Archive for the tag 'accessories'


Friday’s Child: Frenchie

Some time ago I had the good fortune to find (and buy!) 8 issues of Needlecraft Magazine from the 20s and 30s. (OK, in fairness, one of the 8 was a McCalls Needlework and Crafts from 1948.) I’ll be putting together some patterns from these issues in PDF form. We’ll start with a charming little crocheted net beret from the August 1931 issue. The PDF also includes a crocheted net collar / cuff set and a dress yoke. If you have any questions, please let me know. As always, a thorough search of online copyright resources, including the renewal database at Standford and other resources, is performed before publishing any vintage pattern not obviously in the public domain.



Thursday’s Child: Kilted

Untitled I’ve made a pair of kilt hose before. They were uncomplicated, like the man for whom they were made, but they were fun to make and fun to gift. Now I’m into another pair of kilt hose, much more intricate than the last pair. Eventually I’d like to make kilt hose for all of my kilt-wearing friends (which is a lot), the order based on an algorithm that takes into account how often they wear kilts, how close to them I am and how much I think they’d appreciate a hand-knitted gift.

So, these hose involve cabled knotwork on the front and in the calf shaping as well as cables and detail columns, and a folded cable cuff with picot edging. They’re beautiful, and they’re coming along very well. They’re made in Cascade 220 Superwash in a heathered tan chosen to go best with a kahki Utilikilt.


Friday’s Child: Bedlam

It’s Friday, which means free pattern time! We’ll start with one that’s been around for a little while. It is a knitted hat pattern I call Bedlam. It was born of a strange combination of lackadaisy and ambition. You see, it was cold out and I wanted to take my dog for a walk. I’d been knitting for about five years, and was actually quite startled to realize that I didn’t have a hat. I live in Nebraska, and it gets very cold here. I have a basement full of yarn and a wide variety of skills to use it. It seemed like the universe was mocking me. That’s when ambition struck. I could just make myself a hat. It couldn’t take very long, especially if I used a bulky yarn, and I had plenty of stash I could use. I dug out a skein of Brown Sheep worsted and opted to use it doubled, and then I started knitting. I knew I wanted something more complex than stockinette, and cables are an easy way to add interest to hat. But that’s where the lackadaisy struck. I hate counting rows. I know it’s something I have to do, but I still hate it. I don’t know why. But then I thought, who cares if I count rows? I don’t have to count rows if I don’t want to, so there. The results are interesting and attractive, I think. But my dog never did get a walk that day. By the time my hat was finished, it was also windy and turning dark. Poor dog.

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Craftster Be Awesome Swap

I recently participated in the Craftster Be Awesome Swap. My partner was the fabulous PinkMafia.

Lothruin to PinkMafia:

PinkMafia received a pair of modified Lolita Legs, from Knitty. Although the pattern calls for Elann Esprit, I used the comparable (but higher quality, I believe) Cascade Fixation in black, because that is what I had.

The original Lolita Legs lace up the back. Now, this is an interesting idea in a sock, however, I really do not like it in this application. If the stocking were solid, not net, I might like it better. Also, the stitch pattern tends to twist and the lacing up the back of the stocking necessitates persuading the fabric away from this natural tendency. I, personally, think the twist is very flattering to the leg. Meanwhile, the reason for using the stretch yarn is that you avoid having to do significant shaping, but that also means that the lacing looks poorly, because at places it is very wide and others almost overlapping. In short, if I were going to make a stocking that laced up the back, there are many ways in which it would be different than this.

And, if I were going to knit these stockings, there are many things I would change, and, in fact, did. I read a number of others’ experiences with modifying out the back laces (thank you Ravelry!) and then set about it myself. First, I allowed and accounted for the natural twist in the fabric. I started with the toe as written, and worked to the heel. Upon reaching the heel, though, I found that the original “back” of my work (between needles 1 and 4) was approximately a quarter turn off. I essentially adjusted the position of the “back” by simply designating that now, this needle, formerly needle x, was needle y (Honestly, I don’t remember exactly what needles got adjusted to what, but I have faith that you’ll know just what I mean when you get there and see it for yourself.) Then I worked the heel as written, and up to where the pattern calls for the split for working back and forth. At this point, I believe my work had twisted almost a half-turn, and again I adjusted the “back” by designating the needles differently. (And yes, I believe this gave me, over all, about an extra 3/4 round, but the nature of the stocking doesn’t make this obvious.)

The place in the pattern that calls for the split is essentially the same place where, in most long-sock patterns, you would begin shaping for the calf. Having worked it with very stretchy yarn, not SO much shaping was necessary, but I did do some at this point. I added 4 stitches on either side of the new “back”, essentially adding in two new repeats of the stitch pattern. I found the method I used made a really subtle increase that blended ALMOST seamlessly into the stitch pattern. The pattern rows are either “*YO, k2tog*, repeat to end” or “*YO, skp*, repeat to end”. It doesn’t really matter on which of these rows you work the increases. Whatever works out for your measurements. On either side of the new “back” (I worked them all four in a row, not at the beginning and ending of the round), instead of working a YO and decrease, across two repeats of the pattern I worked YO, k1, YO, k1, YO, k1, YO, k1. It’s as simple as that.

After that I just knitted and knitted until I had almost used up all my yarn. Each stocking took almost exactly one ball of Cascade Fixation, which made the figuring easy. The top of the stocking I made narrower than in the pattern, and a trick I used for a good loose castoff (a stumbling point, it seems, with the stretchy yarn) was to cast off with a crochet hook roughly twice the size of the needles I was using. PinkMafia has worn them with a garter belt, and as you can see, they look fabulous on her:


Fishnets 2

PinkMafia to Lothruin:

And what did I get in return, gentle readers? A bustle and little hat in teal silk. PinkMafia is a burlesque performer, and does her own costuming (it is amazing, and you should check it out on Craftster!) and she created for me a gorgeous little ensemble. What with Cory working on his portfolio and all, we took the opportunity to combine pictures for posting in the swap gallery with a professional-style photo shoot, and the results can be seen at this gallery on Cory’s website. (Yes, the rest of that costume is pieces I already owned, including the gorgeous Victorian-style corset and that amazing black crinoline.)



I have a love affair with kitschy vintage stuff. Bowling things make me especially happy. I love bowling bags. So, when I walked to the sporting goods section of the Goodwill a few days ago, and saw a tooled-leather bowling bag practically in pieces on the bottom shelf, I swooned a little. But what would I do with a bowling bag that was falling apart? Was it in good enough condition to try to save?

The answer was no. The stitching was rotting, the thing was falling apart. The bottom had obviously been sitting in water at some point, so there was some staining and some mildew. But… but… well. Tooled leather bowling pins. That’s all I’m saying. I bought it, and I brought it home, and I got some ideas.

Step one was simply giving up and taking the entire thing apart. I broke it down to its constituent parts, and then discarded whatever clearly couldn’t be saved. That was pretty much all the non-leather parts, including the bottom, as well as many of the very thin leather parts, like trims and lacing. But I did get the two large front and back panels, two smaller panels from the sides and the side/top parts where the zipper resides. Which, really, were the only important bits.

Step two was reconditioning. I first soaked the pieces in hot water for a bit, then washed them carefully. I used Dawn dish soap. (Hey, if it’s safe enough for the oil-covered critters, I figured it’s safe enough for this, and I didn’t have any saddle soap handy, although I really should get some.) I scrubbed carefully with a soft cloth to remove the dust in the tooled designs, and the filth on the inside of the leather, to include mold on at least one piece. After rinsing thoroughly, I let the pieces dry overnight. The next day, the task was to remove as many of the tedious little leftover bits of stitching as possible, and then oil those puppies. I had some mink oil I bought to condition some shoes, and along with the shoe brush and an old cotton sock, I first scrubbed, then rubbed, the mink oil into both sides of the leather pieces, being careful to get the edges really well.

Ladies and gentlemen:


The bowling scene. I love this. I believe this will be one side of a knitting bag. It will be a basic tote style, with the rest of the body made of felted plaid wool suiting or coat material, and bowling-themed lining fabric. (I’m contemplating designing my own, having not yet found one I really love anywhere.) The handle hardware will be replaced, and it will also have a shoulder strap.


The rose. Yeah, this is awesome. Another tote-style bag, possibly also a knitting bag. Like the other large panel, the handle will be replaced, and it will have a shoulder strap. Meanwhile, this one will, I think, have a black/red color scheme. I’d like to do plaid in those colors if I can find it, but otherwise a plain black or strip will work. For the lining, I’m thinking rockabilly, Day of the Dead or Catholic imagery. And I was also thinking about doing some kind of black-polish wash-type thing to only the rose portion of the tooling.

Last, but not actually least:


Each of these pieces measures a little under 6″x9″. I’m thinking I’ll knit and felt bodies for them and make clutches or little handbags out of them. The floral motif one will have a zippered coin pocket. (I am not sure what that zipper was for, but it reached into the liningless bottom of the bag.) The other piece used to have a little window sewn on to put a name label. The stitch holes delineate an area almost the exact size of my driver’s license, which means by the time I sewed a window pocket there it would be too small to actually put the ID in there, or at least, a very tight fit. So. I’m thinking it’ll have some kind of pocket, but I’m not sure what.

Not pictured are the zipper bits. I haven’t finished reconditioning them yet, as I have a LOT of stitching to take out first. (Including removing the zipper.) Once done, I think they’ll make a really interesting little bag. I have ideas. Oh yes.

The really nice thing about all this is, I think I can do a lot of the sewing on my machine, including sewing the leather pieces to the fabric. The former stitching left holes, and as long as I go slowly and/or hand crank the machine, I think my machine will be able to use the old stitch holes with no problems. That’ll save a lot of work, although the other nice thing about the stitch holes is, even my ungainly hand-stitching will look neat, wherever it happens to be necessary.


The Hero of Canton

Here it is, ‘my’ Cunning Jayne hat. Although, it is not mine, as it was made for Mark. Happy Halloween, Mark! Enjoy!

Cunning Jayne

Yarn: Lamb’s Pride Bulky in Orange You Glad, LemonDrop and Prairie Fire
Needles: Size 13 circulars
Time: Started the evening of September 21, 2009, completed the afternoon of September 23, 2009. But a total of maybe 3 hours of solid work.
Notes: It’s a lovely, easy pattern, although I was discouraged with my inability to find a true replica of the yarn used. I wound up using mostly what the pattern called for, but would have been much happier if I’d been able to find a bulky or a worsted in the same tones of heathered orange and yellow as the original is obviously made from. They just weren’t around, though. Not that I could get my hands on, anyway. Still, it was a fun knit, and turned out well, I think.


Crafting? What?

Yes, originally, Shknitzel was a crafting blog. I haven’t posted about crafting in a long while now, but the plan was to incorporate Shknitzel into this blog, and that means crafts. So.

This weekend, I finally finished my first sock! (See Jaywalkers 2.0) Ok, yes, it’s only the one sock. (Pics to follow) But I really enjoyed making it. However, now is the time to get started on stuff for other people, not myself.

Project #1 in the works is a Jayne Cobb hat for Alison’s hubby Mark. Alison approached me with “Mark and I are going as Kaylee and Jane from Firefly for Halloween, and Mark seriously needs a funky knitted hat…If someone could make it, it would look way cooler…” My reply: Um, yes, I already have the pattern for Jayne’s hat bookmarked around here somewhere. Yes, I’m a knitting geek. So, a trip to the yarn store today netted me the materials for the Cunning Jayne hat.


Not very much time in the future, I should have this bad boy (along with a secret special early Christmas gift) winging its way to Canada for Halloween, to keep a very special geek’s noggin warm.

Following that, we begin on Christmas gifts. The only one I have well-planned at this point is a pair of kilt hose for Nick. He already knows this, so I can say it out loud. It’s one of those no-surprises gifts, so that I can be absolutely sure he gets something he likes, and that fits him!

Other than that, the yarn will have to speak to me. I have some ideas flitting around, but I have to get organized. More knitting, less smoking, that’s the only way I’ll get everything done.