Monday, 25 July 2016

1970s Guernseys

I mentioned that in the collection of pattern leaflets and other publications that we were given a couple of weeks ago there were a lot of Aran patterns. The woman who collected them was evidently interested in Guernseys, too - she had a surprising number of Guernsey patterns from the 1970s, published by some of the big yarn spinners and all intended for special 5-ply Guernsey yarn.  I was knitting in the 1970s, but wasn't aware of this fashion for knitting Guernseys at the time.

Emu 4728

There were more than a dozen traditional Guernsey patterns published by Emu - this one is described as "using Scottish Fleet and Mallaig stitches".  Some of the other Emu patterns, though still specifying 5-ply yarn, have raglan sleeves, polo necks, or stitches that appear to be based on Arans rather than traditional Guernseys.

But from a quick read, all the other patterns in the 5-ply Guernsey yarn are constructed as I think a proper traditional Guernsey should be, with underarm and shoulder gussets and the back and front identical.

Wendy 2018
Each of the spinners also published a pattern for a plain Guernsey in stocking stitch, like this Wendy pattern.
Poppleton 1711

This Poppleton pattern is for a "Vale Guernsey (Parish design)" - it's a traditional Guernsey from the island of Guernsey.

Marriner 1796
And the Marriner pattern is a "Guernsey style sweater in traditional Patrington and Withernsea stitches".

I wonder how many of these Guernseys were knitted in the 1970s.  The point of a Guernsey is that it's very hard wearing, so they might still survive, still being worn.   Do let me know if you have one.

4 comments:

  1. My mum definitely knitted them in the mid 70s. All the family had one each, and mine was navy blue. I wore it a lot, it was warm and comfortable (important in a shared student house). I seem to remember that the one she made for Dad was bright red. I have a couple of her guernsey patterns in my pattern box.

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    1. Navy blue was the traditional colour, I guess. And it would have been very warm, I'm sure. I remember wearing an Aran sweater a lot, to keep warm in the house, at that time. Houses weren't as warm back then - at least ours wasn't.

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  2. I knitted one in the late 70s early 80s I think. All the 'traditional British' knits were really popular then, even M & S did a range based on them. I think I first saw guernseys in the BBC book and TV series"Knitting Fashion' which was 1976:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p014bhmd

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    1. Thanks for the link - pity the programmes aren't still viewable. The thing that surprised me about these patterns was that so many spinners were selling 5-ply Guernsey wool, which is pretty specialised. (And I hadn't realised that Wendy 5-ply Guernsey wool is still available.)

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