March 1960: John’s new pullover

IMG_1550My second project for March — though it wasn’t finished by the end of the month — was a young boy’s pullover with a cute stripe-and-dot pattern.

Sadly, there is no colour photo in the magazine, the two contrasting colours look very similar in the black-and-white photo, and the little chart for the dot pattern doesn’t mention which colour should be used for which row of dots, so it’s not entirely clear what order the dot stripes go in. The main colour is “Moonstone”, the bottom stripe is stripe is “Horizon Blue” and the second stripe “Camel”, so I figured the bottom row of dots is also blue and the second row camel.

In any case, my colour scheme was different, as very light-colored garments for young active children are bound to get grubby, so I picked a sort of heathery grey-beige for the main colour. Camel as a contrast to that didn’t look so great, so I picked a nice shade of plum and a heathery blue. The yarn is plain Regia sock yarn — superwash wool with a bit of nylon for support.

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I though the skeins looked great together but somehow, as I started to knit it up, the colour combination reminded me of jogging clothes from the 1980s. I don’t know why, exactly, but it’s something about that exact combination. I wholeheartedly hate 1980s fashion and am very disappointed to see it having come back in during the last few years, so I wish I had picked something different! On the other hand, nobody else is going to be bothered by it — a young kid won’t be prejudiced and the parents will probably think it amusing if they even make the connection.IMG_1591

The stranding is easy and the main pattern is just stockinette stitch with an extra purl ridge row (K on the right side) every 6th row.

At 7 stitches to the inch, it took a while, and I had to restart once as my gauge was too loose, but I do love the finished look and I hope the wearer will too. I reassured him that he doesn’t need to wear a button-up shirt, tie and shorts with it. Again, if anyone can explain to me why boys of bygone decades had to wear shorts until they were teenagers, no matter how cold outside or how warmly they were dressed on the top half of their bodies, I will be grateful!

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March 1960: Spring Magic

Version 2First project for March: this charming jacket from the jacket-and-skirt set titled “Spring Magic in Judy’s trim Outfit”. What a great title! And what a great photo in the booklet. I’m glad today’s girls don’t generally get their hair tortured into curls like litte Judy’s in the picture, but she certainly looks happy enough holding hands with her gigantic teddy bear.

The pattern calls for Patons Double Knitting at a gauge of 18 stitches to 4 inches over the stitch pattern. The child I knit this for can’t wear wool, though, so I made it in wonderful, easy-care, electric red and blue acrylic Bravo Originals from Schachenmayr. It did turn out to be a bit bulkier than Patons DK, so I adapted the stitch counts to reflect a gauge of 15 stitches to 4 inches.IMG_1566 (1)

The stitch pattern looks complicated but is actually very easy — fundamentally just k1, p1 on the right side and k on the wrong side, but the k stitches on the right side are made through the purl bump of the row below, giving a sort of check pattern without stranding or slip stitches. It has stockinette-stitch hems on the cuffs and bottom edge and a row of double crochet (British terminology, i.e. single crochet for Americans) around the front and collar edges.

It knit up so fast, and the colours were so bright, and the yarn so space-age, that I bought a whole lot more of it in order to make a 1960s-style, short-sleeved, A-line minidress for myself. I can’t wait!

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March 1960: Overview

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March 1960 promises “Spring Magic” and a special pull-out supplement with designs in “Big Ben”, Patons’ new Aran-weight wool that promises to knit up especially quickly, so you can have your thick, warm woolies finished in time for the summer holidays. (Anyone who lives in Northern Europe or who has taken a holiday on the northern Atlantic or North Sea coast will understand perfectly.) Fine-gauge knitting is right out: the designs not written for Big Ben, like the excellent yellow pullover and sleeveless waistcoat for men, the “Young Style Designs” for teenage girls, or the fabulous checkered coat for a toddler, are all in DK-weight wool. The only exception is “John’s new pullover” in 4-ply.

 

 

The embroidery and homecraft projects focus on springtime and Easter, with a floral tablecloth and a cushion and chairback in traditional Hungarian design. It’s a pity nobody uses chairbacks these days, as they are a nice decoration and certainly prolong the life and cleanliness of a chair or sofa. The stitched rug is a “quick and easy modern design” and there are tapestry and needle-etching pictures of quaint-looking English town streets.

 

In comic land, Good Ted and Naughty Ted (two teddy bears) and their human friends Beth and Bill take a balloon ride to Magic Way, where a fairy turns Beth and Bill into animals in order for them to visit Noah’s Ark. As usual, the ads are for Lux soap, Opti-Lon zippers, Cow & Gate baby formula and various sewing and knitting machines.

 

One older style of ad is the Patons and Baldwin’s testimonial, in which a famous personage shows off their favorite hand-knit garment made from P&B wool. Here we have Russ Conway, the popular music pianist, at the peak of his career and wearing a lumber jacket in “man-weight wool”. Russ Conway was a multi-talented, self-taught piano player and composer who enjoyed enormous success, producing multiple No.1 hits and playing in a distinctive “honky-tonk” style. Though plagued by serious health conditions, he continued to compose, produce, and fund-raise for charity until his death in 2000 at the age of 75. You can read more about his life and career and hear some of his music on his tribute website .

IMG_1560I will be making two children’s designs: the fabulous checkered coat for a toddler, and “John’s new pullover” for a soon-to-be six-year-old.