Aunt Fanny’s knitting

December 5, 2009 at 10:25 am | Posted in Aunt Fanny, Fashion, Learning Stuff, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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If Aunt Fanny did indeed invest in good quality wardrobe basics for her daughter George – sturdy brogues and a proper rainmac (see previous posts under the ‘fashion’ category) – I suspect she would economically supplement these pieces with some of her own home knits. Eileen Soper’s illustrations depict all sorts of lovely jumpers, hats and scarves, and I can well imagine Aunt Fanny occupying herself during the long winter evenings at Kirrin Cottage with a spot of knit and purl.

The V&A has some great knitting pages including a set of original 1940s knitting patterns. Some of these are wartime patterns taken from Jaegar’s ‘Essentials for the Forces’. The 1940s was a high point for hand knitting and Jaegar’s publication includes instructions for making ‘all of the necessary garments for men and women serving in the Forces’. It even makes handy colour suggestions: ‘Air Force blue or khaki wool for outer garments, and fawn or natural wool for the body belt, socks and vest’.

While Uncle Quentin was busy aiding the war effort with his scientific knowledge, Fanny could have been making items like these mittens for the WRENS (although I also like to imagine a more glamorous, fluent German-speaking Fanny carrying out a spot of wartime espionage).

As we know, the Kirrins are mildly impoverished when we first meet them in Five on a Treasure Island (whether the Famous Five stories are set pre- or post-war is of course open for debate – the first book was published in 1942 but the war is never mentioned); and Fanny may have kept and adapted patterns such as these for George and her cousins. The tops of these mittens turn down – very handy for keeping the hands warm while fiddling around looking for the entrance to secret passages and the like.


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