Down the rabbit hole….

I know what started it……middle of last year (2020), little internet messages between sisters. ‘Do you remember this….when we did this’ backed up by photos floating through the airwaves (or whatever you call what the internet runs on). Thoughts on what we inherited from our mum….I got the knitting gene…..middle sister got the sewing machine gene….and little sister joked and said, all she gave me was her arthritis. Which sent us into fits of ‘LOLs’ because we all inherited it in one place or another. Them in both hips, me in my spine and little brother in his knees.

Feeding the pigeons in Trafalgar Square 1954 – we ( just we three girls then plus mum….baby brother was there but not in person….yet) were on our way to Germany. Dad was there already, he’d been posted weeks before, so we made our way with lots of other service families on a very old ship across the North Sea from Harwich to Hook of Holland and then by train to RAF Wunstorf.

This photo of little sister’s beret shows mum’s love of fair isle knitting, something I enjoy as well. I’ve never attempted to knit a beret, wouldn’t it be a good project to take on I thought. Maybe even try to reproduce one like little sister’s. No pattern in my pile so off I go the source of all things knitting (preferably free if you know the right way to ask)…..yes, I changed my name to Alice…..which incidentally was my mother’s and my gt grandmother’s name, ……and made my way down the rabbit hole of the WWW.

I came up trumps with this pattern (pictured on the right) but it’s in 3ply so saved it for another day, however the site itself (Vintage Knitting Pattern Archive) is a fantastic source of free vintage patterns.

Another find was this picture of a very unhappy looking little boy wearing a really good looking fair isle style jumper/sweater similar to some I’d made for my children…….if you’re interested the pattern is here…. A Boys Jumper.

Look what came to light this past weekend when I sorted out some WsIP I’d tucked away in favour of doing something else. So enthused at the time by how easy the pattern ( as in the colour work stitches) appeared to be (and actually turned out to be) I’d started on it there and then, finishing the back and a sleeve before putting it to one side. Even though I like the distinct sharpness of the suggested red, white and blue on the cover and knowing I have no control of wherever it goes and to whom, I feel the softer colours will make it suitable for both girls and boys whatever their circumstances.



Looking at the wrong side you can see that like traditional fair isle there’s only two colours to each row, short breaks between each colour meaning short strands. And I tried to have the same colour on the top as I went along the row.


So when I get around to giving some attention to those half finished projects I think this little jumper will be the first cab off the rank.

First book for this year will be A Month of Sundays- Liz Byrski. Four women who have only seen each other on screen during their monthly online book club sessions decide to spend some time together …in person…at a property in the Blue Mountains. A soft read, with lots of tears, revelations and decisions coming up I think.



Unravelled Wednesday hosted by Kat is here at As Kat Knits. Lots of knitting and reading to see there.

17 thoughts on “Down the rabbit hole….

  1. Lovely piece of work, that sweater you are working on! I wish I could knit, but I don’t have the patience to master it with my physical limitations. I see patterns I would love to make, but alas, it is not to be. I really enjoy seeing your creations!

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    1. Thank you Maggie. I have to admit I do enjoy my knitting – and going by what you’ve mentioned before I think you get pleasure from your crochet. Which is a skill I have never managed to master. Wish I could!

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    1. Thank you EC I must remember to ‘show it off’ when it’s finished.
      I’m always in two minds over Byrski’s books. Each one is different but after a while there’s a sameness about them. A bit gooey, no action, all lovey dovey female companionship and preachy…but then maybe it’s just me.

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  2. Cathy, your offspring shouldn’t be giving you hard time – they have had the wonderful fruits of your labour in knits – not something to be sneezed at by any one. Finding the patterns, working out the patterns (we all know that early patterns didn’t explain much) and getting them to fit possibly a lot of different sized family members.
    I suppose they don’t want to wear something now you’ve knitted – so if one of them has a fondness for “tea” maybe find some patterns to make teapot cover – there are some extraordinary looking styles out there in that line.
    And then your continuous enjoyment of making knits for people who are in the community, which I suspect you would never see wearing the finished product.
    So yes, keep on keeping down that “rabbit hole” – it keeps you sane and fills in your time…look forward to seeing what you make of the beret fair-isle pattern…

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    1. Do you know Cathy I’ve never even thought about tea cosies. And yes you’re right I’ve seen photos of some masterpieces. Thanks for that suggestion something to think about.

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    1. I will have a go sometime Joanne, just not now. What’s good about these 3 patterns is they’re knit on two needles not in the round. And if you join the seam in the way they describe it will be hardly visible. Yes I’ll try sometime but not just now 😊

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  3. Cathy – great colourwork. And thanks for the vintage pattern link. I have some Shetland knitting patterns but they are written in dialect (as in not English), and are a nightmare to follow. I probably should translate before I start because every time I put the knitting down I lose the flow. Funnily enough I have just been making hats from oddments, and only yesterday my mind turned to trying a beret. I hadn’t considered fair isle, but have plenty off oddments of Shetland wool that this pattern might be perfect for.

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  4. I canlt knit but it doesn’t stop me admiring your work, and Fair Isle is a favourite.
    The little boy reminded me of a photograph of Leo aged about five when the family – Belgian – were living in Wales. His mother was an expert needlewoman after her upbringing in a convent school and made her childrens’ clothes, so he is wearing a sort of tunic over what I can only describe as Elizabethan knickers…puffed out around his hips. His expression says it all….whatever might be acceptable on the continent of Europe was distinctly unwelcome to a little boy whose contemporaries wore sleeveless jerseys, grey shorts and a snake buckle belt to keep them up….not forgetting the Just William socks.

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  5. I wish I could send you all the yarn that is in my storage bin. I had such great ideas for using it and never did. You do such amazing work. Also love your family stories and laughing hard with siblings. We did just that in a Zoom yesterday. I miss them all.

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  6. I am astounded at Fair Isle knit flat! You are a wonder (purling and color work are not easy for me!) I love looking at those vintage images though! Timeless was exactly what I thought… simply timeless.

    Thank you for joining us and for sharing such a lovely post!

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  7. I have always loved Fair Isle. It is a fairly common look in New England. In college many of my friends wore crew neck Fair Isle sweaters. I delight in seeing your skill, even though I don’t possess it myself.

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  8. I had lots of fairisle knits when I was little too, but I think Mum bought them from a company called Heather Valley. Mum was not a knitter in those days, she only turned to it with grandchildren on the way and her fellow teachers knitting in their dinner break. I love fairisle knitting and should do more… good luck with your project.

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