Tuesday 25 February 2014

Wartime Farm Sleeveless Pullover, Fenella and Susan Crawford

I feel like I have weeks and weeks of blogging and podcasting material thanks to Unravel. I'm on about day 2 of recovery though so today is an indulgent, lingering kind of post about all things Susan Crawford

I've always loved to see Susan's booth at shows. It's a wonderful setup full of gorgeous samples, books and yarn but the thing that strikes me most, without fail, each and every time, is that I step in and feel like I'm in someone's sitting room. She brings wallpapered walls and period pieces to display her vintage inspired finery and the effect is not lost on me. I feel the crowds disappear and wish I was wearing a string of pearls EVERY TIME. I'm transported to another era and my mood is instantly lifted. 

Susan always looks the part, showcasing her designs and more often than not a fabulous, authentic hairdo too but I'm afraid to say it was her husband that stole the show this year. He was modelling the Wartime Farm Sleeveless Pullover that Susan designed, complete with hat and tie. This picture will give you an idea of why I sighed every time I looked down the hall and saw him in that booth of charm and wonder. I longed to show my Grandmother; I felt like I could hear my Grandfather humming 'We'll meet again' each and every time I saw him. (Which my Grandfather does interchangeably with 'Here We are Again' and it's a habit I adore)

(c) Susan Crawford
If you haven't heard about this wonderful sweater and the project surrounding it, you really should go and take a lookIn the wake of the popular Wartime Farm BBC TV series, you can now knit your very own authentic Fair Isle Sleeveless Pullover, modelled on a 1938 original and as worn by Alex Langlands no less! For each pattern sold, a £2.50 donation will be made to the Women’s Land Army Tribute Campaign to help raise money for a permanent memorial to these forgotten ladies and their untold toil during the World Wars. There's a kit available featuring Susan's wonderful yarn that she's developed to help you achieve the most authentic garment possible. 

Talking of yarn, I was mid interview with Susan when I spotted this little bit of deliciousness peeking at me.....

This is Fenella, the newest recruit to Susan's unique yarn range. Susan understands that vintage inspired patterns require vintage inspired yarn as the modern day equivalents often don't behave like their predecessors. With this in mind, Susan has been working with British Wool supplier John Arbon Textiles to develop a yarn range that will allow knitters to create garments with authentic colour choices and achieve that perfect fabric. 

Fenella is a 2ply that knits as a 3 ply, a weight that many vintage patterns call for but has all but dyed out in modern milling. Available in 124m (135yds) per 25g, this is 100% pure new British wool, (70% Exmore Blueface, 30% Bluefaced Leicester). It's amazing and I'm currently pondering what it wants to be when it grows up. I guess I will have to indulge myself by curling up with one or two of Susan's inspirational books and see what I find eh?

All in the name of research and recovery. Obviously. 

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