Monday, August 17, 2015

FO: The Thirty Year Old Sweater

30 years ago I knitted a Big Green Jumper.
I was in the midst of my final exams at University, living in a tiny damp cupboard in a house full of strangers.  Everyone else was coupled up, but I was traumatically single after breaking up with FL, first time around. 
It was effing cold and I needed a woolly hug.  I hadn’t touched the needles for years, but I took myself to the local yarn store and chose 3 Suisses Juniors Nr 111:  40 High-Fashion Designs that Spell Freedom and 18 balls of wool/acrylic mix “Suizasport”. 

I have searched everywhere but I can’t find a photo of that jumper, which is odd as I wore it almost constantly for about 2 years.  I know I was wearing it the day I met the father of my children for the first time.
I gave you a tour of this book when it arrived, fresh from ebay.  I threw my original copy out maybe 20 years ago, thinking it had no place in my life anymore.  But for the past decade I have longed for another Big Green Jumper like the one I knit way back then.  I remember it as being soft and warm and snuggly and comforting.  Even the business of knitting it was all of those things to me in my time of need!

Fast forward to 2015.  I had a skein and a bit of Cascade Eco Plus leftover from knitting my son’s blanket. 
I thought it might be enough for a sweater and the gauge looked close enough to recreate Design no 9955, Girl’s Jumper in Irish Moss Stitch.
I had to buy another skein to finish the sleeves, so it was less of a stash-buster than planned, but that’s OK.

OK, it’s red and not green. 
But otherwise it is pretty much the sweater of my nostalgic dreams.
The sleeves are definitely bat-winged, but as they are also slightly cropped they don’t feel ridiculously huge in wear.  
The overall shape is boxy, in that 1980’s way, but to my eye it could just as easily be a pattern from the 1950’s.  Audrey Hepburn would totally wear this sweater!
I was very tired of k1 p1 by the end of this knit.  If ever there was a candidate for Second Sleeve Syndrome, this was it. 
But I wanted the finished product, so I ploughed on (and on).
I didn’t have anything else on the needles, not even socks, so this went everywhere with me until it was done.  

Now I am ready for winter in a cold damp farmhouse.
And hopefully this time FL will be around to hug while I am wearing it.

PS These are not deliberately arty photographs - my camera loathes the colour red!


Kestrel said...

It's fabulous, it looks very wearable and I think the sleeve shape/length is perfect. Also great that it lived up to your memories too!

Rachel said...

I completely agree that this could be something Audrey Hepburn would have worn. It's nice when something that's stylish is actually warm and comfortable to wear too!

Linda C said...

That is a really good looking sweater and it is very becoming too. Wool is not only warm, but it has a comforting feeling to me, almost like some one's arms around you. Wear it in happiness.


Tamsin said...

that looks really cozy and I love the colour

Fiona said...

Oh, yes, that ticks all the boxes for me. Thirty years ago, I was living in France on my "year abroad" and all the young, French teachers knitted at lunch-hour. Or so it seemed - well, the break was actually 2 hours so it was practical. I knitted most or all of a big green jumper in "fisherman's rib". I don't think I ever sewed it all up, or maybe I did, but the memories are all about being in that damp, chilly French town knitting for fun. I hope yours is lovely and cuddly. It looks absolutely beautiful, and of its time, too!

K.Line said...

The fit is superb!

Miss said...

It's beautiful - you look radiant in that fabulous colour.
I would LOVE to hear your and FL's story - are you going to write a book? Or can we coax it out of you in instalments, on this here blog?

Best wishes from over the seas.

deborah said...

The jumper is just gorgeous and I loved reading its story. There is nothing lovelier than a cosy, snuggly jumper and it seems very apt on a wet, cold August day in Norfolk...

loop and bar said...

Well done, it's a marvelous jumper! Great for the coming autumn:) I'm cheered by tour determination with the stitch pattern- I've just knitted a swatch in seed stitch (it's green!) - I'm planning to make a cosy jumper with big pockets at the front, ready for Autumn (well, Winter, knowing me) - if I get fed up of the k1 p1, I'll take a look at your red jumper to spur me on! It can be done!
Kate x

jessica said...

Lovely! Looks like it will be just the thing come fall :-).

pennylibrarian said...

Love it! I'm astounded at your productivity, any tips for speeding up one's knitting?

Kezzie said...

That is a super jumper! You've done a great job on it! I can understand your longing for the nostalgic green jumper! My friend Ellie gave me a pink alpaca wool jumper she knitted over 30 years ago as it doesn't fit her but she couldn't bear to get rid of it. I was touched and of course said I'd keep it! (In fact, I seem to be the recipient of things she doesn't want to get rid of- I also have the Jaeger coat she bought in the 60's with her first paycheck!)

Hello, by the way. Nice to meet you! I was scouting the internet for an image of the Poetic licence mustard shoes I bought and found one (though sadly not the right one) on your blog so I ended up here! nice to meet yoU!x

Linda C said...

Just wanted to say - you jumped the gun on the fashion trends this fall. The sweater, the stitch, the color. A few days ago I received a catalog on line from LANDS END and there it was- yes, it was yellow and, yes, it was cotton - but the look, the fit, the stitch pattern. I'd rather have your warm one though. Yesterday a magazine article- 5 Key Pieces For Fall. One of them : A Chunky-Knit Sweater (cozy cool weather staple, tons of texture, relaxed roomier fit). The others are Ta-Da: A small bag with fringe, modern pearl sets, "ladylike loafers". and wide-leg trousers. Do you have any of those left?

Happy Sunday- I hope it is.