Friday, 19 April 2013


Nothing quite brings the past to life like vintage knitting. The designs are often beautiful and delicate, the patterns fascinating and intricate. Yarn was fine and needles were thin, making knitting a very time consuming way to make your own clothes. However, in a time without TV or social media a lady had plenty of time to invest in stitching a garment that would be loved for years. In those days clothes were a precious asset, and making your own was sometimes the only way to get your hands on a fashionable item. 

I can totally see where these girls were coming from. To wear a jumper that you knitted yourself gives an intense amount of satisfaction and joy. Every stitch you put in it makes it personal to you. Out of all the garments in my wardrobe these are the ones that are treated with the most care and respect. 

Anyway, let's not get carried away. But there really is something quite special about knitting from a pattern that so many women have knitted before you, all those years ago. Not to put too morbid a point on it, but these women are probably no longer with us. Just like the designers, the models, the yarns and the garments themselves. Everything has disappeared but the pattern and YOU can bring it back to life again. There are purists out there who knit the exact original, and there certainly is a lot to be said for that. That is, if you have a figure that allows you to do that. But if you're taller, bigger or bustier than most pre or post war girls (which we usually are nowadays) you will probably need to make some amendments. For example, I always make the bodice 10 cm longer because I prefer the ribbing to rest on my hips rather than in my middle. 

I was totally in love with the tie neck jumper in the photo. It just had to be mine. I was quite intimidated by the adjustments I needed to make to make it fit my figure, but I embarked on it anyway. You can find the free pattern here. While you're at it, do check these Vintage Knitting Pattern Tips & Tricks from Geraldine Warner, they helped me a LOT. 

Here's my result. Apologies for the self-congratulating look :)


Yarn: Rico Design Essentials Merino DK
Colourway: anthracite (no 99)
Needle Size: 3,5 mm and 4 mm (circular needle)

Knitting Log

Started project on 17/3: Because I just adore moss stitch, I've decided to do ribbing in half moss and the body in moss stitch instead of half moss. Made a couple of swatches until I was happy with the feel of the fabric. It also helped me adapt the number of stitches to cast on as the DK I am using is chunkier than the yarn weight the pattern suggests. Scary - fingers crossed!

18/3: Cast on 180 stitches on 3,5 mm circular needles to knit body in the round. Switched to 4 mm needles after ribbing. 

24/3: Still doing the body as with moss stitch this takes forever. Although I have taken this opportunity to practise my k1 p1 continental style which really knits up a lot quicker. I am tallish and would like the ribbing to reach hips, so will probably be doing about 40 cm before armhole shaping instead of the suggested 30 cm. Watching 'Bomb Girls' while knitting to keep in forties atmosphere :)

11/4: Not a fan of lots of seams so after seaming up the shoulders and the tie I decided to pick up the stitches for the sleeves. Picked up 69 stitches (almost) evenly around each armhole. Decided against puff sleeves because I thought it would make my shoulders probably look too broad. Using the Magic Loop technique I did wrap and turn short rows in moss stitch between 11 stitches from the top left and 11 stitches from the top right, continuing until I had 12 stitches on each side from the bottom of the armhole. Then I worked in the round and completed the sleeves just above the elbow. 

12/4: Finished!! I am sooooooo happy with it. Now secretively hoping that the weather will not warm up for a while so I can keep wearing it :D

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