the scrumptious joy of vintage knitting
Whilst on holidays, I finished my crocheted cotton cardie (note to self – have Abby take some photos so as I can share a FINISHED piece of handmade). Strangely enough, Julian was rather taken with it. Sadly enough, it fitted Julian just as well as it fitted me (note to self – stop eating Milo from the tin).
He was also very fond of its cottoness. I find this hard to believe, but Julian declares that he is too hot in wool. What?!? Yes, that’s right. Even recently, when he was in Ireland in temperatures below 5 celsius, he claims that he was more than warm enough in a cotton tshirt, a cotton sweater and his leather jacket. Huh.
Always keen to find something he’d like me to make him, I offered to crochet him his own cardigan – in cotton. Now – have you ever perused the patterns for a crocheted cardigan for a MAN? That doesn’t make him look like an extra out of a Sacha Baron Cohen film? You know – a cardigan to wear with your matching mankini? That’s right. There’s nothing simple and tasteful in existence.
So, we ordered the yarn – Brown Fleece’s Cotton Fleece in a suitably dark and boring colour (honestly, men!) and kept our fingers crossed we’d find a suitable pattern.
Cue the Bairnsdale St. Vincent’s Op Shop (home of those creepy/fabulous Dutch dolls). Up the back, in the land of the unwanted, there was a lovely big stack of old Paton’s pattern books. They once belonged to Leonie and included umpteen designs for woman, several for children and even a few for the guys. So, with hopes of finding the perfect cardie for Jules, I bought them.
Julian, however, proved most dubious about the guys’ patterns. I had to repeatedly implore him to LOOK PAST the 1970s styling and just concentrate on the shape of the jumpers. “But look!” he hooted, “That guy has an hourglass figure!” As Abby would say – forehead smack.
I don’t know … I think this fellow’s rather cute – and check out those cables – yum! yum!
As for the Neil Diamond plunge-neck vest? Julian had Abby rolling around the floor in tears of laughter as he contemplated how many buttons he’d be able to undo on his business shirts once he was wearing this handknit and the effect it would have on the fairer sex.
Personally, my favourite forehead smack moment are the titles. Knitting for the men in your life in a yarn called “Katie”? Or producing “suave” sweaters? I’m assuming that most women hid these patterns from their men and simply produced the finished jumper with a sweet smile, not wanting to ruin the chances of their fellow ever wearing it by showing him where it came from!
However, once Julian saw the little publication celebrating Paton’s new yarn “Ninepin” his mind was made up … he would like a twinset please. hee! hee! hee! hee!
No he doesn’t. Not really. He just wants the cardie. And when you separate it from it’s matching jumper and the really bad helmet hair, it’s a very nice cardie.
As for the rest of the patterns in this book – I’m rather keen on the mother / daughter sweater suit … don’t you think Abby and I would look so cute, stepping out to the market together in our matchy, matchy? No? Oh alright, I promise not to wear it at the same time Abby wears hers. I’m perfectly serious – and thinking dark marle grey – one of those luscious Cascade 220 Heathers? Imagine it with ribbed black stockings and red patent buckle ups!
And in a very strange way, I kind of like this green crocheted coat – apparently belts are back. But rest assured, you shall never see me stepping out in this …
Oh. my. Actually … maybe it’s just the hair? Hmmmm …..
For now, I’ve cast on – Julian’s cardie is the first flat knit I’ve had on my needles in ages. And – I only had 3mm in plastic – oy! It’s like knitting with partially cooked spaghetti. Never mind. Once the ribbed band is done, I get to move up to a much more comfortable wooden 4mm.
edited several hours later to add: actually, the plastic needles are fine – it’s amazing how few rows are needed before you are comfortable with what was initially ungainly! And my plastic needles have wonderfully shaped points – nice.
Now – I wonder if I can have it knitted in time for his birthday – oh my god no! That’s only three weeks away. Perhaps our anniversary in April? Yes that sounds good.
p.s. I thought the pattern for Julian’s cardie called for ninepin – which sounded delightfully sensible and middle class. It doesn’t. It demands “Fiona” – we won’t tell him.