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September 2018

Plain Jane

PlainJane.jpg

Although I always hesitate to say this, I do think the design of this particular classic plain sweater in a fine (4 ply fingering) yarn, is pretty timeless. It is knitted in one colour, but could be a good basic pattern to be used for colour work: stripes or fairisle; do remember though that stranded colour work does tend to pull in the stitiches somewhat, so do check your tension before you start adapting.

The sweater is titled a "short length classic sweater". Of course, you can knit it to the length you want - but - it is designed to fit to the waist and so there is some shaping in the form of increases up to the armhole. If you want it longer or do not see yourself with a neat waist, you could cast on the full number of stitches at the start, and just knit straight up to the armhole omitting the increasing.

Instructions.

Instructions for larger sizes are given in brackets.

Back

‡‡
With No 12 (2¾mm) needles, cast on 92 [98, 106, 112, 120] stitches and work in k1/p1 rib for 2¾ inches (7 cm).

Change to No 10 (3¼mm) needles, and starting with a knit row, work in stocking stitch, shaping sides by increasing 1 stitch at each end of the 5th and every following 6th row until there are 114 [120, 128, 134, 142] stitches.

Work straight until Back measures 11 inches, (28 cm), ending with a purl row.

Shape armholes by casting off 3 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows, then decrease 1 stitch at each end of every row until 100 [102, 102, 108, 104] stitches remain.

Now decrease 1 stitch at each end of the next and every following alternate row until 86 [90, 92, 98, 100] stitches remain.
‡‡

Work straight until Back measures 18½ [19, 19¼, 19¾, 20] inches, (47 [48, 49, 50, 51] cm), ending with a purl row.

Shape shoulders by casting off 11 [12, 12, 13, 13] stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows, then cast off 12 [13, 13, 14, 13] stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows.

Leave the remaining 40 [40, 42, 44, 48] stitches on a length of yarn, or stitch holder.

Front

Work as for Back from ‡‡ to ‡‡.

Work straight until Front measures 16 [16½, 17, 17½, 17½] inches, (41 [42, 43, 44, 44] cm), ending with a purl row.

Shape neck as follows:
Next row: k30 [32, 32, 34, 35], turn, and leave remaining stitches on a spare needle or stitch holder.
Next row: p2tog, purl to end.

Continue on these stitches for the first side, decreasing 1 stitch at the neck edge on the next 3 rows, and then on every alternate row until 23 [25, 25, 27, 26] stitches remain.

Work straight until Front matches Back to start of shoulder shaping, ending with a purl row.

Shape shoulders by casting off 11 [12, 12, 13, 13] stitches at the beginning of the next row.
Work 1 row.
Cast off remaining 12 [13, 13, 14, 13] stitches.

With right side facing, leave centre 26 [26, 28, 30, 30] stitches on a spare needle or stitch holder, rejoin yarn to remaining stitches and complete to correspond with the first side, reversing shapings.

Sleeves

With No 12 needles, cast on 50 [50, 54, 56, 56] stitches and work in k1/p1 rib for 2 inches (5 cm).

Next row: rib 7, (m1, rib 12 [12, 13, 14, 14]) 3 times, m1, rib 7 [7, 8, 7, 7].
(54 [54, 58, 60, 60] sts).

Change to No 10 needles and starting with a knit row, work in stocking stitch, shaping sides by increasing 1 stitch at each end of the next and every following 9th [7th, 8th, 7th, 6th] row until there are 82 [88, 90, 94, 100] stitches.

Work straight until sleeve seam measures 17½ inches, (44 cm), ending with a purl row.

Shape top by casting off 3 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows, then decrease 1 stitch at each end of the next and every following alternate row until 28 [32, 30, 30, 34] stitches remain.
Work 1 row.

Now decrease 1 stitch at each end of every row until 20 [20, 22, 22, 22] stitches remain.
Cast off.

Making Up

Omitting ribbing, press parts lightly on wrong side following instructions (if any) on the ball band.
Join right shoulder seam.

Neckband: With right side facing and No 12 needles, knit up 18 [18, 18, 18, 19] stitches down left side of neck, knit 26 [26, 28, 30, 30] stitches from front, knit up 18 [18, 18, 18, 19] stitches up right side of neck, knit 40 [40, 42, 44, 48] stitches from back.
(102 [102, 106, 110, 116] sts).
Work in k1/p1 rib for 2 inches, (5 cm).
Cast off loosely in rib.

Join left shoulder seam and Neckband.
Fold Neckband in half to wrong side and slip-hem neatly in position.

Join side and sleeve seams; insert Sleeves.
Press seams.

Materials

11 [12, 13, 14,
15] (25 gram) balls 4 ply yarn.

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

Tension

28 stitches x 36 rows to 4 ins in stocking stitch on No 10 (3¼mm) needles.

Size matters

To fit chest 32 [34, 36, 38, 40] inches, (81 [86, 91, 97, 102] cm);
length from top of
shoulders: 18½ [19,
19½, 19¾, 20] inches, (47 [48, 49, 50, 51] cm);
sleeve seam: 17½ inches, (44 cm), all sizes.

Abbreviations

k2tog or p2tog: knit or purl 2 stitches together (decrease one stitch).
stocking stitch: one row knit and one row purl, ("stockinette").
m1: make 1 stitch by picking up horizontal
loop lying before next stitch and working into the back of it.

Disclaimer
(well...almost)

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.

August 2018

The Master Touch

BoldColourSweater.jpg

A summer setting with summer colours for this man's sweater in double knitting. Original was knitted in pure wool but there are many cotton blend yarn options in exciting colours that you could use instead.
Perfect for that Indian summer.

Instructions.

Sweater is worked in intarsia technique using smaller balls of yarn wound onto bobbins. Instructions are given for 3 sizes.

Back

**
With No 10 needles and main shade (M), cast on 114/118/122 stitches, and work 15 rows k1/p1 rib, knitting into the back of the knit stitches on every row to give a twisted rib.
Make a hem on the next row by knitting 1 stitch from the needle together with 1 stitch from the cast-on edge all along.
Editors note: If you don't want to make this type of hem then just make the ribbed welt as long as you would like (15 rows or shorter - or longer) then do the increase row and start the pattern as below.

Next row: purl, increasing 6/8/10 stitches evenly across.
[120 / 126 / 132 sts]

Change to No 8 needles and winding 5 lengths of contrast B yarn
off on to bobbins for each stripe, work in pattern as follows:

1st row (right side facing): K10 / 11 / 12 M; k4 B; * k20 / 21 / 22 M, k4 B; repeat from * 3 times more, k10 / 11 / 12 M.
2nd row: P10 / 11 / 12 M; p4 B; * p20 / 21 / 22 M, p4 B; repeat from * 3 times more, p10 / 11 / 12 M.

Repeat 1st and 2nd rows 4 times more, then 1st row again.
Break M and B yarns.

Join in yarn C, and working with 5 lengths of M yarn on bobbins for stripes, continue thus:

12th row: P10 / 11 / 12 C; p4 M; * p20 / 21 / 22 C, p4 M; repeat from * 3 times more, p10 / 11 / 12 C.
13th row: K10 / 11 / 12 C; k4 M; * k20 / 21 / 22 C, k4 M; repeat from * 3 times more, k10 / 11 / 12 C.

Repeat the last 2 rows 3 times more.
Break C and M yarns.

Join in yarn M, and using 5 bobbins of B yarn for stripes, continue thus:

20th row: as 2nd row.
21st row: as 1st. row.

Repeat the last 2 rows once more.
Break M yarn.

Join in yarn W:

24th row: P10 / 11 / 12 W; p4 B; * p20 / 21 / 22 W, p4 B; repeat from * 3 times more, p10 / 11 / 12 W.
25th row: K10 / 11 / 12 W; k4 B; * k20 / 21 / 22 W, k4 B; repeat from * 3 times more, k10 / 11 / 12 W.

Break W yarn.

Rejoin M, and repeat 2nd then 1st rows in that order 6 times more.

Break M yarn.

Join in C.

38th row: P10 / 11 / 12 C; p4 B; * p20 / 21 / 22 C, p4 B; repeat from * 3 times more, p10 / 11 / 12 C.

Break C yarn.

These 38 rows form the pattern. Join in M, and work straight continuing the pattern sequence to the end of the 32nd / 32nd / 36th row of the 3rd pattern.

Keeping pattern correct, shape armholes by casting off 5 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows, then decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of every row until 100 / 104 / 108 stitches remain.
**

Work straight until back measures 25 / 25½ / 26 inches, ending with right side facing.
Shape shoulders by casting off 8 stitches at the beginning of the next 6 rows, then 8 / 10 / 12 stitches at the beginning of the following 2 rows.
Leave remaining 36 stitches on a stitch holder.

Front

Work as for back from ** to ** .
Continue in pattern and work straight until front measures 22 / 22½ / 23 inches, ending with a purl row.

Shape neck as follows:

Next row: K37 / 39 / 41, turn, and leave remaining stitches on a spare needle.

Working on first 37 / 39 / 41 stitches, decrease 1 stitch at the neck edge on every row until 32 / 34 / 36 stitches remain.
Work straight until front matches back ending at armhole edge.

Shape shoulder by casting off 8 stitches at the beginning of the next and every following alternate row, until 8 / 10 / 12 stitches remain.
Work 1 row straight. Cast off.

With right side facing, slip centre 26 stitches on a stitch-holder, and rejoin yarn to the remaining 37 / 39 / 41 stitches, work to end.

Finish to correspond with first side.

Sleeves

With No 10 needles and main shade (M), cast on 60 stitches, and work 15 rows k1/p1 rib, as for back.

Next row: Purl, increasing 2 / 4 / 6 stitches evenly across the row.
[62 / 64 / 66 sts]

Change to No 8 needles and continue in pattern, joining in lengths of yarn B as required.

1st row: K5 M; k4 B; * k20 / 21 / 22 M, k4 B; repeat from * once more, k5 M.
2nd row: P5 M; p4 B; * p20 / 21 / 22 M, p4 B; repeat from * once more, p5 M.

Repeat 1st and 2nd rows 4 times more, then 1st row again, increasing 1 stitch at each end of next and following 8th row.
Break M yarn.

Join in C.

Next row: P5 C; p4 B; * p20 / 21 / 22 C, p4 B; repeat from * once more, p5 C.
Break C wool.

Join in M, and continue in pattern as for back, starting with 1st pattern row, and increasing 1 stitch at each end of every 8th row from last increase until there are 90 / 92 / 94 stitches.

Work straight until 7 / 7 / 11 rows have been worked after 3rd W stripe.

Keeping pattern correct, shape top by casting off 6 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows, then decrease 1 stitch at the beginning of every row until 52 / 48 / 52 remain. Now decrease 1 stitch at each end of every row until 20 / 24 / 24 stitches remain.
Cast off.

To Make Up

Press parts lightly under a damp cloth, avoiding ribbing.
Join right shoulder seam.

Neck Border:
With No 10 needles and main shade M, start at left shoulder on front and with right side facing, pick up and knit 27 stitches down left side of neck, k26 from stitch-holder, pick up and knit 27 stitches up right side of neck, k36 from stitch-holder. [116 sts]

Work 15 rows in twisted rib as given for welt on back.
Cast off evenly in rib.

Join left shoulder and neck ribbing. Fold neck ribbing in half to wrong side and slip-hem lightly in position all round.
Join side and sleeve seams; insert sleeves, matching patterns on all seams.
Press seams.

Materials

Double Knitting yarn:
15/16/16 x 1oz balls in blue main shade (M);
4/4/4 oz in cornflower blue (B);
4/5/5 oz in charcoal (C);
1/1/2 oz in white (W).

Pair each of No 8 (4mm) and No 10 (3¼mm) needles.

Stitch holders and plastic bobbins

Tension

22sts and 30 rows to four inches on 4mm needles over stocking stitch.

Size matters

To fit chest:
37-38/39-40/41-42 inches;
length from top of shoulders: 25½/26/26½ inches;
sleeve seam:
18/18½/19 inches.

Abbreviations

k: knit
p: purl
M: main blue colour
B: cornflower
C: charcoal
W: white

A word on the wool.

Original yarn was Patons pure wool double knitting

Disclaimer
(well...almost)

In transposing any patterns 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.

 

July 2018

Colourful Kit Bag

KitBag3.jpg

Kit bags are yet another thing I have a weakness for; I still have and use a floral one I bought from the Gap at its flagship store in Richmond in the 1980s. I think it stems from when I was a little girl finding my Father's military kit bag in the attic with "Delhi" and "Bombay" stenciled* on it - conjuring all kind of exotic ideas and possibilities. [All us kids also used this kit bag for camping with the Scouts and Guides in those days].

Kit bags are a bit impractical for any activity other than that for which they were designed, but smaller ones can be used more successfully as hand bags. This one seems to be of a more useful size, and you can really make it to any size you feel like. If you use "any thickness" of yarn as suggested then even the size of the base is really up to you. Designed towards the end of WW2, in an era of extreme shortages - where even the manufacture of yarn was restricted never mind the rationing - it is made from "oddments" or "pulled back" wool. The paper the pattern was printed on is flimsy in the extreme and there are sympathetic references everywhere to the inability to source the materials required.

* As well as the destinations, there was also my Father's name, army number, and unit stenciled on his kit bag, and I remember being amazed that he could just recite it without thinking - when in fact his army days were not so very far distant then and of course the only thing you were ever obliged to reveal were "name, rank, and number" - so not so surprising other than to a tiny child who suddenly had a glimmer of an idea that her Father had a life before she existed.

Instructions.

The bag is really a free format design and quite simple to make. It's the details that can make it rather splendid.
The base is made as a reinforced cup shape (in leather or felt) with a base and short sides (border) - not so obvious but seen as blue in the picture.

Base:

[Editor's note: Since you are working to a non-specified tension, you might want to do the crochet part first and make the base to fit accordingly.]

Cut 2 circles of felt, one 8½ inches, the other 10 inches in diameter.
Cut 2 circles of cardboard, both 8½ inches in diameter.
Place both cardboard circles together on top of the large felt circle; turn felt over on to top of circle and stitch from one side to the other across centre, pulling stitches taut. Place second felt circle over this and slip-stitch in place.

Border

Cut a piece of felt 9 inches wide and 27 inches long; then a strip of cardboard 26 inches long and 4 inches wide.
Wrap felt round cardboard so as to cover both sides, oversewing the edges neatly and not touching the stiffening. Close the whole border to form a ring; place over base, and stitch firmly all round.

Crochet top

With double wool, make 140 chain and close to form a ring.

[Editor's note: Or *not* with double wool - as you prefer and depending on the thickness of the yarn you are using; in fact of you really are using scraps of different thicknesses you might use some of them double and some not. In the 1940s, sweaters were generally made in fingering (thin) yarn so the assumption would have been that this is what you would have had to work with.
Now would also be a good time to check out your tension - albeit in a free format kind of a way - does 140 chain look like it will go round your base? There is something to be said for maybe making your base after you have done the crochet top so you can make it to fit.]

1st round: Make 3 chain to form first treble, then work 1 chain, 1 treble all round, and link up with first treble.
2nd round
: 3 ch, then 1 treble in 1 treble all round, linking up with first treble.

Repeat 2nd round for about 8 or 9 inches, changing colour as required.

Now start decreasing by missing a tr 4 times evenly in round.
Continue to decrease, thus every round until 100 trebles remain.

Divide the work so that you have 36 trebles for back and front with 14 at each side. Work 12 rows of trebles on each of the 36 tr.
Finish off.

Turn down each of these 2 (36 treble) top hems and slip a piece of cardboard into each to stiffen before finally stitching.

Handles

With double wool make 70 chain and join to form a circle.
Work 3 rounds of trebles and fasten off.
Make another the same, then stitch each over a circle of old lengths of wool.

[Editor's note: You are essentially using the yarn as stuffing for the handles.]

To Make Up

Stitch crochet top to edge of base on inside of it, making it very firm. Sew handles firmly to stiffened tops.

Make a length of crochet chain with a small tassel at each end to thread through open sides at each side of handle.

Adaptations

ColourfulKitBag2.jpg

I was sufficiently smitten with this that I actually made one up for myself, with some adaptations of my own.

Firstly I did stick with the idea of using oddments I already had, but I used mostly chunky yarns so I did not have to work with the yarn doubled - which can be a bit of a nuisance when doing crochet, even though many old and new patterns seem to suggest it. As I selected my yarns based on colour, some of them were used double to achieve the thickness I wanted.

I also changed the stitch - I used a 4mm hook with my chunky yarn, and worked in double crochet (American single crochet) throughout instead of treble crochet in order to achieve a firmer fabric; trebles provide a moderately open fabric, which, even with a lining, was not the effect I wanted. If you want to do that yourself, bear in mind that working with dc is not as quick; however, I find crochet in general works up very quickly (as well as thicker) when compared with knitting.

[Editor's note: Worth noting here that although I settled on using chunky yarn, in my opinion, the original fingering (or 4 ply) yarn is about equivalent to an Aran or worsted weight yarn when used double; I say "in my opinion" as opinions do differ on this.

For the base, I used a rather thick leather (about 2mm) which was tough to work but made up surprisingly well. I bought it from leather4craft's selection of offcuts on eBay - but it did prove fairly expensive for all that. You could use a thin leather, or PVC, or recycled leather (which I found very easy to work with in the past) in which case you can treat it much like the felt although easing it may not be quite so easy.
If you choose thick enough leather, you might want to do away with the reinforcements of the cardboard, which is what I did, but I did line the inside of the whole bag with fabric.

ColourfulKitBag5.jpg

ColourfulKitBag3.jpg

I made the base to be an oval shape to suit the offcut of leather I had. I just took a rectangle about 12 by 8½ inches and rounded the corners (using a dinner plate as a guide), then attached the border in that shape; about ½ inch was used all round for the overlapping seam which gave a circumference fairly close to the original 9 inch circular base.
I made my crochet ring - in chunky yarn - to fit the shape (about 125-130 chain, or about 30 inches). The flattened circular shape actually matches the flattened effect of the top fastening and handles and I had to take that into account when positioning the handle flaps, for which I made rudimentary leather handles

Materials

Oddments of wool, any shade or ply.

A medium-sized crochet hook.
Corrugated paper or cardboard for base and handles.

Felt or leather for the base.
"Felt was used for the original, but it is scarce now."
("now" being 1944)

Tension

Dependent on the yarn and hook you use.

Size matters

The base of the bag is designed to be about 8½ inches.

Crochet abbreviations:

ch: chain
tr: treble
ss: slip stitch

Remember these are English crochet instructions where dc is equivalent to US single crochet - see "Terminology" in the side bar.

A Word on the Wool

I used some tough carpet wools in combination with any chunky yarns I could find in the right colours. I used a relatively smaller hook than usual for chunky in order to keep the fabric firm - and carpet-like.

I have seen some crochet work for sale at Woolfest using Herdwick wool which I liked a lot. It was similarly firm, making self- supporting small boxes. [I was less keen to try that out myself as I felt it would be quite tough on the hands.]

Disclaimer
(well...almost)

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.


Belt3.jpg

So by now I expect you are thinking "...but hey! - what about that extremely snazzy and attractive belt she is wearing? where can I buy that?".
Well - good news! it's not a purchased item at all - it's a one-of-a-kind hand-crafted item you can make yourself! Here's how:

Instructions.

Again the materials are designed to be "make do and mend" oddments of old pulled-back knitting wool in any ply and any shade, worked with a medium-sized crochet hook.
You also need a piece of (faux or real) leather, felt or suitable material for the backing.

Each circle is made separately:
First collect together your most disreputable ends of wool and join them, a few strands at a time, to make the foundation over which the circles are crocheted.

Now make 6 chain and join into a circle closely.
1st round: Work 12 dc into ring, working over the foundation of the old wool.
2nd and 3rd rounds: 2 dc into 1 dc all round.
Pull this foundation from time to time to see that the circle keeps its proper shape and is flat.

Break foundation and working wool and finish off neatly.

[Editor's note: The intention here is to achieve a fairly solid roundel by working your stitches over a core of old yarn - as you might do in stumpwork embroidery or making a corded buttonhole. Obviously you can do as many rounds as you like to achieve the appropriate size.]

Arrange the 15 circles for front of belt as shown in photograph, and stitch to foundation material cut to shape.
Work 4 crosses in the centre spaces.
Six circles are used to belt round the back, and these are stitched to separate circles of foundation material and then stitched together so that they overlap.
Join another 6 for the second side, then make a hook-and-eye fastening at the back.

© Christina Coutts 2007

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