Sunday 2 May 2010

Revisiting a Past Project

Royal College Aran

The photo is from a "Fashion Workshop" collection of ideas for things to make  published by a long-defunct UK fashion magazine, Over21, in Autumn/Winter 1973.  It included several knitting patterns, including this one, titled Royal College Aran.   The blurb says "Fresh from a design course at the Royal College of Art, Susan Duckworth turned her talents to the traditional and folksy charm of  Aran, slicked up with  a '74 shape and doughboy pockets."

(Susan Duckworth is still a knitwear designer, and has become well-known and successful since her Royal College days, though she has mostly focussed on multicoloured designs using intarsia, it seems.)

I loved the look of this sweater when I first saw it, and how it made Aran stylish. My sister and I both knitted it for ourselves.   

By then I had already knitted myself several jumpers, though I can't remember most of them, and I had  knitted a traditional Aran jumper - they had become very popular round about then for women, I think for the first time.  That first Aran jumper no longer survives - I must have worn it out eventually.  (In my memory, winters were a lot colder then, partly because my parents' house had no heating except in two downstairs rooms. So an Aran jumper got a lot of wear.) 

I still have my Royal College Aran and wear it.  The design looks fresh and current to me, even now (though it seems rather quaint to read that it's a 1974 shape, as if that makes it new and exciting).  I have just packed it away for the summer, but I will add a photo later.

(Much, much later - in fact January 2013.)  I have been wearing the jumper again this week because it has been very cold.  It still looks up-to-date, I think, in spite of being nearly 40 years old.    You can see that I made a couple of changes: I did a twisted rib instead of a plain rib.  I made the cuffs ribbed, too,  instead of stocking stitch, and just had a single turn-back, instead of turning it over twice as shown.  And I continued the honeycomb cable up to the shoulder seams.    It is still very nice to wear.



  1. I love that design! I think that it is very classic.

  2. sarah from brighton4 February 2012 at 12:43

    I have a copy of this 1973 fashion workshop mag which this pattern came from. years ago I used a pattern from this mag to make a Guiness jumper. this has been a favorite of my now teenage daughters and although i have the pattern i do not have the graph of the harp design for the front . Any suggestions? do you have the centre fold insert ? sarah from brighton

  3. Yes I have the chart for the harp. If you are on Ravelry, send me a message (I'm barbaramary).

    1. sarah from brighton12 February 2012 at 09:56

      Don't know what Ravelry is. Can I send you an SAE and some money for a copy of it? Im desperate to finish the jumper for my daughter for her birthday in april. If you dont want to give me your address shall I send you mine?

    2. Send me an email to barbaraknitsagain at and we can sort something out.

  4. This is a marvelous aran. If you'd be willing to send a copy of it to me, I'd greatly appreciate it. The styling is absolutely wonderful and I'd love to make it, but I've been searching online and on Ravelry and haven't had any luck finding it. I'm doubly glad I read this post, because I was also trying to figure out who you might be on Ravelry; I saw your Color Affection and wanted to see more projects. (I'd like to look again at your Exploration, Station, too; I bought that MKAL, because I love Stephen West shawls, and then held off starting until other people posted pictures of their projects [because basically I'm a chicken about mystery knitting....what if I don't like it????] and really didn't care for the change to brioche stitch, either...and ended up not making it at all, not even with different textures than the ones he used.) My Ravelry name is Palacsinta.


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