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Knitting from the Archives

Posted on: 2nd May 2015 By: Sue Davies

Inspired to demonstrate the usefulness of the reserve collections I recently used a 75 year old knitting pattern held by St Albans Museums. The black and white image above is from the original 1940s pattern and the other shows me with my new scarf!

The mid-20th century was a high point of domestic knitting and the skills (and patience) of the people who knitted then was admirable.  Many of the patterns in the collection are more complicated and use thinner wool than I am prepared to work with.  The pattern I chose came from a Stitchcraft magazine published in April 1940 which was donated by F. G. Hart (2009.5184).  It took a bit of jiggery pokery to make the pattern work. To start with it suggested 3ply wool and super fine angora neither of which I could find.  After a little bit of trial and error I managed to produce a scarf similar to that shown in the picture.  If you want to recreate it the instructions for my version of the stripy corrugated scarf are below.  I would love to know if you do make the scarf - 


To create a scarf measuring 24cm by 92cm you will need 50g of red 4 ply and two 50g skeins of space dyed pink alpaca by Rowan. I used 3.25mm needles (size 10) throughout. 

The scarf is based on a 37 row repeating pattern.  

Cast on 56 stiches using the pink alpaca.  Proceed in stocking stich for eight rows, i.e. knit one row, purl the next row, knit the next row, etc. 

Ninth row – Switch to the red 4 ply.  Cut the wool and tie the ends together leaving loose ends.  Using the red 4 ply reverse the stocking stitch by repeating the row of knit stitches.  Proceed in stocking stitch for five rows.

14th row – Switch to the pink alpaca and reverse the stocking stitch by repeating the row of knit stiches.  Proceed in stocking stich for seven rows.  Reverse the stocking stitch in the final row of this block. 

22nd row – Switch to the red 4 ply and proceed in stocking stitch for five rows.

37th row – Switch to the pink alpaca and knit through the stiches in last pink row in order to create a red bump.  This is the trickiest part of the scarf. 

Repeat this pattern until the scarf is as long as you want it or you run out of wool.

To finish the scarf you will need to darn in the loose ends.


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