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Blog

'Frilly Neck To Melt The Heart'

Theodora Goes Wild



My newest and current favourite knitted of the moment, (I'm a fickle gal, and will be on to the next thing in no time. In fact, I'm on to the fourth thing already)!

Meet 'Frilly Neck to Melt the Heart', originally in Woman and Home, June 1936. It is from 'The 30s Family Knitting Book' by Jane Waller. I started it about the middle of December, I remember, because I took it on a long Tube journey with me and even did a bit of ribbing when I got to my destination. The destination was a little '30s place called The International Club. I have started a bit of a precedent there, in that I always try to wear a vintage knit to it. The first month I wore my 'Jumper in Munrospun', in green with a knitted belt. (Sorry about the gin-grin).


This month I wore 'Frilly Neck To Melt The Heart'. I don't know how I completed it in less than a month, but I was very pleased with it.

Something I have noticed about some 3 ply patterns I have knitted is the tension on them is actually quite loose. The usual tension you get asked to achieve is 7 sts and 9 rows to 1 inch using 3.25 mm needles. The tension required for this was 6.5 sts to the inch using 3.75mm needles, which considering the fine ply and relatively large needle size makes it appear quite 'airy'.

I modified the pattern quite a bit as the size stated was for a 37 inch bust, and the length 20 inches. It looked too big on the model, I noticed that the shoulders sloped on her, which I hate in vintage knits. My tension came out at 6.25 sts and 8 rows to the inch, which worked really well in giving that slightly airy look, but not lacy. It certainly makes it easier to wear in a warm environment. I stayed positively cool.


Still, I wanted a close fitting version of this, so I scaled it down and shortened it, so that it would sit high on the waist. Actually I didn't shorten it, I added 8 rows, but it is much shorter than the original. It was 11.5 inches when I started the armhole shaping.

The finished bust measurement came out at just under 33.5 inches, and the length is 18.5 inches. It has a little negative ease, but I like it. I had to scale down the shoulder too, which I thought would turn out too narrow, but it worked. I did lengthen the armhole, though - not just to give me a bit more wiggle room, but also so that I could start the neck shaping a bit sooner. I'm glad I did, as it would have been a bit of a struggle to get it over my head otherwise! The sleeves I didn't change except to work more rows to fit the armhole. They are knit from the top down, which is rather a change, and makes for a nice fit.


The collar was fun to do, at first anyway, until the increases got out of hand - more than 250! But not for long. As my neck was deeper than the original, I cast on a few more for the collar. I also ignored one of the pattern rows which had some purl sts on the right side, just on their own, which I didn't think looked right. I finished it with a row of slip stitch, which neatened it up nicely.


Now the yarn.

I found myself in Loop last year, I don't know how that happened, but there was a sale on, so I really had to take advantage of it. It would have been rude not to. I spied a box under a table, and I love a good rummage, so this was the result. Tvinni by Isager, in shade 19, a sweet pink. The only other colour on sale was an almost neon yellow, which just screamed in terror at me. It is a merino lambswool, spun in Denmark. Yardage/meterage is quite generous, 510 metres = 100g. I bought 2 skeins, and used less than 700m.

When I asked about it I was told it was a 4 ply, but it felt more like a 3 ply to me. When I checked the site just now, it comes under lace weight, which doesn't fit either. It knits up to 3 ply patterns that is for sure. It might even work as a substitute for 2 ply as well. It will be interesting to see how it feels after washing, something I don't do before wearing. Lots of people recommend it as the yarn 'blooms' after it hits water with a bit of soap thrown in, but frankly I'm too lazy. I just want to wear the thing! In fact, I try to get as many wears out of my knitteds before I wash them, as however careful you are, they do start to felt ever so after a few washes. Dress shields.

It was a lovely, simple pattern, but not too dull, the slip stitches kept me interested.


The crucial part of the knitting really is the blocking. Lots of steam and a very damp tea towel or muslin. I used to be scared of putting the iron on the garment, but for this I knew spreading out the pattern would only improve it. This doesn't apply to all knitwear though, some patterns need only the slightest press, and others only need the steam from the iron shown to them, the same way a good Martini only needs to glance at the Vermouth.

I blocked it very carefully and thoroughly, pinning and measuring as I went. At first, I pressed it too long, so went back and re-did it, which I didn't think you could do, but the wonder of steam made it possible. The collar spread out beautifully with some fearless pressing.


I wore it with my Blackberry Cardigan, and Shell Pattern Cap.

Which one to wear next month?

Theodora.