|Girl in a Fair Isle Jumper by Stanley Curbister, City of Edinburgh collection|
I have not started my Christmas shopping. I have bought three books - for me - and begun two knitting projects for close family. Only ten days to finish one double moss stitch jacket and a pair of fair isle mittens.... (excuse me for sounding like Ruby Ferguson's Jill).
But what really got me fired up was this; Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game. I haven't seen it yet, but check that cardigan!
|Keira in The Imitation Game|
Anyone who knows me is aware of my knitting fixation. I have practically bought my ticket just on the stills for that film. Authentic pattern and colour! Beautiful.
I have been a fan of Fair Isle and other 20th century knitting patterns since college. I used to knit up for a designer called Patricia Roberts and sold Fair Isle patterned tams at Portobello Market.
I love war time set telly almost exclusively for the knitwear as the shows themselves are often disappointing. For example, The Bletchley Circle, which should have been marvellous if judged solely on the quality of the cardigans, let itself down badly.
|Anna Maxwell Martin in The Bletchley Circle|
|Prince Edward Prince of Wales in 1921|
Fair Isle sweaters were originally designed as fisherman's jumpers. Knitted seamlessly, like a gansey, from bottom to top and arms from the shoulder down with double thickness welts, the pattern rendered a double thickness fabric, twice as warm as that of a 5 ply gansey.
Of course the sweaters were first knitted in natural undyed wool, but the as soon as mass dyed wool became available they went psychedelic. I do think that during those long dark winters a beautiful brightly patterned jumper must have been a hugely welcome injection of colour.
|From the Shetland Museum 1920s Fair Isle|
Anyway if anyone out there does need a knitting consultant, I'm your woman. Happy Christmas.
|Here's some I made earlier|
Catheirne Johnson's last novel was SAWBONES, winner of the 2014 Young Quills award for historical fiction. In 2015 her story The Liar's Girl (recently included as one of the most boring stories ever) is part of LOVE HURTS an anthology of love stories out in February.