1960s Big Ben
Added Mar 21, 2011
London, United K...
I made this jumper for my mother’s birthday using an original Patons & Baldwin’s 1960s pattern (6d from “Hammond’s Limited, Paragon Square, Hull”). The quantities specified in the pattern were ‘11 hanks of Blue and 8 hanks of White BIG BEN knitting’, which was, to put it mildly, unhelpful in guessing what weight of wool to use and what amount; in the end I used four different colours, three in double-knit and the white in Aran-weight wool (selected from my random collection of oddments) and made the jumper in stripes with a contrast welt, collar and cuffs. The overall effect was actually very successful, although I think with hindsight that BIG BEN must have been a chunky-weight wool – it’s hard to tell with vintage patterns. In consequence the jumper has come out very light and airy, and remarkably warm for its weight.
I made up the pattern in the larger size (36-38 in) and in addition added an extra inch to the length of the body and an extra half-inch to the length of the arms in the hopes of getting a better fit on my tall, strong mother, so the proportions aren’t quite the same as the ones in the pattern photo – notably, the collar is relatively smaller.
The double-height ribbing is made to an ingenious but very simple pattern which involves knitting into the row below on every purl stitch, then dropping both stitches off the needle at once, creating a three-dimensional stitch with each alternate row showing up on either the front or back of the fabric: you get one row of Vs for every two rows you knit. Unfortunately this is absolutely beastly to pick up if you drop a stitch or have to unpick one or more rows; by the end of the garment I could just about retwist my multiple loops into the pattern if necessary, but it still took two or three attempts for every single stitch.
The pattern isn’t always easy to follow (for example, they don’t give the reverse shaping on the right shoulder, but just tell you to ‘finish to correspond with first side’) but it isn’t very complex. The most difficult bit to understand was knitting up the collar on four single-pointed needles – it had never even occurred to me that one could do this! Actually, it works a treat.
About 3oz each of purple, pink and blue double-knitting, and rather more than 6oz of white Aran-weight wool.
- Spring, Fall, Winter
- Garment Type
- Casual, Classic, Vintage
- Patons & Baldwins