Another Pop! cardigan made its way to a new home last week:
Once again the buttons took centre stage! I found these fab ‘Oklahoma Star‘ buttons at Loop and matched them with a denim shade of Sublime Cashmere Silk Merino DK to create a cute little Sheriff jacket.
It took just a couple of evenings to whip up this newborn size and I had enough yarn left to make a matching hat too. Another baby is due sometime in the next week so I had better get to work on the next cardi. I thought it would be fun to use up all the odds and ends of leftover DK yarn in my stash to knit the next one and will keep you updated.
Pop! is available to purchase through Ravelry and do give me a shout if you knit it as I’d love to see your finished work.
Thank you so much everyone for all the lovely comments about the Penguin blog post last week. It’s been really interesting hearing about all the memories they brought back and listening to peoples thoughts and stories about books in general is incredibly thought-provoking.
I’ve continued packing my little library away and have another installment of Penguin books to share with you. These range from the late 1950′s through to present day and it’s a mish-mash of titles and authors, but all fiction. Some of these I own because I wanted to read them, others are on the shelf because of their cover design which opens a whole can of worms about not judging a book by it’s cover but I’ll leave that for you to ponder.
I love the Beatnik colours of these Penguin Plays printed in 1959:
This later incarnation of Penguin Plays is one of my favourite book covers. The green is just wonderful and the stage spotlights for the series title work brilliantly:
The colour coding of the sixpence Penguins continued for a number of years but the covers gradually became more decorative and Penguin continued working closely with illustrators to produce eye-catching images. Often when a Penguin, and more so a Puffin book, has value it is due to the cover and content illustrator rather than the actual story or printing edition.
A Perry Mason edition from 1957 with illustration by David Caplan:
1962 edition of The Big Sleep illustrated by John Sewell. At this point you would find the author biographies inside the front cover and the book synopsis printed on the back:
A High-Pitched Buzz by Roger Longrigg from 1962. Do you recognise the illustrator? He went on to become one of the most famous children’s book illustrators of all time:
And a later cover from 1965 by the same illustrator for Men at Arms alongside a lovely cover of the 1964 edition of Orwell’s first novel, A Clergyman’s Daughter, illustrated by design agency Fletcher, Forbes & Gill who were the Mad Men of their day:
Moving on to 1969 and 1970, Naipaul and du Maurier and you can see the covers change dramatically but still retain a hint of orange for the logo. The Daphne du Maurier cover is one of a series illustrated by Colin Mier. Jamaica Inn is the only one I have and I love the slightly psychedelic lines and colours which are strongly associated with illustration of this period:
Books by J.D. Salinger are noticeable by their lack of images and seemingly simple, graphic covers. Salinger was very strict about how the covers of his books looked and insisted that only his name and the title should be on them resulting in beautifully bold covers that say everything you need to know about a book:
Did you know that George Orwell’s real name was Eric Blair?
I picked up this copy of Lord of the Flies in a charity shop and it sparked off a summer of re-reading all the books we had read at school. It turns out that most of them were in fact excellent:
The use of orange continued for Penguin Fiction through the 1980′s and 1990′s appearing on the spines of these two novels:
A beautiful mint colour was used for Penguin Modern Classics reprints in the 1990′s, but from now onwards the vast majority of Penguin fiction uses photographs rather than illustrations as the main cover image:
After finishing Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck as part of my school book reading, I went on a mission to read everything he ever wrote and The Grapes of Wrath is a book that would easily make my desert island book list. I love the strong simplicity of the ‘silver’ Penguin Classics series covers that appeared in 2000 and wish I had stocked my library up before they were updated again:
The glossy silver covers gave way for matte silver and larger text:
And that should bring us right up to date!
I’ll share a few of my mini Penguins and non-fiction books with you next week. In the meantime, do feel free to leave a comment or if you have a particular favourite Penguin in your collection I’d love to hear about it.
He’s been not so patiently waiting for them since I cast on during our summer holiday last year, but like all good things, they come to those who wait.
We are waiting to find the right new flat at the moment and hopefully this sentiment applies to rentals as well.
Wherever we end up I know I’m going to miss my sock photography backdrop wall!
Don’t forget to enter the fab giveaway from the lovely ladies at The Crochet Project. Entries close at midnight tonight!
If you have been following my blog over the past few months it’s unlikely to have escaped your attention that I have a newly developed crochet addiction. Around the time I got the hook bug I started hearing about The Crochet Project and this excited, all-consuming beginner crocheter couldn’t wait to find out more.
Curated by Joanne Scrace and Kat Goldin, The Crochet Project is a bi-annual collection of crochet patterns by different designers. The first issue, titled ‘Botanicals‘ is up now, featuring pretty and stylish garments, accessories and kidswear that will appeal to both beginners and advanced crocheters and is all shot and presented to beautifully high standards.
As a prolific sock knitter I have my eye on the lacy Orache Socks by Vicki Brown for my first crochet sock project…
The drape and bobbles of the Araucaria Cardigan by Kat has great potential for being my first crocheted garment…
And the stunning Alchemilla Shawl is a dream project…one day!
I got the opportunity to pose a few questions to Joanne and Kat…
It’s an obvious one, but when did you start crocheting and what was your first project?
Joanne: I wanted to crochet booties because the knitted patterns weren’t as nice. I did try to make them as a first project learning the stitches as I went but it didn’t really work out. The first thing I made properly was a flower. And then I made a skirt.
Kat: I was taught to crochet by my grandmother when I was 7 or 8. She used to make enormous ripple afghans and I remember helping her complete a row (in neon orange acrylic yarn, no less!!). But my first “proper” project was a pair of wrist warmers.
How did the idea for The Crochet Project come about?
Joanne: Kat and I had worked together on her book ‘Crochet at Play’ and realised we had a great combined skill set. We had both been moaning how few good places there were to publish crochet patterns. A few text messages later and we had the seeds of a great idea.
Kat: Joanne is being modest, as it was her idea and I (being ever the enthusiast) agreed in a heartbeat. There aren’t many publications showing just how beautiful crochet can be and to be a part of that is something special.
As a fairly new crocheter, which pattern from issue 1 would you recommend for me and why?
Joanne: Berula Poncho has a lovely simple lace pattern and as is basically just a rectangle in construction, so it’s a good one to start with. Echium Cloche hat uses simple stitches and construction to great effect.
Any tips and tricks of the trade that beginners would find useful?
Joanne: Gosh! What a big question! Take the time to swatch would be my advice to beginners. The swatch gives you a chance to practice stitches, find out if you like the yarn and how it looks in the pattern and most importantly whether or not the finished thing is going to fit!
Kat: Pick a project that you REALLY want to make. Starting with something just because it is a beginner project may not give you the motivation you need to see it through. If you have that motivation, I think it is a lot easier to learn.
What are your future plans for The Crochet Project?
Joanne: The next issue is Autumn/Winter and should be out in October. The theme is Woodland Whimsy and we have a superb line up of patterns. Expect rich saturated tones and lots of leafy motifs. Also if you are a knitter you might want to follow us because we should have an announcement of interest coming before too long but I can’t say too much.
Joanne and Kat have generously offered one of my lucky readers the chance to win a pattern of their own choice from the issue 1 collection. To enter simply reply to this post telling me which pattern you’d choose and why. All entries will be put into Mr K’s hat and a winner drawn at random. Entries close at midnight on 16th May 2013. Good luck!
All images copyright Kat Goldin and The Crochet Project and used here with permission.
Thank you so much everyone for your entries, the giveaway is now closed. Mr K has drawn a winner out of his hat and the prize goes to number 3 which is Carie! Congratulations and I’ll be in touch to arrange sending your pattern.
I love books. Almost all books. I love books so much that I spent a number of years as a bookseller and dealer before circumstances meant unceremoniously leaving that part of my life behind in a tale I tell when slightly tipsy or over-excited! However, once you’ve worked with books then it becomes even harder to leave them behind and the bookshelves continue to multiply.
My love of books, magazines, and printed paper in general means a little flat full of paper. E-books and magazines might be handy and take up infinitely less space but it’s just not the same. Reading a book or magazine is an experience. Firstly you have the weight of the book and the binding will determine how you hold it. Hardbacks are more austere, the paper thicker with a lovely, slightly rough feel. You can flick through a paperback more easily, the paper is lighter and has a different sound when you turn the page. Glossy magazine pages flop around as the spine struggles to keep everything under control. Then you have the scent of books. New paper, fresh ink, old bookshops, musty secondhand establishments with treasures waiting to be discovered, dentists waiting rooms stacked with out of date issues of womens magazines. Then we get to the stories, the information, the visuals, the design, the hours where we lose ourselves or learn something new or make plans, laugh, dream and imagine. Is there anything quite as magical as printed paper?
I’m still pinching myself how over the last few years I have come full circle and brought together three of the big loves of my life. I studied fashion at Central Saint Martins in the 1990′s. It was all I ever wanted to do but sadly the reality of the course and the industry pushed me as far away as possible from that career and I drifted into bookselling. Then along came the knitting and gradually I combined these previous incarnations into one and now work independently and creatively with creative people, fabric and printed paper in all its different forms.
In amongst my bookshelves are various collections ranging from knitting and crochet technique and pattern books to children’s illustrated books, sixpence Penguins, Booker prize-winners, art monographs and a large amount of American crime from the first half of the 20th Century, then there’s everything else in between! I packaged my sixpence Penguin collection away at the weekend and thought you might like a rummage.
Sixpence Penguins were launched in the 1930′s and revolutionised reading with affordable books for all. The iconic bright orange covers are instantly recognisable and I tend to pick them up if I find one I’d like to read, if it has an interesting cover or if I find a good deal on a job lot which has become less and less frequent.
The orange covers were on the whole dedicated to fiction:
Later some covers were illustrated:
Occasionally there would be a photograph:
The author’s biography on the back cover is always fascinating:
Penguin Mystery and Crime was launched using the same styling but in British Racing Green:
Bright pink indicates Travel and Adventure. Some Penguins came with a dustjacket as shown here:
Royal blue for Biography:
The pale blue covers designate Pelican books which were the non-fiction branch. Some of these I find absolutely fascinating and they are are incredible social history documents:
Then we get on to later Penguins and Puffins which I’ll share with you another time.
If you would like to know a little more about Penguin design I can highly recommend Penguin by Design: A Cover Story 1935–2005 by Phil Baines.
It’s been a while since I had a whole weekend off, in fact I’m still getting used to not having to go to work on weekends, so after wrapping up a number of large jobs at the end of last week I decided it was time to take that weekend and the bonus Bank Holiday day and run with it!
Mr K has been around too so we’ve spent the time pottering about the flat, cleaning, washing and doing a little bit of packing up. I made a start on my book collection which I like to call a library, albeit a small one. I love having books to hand for checking techniques and getting inspiration, and usually end up losing myself in rediscovered treasures before wandering off on a completely different tangent from where I started. I’ll share some of my little library with you over the coming weeks as it gets dusted and carefully packaged away waiting to go to its new home.
There’s been some crochet, as I’ve continued on the Venus shawl by Aoibhe Ni which I started Easter weekend. Spurred on by my success with Pax I decided to give Venus a try as it’s the pattern which made me want to learn the Tunisian crochet technique. Whilst parts of it have been a steep learning curve I’ve finally got to grips with the beautiful scallop construction which is coming along nicely.
The yarn is Numma Numma Stretto, a 100% merino laceweight with 820 metres to 110 grams (900 yards to 4 ounces) in a colour called Sage Green. It’s a gorgeous skein and has been in my stash for quite a while waiting for a suitable project as the variegation makes it a bit busy for many lace projects. I thought it would be perfect for Tunisian crochet as the construction of the stitches mushes everything together really well giving a fabric with high and low lights rather than being completely variegated. So far so good, and I’m getting the right effect although some of the brighter areas really stand out but will hopefully all blur together when it’s finished.
Mr K has also started his mission to use up everything in the freezer which is mainly packed with fruit for jams and jellies. There’s a lot to get through! Another batch of Redcurrant Jelly has been bottled this morning and the cloudiness is gradually clearing as it cools…
There’s also damsons waiting to be jammed, Seville oranges for marmalade and everything else is going into a ‘job lot’ pot and by the end of next week we should hopefully have enough preserves for our Christmas hampers…yes I did say the ‘C’ word! Work has now started on a greengage conserve which I’m particularly looking forward to. The greengages are bubbling away in the maslin pan and whilst they don’t look particularly tempting all the different yellows, caramels and tans with hints of green and purple are just beautiful and it smells incredible. We are taking bets on what colour the end result will be and and at the moment it’s evens on khaki!
Oh and there’s been napping…a fair amount of napping, but then, that’s what weekends are for. Enjoy yours whatever you’re up to!
Isn’t this young lad’s haircut amazing?! It gave me flashbacks of Sunday evenings spent perching on the edge of the kitchen table whilst Mum trimmed my fringe ready for school on Monday. Thankfully she didn’t cut lumps out of it like this!
Enjoy the sunshine this weekend and regular, proper blogging service will resume next week!
I had my first ever attempt at choux pastry yesterday and made profiteroles for our Sunday Lunch pudding. I’d always thought choux pastry was really difficult, complicated and easy to mess up but it turns out it’s a doddle!
The recipe I used is by The Hairy Bikers from their current BBC series, Best of British. Having watched the program earlier in the week I decided now would be a good time to give the pastry a go.
Melt butter in a pan with water, tip flour and a little bit of sugar in and beat it like billy-o! The ingredients form a smooth ball which you then take off the heat and continue to beat for a few minutes allowing the mixture to cool slightly. Gradually add a couple of eggs, again beating like crazy (I used an electric hand whisk for this), then plop a generous teaspoon of mixture onto a baking tray and into the oven.
The pastry rises and turns a golden brown creating strange lunar shapes.
As soon as they are ready, remove them from the oven, fashion a small hole in the bottom to allow the steam to escape, and leave them to cool with the hole facing upwards which will prevent them from going soggy and give you a hole to pipe the cream into.
I made the incredible chocolate sauce next. I’m not a white chocolate fan so doubled up on the dark chocolate version which you can make this in advance and add a few tablespoons of hot water to it to when ready to serve.
Whip the cream with a little sugar and vanilla and pipe into the cooled pastry case. If you don’t have piping equipment simply cut the bun in half and layer with cream instead.
I served the profiteroles with strawberries in a very lazy, help yourself buffet style, by plonking everything on the table and letting guests dip in. There were clean plates all round!
Even though I do say so myself, they were delicious! Really, really good and I’ll definitely make them again, however next time I might dip the tops in the sauce and serve them chilled with a thick chocolate layer on, but then hot chocolate sauce is a wondrous thing as is cream and pastry and strawberries, in fact I tucked in before remembering to take pictures so this is my second helping! If you’re thinking of trying choux pastry do give it a go, I wish I’d tried years ago but my tummy is grateful I didn’t!
Oh, and the title of this post isn’t a typo, almost FiL calls them ‘profit roles’ in his effort to affectionately rename every pudding I ever make!
I know I am not alone by confessing to being a complete and utter stationery junkie. What is it about pens and pencils and paper and ephemera that brings out the magpie in so many of us?
This week is National Stationery Week and there’s a lovely post on The Women’s Room blog revealing what a number of creative ladies keep in their pencil case. It’s not quite as personal as a rummage in someone else’s handbag but fascinating none the less, and a good opportunity to add to the stationery wishlist, so I thought I’d reveal all by throwing mine into the mix:
Pencil case by Eley Kishimoto for Eastpack – I adore Eley Kishimoto prints and the Flash print is one of their trademarks. This pencil case goes everywhere with me as the art school student in me panics slightly if I don’t have a pen or pencil in my bag, it’s important to be able to take a note or draw a sketch as soon as inspiration strikes.
Staedler pencils, sharpener and rubber – The yellow, black and red of the Staedler pencil is so iconic and would probably make my top ten designs of all time. The sharpener and rubber work in perfect harmony with them in a brilliant display of German engineering. There are dozens of these pencils scattered around the house and as an editor I don’t know where I’d be without them.
Zebra black biro – I have a bit of an aversion to biro pens. The majority don’t work very well and blue biros are an absolute no-no. I’ll only use this if I really have to.
Sharpie – They are amazing, everyone should carry at least one on their person at all times for when you need to say ‘something really loud’ or simply to write on surfaces that are a bit shiny. This one is all bells and whistles with a fat and thin end covering all potential Sharpie situations. Mr K always like to remind me that they were designed to be used in space, whether or not this is true I don’t know.
Sharpie highlighter – Aside from being an amazing colour it is also very useful.
Faber Castell artist pen in brown – A lovely drawing pen and great for taking notes, far superior to a biro and the colour always looks lovely on heavy cartridge paper.
Staedler fineliner in red – For hard-copy editing.
Mini red Leatherman penknife – Another classic design and compact emergency tool kit because you never know when you might need to tighten a screw, open a bottle, file a rough edge or indeed, cut your yarn.
Mini red Moleskin notebook – This one has perforated pages so they are easy to tear out and pass information on to others.
Stitch markers – A knitter can never have too much yarn or too many stitch markers. These rubber Clover ones are my personal favourite and like the pencils are scattered all over the house.
An ‘R’ clip – Nothing to do with me but like pencils and stitch markers are to me, these are a part of Mr K’s essential kit and I find them everywhere, usually in the washing machine. No idea how this one has ended up in my pencil case.
Anyone else out there willing to reveal all, do feel free to leave a comment with a link to your blog post so we can all have a nosy.
I finally made a decision! It’s not the decision I originally made, and thanks for all your comments which caused a last minute change of direction and I went for the traffic light buttons.
They’re good fun and I like the mis-match designs, although I’m still looking at the fluorescent thread securing the yellow button and wondering if I should have dug deeper in the sewing box for something else! My original choice was the final picture of the dull gold and bronze buttons but the traffic lights reflect my personality and original intentions for Pop so much better.
The cardi is knit in the original pattern yarn which is Artesano Superwash Merino DK, a lovely squishy wool, perfect for baby garments and available in a fab range of colours.
I think I’ll have a go at an ‘odds and ends’ striped version next with all the bits of DK I have in my stash, and then of course I’ll have to choose buttons again!
Pop! is available to purchase through Ravelry. Thank you to everyone who has knit it so far!