Memory Lane Again

With Mum & Canon

Some things just get lost in the mists of time, and that is right and good, it clears the way for the next innovation. Take the hand-knitted cream jacket folded neatly on my arm in this photo taken somewhere by the sea in Kent in the later half of the 1970s. The pattern for that jacket is long gone, and I remember so little about it that reconstruction is not a possibility. Oh, I could make a stab, and I could get close, but it wouldn’t be that jacket, just a cream hand-knit jacket slightly reminscent of it.

As I recall, the design was slightly boxy without buttons; it had a slash neck – you can see in the photograph that the front is a long straight line right up to the shoulder. When worn, the neck would naturally fall open forming a soft, ad-hoc rever. The yoke area was worked in a one-by-one rib, but I can’t remember if the body was textured or just stocking stitch. I am guessing that I used an aran-weight yarn, because it felt more like a jacket than a cardigan.

I found the pattern in a UK knitting magazine that was published in a small format – probably A5 – and which had a fairly short lifespan. I can’t find anything in my internet research that seems to relate to this publication, but there are references to “Mon Tricot” which was also in a small format and published in the 1960s and early 1970s.  I bought my first copy of this mystery magazine in a newsagent on the Isle of Wight in the summer of 1976 then I got a few copies from shops before it became subscription only. I subscribed, but it wasn’t long before it petered out completely.

I can remember knitting a couple of other patterns as well as the cream jacket. There was a plain and simple twinset (short-sleeved sweater and long-sleeved cardigan) in a lightweight yarn, which featured a square neckline and folded hems – très chic. The wool I used was quite luxurious for the time, containing at least some cashmere, and I bought it in Aldertons, a little haberdashery shop that inhabited one of the historic buildings on Swan Lane in Norwich for at least a hundred years before closing down in the 80s or 90s. Although mainly dedicated to sewing, if you climbed a tiny, twisty wooden staircase to the first floor you would find a small selection of knitting wools.

The other pattern I knitted was a thick gilet made in a chunky wool for which the design was worked in three horizontal bands with each band being folded down on itself to double the fabric before the next section was added. It was an ingenious construction.

Returning to this cream jacket, I have been wondering whether I should add a cream version of that cabled jacket in my previous post to my list of things to make. It would not be a direct re-visit of this old project, but more an homage to the basic concept (I fear that may be akin to a fashion designer revealing the inspiration for their latest collection and you looking and saying “You what?”). I am not sure, however, because I rather like the idea of the heavily cabled jacket in a jewel toned yarn. It may be the destiny of this cream jacket to live on in memory, and this photograph, only.

Finally, to bring things bang up to date, I have a finished object! The Cable Front Cardigan is off the needles, washed, and ready to wear. I’ll do my wrap-up post on Monday with some finished object glamour shots.

I hope you all survived the week in good shape and that you have time this weekend to put in a bit of work on your crafts, whatever they may be.

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The new and the old

03-07-19 Progress
My current progress – not much to write home about

Well, hello there, welcome to Wednesday and my latest knitting update. As I intimated last week, there has been a slowdown in progress because I was engaged in ‘proper’ work last week, by which I mean a paying job carried on outside my home. One week was more than enough, though, and I am back to trying to puzzle out how to generate income without having to sit on a customer service desk for seven and a half hours a day, whilst hoping that other job opportunities will come along that involve methodical ‘back-office’ work needing someone with limitless patience when it comes to paper-handling, plus general plod-ability.

However, progress there has been, despite the overall rising of temperatures here in East Anglia, UK. Whilst I have only put about two rows on the Crazee Now cowl, I am a good halfway up the back of the Cable Front Cardigan which, thankfully, grows apace without me putting in a horrific amount of effort. I think this is on track to be in my wardrobe well ahead of the chilly autumn days which, it has struck me this week, can’t come soon enough for me. I don’t generally enjoy summer a lot, being an indoors rather than outdoors kind-of girl, a cooked vegetables rather than salad type, a opter for rhubarb crumble and custard rather than strawberries and cream. Wait, I need a short break here to fantasise about steamed jam roly-poly!

Okay, now that’s out of my system, I am going to write a little about an old project because there isn’t so much to say about my current knitting. The jumper I’m going to write about dated back to 2008 and it was one I really loved and enjoyed wearing. A plain, mid-blue, v-necked, long-sleeved jumper, it shouldn’t have been anything special, but it was one of the knits that stands out in my memory as just being eminently wearable.

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Jumper modelled on completion by 2008-me!

For me, one of the most successful things about this jumper was the yarn – “Grace” by Louisa Harding which is sadly gone from this place*. This was a DK-weight yarn, 50% Silk/50% Merino wool and it knitted, washed and wore like a dream. Initially it was sold in solid colours then a range of multi-coloured options were introduced. This blue was the only batch I ever bought and I kick myself for that. In 2010 I had a sweater’s quantity of a Rowan yarn with a similar fibre content, but found that one to be very splitty, and not anywhere near as pleasant to use. I started a jumper with it, but never finished, and in the end I sent the majority of the yarn to a charity shop, realising I would never want to use it.

I think the pattern for the jumper was from a pattern book that accompanied the yarn, although I’m sure I modified it by keeping the neckline very simple, bordered only by a minimal crochet edge. I remember the yarn being on the thick side for a double-knitting weight and the fabric pleasingly dense, with the silk content providing a softness and feeling of luxury but not giving it a drape as such. I know this jumper was part of my regular rotation of knitted garments for a good number of years, and that the fabric stood up to wearing and washing very well indeed.

Thinking about it, I could really do with a good, serviceable blue jumper in my winter wardrobe. I seem to have edged towards the teal end of the the blue shades over recent years, but a good mid-blue is eternally useful. Mind you, my plans for winter involve a couple of jumpers in icy shades. Perhaps soon I will treat you to revisit of the first jumper I knitted when I took up the needles again in 1976 after a bit of a hiatus during my early teens. If that seems like a non-sequiteur, it isn’t – the jumper was an icy pink shade and is the inspiration for the ones I am thinking of knitting this winter.

So, that’s all for now, folks! I hope your week is going well, and you are making progress on your plans and schemes. I need to head into the kitchen and sort out the vegetables I have been batch-cooking this morning; get them into the freezer, keeping out a serving to do vegetable rice for my tea.


* “Gone from this place” is a line used in the 2002 movie adaptation of HG Wells’ “The Time Machine” when describing Eloi who have been taken and eaten by the Morlocks, which is probably what happens to all those yarns we love when they stop being produced! If only I had bought the printed copy of “The Time Machine” that I was looking at yesterday I would be able to check if it’s actually used in the original text. Alas, I was not in a forward-thinking mood and now I would need a time machine to put it right!