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Monday, May 30, 2011

Knit. . . Watermelon dress, leafy shrug (and a woolly gift from afar).

I started making this watermelon sundress last June, as a gift for a dear friend's 5 year old daughter. I was on holiday in the UK at the time and I took the fabric and yarn with me all the way from NZ specially, aiming to use my mum's sewing machine while staying with her! All went well and I knitted up the bodice and sewed the skirt while I was there in Somerset, and then ground to a halt. Silly really - it has been languishing in a cupboard for almost a year, just waiting for the skirt to be gathered, bodice and ribbon sewn on and finally the three buttons added. Well, I am glad to report that just last week I finally finished this very slow-cooked project! The pattern is called The Two Summer Sundress, by Natalie Larson. The idea is that the first summer the straps are worn crossed over at the back, and the second summer, in order to add a bit of extra length the straps go to the same-sided button at the back. Ingenious!

Close up of dress back.
 Once the dress was finished, I decided that the 5 year old recipient needed a little something to cover her shoulders on a breezy day, and I set to work on a leafy shrug. Now that I have finished both the dress and shrug and washed and blocked them I will be popping them in the post to Oregon, USA this week. Very much looking forward to seeing some photos of a certain beautiful little five year old modelling them. . .


The photo above was going to be the end of this post, but then when I got home from work today there was a surprise package waiting for me, all the way from Cambridge! A lovely ravelry friend had offered to send me some sock yarn scraps, and I knew they were on the way, but I had absolutely no idea the package would contain a stunningly beautiful pair of socks, knitted for me by this modern day "pen-friend" whom I have never met, yet have shared a lovely written friendship with! 
 The sock design is Julia Socks by Emily Johnson, and they are based on a character from The Night Watch by Sarah Waters, which is a most excellent book. It was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Orange Prize, so it's not just me who thinks so either! The following is the blurb about "The Night Watch" from Sarah Waters' website, linked above: Moving back through the 1940s, through air raids, blacked out streets, illicit liaisons, sexual adventure, to end with its beginning in 1941, The Night Watch is the work of a truly brilliant and compelling storyteller.
This is the story of four Londoners – three women and a young man with a past, drawn with absolute truth and intimacy. Kay, who drove an ambulance during the war and lived life at full throttle, now dresses in mannish clothes and wanders the streets with a restless hunger, searching. Helen, clever, sweet, much-loved, harbours a painful secret. Viv, glamour girl, is stubbornly, even foolishly loyal, to her soldier lover. Duncan, an apparent innocent, has had his own demons to fight during the war. Their lives, and their secrets connect in sometimes startling ways. War leads to strange alliances…
Tender, tragic and beautifully poignant, set against the backdrop of feats of heroism both epic and ordinary, here is a novel of relationships that offers up subtle surprises and twists. The Night Watch is thrilling. A towering achievement. 

According to the Julia sock pattern details "they are named for the glamorously androgynous Julia Standing, a character in Sarah Waters' 2006 novel The Night Watch". Strangely enough, as you can see in the photo above, I own a copy of the Night Watch book (and also the audiobook) and it is a firm favourite of mine, yet as far as I know, "S" all the way over in Cambridge didn't know that. I had certainly never mentioned it. What an amazingly intuitive choice! The pattern is stunningly beautiful and the yarn is in my all time favourite colour - teal. I love the name of the yarn too: Laughing Yaffle sock yarn in the "Teal-tastic"colourway. I feel like a very lucky person, I can tell you.
My beautiful socks with sock yarn scraps. . .

I love how the pattern continues onto the heel flap. . .
I just checked S's project page on ravelry and see that she has updated the details now that I have received the socks. She had named the project "Dragonfly socks" and S says that apparently in Japanese culture dragonflies are symbols of strength, courage and happiness. What a lovely association!!


I have counted the paper cranes in the competition and all will be revealed tomorrow ;-)


  1. I love the watermelon dress :)

  2. WOW!!!! Kate!!!! I cannot tell you how much I love this beautiful watermelon dress. And the whole idea of spying it on the blog, and then anxiously waiting for the post :)

    We love you Kate: you are so sweet, and so very talented! :)

  3. P.s. Why can't I figure out how to post other than "anonymous"?

  4. Thanks Lissy, I love it too! If I was 5 again I would have been pirouetting around the kitchen wearing it ;-)

  5. Hey "Anonymous", glad you like the dress! Good spying skills ;-) I will have the parcel in the post to your lovely daughter in the next couple of days. xx

  6. Gorgeous dress!