A few weekends ago it was the annual IWM Duxford air show, I thoroughly enjoyed last years event despite a very early start, so I knew that I would have just as much fun this year, weather permitting, so ordered some tickets and popped along!
I was not disappointed, the weather turned out to be utterly perfect and the show was just spectacular! As it was the 75th Anniversary celebrations of the Battle of Britain there were lots of warbirds in flight and lots and lots of Spitfires (I do love a Spit). I won't overwhelmed you all with all my pictures here, but there are many more over on Flickr if that takes your fancy!
I'd decided if the weather was going to be anything like it had been for most of the summer (read: cold and windy) then I was going to need a good cardigan to keep the chills at bay. So I searched The Vintage Pattern Files for some inspiration (about time I used it myself!) My criteria was simple it needed to be 1940s in style and relatively quick to knit, as I only had about three weeks until the show. After a little searching, I found the perfect pattern, one that has actually been nearing the top of my knit list for ages, it was finally time to make a date with The Date Maker!
~ Date Maker Sports Jacket ~
Columbia Style Book 1946
Columbia Style Book 1946
Stylecraft Life Aran - Cardinal x 6 100g Balls
US size 7 / 4.5mm
So I had my pattern, but there was just the small matter of re-sizing to contend with. The pattern is designed for a 32-34" bust so I was going to need some major up scaling for it to fit my 38-40" measurement. I had a quick look on Ravelry to see if anyone had any advice for resizing but found nothing, so I settled back and knitted many, many, many tension squares on various different sized needles and yarns. It was totally worth the effort, as after all my testing I discovered that because my knitting style is loose I could use an Aran weight yarn and the recommended 5mm needles, and get the extra inches I needed for it to comfortably fit me without having to change anything else!
When choosing a colour I just knew it had to be red, no indecision there, so I ordered some really lovely Stylecraft Cardinal yarn from Wool Warehouse and waited impatiently for it to arrive. Luckily it turned up on the Friday just before the summer bank holiday, which meant I was able to make the most of the extra time off I had and devote it to knitting! That extra time and the fact that this is a super quick pattern to knit meant that it only took me 3 weeks (22 days to be exact!) to knit, block and sew together, for me (a slow knitter) that really is a record!
The pattern is very simple to create and after a few repeats very easy to remember. Essentially it's a rib pattern, which is staggered either side of the centre 2 stitches, which creates the wonderful diagonal lines which make this jacket so appealing! The first row is where you stagger your three knit and purl stitches in the direction you want the diagonal to go. The second row is what I call a confirmation row, it's where you knit all the purl stitches and purl all the knit stitches, essentially using the row below as a guide, which is great as it gives you a chance to rest your mind for a bit!
After knitting all the sections, I blocked each piece to ensure that it came out to the size I needed, this worked really well, apart from Beau choosing to sleep on the back section while it was drying, meaning the ribbing got a little more flattened that I was hoping for, though I am sure after it's next washed it should spring back! Once it was all dry I knitted the cuffs and attached them to the sleeves before seaming up the sides. I have to say the sleeves are my favourite part of this pattern, I love how they look with the V's running up them, that said I still have a dislike of knitting sleeves which can be felt by the fact I could have knitted them a smidgen and a half longer (probably 2" if I am honest) as they are just on the edge of being long enough for my gangly limbs!
After joining all the body sections together it was time to crochet around the neckline. I have to say I found this the most tricky bit of the whole process, as no matter how hard I tried I could not stop the points of the neckline curling up, I figure it's designed to be worn with a collared blouse so I am not too worried about it, though it is irritating!
Next was knitting the waistband. I started by knitting to the measurements of the lower edge of the jacket, adding a few extra inches for the buckle flap, but once I tried the jacket on realised my error, it was just too baggy and the buckle was not going to be able to cinch the waist in at all. So reluctantly I unpicked the band and re-attached it, this time, stretching it against the lower edge as I stitched so that it would give pull in a little more and give the jacket more of a blouse effect which would fit my body more snugly!
Last up was covering and attaching the buckle, I used this video to help me crochet over the buckle and then attached it to the lower edge of the jacket, it's only later that I realised I had sewn the waistband on the wrong way, blast, it should close right to left, not left to right, but who's going to know, well apart from me and you, and you won't tell will you!
So there you have it my first finished knitted and my first blog post in simply ages, I now just need to fill you all in on all the other fun stuff that has happened while I have been away, this could take some time!