Friday, March 09, 2007

Calcutta Cup sweater

I reached the lower-neck-shaping point yesterday, and got seriously to grips with it: sweater and pattern-sweater spread out on the floor; pen, paper, calculator, measuring-tape to hand. But before I got very far, I reflected.

When I reach the desired length – it should happen today – I will have a good many more than 40%K stitches. Meg says that’s fine; decrease them in the first round of the neck edging. (I must have miscalculated when sleeves were attached to body – I did a whole inch or so without shaping; clearly I shouldn’t have.)

But if I leave stitches behind for the neck now, and perhaps decrease a few more on either side of the neck before I finish, the decreases just mentioned will have to bunch on the remaining stitches. Won’t that unbalance things? The front will be wider than the back? Would that matter?

So I didn’t do anything, and am proceeding to the neck on all stitches. I will then try to raise the back with the neckband as we have been discussing, Xmasberry. I suspect you’re right that the difference between EZ’s treatments of the different sweaters may stem from the fact that one had colour patterns and the other didn’t.

But I remain determined to try again if the first attempt doesn’t succeed. I can still cut.


I’ve been revelling in my new purchases.

Number 9 is autumn, ’36. There is no hint of storm clouds gathering, or of the Depression. All is close-fitting, fine wools, one size per garment (although there are two patterns designed for a 38-inch bust measurement, one of them actually labelled “Suit for the Larger Woman”.) Suits figure prominently. The skirts are unlined, which seems odd to me. There are lots of sporty sweaters, all pretty trim to the modern eye, intended, according to the text, for golf and ski-ing and winter cruises.

There is even, oddly, a “Warm Coat for Winter Tennis”. It looks too bulky for tennis in any season.

The ads are wonderful, as ever. I am particularly taken with an ad for a Bairns-Wear layette leaflet – the cover shows a baby in the arms of a fully uniformed nurse: not a hospital nurse, I am sure, but a domestic employee, a “monthly nurse.” No mother in sight.

There is a full-page ad for Vogue itself. It came out fortnightly in those days, and included a knitting or crochet design in every issue. “Vogue is a life saver for the smartly poor.”


Here is a picture which turned up yesterday of grandson Fergus of Thessaloniki on holiday in Egypt last Christmas.


  1. The keen-eyed might even be able to recognize the uniform the nanny is wearing. There was a particularly famous college, Milton or Walton or something, which produced the most desirable nannies, and I'm sure Vogue readers would have aspired to that. Interesting that Vogue itself was once a fortnight; however did people keep up?

  2. Anonymous10:00 AM

    Norland? They're still the poshest nannies around, and they still wear (rather vile brown) uniforms.

  3. Anonymous4:13 PM

    Jean, have you heard of this book: Knitting Fashions of the 1940s: Styles, Patterns and History
    by Jane Waller (2006). Carol reviews it today at and I thought of you and your VKBs.

  4. how could someone called fergus be anything but very very sweet. and the camel is quite lovely as well.

  5. Anonymous1:38 AM

    The new Jane Waller book is lovely. I was lucky enough to get it as a Xmas present and it is as good as Carol says. The presentation is excellent and the wealth of information and patterns is great. Her previous books are good but this is so much better. However if you can find them it is well worth looking though her older books as they have a strong focus on the presentation of the patterns in their historical/social context and the patterns themselves are great fun. Judith.

  6. really interested to see / hear how the neckband for calcutta comes out. Good luck!

  7. Anonymous3:00 PM

    Nice to read that people like my new 'Knitting Fashions of the 1940s'.

    Ever since I wrote 'A Stitch in Time' (published back in 1972!) I have been keen on making sure that these fabulous patterns are widely available to the new generation of knitters.

    Jane Waller