1958 Rugged, Two-colour Ski Sweater by Vogue Knitting

Do you do New Year’s Resolutions? I do! And this year I set myself the task of reading one book a month.

I had been making good progress.

January (6)

  • Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies; A Biography of Cancer
  • Stephen King, The Green Mile
  • Stephen King, Mr Mercedes
  • Rachel Abbott, Sleep Tight
  • Philip Gould, When I Die: Lessons from the Death Zone
  • Marguerite van Geldermalsen, Married to a Bedouin

February (4)

  • Stephen King, Doctor Sleep
  • Kate Atkinson, A God in Ruins
  • Keith Houghton, No Coming Back
  • Margaret Atwood, The heart goes last

March (5)

  • Liliana Hart, Dirty Little Secrets
  • Ford Maddox Ford, The Good Soldier
  • John Le Carre, The Night Watchman
  • Ruth Picardie, Before i Say Goodbye
  • Jacky Fleming, The trouble with women

April (4)

  • Mikhail Bulgakov, Heart of a Dog
  • Danielle Steel, Flowers in the Snow
  • Veronica Roth, Divergent
  • Veronica Roth, Insurgent

May (3)

  • Kimberley Chambers, Payback
  • William Blacker, Along the Enchanted Way
  • Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

June (2)

  • Elizabeth McKenzie, The Portable Veblen
  • Michael Frayn, Towards the End of the Morning

July (3)

  • Hannah Rothschild, The improbability of Love
  • Mick Herron, Slow Horses
  • Nina Sibbe, Love Nina

August (5)

  • JM Coetze, The Schooldays of Jesus
  • Mick Herron, Dead Lions
  • Sue Monk Kidd, the Secret Lives of Bees
  • Mhairi McFarlane, You had me at Hello
  • EL Doctorow, The Book of Daniel

September (3)

  • Macrae Burnet, His Bloody Project
  • Nina Stibbe, Man at the Helm
  • Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North

In 9 months I read 35 books – an average of around four a month. I was on track to meet my resolution. Halfway through September I just about stopped reading. Now it It mid November, I do have a book on the go, and it’s a good one, but I am lucky if I manage to read more than a few pages every now and again.

You know what has happened, don’t you?

I have taken up knitting and, by and large, it has replaced reading, because there are only so many hours in the day. Knitting appears to have replaced pattern cutting, textiles and slow, creative sewing.

I am feeling a bit unsure about this.

Do I love knitting more than reading? Is knitting more pleasurable than sewing? Is knitting taking over my life? I am watching more TV (still on the Scandi Noir stuff, so this jersey felt appropriate). I love reading and sewing, but it feel like I have fallen in love. Will my new passion will subside and allow me to get back to other things?

I don’t know the answer to this. But while my reading has languished I have made another sweater.

The pattern

This time it is the Vogue Knitting magazine from 1958 “Rugged, two colour, ski sweater”. This sweater appealed to me as I wanted to try colour work and it seemed like a nice Scandinavian inspired jersey. I liked the vertical stripes and the bold colour scheme. In fact I love everything about the idea of 1958 ski jumper as I remember my parents 1955 skiing honeymoon photographs from Arosa (Switzerland). The original (black and white version) is quite close fitting. My guess is with the 1980s version they made up the bust 38″ jumper and put it on a size 8 (bust 32) model. I made it in bust 34 and it fits well, but not the oversize look captured in the 1980s.

Yarn used

I bought my Aran weight cashmere yarn, in strong pink and deep aubergine, from ColourMart. This company takes left over yarns from sweater manufacturers, twists it up to make thicker yarns, and sells it at much lower prices than “proper” cashmere yarn.  But it was still expensive (about £100 for the sweater) and an unusual experience. The yarn is oiled when it arrives, and it feels cottony and stringy. Once it is knitted up you wash it in hand hot water and detergent, then tumble dry. It softens up a bit, but it doesn’t feel soft and fluffy like a cashmere sweater you would buy in a shop. It feels hard wearing, non-itchy, warm and light. But I am not sure I would pay such a high price again. Apparently it gets softer with each wash (I will report back).

Here are the four pieces before I started on the yoke.

Vogue KnittingRugged, Two-colour Ski Sweater 1958
Rugged, Two-colour Ski Sweater 1958


There was more picking up stitches as the main pieces are knitted sideways, as it were. I got better this time around, but I still need more experience. The other new experience was the colour work – making the yoke pattern. I got it wrong, and it is not only upside down, it is also not lined up properly. Also I ran out of yarn right at the end so the collar is less deep than planned. But even with these mistakes I admit I am rather pleased with my jumper. The chunky yarn made it nice and quick to knit, and I wore it to visit our country retreat, Rainshore, now promised just before Christmas. We shall see.

Vogue knitting ski jumper 1958
1958 ski jumper

I don’t think a jumper a week is a sensible resolution and I will calm it down now. I have yarn for two or three more sweaters, but SWAP is coming. Do you ever feel your creative endeavours become a little too addictive?

57 Responses

  1. Stephanie

    Kate, You are the most productive person I have run across. You put me to shame with both your quantity of reading and knitting speed! Love the jumper and great colours too.

  2. Naomi

    Technically (working on an average system of 12 books per year fulfilling your resolution) you’ve smashed it!
    I hear you about getting addicted to making things, the whole Slotober thing has been a good reminder to balance that ‘need’ to create with the desire to create what is needed.
    I admire that you are considering doing SWAP for your son. I’m thinking it’s time for me to do some sewing for others. Husband wants a shirt!

  3. Gill

    Wow Kate – you are a whirlwind of a woman! While the rest of us faff about, wondering if stuff is too difficult, you just crack right on and get things done! Well done, you really are an inspiration.
    (I met up with JaneMakes on Thursday, and she agreed!)

      • gill

        Fantastic thanks ! My move went very smoothly, and although I’ve only been in Norfolk for a few weeks (interrupted by a week in Littlehampton) I have no regrets about moving. I am really pleased with the house (and all the space!) I love the village, and it’s so good being able to see my family so easily. Now I’m back from my holiday the decorating etc has started in earnest – sewing room was first, and has been finished today – you have to get your priorities right xx

        • fabrickated

          I am so glad it worked out well for you Gill and I look forward to reading more about your new sewing adventures. I too am looking to a different life style, albeit at weekends only, for now.

  4. Cynthia

    Kate, your cashmere jumper is lovely and it will soften. You need not stop reading, just have some plain knitting as well as your more complicated and knit and read at the same time. I love doing this.

  5. Giorgia

    Great Jumper! I’m the other way aroubd, I’m a very slow knitter because good books keep getting in the way.

    I’m finishing a scarf now, but I think you’ve convinced me into trying colourwork. I have been wanting to make myself a Christmas jumper for ages now and I better get started!

    Thanks for sharing about colourwork, sounds like worth a browse 🙂

  6. eimear

    That is gorgeous, and it looks so snug, which is probably brilliant if you are in the final building stages in November and hanging around discussing finishings….your reading list is inspiring – I have been ad-hoc with reading this last while…… must check out some of your books as I adore when I get a book that I hate to put down….(and my current crochet project is ending soon which means I need some lunchtime activity for work)

  7. Ruth

    The jumper looks great, and your progress is brilliant! You could always listen to audio books if you are missing books. I think you should just do what you enjoy in that particular moment, otherwise you can end up feeling guilty about an activity that is a personal choice.

        • Giorgia

          You’re not alone K. Wealth and tv are slowly making libraries redundant and many are closing down. Yet theyvare beautiful and so much goes on in them in terms of events, courses and community-led enterprises. Besides many libraries now borrow ebooks and digital audiobooks for free, which makes borrowing a book at 3am on a saturday night possible. It’s incredible it’s free really.

  8. Katja

    Love the new jumper, it looks fab on you!
    And I hear you about not having enough hours in the day – on top of a FT job, I like to sew, knit, and have just recently added spinning into the mix … at which point I decided it’s time to give audio book another try. I used to dislike listening to my books, but neither knitting nor spinning occupy my brain entirely, and it seemed like worth a try. So far I like it 🙂 it depends a lot on the quality of the recording, tho.

  9. Annieloveslinen

    What a great sweater and complex too, you are moving apace with your knitting projects.

    As for reading, I was a prolific reader until I discovered the internet and that supplanted much reading, nowadays I read fast and furious when imagination has been captured whereas I constantly read before and felt bereft if I didn’t have a book to hand.

    I’m with Ruth, dothere are no ‘ shoulds’ .

  10. Rowena

    That looks fantastic! And you’ve got me really interested in that yarn company and the “soft, hard-wearing” yarn. I won’t weight in too much on the multi-hobby issue (I’m biased, as one with many hobbies), but you seem happy with where things are. If you stop feeling like you have the time to really delve into the project and learn new skills, perhaps that would be the time to cut down on the rate of diversification.

  11. Martina

    The sweater is great, but I LOVE your new house! It’s so beautiful. Have you ever thought about audio books? I have friends with long driving commutes and they love to listen to books along the way.

  12. Lynn Mally

    Well, you will just have to decide what you love more–knitting or reading. Or maybe you could decide to read a book every two months. I am just amazed by your knitting progress.

  13. Linda Galante

    I love your sweater! I’m such a fan of the styles of the fifties and love the ‘vibe’ of yours. I have lots of creative hobbies too, and find that sometimes one seems to be dominant for awhile, then it falls back a bit to make room for something else.Too many fun things to choose from…. it’s a great dilemma to have, don’t you think? I love audio books, they’re a lovely pleasure that’s a bit different from reading but close enough :). Enjoy!

  14. Joyce Latham

    Wow! Congrats Kate. The sweater looks terrfic! And suits the Rainshore location perfectly! Oh….I’m always so excited to catch a view of your new house. It’s looking phenomenal!
    Funny, I’m having the same thoughts about knitting. One room is full of sewing machines and I’m starting to question if I’ll ever see again! I love working on my little Christmas sweaters…each stitch is like a little kiss to the grandkids, and give me a quiet dream time about their futures.
    It’s fitting into my lifestyle, I no longer have the full week to donate to a project …none stop, which is the way I like to sew.
    I once gave myself a challenge to read classics for a year…and it was one of the best things I had ever done for myself. I’m down to one book a month, with my little book club, and that feels ok too. I don’t take piano lessons any more, but I do play what I have learnt each evening, and it brings me a lot of pleasure.
    At the moment, I have decided to find some kind of group to join…..and I see my yarn store offers little workshops, example, knitting socks. I might just give this a go for the socializing aspect. I have a few projects, just about to be completed: the dogs are almost ready to be painted, the sweaters almost ready to be sewn together and the Halloween canvas will be bought today.
    I find it a little frustrating, as I used to have time to start and complete, but now I have to share my days with retired husband, and child care two days a week….which I really want to do as well!
    Eeeek….oh to find the perfect balance is always a challenge…sometimes I wish I didn’t want to do these things….but I do…and therefor, try to push my frustrated feelings aside, and just enjoy wants happening at the time.
    I’m sure you will return to all your different forms of creativity,when the time is right. We are so lucky to have ….far too many choices! Ha ha

    • fabrickated

      What a lovely, thoughtful comment Joyce. I think setting a challenge is a good way to focus your time. I find I get more done that way although I never seem to have enough time and get irritated that I actually need to sleep too. Lovely how you are putting love into those children’s sweaters, and I am following your book club stories with great enthusiasm.

  15. Karen Kayes

    Beautiful jumper, love the colours on you, and the yoke style is really flattering. I was the same when I first started knitting, again, 3 years ago. I absolutely loved it, was totally smitten and am still very much taken with it, but have calmed down somewhat. I’m sure you will find room for your books again and you’re learning a skill which will keep you entertained in all manner of ways. Audiobooks are great to listen to instead, if you run out of tv. Or podcasts.

    • fabrickated

      Thank you Karen. I suppose the books and the knitting fit into the same slot in my life, although the knitting is more sociable. I am going to try the Podcasts. I listened to “Serial” and enjoyed them, and had a go at the podcasts about the making of Just Call Saul. I need to investigate…

  16. mrsmole

    You are amazing in your completion of sewing, knitting and reading while building a new house! The colors are so beautiful together and it fits well too. 50’s fashion was all about making women look better and flatter their figures. Keeping my fingers crossed that you can celebrate the holidays in your new digs!

    • fabrickated

      We have asked my Mum to join us so we are begining to think it might be just “a bridge too far” in terms of timing, commission the building, fetching my Mum (and equipment) and organising the rest of the family.

  17. BMGM

    Rainshore and the sweater are gorgeous. I also recommend audiobooks while knitting.

    I’m sorry your sweater is so stiff. Did you knit your gauge swatch slightly loose and then wash it to remove oil? The yarn needs room to fluff up.

    I’ve had very good results with Colourmart yarns since I learned to knit them for the right after washing gauge.

    • fabrickated

      That is reassuring about Colourmart. I shall give it a second wash and see how it goes. I don’t think it is too tightly knitted but I am not sure (nothing much to compare it with!)

  18. erin

    Once you feel solid enough knitting, enough so that you can carry on a conversation while knitting, I recommend taking up audio books. Research shows that you get the same benefits listening to a book as you do reading a written copy. So technically, you can read an audio book. And there are some AMAZING narrations out there.

    I was dismayed that my sewing cut into my reading time, so I took up listening. I find I can’t read and sew, but I *can* read and knit. I also read on my daily walks, during my commute, and more:)

  19. sew2pro

    I suspect a good book can make much more of an impression on me than any frock will ever do! I only get through about 12 a year, with some being much more rewarding than most.

    I’m astounded by how eclectic your reading list is! I’d never have guessed Stephen King would be on it. You must have liked Nina Stibbe to have read both her books. I chose Man at the Helm as my book-club read and it went down like a lead balloon, whereas I thought all that feckless parenting was rather hilarious…

    I too am a recent convert to audio books as I can listen while walking through tube stations in the rush hour 🙂 an activity which, like knitting, pretty much prevents you from being able to do much else at the same time!

    • fabrickated

      Well I know Nina’s brother very well and I read the books to learn more about him. Then I met Nina and their Mum at a wedding. Such a fascinating family. I really enjoyed the books too.

  20. Sue

    Such a stunning jumper and it suits you perfectly. Don’t panic about your reading as in no time at all you will be able to knit and read at the same time!

  21. Mem

    I commiserate with the knitting addiction. I have discovered talking books which helps stay in touch with literature Great jumper . You are doing very well

  22. helen

    Ha! I’ve just started knitting a jumper and it’s taking up all my free time. Sewing plans have gone out the window and I have 3 books on the go which I haven’t touched in over a week. I am also watching far more telly than usual. Maybe I should alternate my sewing and knitting evenings…
    The colours of the jumper are great and I’m amazed that so early on in your knitting you are attempting the colour work. It looks fab.

  23. Jenny

    Another wonderful make…perfect for your leisure wardrobe. But I know the feeling of being torn with all the choice. I’m afraid my reading has gone off a cliff since I’ve started sewing again and part of me really feels I ought to get more of a balance – particularily since reading an article over the weekend that regular readers live longer!! But I agree with the other comments, to go with the flow. If knitting is giving you joy and is certainly very successful, if it’s not hurting anyone or causing you to go bankrupt why do something else? I’m sure your leisure time is finite and very precious and rationing what you really want to do with what you think your should just leads to frustration. Mind you I really ought to reacquaint myself with my kindle app again sometime and having a chilly sewing room and a very warm fireside in our lounge might just induce me to!

  24. QPlourde

    Wow an excellent knitter too! I’m scared to take up knitting, not sure why. I guess I haven’t really mastered sewing yet! I love the sweater and since I am a skier, this garment really appealed to me. Great work – very interesting pattern and I love the color too!

  25. Giorgia

    I’m visiting Colourmart now and I’m wondering how is your sweater behaving after a few washes.. there are some interesting yarns for quite a bargain here, considering the amounts. Would you recommend it still?

    • fabrickated

      I found the DK especially nice but the heavier stuff less so. I also like the 4 ply. I think the best for value and colour is the Italian Merino yarn. I should have let you feel it! Kim went to the Shrewsbury factory and reports her experience on her blog.

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