Long sleeved V-neck jumper with Fair isle band for 12-18 months

 

Jumper from Debbie Bliss’s pattern V-neck sweater with pockets in her ‘Baby Knits for Beginners’ (Ebury Press 2003)

Oh, I do love knitting jumpers for the littlest of  children. It’s so wonderfully speedy –  you’re finished in no time at all.  With evening light still too dark to continue with embroidery, having a little jumper on the go is perfect. I really enjoyed making the pink v-neck sleeveless top blogged about couple of weeks ago  that a long sleeved version was the obvious next step. Though the finished article looks a bit plain, there’s really nothing like a nice workhorse of a navy sweater to fall back on. Missing doing some Fair Isle, I’m now working on a jumper with all over Fair Isle  patterning to use up the odd parts of balls of yarn I’ve accumulated but I’m still at the mapping out stage with graph paper and coloured pencils – and lots of rubbing out – mixing and matching bands of pattern is not easy.

Detail of Fair Isle band on jumper from Debbie Bliss’s pattern V-neck sweater with pockets in her ‘Baby Knits for Beginners’ (Ebury Press, 2003)

Photographing navy is always a bit of a trial – the colour can look washed out and easily leaches to a grey-blue sludge. By chance I had laid out the patchwork for the Ipsden altar frontal on the spare bed, and, tossing the  blue jumper on to it while fiddling with the camera I saw the brightness of the patchwork gave the blue a bit of a lift, so I snapped it –  though they’re still not good, the best photograph of the colour is that at the end of the blog.  (The quilt is at a bit of a standstill for the time being – though finishing it is always uppermost in my mind.  I think the patchwork is the right size but I just need to visit the church and try it out before committing to the backing and quilting. I say ‘just’, but bad weather, cataract surgery – the vicar, though recently postponed – and dental surgery – me, but let’s not talk about that, as well as an hour’s drive, have fallen over each other to get in the way of a visit….yet. Fingers crossed.)

Sample Fair Isle bands

Turbulent times call for enjoyable books to take your mind somewhere else for a few hours. Our American friends left their copy of Amor Towles ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ and that now sits firmly on the boudoir shelf along with other feel good, indulgently caressing and all enveloping enjoyable reads. (Cold Comfort Farm, Love in a Cold Climate, and Lesley Blanches suspiciously brilliant autobiography ‘Journey into the Mind’s Eye’, to name just 3 of the others.)

Amor Towles ‘Gentleman in Moscow’

An Eloise for grown ups, the book is set in the Hotel Metropol in Moscow during the 30 years of our aristocratic hero’s house arrest. A hero of pre-revolutionary times (for satirising the corruption of his own class) Count Rostov has been confined for writing subversive poetry (this time a little too honest about the new ruling class). (The true importance of the poetry only comes to light later.)  The story sails through periods of historic upheaval and unrest with little more than a broken leg and a few shattered  glasses, though awful suffering of lives lived beyond the hotel is more than hinted at.  Within the hotel, friendships and attachments are formed, servants become colleagues and relationships develop and blossom to a state of near perfection. (Count Rostov – hints of Natasha’s family in War and Peace?) The girl Nina who he befriends as a child, grows up, leaves the hotel but briefly returns to bestow upon the count the most precious of all presents and one which will change his life in every way and for ever.

Detail of jumper’s V-neck. The best photograh of the colour

A determined optimist the count sees goodness and decency everywhere (well very nearly). The chef, barmen, doormen and the hotel seamstress blossom from smooth functioning servants, to supporting confidantes, discerning individuals and genuine friends. Difficult decisions, life changing events and potential disasters are met square on with clear eyes, bags of ingenuity, heartening anecdotes and beautiful manners. Anne Patchett points out that at the moment when the world is so disordered the count’s refinement and genteel nature are exactly what we’re looking for and I can only agree.

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Revamped DBJG monogram

DBJG monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

I first blogged this monogram here but, dissatisfied with the rather simple boring design, I tucked it away in a drawer, hoping a visually interesting improvement would come to mind. The child, now well past his first birthday, could be speeding his way to long trousers and a beard, if I carry on waiting for an idea to come unbidden, so – casting all projects for the week to one side – I forced myself into the sort of thought that leads to action.

Detail of DBJG monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

As it happened, propped up beside the bookshelves – because it’s too tall to fit on them – stands the glorious Abstract Art Patterns and Designs by Adam and Maurice Verneuil (reissued by Bracken Books, 1987 with an introduction by Steven Calloway).  The designs waft the siren call of patchwork every time I pass it by but as my needle was loaded up with embroidery thread and action was needed, I set to with satin stitch. It all took a bit longer than I’d planned and I’m not sure I like the result sufficiently for the effort involved… I think I had a need to use colour much as one needs to have daffodils and tulips in jugs all over the house at this time of year.

Abstract Art Patterns and Designs by Adam & Maurice Verneuil (Bracken Books, 1987, with introduction by Steven Calloway)

Detail of pattern from Abstract Art Patterns and Designs by Adam & Maurice Verneuil (Bracken Books, 1987, with introduction by Steven Calloway)

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