Added Nov 6, 2012
London, United K...
This was my first attempt at using one of the re-written patterns from Susan Crawford’s re-issued “A Stitch in Time” Vol 2 (rather than following an original single-size vintage pattern), but in fact I ended up making a lot of changes anyway.
The original 1950s pattern constituted a jumper and bolero twinset, with the jumper having short sleeves and a patterned back and the bolero on top with tight-fitting long sleeves and a plain back. I didn’t have enough wool to do both, and what I really needed was a bolero to fit on top of my dresses as a more manageable substitute for swathing myself in shawls when the sun went down – it’s hard to do the washing-up with a pashmina wrapped round you. So I simply worked the decorative back of the jumper instead, since the two pieces of the pattern are exactly the same size. The ’V’s of the pattern don’t show up terribly well on the front pieces, and in any case I should have got extremely bored if I had worked the entirely large square back in stocking-stitch!
I also ‘graded’ between the two smallest sizes of the pattern to widen the shoulders by reducing the number of decreases at the armholes, since the pattern measurements given seemed to specify very short shoulder seams on the smallest size. In fact I think I could probably have worked this straight as written – the final result is now slightly off-the-shoulder on me.
The reworking had added an extra inch to the sleeve length for no very clear reason, so here I reverted to the original pattern (also included in the book) which despite being one size larger was actually shorter in the sleeve. This time it was definitely the right decision – I can wear the sleeves turned back (as in the original pattern photo and seen here) to clear my watch-strap, or rolled down to their maximum length to cover the wrist-bone. The sleeves on the modern model’s version are clearly too long for her when worn unrolled – I’m not sure why this change to the pattern got made.
I was afraid the sleeves would be too tight-fitting, since they’re designed to fit over bare arms, but in fact they work very well. The ‘droplet’ pattern is somewhat stretchy, and it doesn’t show a ‘bag’ at the elbows as stocking-stitch sleeves do – very useful when you’re propped up reading!
I also ended up making a much longer ribbing band to go all round the edges of the bolero than that specified in either the new or the old pattern. I spent a great deal of time tacking and stretching the band to try to get it to fit as instructed, but found that it caused the whole garment to bulge out and look nothing like the original pattern photo, so simply knitted some more ribbing onto the end and increased the total length of the band to 56". I still think it’s a bit too stretched at the back of the neck and makes me look slightly hunchbacked where the fabric bulges as a result….(frankly, it could have been less tight at the bottom as well).
On the whole I’m very pleased with the result; this is one of my most successful knitting projects. And it certainly made a change having more than enough wool to complete a garment all in one colour, without constantly worrying about running out… in fact I actually re-knitted the left front piece with fresh wool when I decided that I preferred the look of the fabric ‘unblocked’ to ‘blocked’!
Three large 100g balls of khaki-coloured Robin 4-ply acrylic, picked up very cheaply when the local department store decided to stop stocking 4-ply in favour of chunkier wools – I suspect these failed to sell because of the drab colour. Size 10 and 12 knitting needles.
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