Knitting Patterns by Lyndell

Halter Neck Dress for Neo Blythes - here
Design your own Dress for Neo Blythes - here
Gum-Nut Hat for Neo Blythes - here

Who? What? eh?

This is the blog of a constant crafter - a 'showcase' for some of the things I make, some hints for crafting & recylcing - lots of photos and some words. I hope it will inspire.
Please Note: all photos are Copyright.

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Is there a Dr Zhivago in the house?

I don't like to boast about the commissioned knitting I do for theatrical productions until they've 'hit the stage' but Dr Zhivago's opening night was over a week now so I guess it's ok to show-off now :-) Especially as I'm actually listed in the back of the programme - in the credits - as 'Knitter' hilarious!

The Costume Design by Tess Negroponte got very good reviews - there are some really pretty evening gowns in the 1st act :-) all my knitting was for the 2nd act, after the revolution. First I knitted a coat for 'Lara' ... unfortunately they didn't use this coat but I love the 19teens styling - fitted, long-line with shaped hem-line.

Tess wanted a Tweed yarn and we couldn't find one in the right colour so we bought (from Bendigo Woollen Mills) some blue 8 ply (DK in the US) and white lace weight, I dyed the white a light grey and then plyed the yarns together on my spinning wheel. Tess also wanted a striped look with some "lobster claw" cables - I chose to use a rib with a slipped stitch for the other stripes (that slipped stitch made the 'stripes' stand out a bit better). Here is some detail Moss / Seed Stitch borders, shaping increases / decreases placed between the 'stripes' ....

and Short Rows to shape the hem ...

When I knit for the stage I can't use an existing pattern (is there a pattern for a coat like this ??) I'm usually given a toile or paper pattern which has been fitted to the performer (the wonderful costume maker Tony Phillips did the toiles for the knits; he and his company made most of the women's costumes for Dr Zhivago). Careful swatching, gauge measurements and lots of maths follow ...

Next I made a beret for 'Tonia' - also not used. Although I made it quite large, I guess it wasn't big enough to go over all Tonia's hair & wig. This was based on an existing pattern - Woolly Wormhead's 'Meret' . Modeled by Linda the Plaster Person who has no eyes!
Next off the needles was an old-fashioned vest for 'Alex' (Dr Z's father-in-law, played quite marvelously by Peter Cousins) And this vest gets some really good 'stage-time' :-) Front with a cable stitch texture and 3 working pockets - again Moss Stitch borders this time with crochet contrast on the edges - all Bendigo Woollen Mills yarns.

The back is plain stocking stitch. I'm showing the knits with pins - they did get buttons but someone else put them on.

Then, right at the last minute they asked me to knit a shawl ... 1.5m square in less than a week EEP!
The reference was a photo of a classic baby shawl with stocking stitch centre and wide lace border with geometric, diamond pattern. There was no way I could hand-knit it in the classic lace-weight yarn given the time frame - I used 8ply but was still knitting 14hrs a day ... and we had a heat-wave (talcum powder helped to stop the sticky factor!)

I did it - knitted in 4.5 days with lace border and edging that I charted out myself For the border I borrowed elements from the Faux Russian Stole in “A Gathering of Lace” the Faux Russian seemed appropriate :-) and the edging was loosely based on the edging in Wendy Engstrom’s ”Orenburg Style Shawl” {a Ravelry link} The Edging seemed to take forever and used up so much yarn. Edgings are deceptive - they look small but they go on and on and on ...

As soon as it was knitted it went into the dye pot - for a slightly darker grey (though it still looks quite light in the photos). Luckily the drying after the dying could be combined with blocking - though when I delivered the shawl the next day it was still slightly damp!

The shawl is used but is not on stage for long - 'Lara' wears it when she & the good Doctor come downstairs during the song Love Finds You - I think that was the song. I saw a Preview and when she ran back upstairs the lace flounced quite nicely - It's all about the flounce but a good flounce counts for a lot in the heart of a costume maker :-)

And here is another photo - that lace did seem to go on for ever.

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Jet Set

The dolls are going on an overseas holiday for the first time this year and they are terribly excited. They will be going to France (naturally) so Audrey has been reading a biography of Madame de Pompadour, whereas Lillian has been reading Maigret novels and studying French ... Je suis une poupée .... Deux botttles de ce parfum ....

They are both convinced that it will be really cold and I've had to knit Audrey a new coat ...
A slight adaptation of the "NxtDrGrrl Hoodie" (longer and with a neck tie) in "Jitterbug" sock yarn.

This morning their passports arrived - causing Much Excitement -

They are really Very Small and it seems that the country of Blythia is in Florence !? The dolls were very pleased that they could choose the colour of their passports ...Unusually, the photos are quite nice !! In the description, under "Eyes" both dolls have 4 colours listed :-)

Lillian had to check that her velvet coat and hat still fitted her ! Honestly, they really are quite twitterpated!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Paws Button

erk erk ... can't resist a silly pun. Well, work on the dog costume continues sporadically - some time ago I showed you the front paws and now for the hind feet. Once again cartoon-like but not too large.

I started with the toes ...
Using methods learnt at TAFE when making the shoes for a 'Munchkin' Costume - it can be seen here. PE foam is wonderful stuff and this was just thin enough to cut with scissors :-) A basic layering for the rough shape. That black object is one of the canvas shoes that these paws are going to be built unto. Glued those layers together ... erg - contact adhesive is so ... snot-like! Then lots of sanding back & a bit of wadding to refine the shape, put vinyl on the sole & fur on the top and suddenly it looks a bit like a paw. This is pre- glue & stitch as you can see by the pins sticking out!The fur is mostly glued with some stitches in strategic spots. Had trouble achieving "toe cleavage" the valleys between the toes which are important to achieve a cute paw. Had to stitch right through the thickest parts of the paws and nearly lost my needle a few times! Here is the 'sole' and you can see those stitches - and how the toe will fit round the shoe (once sewn together, they fitted more snugly).

Here is the pair of toes ...Stitched the toes to the canvas shoes and made furry tops to cover the remaining parts of the shoes and the wearer's ankles - he will have fur legs which are rather like track-pants. I'm not sure if the tops of these paws (now looking rather like ugg boots!) will be tucked inside the fur trackie-daks or go outside. Opted for an elastic loop and button system round the ankles for flexibility of wearing while minimising trip hazards.

Had to try the paws on - there is something about big furry feet that makes you want to giggle!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

A Flying Dragon in my Garden

Late summer / early autumn is the time for dragons and damsels, no, I'm not talking fairytales, I'm talking about Odonata - dragonflies and damselflies.

This magnificent dragonfly was in our garden last week.

I have no idea what sort of dragonfly he or she is, have tried to identify but ended up completely confused. Eyes and thorax were dark, nice yellow 'racing stripes' on thorax. Very bright blue spots on the back were the wings attach ...

that part of a dragonfly looks so ... mechanical and exposed somehow, like the engine is showing. I've always thought of dragonflies as being rather like helicopters and after I had taken loads of photos this one took off just like a mini-helicopter - vertical and with a really neat spiral.

Monday, 7 February 2011

The Growth of an Organic Evening Dress

Not exactly a step-by-step; as I keep forgetting to take that sort of photo, but something close. Also, this dress didn't quite fit my mannequin and I don't have photos of it on my client; the weather was so hot on the day when she collected the finished dress, that we just couldn't face having a final try-on.

My client had bought some gorgeous teal silk with contrasting in a deep burgundy and she had pictures of a very grand, haute couture, evening dress. It was very 'organic', with ruched brocade fabric caught in gathers on a strapless bodice then released into a bouffant skirt which was folded up & caught in the front. How to achieve that folded skirt? I experimented with lots of pins ... but how to sew that to the rest of the skirt ?

Cowardly leaving the skirt conundrums till later, I started with the bodice. Although it looks like the fabric is just scrunched up and thrown at the body where it has miraculously stuck! there had to be more of a construction underneath. A light-weight corset style bodice in coutil with thin bones (some plastic, some spiral steels). Here is the underneath of the dress - the foundations - upside-down and inside-out, showing the side that goes next to the skin. CF with angled-into-the-waist boning, burgundy binding, the zip is on as is the 'petticoat' layer (in burg cotton) which the silk skirt is going to get stitched to - well I'd worked out that much!

And here is all of that on Daphne (that's what I call this mannequin). All inside-out looking but that gets hidden later. The top frill of cotton petticoat ended up getting chopped away later - it made the skirt too bouffy.

Now for some silk :-) the bodice except for the front panel, all gathered up and pinned. The top frill is 'lined' with burg silk & I hand stitched to the underbodice just under the bind, tacked silk to underbodice below the waistline and stitched down the ruching - we wanted the gathered look but didn't want it all to make the body look big (& fat!)

Hmmm - time for a break? but here you can see some of the work that needle had been doing (coutil is tough stuff)
Here the bodice gathers after stitches & the skirt (minus that front panel) sewn on. This was something of a problem - the boning in the underbodice made difficulties in stitching on the silk layers! Had to machine up to the bones - and skip those bits and hand-stitch later. Sounds easy enough but with all that fabric it was hard to find the bones until ... crunch, another needle gone!
Well, at this stage it looked ok except it was still missing that front panel - which I did as one piece, bodice & skirt. There is considerably more gathering in the F panel than in the rest but the process of stitching it to the underbodice was basically the same - here the ruching has not been sewn down and that fold in the skirt is still a mystery - but I've got plenty of length to play with :-) (you can also see the burg placket on the side which goes under the zip - as I said, this dress was too small for Daphne)

Well, to cut a long story short (or to fold a long skirt shorter!) that fold went just as I had hoped, quite easy really - and it is stitched to the burg cotton petti layer. Played with the folding and gathering till it looked just right and the length at the front was as my client wanted. And here you can see that the inside of the silk skirt is lined with the burg silk (which is also stitched to the petti. Love the way the skirt does that 'waterfall ripple' down the sides.

you can also see Daphne's 'bandaged' foot - actually she is a bit lop-sided and this is a booster is to correct that.
Some detail photos - the bodice all ruched
side & side-back views - showing that graceful 'waterfall'. It is always nice when a frock looks good from all angles and here is 1 last front view :-)

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Tea Cosy Pride

I’m glowing with pride right now because the Loani Prior aka “The Queen of the Tea Cosies” has included my “Rosie Posy Tea Cosy” on her blog where she has a whole garden of lovely Rosy Cosies. They look so pretty :-) check them out here

The pattern is in Loani's first book "Wild Tea Cosies" - my cosy is on the RH side, middle row, 4th set of photos. And some more photos ...