May 2023 update

Dear Readers

I’ve put this issue together with just one thought in mind, ‘Flaming June’ temperatures seem a long way away. As I write it’s cold, wet and miserable here, with hardly a hint of Spring, let alone summer! I think we’ll need an extra layer or two for a few more weeks. Once the weather improves, my plans to go North are still in place. In the meantime, telling you about my recent contact with Neville Bramwell has taken me on a very surprising journey. Writing about Neville has sparked recollections for many of us about Bramwell Yarns, not least the huge shows at Esher. Neville told me that the Esher stand to support Rosemary Sheath and Knitcraft was 100 feet long with a warehouse at the back and needed 12 members of staff to run it.

For a long time, I’ve kept in touch with Barbara Faulkner and her husband Derek. Reading my editorial reminded Derek how Barbara devised her very first Shadow Pleated Skirt design, using Bramwell Artistic or Bonnie’s Sable Crêpe, with Bramwell Silky or Bonnie’s French Crêpe. Neville asked Barbara to appear on the stand at Esher, where she sold her single skirt pattern for £1. They soon needed more supplies of yarn and Derek had to rush down from Birmingham with more patterns. It seems the success led Barbara to use her tailoring skills to adapt to machine knitting and the suit designs followed.

We’ve all noticed the pleated skirt is prominent again. It often features in Sally-Ann’s Style File and several TV presenters and personalities have worn skirts very similar to Barbara’s design. I’m thrilled to let you know that I’ll be reproducing Barbara’s original skirt pattern in the magazine next month. The even better news will be that Barbara’s pattern included instructions for Knitmaster, Jones+Brother and Passap/Pfaff machines. The lengths are a fashionable 27, 29, 30 and 32-34 inches, for a range of hip sizes from 36 to 42 inches and all measurements are fully adjustable. So, head for your stash! You’ll need two cones of Artistic or Sable and a third of a cone of Silky or French Crêpe.

If you’re new to machine knitting, with no idea what I’m talking about, call Nick Traylen at Uppingham Yarns on 01572-823747. He’ll give you excellent advice for yarn substitution. There are actually two shadow pleated skirt patterns. The original design has a wide pleat and the second has a fine pleat with a dropped waist alternative.

Month by month I’ll include all of them and I feel truly honoured to bring you some original patterns from one of machine-knitting’s iconic designers. Until next time, head for your stash!


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