Thursday, 29 January 2015

Bestway 1066 - 1940s Blackberry Stitch Bolero

Hasn’t it turned decidedly cold?  I’m sitting here, looking out of the window, ignoring the ironing, willing for the white stuff to start falling.  I’ve seen plenty of picture postcard views from other parts of the country, but Suffolk has avoided a covering, much to my girls’ annoyance.

They are off on a jolly with their grandma today, the first time this year.  Lunch and a spot of beach combing are on the cards; so I’ve got a small window of me time, in which to share with you my recently finished bolero.

I rather like a natty little bolero.  They were quite popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s, and could be found in both the fabric and woolly variety.  I have quite a few patterns for the knitted sort; some lacey, some simple, others hideously complicated.  After much deliberation, (choosing a pattern is a complicated job, don’t you know), I opted for the blackberry-stitch bolero, a Bestway pattern from the early 1940’s.


Quite a while ago, many months, maybe even years, us wool hoarders loose track of our stash, I picked up 4 balls of Jarol Heritage 4 ply. 


Jarol wasn’t a brand I’d heard of before, but on a mission for mustard shades, the Heritage range popped up in the search results.  The shade I used was No.140, which is a warm mustard/ochre.  It’s not the cheapest of wools, working out at about £5.00 per 100g, but it is worth the money, because the quality is there.  It’s a 55% wool, 25% acrylic and 20% nylon mix which is, apparently, washable at 30 degrees, although I always advocate hand washing the woollies I knit.  Although there is some acrylic in it, it doesn’t shine in the sunlight like some of the cheaper brands do.  It’s a dull, matt colour which, I know I’m not describing very favourably, is perfect for an authentic reproduction piece. 

About 7 years ago, when I first started knitting, and progressed beyond 6” squares, the first thing I knitted up was a blackberry stitch turban, worked on huge needles.  The joy of blackberry stitch is that when worked on larger needles, it knits up quite quickly.  This bolero was knitted on 8’s, so I could really see it growing, which is always a plus in my book.

I actually made a sleeve for the bolero back in the autumn last year, but with commissions and Christmas prep, everything got bagged up until it was rediscovered in a cupboard on New Years.  Sunday evening knitting was made all the more palatable by being able to watch Foyle's War.


I often wonder how long it actually takes me to knit a garment.  Because I knit as the girls work, or in the car, or while I watch television, I don’t notice time ticking by.  So, New Year, new start, and all that, I thought it was about time I actually found out.  So I timed myself!  Yep, armed with my trusty stopwatch and a piece of paper, I recorded how long it took me to knit every single piece.  I even timed how long it took me to pin, press and finish it.  The grand total was 46 ½ hours, which I don’t think is too bad.  

I would have finished it sooner, but I foolishly tried to knit the second sleeve while full of snuffles, and so my cotton wool brain fluffed it up, and I had to start the sleeve over again!  Note the curly wool from ripping back the sleeve!


Sometimes patterns turn out as per the original, but sometimes they don’t, and this was one of those.  Although the pattern was nice and simple to follow, with a really easy pattern repeat, the sleeve tops didn’t go together as they should, so rather than putting in the pleats as suggested in the original, I gathered them instead.  The finished bolero also ended up being 4” bigger in the bust, coming out as a 38” rather than a 34”, but that’s not the end of the world.  Sorry about my photographs, they aren’t the best but it’s been so dull here.  I think the sun has gone on strike!



If you fancy giving this one a go, maybe in a cornflower blue or pistachio green ready for Spring, I have put the PDF pattern in my Etsy shop, which you can find here. 

Wool - Jarol Heritage 4 ply
Weight used - 256g
Time taken - 46.5 hours
Size - 38”

22 comments:

  1. That is absolutely lovely, and I love the colour, think I will add that one to my knitting list too!
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Julie, I'm rather pleased with how it turned out. I'll get a copy of the pattern to you ;-) xxx

      Delete
  2. It's gorgeous - love the colour! Hope you're feeling better x Jane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jane. Yes, feeling much better now :o) xx

      Delete
  3. The bolero jacket is beautiful, I love the colour. In fact I bought a ball, the last ball of the same wool in the same colour the other week. I have found a new little wool shop with a large amount of 4 ply so am really happy.
    Hope you are feeling better.
    Fondly Michelle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Michelle, the colour is rather lovely. Our local wool shop closed a few months ago, and the one in the next town closed last month, such a shame. I know there are plenty of online suppliers, but nothing beats actually being able to feel the wool and see the true colours before you buy. I'm feeling much better now, thank you, and I'll reply to your email soon, I promise! :o) xx

      Delete
  4. That stitch looks lovely, you choose a great colour too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Elise. I'm a great fan of patterns that look good, but aren't too complicated to knit :o)

      Delete
  5. I love that stitch & it looks fab in that colour. I try to time myself when making things so I have a rough idea of what to charge, although no one would ever pay the price if you charged min wage for the hours you put in!!!! I'm hoping for snow too but I very much doubt it in Devon :( x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Joe. Hmm, yes, if I charged minimum wage, I'd never sell a thing. Timing myself did help reasure me that the prices I do charge are fair. Just got to find the time to list the thing now :o) We had a little snow, nothing to write home about. My family in Cornwall had more than we did, and that's rare indeed! xx

      Delete
  6. That's very pretty, and looks very versatile. I've never tried blackberry stitch.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mim. Yes, boleros are very versatile, and they always prove popular at events. Blackberry stitch really is simple. This one is just three stitches worked into one, but the snoods I used to knit, if I recall, were 5 into one, which gave a bigger blackberry. Really worth the time as it's a very neat little design x

      Delete
  7. What a stunning little bolero! I do adore the look of the blackberry stitch, though I am not game enough to try it out yet. I had heard it's pretty hard? Oh, well ~ another project, another time and something to put on my knitting to-do list along with stranded color work. : ) ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Bonita. Blackberry stitch really is a great looking thing, and I promise, it easy to work, far easier than Fair Isle knitting. It you can knit and pearl, then you can do this stitch. I hope you manage it one day. My knitting list grows forever longer too :o) x

      Delete
  8. I remember you mentioning this bolero in one of your previous posts and wondered what it was going to look like. Well, I wasn't disappointed as its turned out beautifully. I've never tried blackberry stitch myself, but it does look pretty doesn't it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. I really like working in blackberry stitch, far more so than a lot of the other bobble patterns. I also like that they sit in regimental lines, so it's really easy to see when you've made a mistake! :o) x

      Delete
  9. Such a lovely bolero. Blackberry stitch gives such a great squishy looking texture. I have been looking for a good mustard colour yarn so will look into this one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kate. Squishy is a great word for it, it certainly produces a very tactile garment! Jarol Heritage mustard really is a great colour. I'm still not sure the photographs show the true shade, but this mustard is a true mustard, with not a hint of brightness that you get so often. It would suit your beautiful vintage woollies perfectly ! x

      Delete