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.

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