Strictly speaking a cardigan not a jumper, yesterday I finally finished the Fair Isle cardigan I started knitting 21 years ago. A cause for celebration indeed as it has been a real labour of love. When I first started knitting it all those years ago, Fair Isle was very on trend, then slipped out of fashion but fortunately for me Fair Isle is once again de rigueur appearing in all the high street stores. Darling Daughter who once pooh-poohed it not so long back, thinking it was horrendous and soooo middle-aged, has her eyes firmly set on it now and this is only because her favourite shop Jack Wills - University Outfitters Fabulously Overpriced is full of Fair Isles. I have relented a bit though and told her she can borrow it from time to time.
The Jack Wills Hensingham Cardigan - a snip at £129.00
The Jack Wills Sedburgh Jumper - a bargain at only £98.50
So why has it taken me so many years to knit? Well with Fair Isle you have to follow a chart which is like graph paper where each square represents 1 stitch. This is not something you can do easily while watching TV and the fact that I needed a magnifying glass to see the chart didn't help either. Other things got in the way too like juggling a career with bringing up baby so the knitting took a back seat plus the fact that knitting itself seemed to go out of fashion. When I first bought the wool there was a wool shop on every high street but now sadly there are very few or we have to rely on major department stores and on-line shopping. This was also a time when in women's magazines the knitting patterns and recipes fast started disappearing in favour of celebrity shenanigans such as who's fat, who's thin, who's pregnant and who's got the worst cellulite.
Also interesting to note that 21 years ago the wool, which is 100% Lambswool Tweed, cost me around £27 but if I bought the wool today it would set me back a whopping £95 although it has to be said that Rowan yarns (which I absolutely adore) always have been a bit on the dear side.
|The rather dog-eared original Rowan pattern|
DD put an order in for a Fair Isle of her own a few weeks ago thinking I would have it knitted and sewn up ready for her Christmas stocking. Which Christmas and what planet is she on? Based on my track record she would be 38 by the time it's finished and God knows how old that would make me. Would I ever be tempted to knit another? Not bloody likely! But then again look at this absolutely divine Fair Isle I have spotted in the latest Rowan Autumn/Winter magazine issue 52.
And as my dear old mum used to say:
"You can never have too many cardigans"
Frances Prestwich 1924 - 2002
Great Jumpers of our Time No 1 - Howard & Hilda
Great Jumpers of our Time No 2 - Colin Firth
Great Jumpers of our Time No 3 - Sara Lund, The Killing
Great Jumpers of our Time No 4 - Tom & Barbara Good