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
has avoided a covering, much to my girls’ annoyance. Suffolk
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!