Thursday, 18 August 2016

Summer Stripes

Hello!  I hope you are enjoying your summer.  We are two thirds of the way through the school holiday here, and I have a rare day of peace so thought now was as good a time as any to share with you a couple of jumpers that I knitted a few months ago.

I don’t know what it is about them but, like a moth to a flame, I always find myself drawn towards striped knits. 

Striped knits, along with Fair Isle, have always been popular, but were even more so during the war years.  Promoted to the Home Front knitter as a great way of using up those odd balls of wool left over from other projects, thus keeping hold of your precious clothing coupons a little longer (1 clothing coupon got you 2 ounces of knitting wool) there were plenty of patterns to choose from.
While saving and making do were hugely important at a time when literally every ounce of wool counted, you only have to take a look at the various ways the stripes were worked and woollens designed to understand that frugality wasn’t the only factor, and that fashion was also key. 

From graduated stripes of varying width, to a classic horizontal stripe.  Multi-coloured rainbow affairs to a far sleeker, and stylish, look. Look hard enough, and you’re bound to find a pattern to suit everyone. 
I’ve knitted a number of striped jumpers in the past.  When I first started to knit, I only used DK, so the colour range available to me, in what was then my favoured Stylecraft, was a little limited.  But once I found I could effectively use 4 ply, the options were vast!

In the early part of 2016 I picked up a pattern on eBay, a favourite hunting ground of mine, for a wavy stripe jumper.  I hadn’t heard of Pearsall’s before, but was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the instructions and clear way the pattern was set out. 

Trying to keep to the 1940’s palette, I looked to the original pattern for inspiration because, unlike many of my favourite patterns, it offered up colourways which could work well.  Chestnut with New Gold, Wine and Moon Blue, Navy and Hyacinth or Black and Peach were the options offered up to tempt your fancy.  Because I am on a bit of a stash busting blitz, or at least I should be, and I didn’t have anything close to the colours suggested, I had to pick my own shades from the hoard of wool I have squirreled away.  There was plenty to choose from and I finally settled on my much loved Adriafil Azzurra in yellow and brown. 

The pattern is simple, and knits up really quickly.  I ignored the bit in the instructions which said you weren’t to press the work.  I think the lack of pressing was to do with the fact that they used rayon yarn, which, I’m guessing, hangs differently to wool, maybe weightier?!  Anyhow, I did press my work, and glad I did, else it would have looked dire!


It has a slightly unusual neckline.  Rather than a closed neck ribbing where you slip the jumper over your head, or a side opening one with a little fastener at the side, the front and back neck rib were worked entirely separately, and then fastened with a little button each side of the neck.  Made me think of Frankenstein’s monster, to be honest, but in a stylish sort of way! 

It sold really quickly, to a lovely lady right here in the UK, and I like the design so much that I started on another one pretty much straight away, this time in two-tone green.  And that, too, has found a new home, this time over in New Zealand.  The shades I used were army green and emerald green.  Sadly, emerald has been discontinued by Adriafil, goodness knows why.

The pattern is for a 33”-34” bust, and at the tension I knit at, both mine turned out as 34”-35” busts.  It isn’t one to be worn too snug, because the open work means you can see everything that is going on underneath if you pull too tightly. 

An added plus point is that it is an economical knit, taking just 136g of main colour and 80g of the accent shade, so it really is perfect for using up the little odd balls.  And from a cost point of view, using Azzurra, the wool worked out at just less than £15.00.  Not too bad!

If you fancy giving this little knit a go, the pattern is for sale in my Etsy shop , here, .  If you do knit it, I'd love to see the finished result! xx


  1. The clever use of stripes in 1940s and 1950s patterns is delightful, especially when they give you colour suggestions. I recently acquired a couple of pattern books from this era and I love the colour combinations that are listed with each pattern. It brings extra life to those black and white photographs!

    My next project is going to be striped and I already have the wool for it, but I now want to make a dozen more striped jumpers, having been inspired by your examples of colour combinations.

  2. My Grandma still does this today! When she has lots of leftover balls she will make a stripey jumper or cardigan just like she did and her Mum in the war. It was a great way for using up wool, experimenting with colours and brightening up an outfit. I adore all the patterns you've shown and I love the jumpers you've made, particularly the ones with a wavy stripe. That pattern you found on eBay is amazing and I love how you've made it up, both colour combinations are fabulous! I wish I knitted as well and as much as you! XxxX

  3. OMG those are really adorable jumpers! I wish I could knit. Amazing job, will visit your shop :)