Knitting for a WW1 movie May 09 2014
A tweet. It all started with a tweet about six months ago.
Pauline Loven, producer and costumier at WAG Screen, tweeted that she was looking for some volunteers to knit garments for a forthcoming film production of Tell Them of Us - a film about a Lincolnshire family during World War I.
A few months later, and I find myself knitting this RIBBED cardigan for a 17-18 year-old boy.
You know when you cast on a new garment and you can't wait to get past the rib? Yeah well, there is no getting past it on this bad boy!! Actually, it hasn't been so bad - my hands have settled into the rhythm of rib.
WAG Screen are a community-based film group and as such, the wool for all the garments has mostly been donated.
I dyed up some Oosie - Scottish Down Cross spun by John Arbon in Devon - in dark blue and grey tones, colours approved by Pauline to be fitting for the era.
It has been interesting, if a little challenging, to work from a pattern of the time.
I'm not sure I got the pockets quite right - they're knitted as part of the whole garment. You start at the top of the pocket, knit a large flap, then fold it back on itself. I ended up picking up stitches to allow me to carry on knitting the garment - not sure that was what was intended. And they seemed particularly narrow at just 24 stitches, but I think look okay and will be extra cosy with a double layer of knitted fabric behind.
The shawl collar has been the biggest challenge and Liz Lovick has been a great help offering advice whenever needed.
I was giggling and thinking THIS CAN'T BE RIGHT as I followed the instructions carrying on knitting the collar from the back of the garment - it extended to a whopping 15" beyond the top of the neck. I just couldn't work out how it would make a collar at all!
Liz explained that it might work by the time you sew the borders in place and then Pauline posted a photo of the construction of a collar that another knitter had made, and it all clicked into place. The "long bit" is folded over twice, then the shaping at the top of the border and corresponding buttonband on the other side meets at the top, thus forming the shawl collar.
It's taken me longer than I wanted to knit this - I still have the buttonband and the sleeves to complete - I've been sidetracked by exciting things happening at SQ HQ and by a very poorly husband - but it's been a great learning lesson. The cardigan may or may not make an appearance in the film, and if it does, it might only be for three seconds, but it doesn't really matter. It's been a fascinating project to be part of.
If nothing else, it gives you an appreciation of the detail and depth that modern day pattern designers go into and of the importance of stating gauge! Although part of me quite likes the freedom to make it up as you go along...
I leave you with an early preview of some of the 200g skeins of Voluptuous which will be available in Wednesday's shop update - would make a beautiful ribbed cardigan!!!!