I will look like Minnie Mouse. I do try to vary things a bit but I just love my red dotty bows so. So I now have a new red beret with a black and white polkadotted bow on, a sheer cream blouse with a bow, and some absolutely awesome underwear with little russian dolls all over it.

I'm not going to put a picture of myself in my pants on the internet, but it looks like this. It's hard to see but it also has little metal charms shaped like matryoshka dolls. Love.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Well, I didn't get the knitting job. This was really a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it looks like I blew it.
I really could not have been better qualified, well, unless I had some actual work experience. I will still try to buy a copy of the Knitter, even though I'm not sure how I'll do that. Seeing as this was the last job application I had running in this country, I'll now definitely be off somewhere else. Don't know where, really. I hope I'll actually get my act together and go on my long awaited american road trip.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Warm and cuddly

I'm doing well with my Christmas presents this year. Over a month left and I'm almost done! I decided to make a really luxurious hot water bottle cover for my friend and bought the poshest soft yarn I could find - Mirasol Sulka, with 60% Merino, 20% Alpaca and 20% Silk. Oooh. I could almost become a yarnie.
AS for the pattern, I thought I'd try an illusion pattern. It looks like it's just stripey:

but it has this hidden picture on one side:

and this on the other:

I think she'll like it.

Monday, November 17, 2008

mm. Cakey.

I made some Donauwellen cake the other day, which went down very well with the intended recipient. Unfortunately that only got rid of 5 pieces, and I made a tray of about 20 - and this is a pretty heavy cake. It has a cakey bit, both plain and chocolatey, cherries, a vanilla custard type layer and chocolate on the top. YUM. Fortunately another friend is having a cake party on saturday, so I hope it'll keep until then!
Here's a translation of the recipe I used (from Hausfrauenseite):


For the dough:
  • 200g margarine
  • 200g sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 300g plain flour
  • some vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 6 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 jar of cherries*

* in Germany, cherries are generally sold in big glass jars, in their own juice. You can buy these at Aldi in the UK, but alternatively, tinned cherries probably work too. I think you need about a pound.

for the custard cream:
  • either: 1 packet German "Vanillepudding" powder, 100g sugar, 500 ml milk
  • or: make up a pint of custard, using slightly more custard powder than recommended - it should be quite firm.
  • 250g margarine

For the chocolate icing:
  • 1 bar milk chocolate
  • 1 bar plain chocolate
  • a little fat - lard, butter or margarine - to make the topping shinier and softer. I didn't add this which is why it cracked when I cut the cake.
Whisk together the margarine, sugar and eggs. Combine with flour, baking powder and salt, add a little vanilla essence. Spread half the dough on a baking tray covered in baking parchment (or just greased, if you don't have any baking paper).
Mix the remaining dough with the cocoa and spread over the light-coloured layer.
Scatter the drained cherries over the dough and press them in lightly.
Bake for 20-30 minutes at 200°C in the pre-heated oven.
When the cake has come out of the oven, it needs to cool for a little before you can add the next layer.

Custard cream:
Prepare either German "Vanillepudding" or stiff custard, leave to cool slightly.
When the cake has cooled and the custard has not quite set, stir the margarine into the custard and spread it over the cake.
Leave to set (the fridge helps).

Chocolate topping:
Melt a little fat in a saucepan and add the chocolate (broken into pieces), heat and stir until no lumps are left. I prefer to do this in a bowl set into a pan of hot water, previously boiled in the kettle, it also works and you avoid burning any of the precious chocolate. Spread on top of the custard layer, let it set (fridge again), cut into slices and eat!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We have a jumper!

After two weeks of near-continuous knitting, I have finished my new jumper. The design changed quite a lot in the progress - it was going to have a bib front with a ruffle around it, but I realised it would be too difficult to fit it into the zig-zag lace pattern and it would also have become too busy. So I just continued in the pattern and made some yoke decreases, with a few purl rounds near around the shoulders. I think it has come out really well and that I'll get a lot of wear out of it. It only needs blocking now!

Red Lacy Jumper, pre blocking

Mainly, I'm just relieved that now I've finished this project, I can stop watching quite so much TV for a while.

Here it is after blocking, on me! I love it. It's really long, so finally a jumper that doesn't expose your muffintop, my mum will approve of the kidney protection. And quite flattering, I think. Thank you, Elizabeth Zimmermann!

Red Lacy Jumper

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


My lovely plan of selling yarn, needles, patterns etc at St Nicks Market is probably dead. And that after I have already put so much effort into launching a viral word of mouth campaign... well, not really, I've just excitedly blabbed to everyone in earshot about my genius ideas. I didn't get a stall again this week so it isn't really worth buying any stock for the few weekends I'm still in Bristol before Christmas. Boo.

On the other hand, I may be back after Christmas if I get this awesome knitting job in Bath! And it's looking good - I got through the interview stage at least, and now have to proof read, correct and size-grade a couple of patterns. And sh*t the bed, it's a lot harder than I thought. I had this blasé attitude that it would just come naturally, but it's not that simple and takes a while to get into, also this one pattern seems to have more mistakes than correct instructions, so I'm starting to wonder if I'm correcting the right bits. Hmmmmm.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Better than Cath Kidston

In preparation for my possible market stall next saturday, I've been making some knitting needle cases:

(here you can see it rolled up and in another colourway) The consensus at yesterday's Stitch'n'Bitch was that people would pay in the region of 12 pounds for them (The Cath Kidston version costs 20 quid but is of course much less cute). Do you agree?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Scary baking

I've spent today making slightly crazy cupcakes for Halloween.
There are ones with apple pieces in and filled with custard, topped with white chocolate with a bit of mixed spice:

some more conservative chocolate ones:

and some rather crazy ones with blue dough, red and green chocolate topping, filled with jelly and topped with sweets! No idea if these will be edible, but they look fun:

Now I just have to be careful not to pick up my delicate lace knitting while my hands are still covered in food colouring.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Latest Developments

My plans for knitting world domination are coming along nicely.

Yesterday, I had an interview as technical editor for a yet-to-be-launched knitting magazine. Best. Interview. Ever. They asked me to bring samples of my knitting and were very appreciative and impressed. I love showing off my knitting. I really have no idea if they are considering me or not, my lack of any work experience may be a problem (like it always seems to be), but I enjoyed myself anyway, so that's good. But then my applications for two other jobs seem to be progressing nicely too. Exciting times.

I am also making more plans for my yarn stall at St Nicks market that I will hopefully get next week. Unfortunately I can't do much until I receive some wholesale price lists and they seem to be taking a while. Postman hasn't been today yet though so I have hope.

It may seem pathetic to you, but I subscribe to the Aldi Special Buys newsletter, and this week they were advertising a Barbie knitting machine. I've always been curious how these things really work so I went to have a look - they are only 15 quid. Turns out this knitting machine can only make tubes of exactly 20 stitches around. I might have bought it anyway if it hadn't been quite so.... well... pink...

Monday, October 27, 2008

Speed knitting

Being unemployed has meant that my knitting productivity has really shot up. I've not got a job yet, but I do have my first finished Christmas present. 2 months early, I've never been this organised before.

I started making the Emerald cardigan for my mum only a couple of weeks ago, and even though I also knitted a matching cowl as a birthday present in between, they are both finished now! And unbelievably soft and cuddly, I'm a big fan of James C Brett's Marble Chunky. I need to be careful I don't make everything from this actually - it's so cheap, too.

Then, I have finally frogged my infortunate attempt at the Lucky Clover wrap cardi from Stitch'n'Bitch - it was just much too wide, and my attempt at rescuing by re-knitting the back panel to be extremely narrow it was also unsuccessful - That just gave it a very strange fit. So now I'm turning it into a jumper of my own design. I want it to have slightly puffed sleeves, a zig zag lace pattern that I made up myself, and I will pick up some stitches on the front to give it a ruffle/bib effect. We shall see how effective this is. I think I may be overenthusiastic about knitting jumpers after making that extremely quick cardi, but chunky and DK are a world of difference...

Today's challenge is to find some matching fabric to rescue Alex's nice waistcoat ruined by a too-hot iron.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Now with extra Twee!

I decided it was a good idea to have a separate blog for all my knitting needs, especially now I am planning to start a world wide yarn and pattern emporium!
So here's Twee as Volk - Possibly the most convoluted and pointless pun ever. If anyone is seriously interested I could explain the evolution but it isn't really worth it, trust me.

I copied all my older knitting posts here so it wouldn't look so empty to begin with.
The latest news is of course that I am about to go to St Nicholas Market and hand in my application form to run a stall at the saturday market. I will try to get some normal cheapish commercial yarns, and probably also sell some from the Coldharbour Mill Textile Museum. I'm thinking about making some kits too, for example some really simple chunky scarves for beginners or maybe my bluebell mitts for slightly advanced knitters. Anyway, I'm pretty excited.

Friday, September 26, 2008


I spent the last two days getting more and more addicted to Ravelry as I discovered editing of patters which appeals to my pedantic side...

So after spending several hours on free Brigitte and Für Sie patterns from their websites, I thought I'd put up the pattern for the wristwarmers/fingerless gloves I made for Anna last year. Put it all in a PDF and listed it on ravelry - and now 49 people have queued it, 79 call the pattern a favourite* and someone thinks they are "super cute". This is approximately 129 times more positive feedback than I've had for my PhD, ever. Ridiculous.
Now I just have to hope the pattern is not full of mistakes. And if I get the ones with fingers out of the box they are in some time maybe I can write that up too.

*10 minutes later: 50 queues, 81 faves.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Finished Sox

Finally finished my Lissajous socks! They are going to need some elastic in the top.

It's incredibly difficult to take a good picture of your legs using self-timer, especially if you're trying to avoid any upskirt shots. Hence why the top is cut off, I ran out of battery and patience.

Also, it's my birthday. Happy birthday to me. I got a pen that is also a ruler, a spirit level AND a tiny screwdriver (both flat head and phillips). Excellent.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


The cardigan saga continues... I can't make my mind up and the boy doesn't seem to particularly like any of the patterns I suggest! I've decided to make a tiny little sample cardi to try out some techniques. I haven't entirely figured out how to make the Elizabeth Zimmermann-style shirt yoke cardi but I think I'm getting there!