Friday 18 July 2014

Free pattern Friday and Fenella

This pattern has to be one of my all time favorites, as single patterns go. My copy is in two pieces, but is still very clear to read, so I'm glad it's scanned now. It takes me ages to scan things, as I'm still learning how to use my new scanner.

It is called the 'Rainbow Jumper', by Lavenda, and it is an iconic wartime knitted. I saw a great version of it in Housewife 49, the drama with Victoria Wood playing Nella Last. I highly recommend the book too, Nella Last's War. Her sister-in-law, played by Lorraine Ashbourne, who is just wonderful in the role, is wearing it in an interesting colourway. I couldn't find an image, but the colours were mid brown, dark blue, light blue, light pink, and grey. I did notice that there was no fullness to the sleeves in that version though, which I think is crucial for a wartime knitted. It is a slip stitch pattern, not a Fair Isle, so just one colour is used on rows.

There is another version I saw recently knitted by Mim, at Crinoline Robot, which is just lovely. Take a look.

It is knitted in the elusive 3 ply wool, impossible to find now. Or is it?

                                                          image by Susan Crawford

Fenella is the new yarn by Susan Crawford, a 2 ply, which means it is made up of 2 strands of yarn, but it is a 3 ply weight and gives the same tension as the vintage 3 ply wools. Made up of 70% Exmoor Blueface and 30% Blueface Leicester, it is soft but not floppy, so will hold it's shape when a puff sleeve calls. I did a tension swatch with it, and it has a lovely halo. I am crocheting a 30s style hat with it at the moment and it is looking good so far.

Unsurprisingly I am VERY excited about this new wool, as there is no other 3 ply on the market. 4 ply just doesn't cut it for some of the vintage patterns. You might be able to get the required tension but it can look quite dense, and doesn't have the same drape. I've noticed this while knitting Starring Stripes, there is a significant difference between the 4 ply and the vintage 3 ply, which is much airier.

I can't wait to knit one of the Stitch In Time jumpers in Fenella, possibly Panelled Effect Lady's Jumper, but which colour? And I wonder if it would be a good substitute for the 2 ply wools required in so many vintage patterns? I'll just have to test it out!

I wonder how the Rainbow jumper would look in Roman Plaster, Forget-Me-Not, Marriner, Columbine and Constance Spry?

Anyway, enough jawing, here it is:

I hope you like it, and I'd love to see if anyone else has knitted it, or is going to give it a go. It's in my queue. But my queue is quite long.


  1. Oh, thank you for mentioning my blog! It is a lovely pattern, and so easy to knit, too. I had no idea it was such a popular pattern.

    I used a limited yarn from Fyberspates and The Natural Dye Company, which was a lot lighter than a regular 4ply, for mine. You're right, a finer yarn does make a big difference to a knit.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this pattern! It is lovely :)

  3. You look great in your ravelry photo! Makes me wish I could knit! :)

  4. When it says to rib the neckline/shoulders "as welt", does it mean to switch back down to the 2.75mm needles? Or does it mean to just k1,p1 rib in that color on the 4mm?


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