Thursday, January 29, 2015

Other paths to warmer fabric

Fair Isle is a warmer fabric. If we look to this clip from 1932, (http://ssa.nls.uk/film/1129, 
IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING ) we see the woolen  yarn being spun somewhat more firmly than is common today, and the fabric knit much more tightly than is the fashion today.  The finished sweater is much warmer than most modern Fair Isle knitting.

We also see that they do not show the sweater knitter knitting with her long DPNs and leather knitting pouch.  What we see is another knitter knitting something that is not Fair Isle and not a sweater. Thus, the clip has a point of view, and we may not be seeing an honest report of the ethnology of the croft.

In any case we do not know where the croft is - it might be on the North Islands, or the mainland.  They may have learned their skills at their grandmother's knee - or as young adults working away from the croft.  They are obviously skilled workers, but we do not know how much is their life, and  how much is the script provided by the film maker.

And there are some "cuts" and set rearrangements as she starts to card, so I am not even certain that she is actually carding rooed wool  - so, I cannot be sure that the sheep herding and rooing is actually a part of the making of that sweater.

8 comments:

Tamar Lindsay said...

I think it's actually accurate, but the graininess and the director's choices hide it. I watched several times, rerunning the significant parts around 9:07-9:09, and she is using either a sheath or a knitting pad. It's just hidden by the pinney apron she's wearing. When the film closes in on the two-needle knitter, at the right we see "Mrs. Jamieson" pulling one of her long needles out of the slit in the side of her pinney, which hides the holder. Also, she's knitting the second sleeve, so the needles not in play have a stretch that is empty, and that's what we see flapping in the air as she changes needles. The film is grainy so it's hard to tell, but there are enough shapes on the fabric to convince me that she is actually knitting Fairisle. When she shows it to the other woman it's easier to see, and she's definitely holding onto the place where she's still working on the upper sleeve.

Holin Kennen said...

Refusing to post comments again, I see.

Aaron said...

Comment about ways to spin, knit or weaver better, faster, or cheaper, and I will post.

Comments about me will be deleted.

Aaron said...

Tamar,
It is fairly clear that the Fair Isle sweater was knit "Shetland style" with a leather knitting pouch and long needles.

However, Fair Isle is a Shetland/Orkney/ etc style of knitting.

I think it was filmed on one of the northern islands Shetland/Orkney/ etc rather than on the mainland. And, I there was editorializing. Mrs. Jamieson knitting technique for the sweater was obscured in favor of another technique using SPN.

A more honest reporting would disclosed more details of Mrs. Jamieson knitting technique with the long needles and pouch

Liam Shaughnessy said...

hello ,

been reading a few of your blog posts on Shakleton's sweaters. Im not a knitter my wife is.. Im a drummer and former baymen .. clams. oysters.. I wish I had a sweater made like Shakletons when I was out braving cold temps on the bay in the winter..
I have a few sweaters in my collection. most made in ITaly/ where I lived for a few years .. the designs are high neck.. cowl.. not 100% wool though.. so I am wondering what the terminology is for the High cowl..with a roll to it..?Id like to find a vintage pattern for my wife to make one..she likes your blog too..and has been knitting for a few years as well.. I would love to have one on the slopes to show how it wages aganisnt those overproced Arctyrx.. Patagonia stuff out there..
I believe in natural fibres.. wool , cotton, kapok. etc.. down//
regards
Liam

Aaron said...

I have no idea what such a sweater cowl would be called.

Anyone?

I will say that I like after thought sweater collars, because changing the collar changes the ventilation, and hence the warmth of a tightly knit sweater.

sheepcrookandblackdog said...

can you clarify - is "croft" a typo that should read "craft"? or are you using "croft" in the sense of "small rental farm"?

sheepcrookandblackdog said...

right. rental farm.