A trip to the archives…

With this year being the 100 year anniversary of World War One I decided to have a look for some vintage patterns from that period. So I set off to the Imperial War Museum for a morning of fun in their archives. The IWM archive has lots of patterns and craft ephemera – boxes and boxes of them – but sadly very few items survive from the First World War.  Partly because ephemera is, well, ephemeral.  Patterns just don’t have a good survival rate.  And let’s be honest, few knitters can keep a pattern in pristine condition for long – we fold them, shove them inside craft bags, write notes for modifications all over them, leave teacups on top of them – and so I wasn’t really surprised to find that most of the really good items in the archive are a little more recent.

After a day playing in the archive boxes, I’ve identified three items I really, really want to make from the IWM Archive.

*Land Girl’s Pullover

*Mystery Cardigan (of which, more later)

*Hideous Twinset

To make life easier, I’m starting with the most sensible of these patterns – the Land Girl’s pullover.  This pattern has the bonus of

*being in my size!

*having a sort of proper gauge!

*having a picture of what it should look like!

I can hardly contain my joy.

More to follow on the history of the Land Girls and their spiffy outfits and my attempts to follow a pattern that is rather vague about things I consider kind of important – like proper instructions…

One thought on “A trip to the archives…

  1. Hello Jane! Is the jumper in some kind of rib? Also, I assume the needles and wool are very fine gauge. I have tried to identify where the pieces will go, but apart from finding (I think) an armhole it is very mysterious. My jumper knitting tends to be 1. DK or, preferably, thicker; 2. minimal shaping; 3. just four basic pieces; 4. almost finished and in a carrier bag behind the sofa but lacking that last push to finish it and sew it up. I look forward to seeing it all joined up. If I remember rightly from my collection of WW1 and 2 books three ply was used a lot. The picture (left) looks more like aran or even chunky. Do you know what the thickest wool would have been? Knitting in a shelter with such fine needles and materials and poor lighting must have been very tricky. I am intrigued to see the hideous twinset – that conjures up ghastly images of a 1950s starlet wearing a spray on lacy ribby thing over a bra shaped like two ice cream cornets. Any idea when the twinset was invented?

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