Pattern of
the Month

On the Needles
(...and Off the Needles)



Vintage Patterns

About the
Idle Hands

Archive entry for December 2018

« November 2018 | Main | January 2019 »

December 2018

On Christmas morning


If your 5-year-old is getting a box of soldiers then make him this amusing matching jersey
... what little boy wouldn't be thrilled to receive this attractive woolly on Christmas morning, teaming up with his new toys. Quickly knitted in tough Fair Isle Fingering, and you can use up your odds and ends for the soldier motifs.

Suitable for all 5 year olds who aren't expecting an iphone, (and who like to play out of season cricket).


The jersey is worked in one size - stated as a 5 year old but remembering that children now tend to be larger than they were in the early 1950s.


Using No 12 (2¾mm) needles and main shade (mid blue) cast on 84 stitches, and work 1½ inches in k1/p1 rib, increasing to 85 stitches on the last row.

Change to No 10 (3¼mm) needles and stocking stitch, and changing from the main mid-blue wool to the pale blue as the background colour for the motifs, work the soldier pattern from chart, reading knit rows from right to left and purl rows from left to right.

Work the 12 pattern stitches 7 times across with last stitch on knit rows and first stitch on purl rows as indicated.

When 20 rows have been completed, change back to the mid-blue main shade and work straight in stocking stitch until back measures 8 inches.

Then, with right side facing, shape armholes by casting off 5 stitches at the beginning of he next 2 rows. Then k2tog at each end of every knit row until 65 stitches remain.
Work straight until back measures 13¼ inches.

With right side facing, shape shoulders by casting off 12 stitches at the beginning of the next 4 rows.
Cast off remaining stitches.


Work exactly as for back until the first 2 rows of the armhole shaping have been done. [75 sts]

Now divide for the neck:
Next row: k2tog, pattern 35, turn, and leave remaining stitches on a spare needle or stitch holder.

Continue on these 35 stitches for back, decreasing 1 stitch at the armhole edge on the next 4 rows, then keeping the armhole edge straight, and at the same time, decreasing at the neck edge on every following 3rd row until 24 stitches remain.

Work straight until front matches back, then with right side facing, shape shoulders by casting off 12 stitches at the beginning of the next and following alternate row, armhole edge.

Join the wool to the remaining stitches, at the neck edge; cast off 1, then work to correspond with first half, reversing all shapings.


Using No 12 (2¾mm) needles and main shade (mid-blue) cast on 48 stitches and work 1 inch in k1/p1 rib, increasing to 49 stitches on the last row.

Change to No 10 (3¼mm) needles and stocking stitch, and work the 20 rows from the chart as for the back.

When these are done, change back to the main mid-blue wool and continue in stocking stitch, increasing 1 stitch at each end of the next and every following 6th row until there are 63 stitches.

Work straight until sleeve measures 10½ inches.

With right side facing, shape top by casting off 3 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows, then k2tog at the beginning of every row until 21 stitches remain.
Cast off.


Join right shoulder seam.

With right side facing, using No 12 (2¾mm) needles and mid-blue main shade, pick up and knit 48 stitches down left front, 1 stitch from centre, 48 stitches up right front, and 18 stitches across back of neck.

Work ¾ inch k1/p1 rib; decreasing 1 stitch either side of centre front stitch on alternate rows.
Cast off in rib.

Making Up

Omitting ribbing, press each piece carefully on wrong side using a warm iron and a damp cloth.
Join left shoulder, side and sleeve seams.
Sew in sleeves.


3 oz Fair Isle Fingering in main shade (mid blue) and 1 oz in paler blue. Small balls in red and navy for the soldier motifs.

A pair each No 12 (2¾mm) and No 10 (3¼mm) needles.


30 sts and 38 rows to 4 inches over stocking stitch.

Size matters

One size - width all round chest 25 ins.
Length from top of shoulders: 13½ ins.
Sleeve seam: 10½ inches.


k1: knit 1.
p1: purl 1.
k2tog: knit 2 sts together to decrease a stitch.
stocking stitch: 1 row knit, 1 row purl.

A word on the wool

Original called for Patons Fair Isle Fingering about which there is some information available on Ravelry. This pattern is in ounces but it seems the yarn stuck around for a while as some vintage stocks can be seen in 25g balls.
Measured by a user to be about 150m or 160 yards to a 1 oz ball, and the ball band states "4ply".

Jamiesons are Kings (or Queens) of Fair Isle and Shetland knitting - their Spindrift yarn sounds a good substitute: equivalent to a traditional 4ply; ideal for Fair Isle knitting; extensive colour pallet of over 220 colours; supplied in 25g Balls (105m); tension: 30sts x 32 rows on 3¼mm needles.


In transposing any pattern it is always a risk that errors will be introduced, in spite of dedicated proof reading.
If you have any problems with this pattern, please and I will try and assist.


© Christina Coutts 2007

Helpful Stuff

Pattern Archive


Yarn Links

Fabric etc

Stuff to do

  • Little rabbits
  • V&A 1940s Patterns
  • Monkey Socks
  • Necktie Bag
  • Posh Gloves
  • Criss-cross coasters