Friday, 7 March 2014

1940s slip stitch jumper progress report

I started knitting this at the end of January, so by my standards (navy cardigan: a year and a half to complete) I'm rocketing through it. I knitted the back first, and that was a good idea as I've been able to hold it against my front and see how it stretches. The pattern says to knit the front to match the back, but that won't work for me. I'm adding subtle increases to the side so that by the time I reach the chest area, there will be a couple of extra inches of cloth there. I'll take out the extra increases at the same time as I work the armholes, to avoid droopy shoulders.



The shoulders are on double-pointed needles as I plan to do a three-needle cast off there. It really does give the best finish to shoulders, I feel - much more even than casting off the front and back separately then sewing them together.

If you're a knitter you'll probably know this already, but here in the UK knitting wool was rationed during the Second World War. I'm pretty sure - though not 100%, so do correct me if I'm wrong - that free wool was available for knitting for servicemen. However, I do know that for home use, it was rationed. Darning wool, however, was not rationed, but it came in short lengths. Also it was an era of make do and mend, and if you'd worn out a hand-knitted garment, torn a sleeve or whatever, you could carefully unpick the seams, reclaim the rest of the yarn and knit something new with the fragments. Fair isle and other colourwork designs, like this one, were attractive ways of working with smallish amounts of any one colour.

So far, this pattern has been staggeringly simple, hence the speed at which it's coming together. At this rate I may be able to wear it while the weather is still cool enough...

14 comments :

  1. Lovely colours - looking forward to seeing the finished article.
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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    1. It's nearly there! I'm now on the sleeves.

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  2. Oooh, nice!
    Yes, I did wonder about that, I was pretty sure of that too, but a book I read recently had one of the characters buying wool for jumpers for herself willy nilly, and that wouldn't have been the case.
    I am staggered by the price of it now, even the artificial fibres, when I was in a wool shop in town recently there was a woman buying a pattern for a jumper and the wool, it came to over seventy quid, I nearly died!
    Especially given the rubbish prices the fleeces can fetch.

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    1. I think it depends on the quality of fleece. In Britain, a lot of the sheep are hill sheep, hardy creatures for living on uplands, but their fleeces aren't soft enough for clothing. Downlands breeds are better for clothing-quality wool.

      I tend to buy my wool from Black Sheep (their clearance bargains are fantastic) or Deramores (sign up to their newsletter and wait for them to do a 10/15% deal on the brand you're interested in - they do a different deal each week so you don't have to wait long!). And 4ply yarn goes a lot further than heavier weights. My navy cardi took 10 balls, but as I got the yarn in a sale I think it only cost about £30, and it's knitted in pure Merino.

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  3. Replies
    1. Ta! It's actually a really simple pattern - it'd be a great one for a fairly inexperienced knitter.

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  4. That is beautiful, I love the colours you have chosen :)

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    1. Thank you! I am very pleased with how it's looking.

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  5. Lovely! It looks great, I really like the colours.

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    1. The yarn was expensive, so I could only afford one skein a month, and there were new dye lots each month. I tried to buy colours that would work together. I'm pleased with how they look all together.

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  6. I have noticed here in NZ the op shops sell unraveled wool. Never seen that in Canada ....likewise, buttons re-sewn into cards. I specially like the hospice shop that sews 'em on to re-cycled playing cards.

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    1. Interesting! I've never seen that here in charity shops in the UK either. The only place I know selling recycled buttons is a vintage clothing shop.

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