My mind has slowly turned back to thoughts of knitting, leading me to to wonder whether the slump might be partly explained by not having enough inspiring yarns lying around. As soon as that occurred to me I got a little splurgey and now there’s lots of wool. I put in an order for enough yarn to make two full garments, plus the lovely blue and multi-coloured wools in my photo above which will combine with less interesting yarns, or can be used to knit accessories.

One of the garment quantities is a pretty vibrant raspberry shade. I am not a shrinking violet, nor wedded to neutrals, so I always believe that I can carry off a bright garment. I have already cast on for the Wistman’s Wood cardigan with the intention of wearing it over a basic navy base – navy and cerise is such a classic combination. The yarn is Opal 4-ply pullover and sock wool in the traditional 75% wool/25% polyamide combination beloved by sock knitters. These yarns are designed to be sturdy but relatively soft, so I reckon I can produce a nice hard-wearing cardi that will be perfect for autumn and spring, if not quite warm enough in the depths of winter.

The other garment quantity is a more luxurious combination of 66% wool and 34% silk in a DK weight. I bought this one at sale price as I’m not usually a big enough fan of Rowan yearns to pay full price. It wasn’t until I opened the parcel that I noticed how perfectly this dusky lilac co-ordinates with the multi-coloured Malabrigo Silky Merino. I couldn’t have done better if I had walked into a massive yarn shop and picked them out myself. It wasn’t my intention to combine these together in a garment, but now it just feels inevitable. The only thing left is to come up with a suitable pattern.

Looking for patterns leads me to one of my recent pastimes – the Heritage Collection part of Sirdar’s website. They have cleverly collected many pattern leaflets from the Thirties to the Nineties and are selling .pdf versions for £2.00 a pop. Now, I’ll be the first to point out that you can pick up the originals of these, at least the ones from the Eighties and Nineties, much cheaper in charity shops. Indeed, there are a few on the website that I have already collected in exactly this way. Even so, this is a great resource for browsing and for buying the less available patterns. They also have some useful information on knitting vintage patterns with modern materials and hints about sizing.

One thing I particularly like about browsing vintage patterns is that it gives a different slant on an era. I love to flip through my 1970s copies of Vogue, but the 1970s knitting patterns are more closely aligned with my own recollections of the decade. This is the way that we actually lived, rather than the way that older, jet-set versions of ourselves might have lived. I can remember the styling of the knitting patterns I was buying in the late 1970s and through the 1980s was quite aspirational, not high fashion but fashion that I might be able to buy myself to wear with my hand-knits.

Now that I have a bit of woollen inspiration going on, my thoughts are turning towards having some more fun with my stationery. I’m trying to keep a rein on my spending ahead of October’s Fountain Pen Show, but a couple of purchases should soon be slinking in to tide me over until then. Not pens or ink, though. I’m being good about that.

6 thoughts on “There will be wool

    1. Ah, will I be wearing raspberry red at the pen show? Sounds like a challenge to me. I do need a quick win to kick-start my knitting so it’s vaguely possible.

    1. Technically speaking, you can knit socks with any yarn though there’s a sweet spot with 4-ply/fingering weight yarns where they are thin enough to be comfortable in shoes yet durable enough not to wear out too fast. Funnily enough, I ‘ve discovered today I have a sock yarn that has a pink almost the same as the vibrant sweater yarn combined with a navy blue. So now I’m thinking of a co-ordinating pair of socks – I’ll really be a traffic-stopper!

    1. Thanks – the knitting mojo is already kicking in. I took some boring old yarns out of my yarn cabinet and put the new yarns into the glass-fronted section so they can provide inspiration. And I’ve made a strong start with the vibrant pink yarn.

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