Monday 29 July 2013

Knit It - Wartime Farm Pullover

It made its debut at the Haven Street 1940s event, but getting my brother's pullover finished on time became a little bit of an event in itself!

Wartime Farm Knitted Pullover and Stitchcraft Pullover
My Dad and Brother rocking their hand knitted Fair Isle!
I agree they could both look a lot happier about it :)

Wartime Farm Sleeveless Pullover
Designer: Susan Crawford


Style Craft Special 4 ply: 100g Camel (1420), 50g Midnight (1011) Deramores
King Cole Big Value 4 ply : 50g Red (667), 50g Green (675), 50g Mustard (671)
Robin 4 ply: 50g Brown (51)

YouTube-ualr Know How: 

I don't think I need to tell you how much I wanted to knit this pullover, you can read all my January gushing here. I cast on not long my after in February for the 36-38 size, and made my way through the rounds and rounds of knit one purl one rib to reach the required 3 inches, then I flew straight into the pattern and was clicking along nicely until I had got up to the second star pattern repeat, it was then dawned on me that this might be a little big for my athletic little brother, who it's worth noting, prefers his clothes not to be too baggy. At all! - I guess if you've worked as hard as he does to keep fit you want to show it off!

Wartime Farm Pullover Knitting Now, I know this pattern is designed to be a looser fitting style, just like the one in the show, but knowing my brother if I carried on regardless I knew he just wouldn't wear it. So, I ripped it all back (I hate doing this) and started again, this time, a size smaller 34" chest, which I knew would still be a little baggy, but better too large than too small.

It has to be said this set back killed my enthusiasm, I got through the rib welt quickly enough and then, I lost interest and got distracted. So it stayed just a stretchy waistband up until May.

During the last May bank holiday, I finally cracked on with the pattern, ever aware that my 6th of July deadline was, looming not so far off now. Once I got back into it I remembered how much fun it was to knit, and so my enthusiasm and the pullover grew with every stitch, meaning I was making steady progress and was now convinced I would be finished before my holidays.

Oh, I very nearly was. Before packing my knitting in my rucksack on the 4th of July I had just one pattern repeat to do on the front neck section and the arm and neck bands to do (and sew in all those pesky ends, of which there seemed to be thousands!) and 2 days left to do it.

Why don't my Instagram videos have sound, it's very annoying!
Please just imagine seagulls squawking and the waves lapping on the beach...
...Oh, and knitting needles frantically clicking!

This lead to me on the 5th of July, sitting at Colwell beach in the Isle Of Wight, desperately trying to finish the neck bands, whilst trying to enjoy the seaside and the company, with this playing over and over in my mind!

OK, so as dedicated as this all sounds, I should confess there were more than a few moments when this happened...
Wartime Farm Pullover Knitting by the beach
My knitting guru!
So after finishing all the bands, pin curling, both mine and my mum's hair, I managed to get to bed about 3am in the knowledge I still had the ends to sew in before we left in the morning. Thankfully, with my mum's stirling efforts, she did one side while I worked on the other, we finished it!

Wartime Farm Pullover Finished Result Front and Back
Front & Back
I would have loved to have been able to have given this a quick wash and block before it was worn but sadly there was no time, so it's a little bit on the puckered side, I'd rather that though than it have been unfinished. In the end the fit was not as bad as I had feared, it's still quite baggy (not helped by my brother being ill the week before and losing about a stone) I could have probably gone down another size, but it's not as ridiculously big as it would have been if I had not frogged it in the beginning, so overall I think it's a win!

Wartime Farm Pullover Finished Result Front cropped

I chose to use Stylecraft 4 ply for the main body, I've not used it before but it was recommended to me by lovely Lucy from 1940's Style For You - it was what she used to make the beautiful turban she made for me at Christmas; I am so glad I did as it's the first acrylic yarn I've ever used that feels as soft as wool, and doesn't become all fuzzy as your knitting, plus it is a great price and the range of shades it's available in is pretty vast. The other colours were what I had leftover from my dad's pullover, I'd actually bought the pale green for my dad's version but decided against it at the last minute, so this makes this pullover it a bit of a (much needed) stash buster too!

Wartime Farm Pullover Finished Result Back cropped

The pattern was very simple to follow, and actually despite my best efforts did knit up quite quickly once I got going. The only problem I had was just after I had divided for the front and back, I could not for the life of me seem to make sense of how many more rows I had to do, I had a look at the photo in the pattern and winged it from there, which luckily worked out perfectly. I am convinced that if I reread that part now, it would all make perfect sense, I think the pressure of finishing it on time was getting to me!

Wartime Farm Pullover Close up on stitch pattern
By my staggered stars!
Well, there was one other goof. The star pattern which runs up the pullover should all be in line, on my version they alternate, this was caused by me thinking I knew what I was doing rather than actually reading the pattern! I actually rather like how it has turned out (perhaps it was my subconscious making choices for me) so I am claiming it was a decision rather than an overconfident accident!

My brother's opinion? Well, as he is a man of few words, I think this last photo says it all...

Wartime Farm Pullover My Brother gives his a thumbs up
Double thumbs up! Must be good!
And if he's happy I'm flipping ecstatic!

Wendy x


  1. Just beautiful work! And I love seeing the photo of your dad and brother in their wonderful pullovers. You are such a lovely and caring daughter and sister to make those for them!

    Wartime Pullover is on my to-knit-for-me list this fall, I have the yarn already and everything!

  2. I love those pullovers, they are quite stunning.
    Julie xxxxxxxxxx

  3. I take my knitted hat off to you Wendy - your fair isles are sublime. But I don't envy you having to sew all those ends in, however it was well worth it in the end!

  4. Wow I'm totally in awe of your knitting, it's so gorgeous and intricate! (and it's not unknown for my mum to fix whatever pickle I'm in over knitting either...) :)

  5. Fantastic knitting skills and such lovely dedication to get it finished in the nick o' time! Bravo!

  6. Lovely, well done! I haven't got around to making one yet x

  7. Such amazing work!!! Looks fab!

  8. I love it! You have done an amazing job and I'm not surprised your brother liked it. I knitted the same jumper for my Dad a couple of years ago but found the fair isle on the front such hard work that his has a plain back! Your version is very impressive! x
    P.S. thank you for the mention ;-)

  9. Hi. Just found you on Bloglovin. Love the fair isle you knitted for your brother, if he ever gets fed up with wearing it.......!
    I didn't know the IOW had a 40's weekend, maybe this is something I need to look into seeing as we are just across the water.
    Lisa x