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Posts Tagged ‘Susan Crawford’

My vintage-obsessed knitting comrade Susan Crawford embarked on an exciting project about three years ago: she has taken 25 20th century knitted pieces from the textile collection of the Shetland Museum and Archive and turned them into 21st century knitting patterns.

Vintage Shetland Knitwear

In order to fund the costs of making the book, Susan started a Slushpub fundraiser, which has already well exceeded her initial target! The additional money will go to more of the photoshoot costs,  a second photographer to take ‘behind the scenes’ footage of the photoshoot to enhance the book further, additional research to make the book even better, and image licencing to increase the number of historical images included in the book.

As part of this blog tour to promote the book and raise funds, Susan has asked each contributor to share some of the bloggers’ favourite garments in the book. Originally I was going to knit one of the sample garments for the book so I’ve seen all the garments before as Susan gave me the choice, but unfortunately I had other priorities and in the end I didn’t get to knit a garment after all. So, here’s a shortlist of my favourite garments:

Short Sleeve Jumper

Short-sleeved jumper

This short-sleeved jumper appealed to me because of the unusual design, which combines a classic “all-over” with stripes and a border of diamonds. All the diagonal lines really pull the design together.

Casual Cardigan with Pockets

Casual cardigan with inset pockets

This is such a classic cardigan! It’s possibly one of the most typical Shetland knits in the collection, but I love the quiet elegance and the large collection of peerie patterns, punctuated by the recurring diamond pattern.

golf stockings

Golf stockings

How could I not like a pair of knee-high socks with some darning? Against better judgment I once knitted a pair of socks from woollen spun Shetland wool. I wore holes in them after only a few wears, and they’ve been in my mending basket for almost two years now. I wonder whether these golf stockings were knitted from a worsted-spun yarn instead.

But in the end, the garment I wanted to knit most, was the “Prisoner of War” jumper.

Prisoner of War Jumper

Prisoner of War jumper

When I attended Shetland Wool Week in 2013, this jumper was on display in the Shetland Museum. I had already seen pictures of it from Susan, but that didn’t quite prepare me for the impact of seeing the real deal. It’s knitted from fine wool, and as you can see, it’s been mended a lot, and being able to see it failry up-close was a humbling experience. This jumper was knitted for Ralph Paterson by his wife. He was wearing it when he was taken prisoner of war in Hong Kong. It brought him comfort, and reminded him of home. It must’ve been very precious to him, as it has been mended in many places, using odds and ends of yarn.

prisoner of war jumper darning detail

Darning to keep loved ones in mind

POW jumper Darned Detail Neckline

An unexpected pop of colour

POW jumper undarned detail

Not all holes were darned on this jumper; perhaps Ralph Paterson might’ve been on his way home again when he discovered this hole?

I’m looking forward to seeing Susan’s book, and you can probably guess which pattern I’m itching to cast on!

All pieces – each with their own unique story to tell – have been developed into comprehensive multi-sized knitting patterns, complete with instructions, technical advice and illustrated with colour photography shot in Shetland. With an introduction reflecting on the story of each hand-knit item this book is a treasury of Shetland knitting patterns and an insight into Shetland’s rich textile traditions.

The blog tour continues with Kate Atherley‘s blog on Wednesday, 29 July.

Please see the list below for all the stops along the tour past, present, and future:

Thursday 9th July
  
Saturday 12th July
  
Monday 13th July
    
Wednesday 15th July         
  
Friday 17th July
  
Saturday 18th July
  
Sunday 19th July
   
Monday 20th July
  
Tuesday 21st July
  
Wednesday 22nd July
  
Friday 24th July
  
Saturday 25th July
  
Sunday 26th July
   
Monday 27th July
  
Wednesday 29th July
  
Friday 31st July
  
Sunday 2nd August
  
Monday 3rd August
Tuesday 4th August
Wednesday 5th Aug
TBC
Thursday 6th August
   
Friday 7th August

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Just before 2013 ends I want to share with you a special commission I took on earlier this year. It must’ve been early summer when Rosemary contacted me about knitting her a little lace jacket for her wedding outfit.

unwrapping of knitted Kasha jacket commission

Rosemary unwrapping her lace jacket on the big day

Rosemary had seen my work at Prick Your Finger, and she loved my attention to detail and technical approach to knitting. She had already chosen a beautiful dress for her wedding day, but a little lace jacket would complete the outfit. She had seen the Kasha cardigan I had knitted for Susan Crawford, and this was just what she wanted. Well, almost. Instead of the short sleeves, she wanted three-quarter length ones, and as her dress already had a lace collar, she didn’t want one on Kasha.

Kasha Alteration three-quarter sleeves

A gorgeous wedding bouquet and three-quarter sleeves

I had to search around a bit for a suitable yarn, but after consulting with Susan, Rosemary and I settled on Alice sock-weight yarn from Juno Fibre Arts. This luxurious blend of alpaca, silk, and cashmere is very soft, has a nice drape and great stitch definition. The colourway is called Oyster, which is very appropriate considering I found some 1920s mother-of-pearl buttons for the jacket.

Kasha cardigan with mother of pearl buttons

1920s mother-of-pearl buttons for the perfect finish

In the above picture you can also see I used a tubular cast-on. I played around a little bit with the right needle-size for the cast-on, to make sure it wouldn’t flare or draw in too much, bearing in mind that the yarn was quite drapey, and therefore might not snap back into shape as easily as a 100% wool yarn would.

Kasha cardigan alternative collar

An alternative collar for Kasha in reverse stocking stitch

Leaving off the collar was easy, as in the original pattern the collar is knitted separately. I replaced it with a few rows of reverse stocking stitch, and left it to curl up naturally. The original pattern asks for large sleeve pads, which Rosemary felt were too big, so in the end I knitted small sausage shapes, and these can be put in with teeny-tiny snap buttons. The sleeve pads give a little bit more structure to the jacket for a more formal look, but can be taken out for less formal occasions.

shoulder pads with snap buttons

teeny-tiny snap buttons for the shoulder pads

Instead of knitting the front and back pieces separately, which would then need to be seamed together, I knitted them all in one piece. Although knitting seemed to progress slowly in the beginning, it saved me a lot of time at the end. Sometimes I think a sewn side seam can give more structure to a garment, but in this particular pattern the side seam would zig-zag anyway, so there was no structural advantage to keep them.

After teasing you with all these close-ups, I will now present to you Rosemary’s Kasha cardigan in its full glory:

Kasha Cardigan with modified sleeves and collar

 

Kasha just before wrapping up in tissue paper

Rosemary in her Kasha cardigan and her husband

Rosemary and her husband; what a handsome couple!

As an aside, Rosemary and her husband are great appreciators of art and crafts, and for their wedding day they also got a corn dolly made by Elaine Lindsay, which is absolutely stunning. A corn dolly was traditionally made for the spirit that lives in the wheat or corn fields, and which would be without a house after harvesting the last sheaf. The corn dolly would be taken home and in spring it would be plowed back into the land when the new wheat was sown. Corn dollies come in many different shapes and many villages and towns had their own design; Rosemary and Richard was based on the Mordiford heart.

Mordiford Corn Dolly

Rosemary and Richard’s Mordiford corn dolly with their initials worked in

More knitterly details on this commission can be found on my Ravelry project page.

Being a great believer in sustainable fashion and appreciating the clothes you have, I was so pleased to hear is that Rosemary has been wearing her cardigan many times since the wedding. What a great way to be reminded of a beautiful day.

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It slowly dawned upon me that I shall be knitting heaps of stranded colourwork this year.

DCFront

Sanquhar vs Fair Isle mash-up swatch in Foula wool

Let me start off by saying that I’m very excited that I have been invited by Shetland Wool Week this year to work on a project together with my friend and purveyor of finest quotidian sound artefacts, Dr Felicity Ford. We will be joined by talented knitwear designed Di Gilpin., who was awarded The Balvenie Master of Craft award for the Textiles Category for 2012. I, for one, cannot wait to go to the Isles that have such rich knitting traditions and see them firsthand.

Shetland Wool Week Image

Shetland Wool Week, image © Dave Wheeler and used with kind permission

Secondly, those of you who are familiar with Susan Crawford’s work probably know she is working on a Vintage Shetland book. I’m pleased to say she has asked me again to knit a sample garment for her. It will be a very special Fair Isle jumper, and that’s all I’m allowed to say for now.

Lastly, my obsession with Sanquhar gloves knows no bounds, and I will be doing some research on them over the summer. A good excuse to 1) knit some more Sanquhar gloves; and 2) plan a visit to the Knitting Reference Library.

In preparation for all these stranded colourwork projects, I thought I’d investigate something that’s intrigued me for a while now. It’s colour dominance in stranded colourwork.

DCcloseup

The top and bottom bands shows the Midge and Fly pattern from Sanquhar. The middle bands show typical Fair Isle patterns: a classic OXO border pattern and a peerie pattern to separate the two.

Although Sanquhar knitting typically only uses two colours, and Fair Isle usually a greater number of colours, for both you will only ever knit with two colours in one given row of knitting. This can be achieved in a number of ways. In all cases, you will strand the colour not in use along the back of the fabric, hence the name “stranded colourwork.”

DCBack

The back of my swatch, showing the strands of the yarn not in use

For a long time, I used to knit with one colour in each hand: the one in my left hand to be knitted continental style, and the one in my right hand to be knitted English style. But I was never quite happy with my tension as the stitches made continental style were much looser than the one made English style. This was exacerbated by the nature of stranded colourwork: one yarn will always appear more dominant than the other. If you peer over the needles whilst you’re doing stranded colourwork, you will see that one yarn will always come from underneath the other. Usually, this is the dominant yarn.

In order to even out my tension problems between left and right hand, I first tried holding both yarns in my right hand. That didn’t work for me at all and not soon after I started knitting with both yarns in my left hand. My tension between dominant and non-dominant yarn is much more even now. I was curious to find out how big the difference is, in order to make an informed decision for my next stranded colourwork project. I decided to use both Sanquhar and Fair Isle patterns, as the effect might be different. The bottom half was knitted such that for each row, the light colour was on the right of my index finger, and the dark colour on the left. The peerie pattern (the small band separating the two bands of OXO patterns,) is where I switched over and the top half was knitted with the light colour always on the left and the dark on the right.

DCLightRight

Bottom half: lighter yarn always on the right on my index finger, and darker yarn always on the left

Looking at the Sanquhar Midge and Fly pattern in the bottom half,the white stitches appear to be larger than the black ones, and the flies appear almost more like vertical stripes rather than small crosses, especially in close-up. As you can see from the picture of the back of the swatch, the floats of white yarn almost hide the black yarn floats.

DCLightLeft

Top half: lighter yarn always on the left of my index finger, darker yarn always on the right

Now for the top half: again, looking at the Midge and Fly pattern, I think that the black and white stitches are much more even in size, yet somehow the flies seem to be a bit less pronounced in the top half. In addition, I find the results of switching dominant yarns less obvious in the OXO border patterns.

Before knitting this swatch, I was convinced I would be able to clearly show which way looks better, and make up my mind about which side (left or right,) I ought to use as the dominant yarn. However, now I’m not so sure. For each of the Sanqhuhar and the Fair Isle, which one do you think looks better, top or bottom half of the swatch?

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It has been a while since I last wrote a knitting blog post, but that doesn’t mean my knitting needles have been sitting idle. Inbetween the flurries of mending activity in the last few months, I have also managed to do a lot of knitting. Amongst others I made myself a v-neck jumper:

After reading Susan Crawford’s blog post about her new knitwear model, I decided that I should also model my own knitwear. I may look somewhat bleary-eyed, but that’s what happens when you need to help putting in the final touches of your partner’s Masters Dissertation (an oral history research about young women’s leisure, space and identity in 1960s Belfast, since you ask), at 1:30 in the morning.

After having knitted a few jumpers using Elisabeth Zimmermann’s seamless construction methods, it was time to investigate another construction technique. This v-neck saddle-shoulder sweater has been knitted from the top down, following Barbara Walker’s ‘recipe.’ Her book Knitting from the Top is a knitting cult classic, for all the right reasons. In twelve chapters, Walker talks you through knitting all the garments you can think of, starting from the top. She relies on taking good measurements, and a generous swatch, so you can work out how to get just the right size. Most items are knitted seamlessly, so once you’ve cast off, all that’s left to do, is sewing in the yarn tails and block the item. The real eye-opener here is the shaped shoulder knitted in the round. Yes, this is actually possible!

After taking all the necessary measurements and working out my gauge from my swatch, this jumper starts with knitting the shoulder straps for the saddle shoulders. Stitches are picked up from the long sides of the shoulder and then the back is knitted. I included short row shaping to make sloped shoulders. Once you have completed the armholes, you put all stitches on some waste yarn, and do the same for the front. when the armholes are completed on the front, everything is put on one large circular needle, and one can continue knitting the body in the round. After this, stitches are picked up for the sleeves, and the sleeve cap is shaped with short rows too. Once these are completed, the sleeve is knitted in the round to the cuff. Walker also gives you directions to knit in the round all the way from the shoulders, and instead of picking up stitches, you create the armhole/sleeve seams by increases. Genious!

As you can see in the following picture, the v-neck has been shaped by increases and this looks really neat:

All the welts have been knitted in a 2×1 rib, with the knit stitch knitted through the backloop. I like the graphic quality this gives, although I’m not sure if I would use this again, as I find that at the cuffs and the hem tend to curl up a bit. Perhaps next time I either do a 1×1 rib, or a 2×2 rib, so that the amounts of knits and purls are completely balanced.

However, I do particularly like the shaping of the V with a centred double decrease:

 

The cast-off looks so neat and sharply cornered, because on the cast-off row, I also did a centred double decrease at the corner, before taking the previous stitch over the new stitch and off the needle.

For the side seams I employed Elisabeth Zimmermann’s ‘phoney seam’. Before starting the ribbing, I dropped down the seam stitch all the way to the armpit, and hooked it back up with a crochet hook, alternating picking up one, and two strands. I mainly used this as it makes blocking much easier, as this way I don’t have to guess where the side seams would be. You can see the phoney seam as one column of slightly larger stitches.

 

There are a few niggles in this jumper that I’m happy to live with, but which I want to avoid in the future. These mainly concern the shoulders and armholes. I think I could have made the shoulder saddles a little bit shorter, and the armholes a little bit deeper.I think this will make the sweater sit better on my shoulders. I already mentioned my doubts about the pattern I used for ribbing. The sweater could’ve been little bit longer, and lastly, the sleeves could be a little bit wider. Evenso, I’m really pleased with this jumper; it’s a great addition to my wardrobe.

My v-neck jumper was knitted in Excelana 4ply, in the Persian Grey colourway. Excelana is Susan Crawford’s range of knitting yarn, especially developed to recreate the look and feel of vintage yarns, which complements her vintage style patterns. I still have a couple of balls left, so don’t be surprised if I make a hat to match!

Have you ever knitted a garment from the top down? What did and didn’t you like about this approach?

 

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The Coronation Knits Blog Tour stop-over at tomofholland was accompanied by a giveaway of a copy of Coronation Knits and enough Juno Arts Fibre Belle yarn in the Heart on my Sleeve colourway to knit the Diamond Stole that features on the front cover:

After my tutorial on the elegant decrease used in the Diamond Stole, which made two stitches out of three in a very pleasing and symmetrical fashion, you could enter the competiotion by telling me what your favourite decrease was. Here are the results, some people mentioned more than one decrease, others didn’t specify a particular decrease, but K2tog was the clear winner here:

K2tog (knit two together): 13

SSK (slip one, slip one, knit together): 8

S1, K1, PSSO (slip one, knit one, pass slipped stitch over): 6

CDD (centred double decrease): 4

S1, K2tog, PSSO (slip one, knit two together, pass slipped stitch over): 3

K2tbl (knit two together trough backloop): 3

“Anything with a slipped stitch”: 2

Diamond Stole 2 from 3: 2

P2tbl (purl two together through backloop): 1

SSK as slip one purl-wise, slip one knit-wise, knit two together: 1

SYTK (Slip, Yank, Twist, Knit, a left-leaning decrease by TECHknitter): 1

And I learnt something new, too: according to Margaret Stove via Jean Miles: “the stitch the needle enters first, is the one that winds up on top.” The only exception to this rule I can think of is a rarely used decrease as it’s quite laborious: slip one knitwise, slip one knitwise, slip both stitches back on the left needle (this just changes the stitch orientation), purl together through backloop. This is a decrease you can use if you require a left-leaning decrease with untwisted stitches, worked on the wrong side. I learnt this from the Myrtle Leaf Shawl with Willow Border from Victorian Lace Today, where you have shaping on all rows.

And now for the winner: I used a random number generator to pick a post:

And the winner is:

Sue Schwarz, who likes the symmetry of using a K2tog and a Sl1, K1, PSSO opposite each other.

Sue, I have contacted you by email to ask for your delivery details. I will pass these on to Susan Crawford and Juno Fibre Arts.

Happy knitting!

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Welcome to one of the last few stops on Susan Crawford’s Coronation Knits blog tour. Coronation Knits is Susan’s fourth book and it contains 14 delicious patterns. If you have followed this tour, then you will have learnt a lot already about the book, Susan, its inspiration, colour choice, and much more besides. I certainly enjoyed every stop so far! You may also have noticed the odd give-away along the way. You’ll be pleased to hear that not only can you win a copy of Coronation Knits here, but also the yarn needed to knit the Diamond Stole featured on the cover! You will find entry details at the end of this post.

The Diamond stole is based on a pattern Susan found in an early 1950s needlecraft book, in which it featured as a table mat. Luckily for us, Susan recognised its beauty would come out much better when draped over someone’s shoulders. Or my sofa:

I like the slightly regal looking lace border, which uses the trusted razor shell pattern, used frequently in Shetland lace knitting. So are the little diamonds, although in Shetland lace knitting, they are sometimes called spiders. But the two elements that I really like, are firstly the chain columns either side of the small diamonds, with its gently opening and closing of the knit stitch columns:

And secondly, the way that the large diamond grows from a column of two stitches, and especially the top of the diamond. It has perfect symmetry:

This very elegant solution to creating the tip of the diamond is by virtue of a single decrease, but not one as we know it. This decrease makes two stitches out of three! The instructions read as follows:

2 stitches from 3

Slip 1, knit 1 leaving original stitch on left needle, pass slipped stitch on right needle over new stitch now also on right needle, then knit stitch remaining on left needle together with next stitch. This turns 3 stitches into 2 stitches.

Let me take you through this decrease, using some pictures for clarification.

Here we are , on row 45 of the pattern, and you can see the three stitches on the left needle, ready for the decrease:

The first stitch is slipped. Insert your right needle into this stitch as if to knit, and slip it off the left needle onto the right needle. It ends up looking like this:

Then knit the next stitch, leaving the original stitch on the left needle:

You can see the original stitch still on the left needle, somewhat stretched out, and the new stitch on the right needle, somewhat strangled. Now you need to pass the slipped stitch over that new, slightly strangled stitch on the right needle. This is a little bit tricky, as the original stitch on the left needle has a tendency to slip off as well, so keep an eye on it! Here my left needle has been inserted in the slipped stitch and is about to pass it over the new stitch and off the right needle:

This is what it should look like once you’ve passed the slip stitch over. As you can see, the original stitch is STILL on the left needle:

The last step in this decrease, is to knit that remaining stitch on the left needle together with the next stitch on the left needle. This can be a bit fiddly, but it gets easier once you’ve done a few diamonds:

What you end up with, is a very elegant single decrease, which looks like two paired single decreases:

And now, for all those readers who just wanted me to get on with it and get to the give-away part, here is how you can enter to win a copy of Coronation Knits AND enough of the beautiful Juno Belle yarn in the Heart On My Sleeve colourway by Juno Fibre Arts to knit your very own Diamond Stole:

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post and tell me about your favourite decrease. I will select a winner on Saturday, 21 July 2012. Please make sure to enter your email address when asked for it when posting your comment, nobody apart from myself will see it. I will contact you myself to get your delivery details. Please note, the book and yarn will be posted once the blog tour has finished, and it doesn’t matter where in the world you live!

The Coronation Knits blog tour isn’t over yet; please find below a list of all the stops past and future:

Tour Date

Blogger

URL

8th June Susan Crawford http://justcallmeruby.blogspot.co.uk/
12th June 2012 Jean Moss http://jeanmosshandknits.blogspot.co.uk/
16th June 2012 Jen Arnall-Culliford http://jenacknitwear.typepad.com/
18th June 2012 Helene Magnusson http://helenemagnusson.blogspot.co.uk/
20th June 2012 Knitting magazine http://www.knittinginstitute.co.uk/
24th June 2012 Ingrid Murnane http://ingridmurnane.com/
28th June 2012 Felicity Ford http://thedomesticsoundscape.com/wordpress/
29th June 2012 Donna Druchunas http://sheeptoshawl.com/
7th July 2012 Karina Westermann http://www.fourth-edition.co.uk/
2nd July 2012 Simply Knitting magazine http://simplyknitting.themakingspot.com/blog
6th July 2012 Ruth Garcia-Alcantud http://www.rockandpurl.com/blog/
10th July 2012 Tasha Moss http://blog.bygumbygolly.com/
14th July 2012 Tom van Deijnen https://tomofholland.com/
18th July 2012 Woolly http://www.woollywormhead.com/blog/
22nd July 2012 Mim http://www.crinolinerobot.blogspot.co.uk/
25th July 2012 The Sexy Knitter http://thesexyknitter.blogspot.co.uk/

Please note, the copyright of the first image (Coronation Knits Book Cover) belongs to Susan Crawford; of the last picture (Juno Belle Heart on my Sleeve yarn) to Juno Fibre Arts. Copyright of all other pictures belongs to tomofholland.

=-=-=-=-= COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED =-=-=-=-=

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For all you knitters out there interested in vintage styles, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that Susan Crawford, of A Stitch in Time 1 & 2 fame, has released a new collection of knitting patterns: Coronation Knits.

I’m not going to reveal too much about it right now, as Susan has started a blog tour, which will allow you to learn more about the patterns and Susan’s work involved, over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out for all the blogs involved – I have a list at the bottom of this post with links and dates.

There are 14 patterns in total, all around the theme of the Diamond Jubilee and the fashions of the time when Elizabeth II got crowned.

There are even some patterns for men, I’m pleased to report!

Susan did a sterling job on designing these patterns and to celebrate this, there will be give-aways of the book along the way, so keep an eye out for the stops on the tour. When it’s my turn, I shall reveal the ins and outs of knitting the Diamond Stole, which features on the cover. It includes a rarely used decrease (make 2 stitches out of 3), which is pleasingly symmetrical.

Not only will I be able to give away a free copy of Coronation Knits, it will also include the yarn needed to knit the Diamond Stole! So be sure to check back here on 14 July; and have a look at all the other blog stops along the tour.

If your hands are itching to start knitting right now, then you can purchase the book here (available as a hardcopy and an e-book):

 http://www.knitonthenet-shop.com/

CORONATION KNITS TOUR DATES:

Tour Date

Blogger

URL

8th June Susan Crawford http://justcallmeruby.blogspot.co.uk/
12th June 2012 Jean Moss http://jeanmosshandknits.blogspot.co.uk/
16th June 2012 Jen Arnall-Culliford http://jenacknitwear.typepad.com/
18th June 2012 Helene Magnusson http://helenemagnusson.blogspot.co.uk/
20th June 2012 Knitting magazine http://www.knittinginstitute.co.uk/
24th June 2012 Ingrid Murnane http://ingridmurnane.com/
28th June 2012 Felicity Ford http://thedomesticsoundscape.com/wordpress/
29th June 2012 Donna Druchunas http://sheeptoshawl.com/
7th July 2012 Karina Westermann http://www.fourth-edition.co.uk/
2nd July 2012 Simply Knitting magazine http://simplyknitting.themakingspot.com/blog
6th July 2012 Ruth Garcia-Alcantud http://www.rockandpurl.com/blog/
10th July 2012 Tasha Moss http://blog.bygumbygolly.com/
14th July 2012 Tom van Deijnen https://tomofholland.com/
18th July 2012 Woolly http://www.woollywormhead.com/blog/
22nd July 2012 Mim http://www.crinolinerobot.blogspot.co.uk/
25th July 2012 The Sexy Knitter http://thesexyknitter.blogspot.co.uk/

Please note, the copyright of all images in this post belong to Susan Crawford.

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