Friday, 20 November 2015

Pattern for Sweaters

From The Times, 20th November 1915.



Sir,-- At last!  I now have the perfect pattern for a sweater which, of course with your unfailing kindness to the sweater industry, you will print verbatim for me.  It begins, “Cast on 76”  -- But no;  though I (wholly incredulous) am told that a baby can knit it in bed, it takes three-quarters of a column to describe, and comforts should not encroach on Job’s comforters – also it might become the mode in the home of Berlin wool.  So I ask ladies, especially the kind working parties who helped me so much last year, to write for the pattern which I have printed off.  If necessary, I might screw out a small cheque for wool for a start (out of your readers, of course, that is).  Meantime, while dressing and undressing the Army to get them really comfortably sweatered, I have had to put them off with et ceteras, with the result that I have not mitt, sock, or muffler left – this is a bald fact, though the young gentlemen are incredulous.  May I have enough of these smaller comforts to keep them quiet till the millennium of new knitted sweaters arrives?  It is an easy prophecy that I shall want rather a large quantity early in December.
With grateful thanks for the many already sent,
Yours faithfully,
8, King’s Bench-walk, Inner Temple, E.C., Nov. 19.

[Another of John Penoyre's letters asking for sweaters - and now, other comforts too.  His previous letter was published in October. 

As usual, his letter is entertaining but occasionally obscure.  The reference to 'Berlin wool' seems to mean that a pattern for sweaters published in The Times might get to Germany and thereby help the enemy.  The 'young gentlemen' are Army officers, asking for comforts for their men - ordinary soldiers were largely working class, and therefore not gentlemen. ]    


  1. I wonder if there is a copy of his sweater pattern available. I should like a sweater 'that a baby can knit in bed.'

    1. Me too. But sadly I don't know of a copy of the pattern anywhere.