Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I've now branched out from Mary Rowe's book and into new territory (though rather old territory, really). I designed this man's sized tam and used an eight point star for the wheel pattern, rather than Mary's seven section wheel. The pattern I drafted quite a few times in different variations while gazing at the coloured photo of tams in Sheila McGregor's Traditional Fair Isle book. I kept redoing it to suit the colours as they looked when I knitted them. The wool is my handspun dyed with madder (red), indigo (blue), and safflower (yellow). There are also three natural wool colours there. I liked the rather 1930s look to the colour scheme.
Because I am cutting grass every day for the cow with a scythe I feel a hay rake might be helpful so I'm hoping to be able to trade this tam for one. I do know the Oamaru maker of hay rakes would like a traditional tam.
I've always loved looking at photos of tam o'shanters and wondering how to shape the wheel pattern in the centre, but until I bought Mary Rowe's book on tammies I didn't have the vital clues that make it possible to make tammies of any size and have them lie perfectly flat when they're finished. Now a new world has opened to me. I find them endlessly fascinating and I've been spending time designing my own, spinning and dyeing the wool to make them, knitting up samples from bits and pieces of wool and persuading my friends and their friends and relations to draw up designs for me.
This is the first patterned tam I've made to my own design, but I've got quite a few designs now ready to be made. I used some Jamieson and Smith 2-ply for this but from now on I'll use my own handspun.
A few months ago a friend and I went op shopping in Dunedin and I picked up some rather conservative looking blue wool for $15 which seems like a lot of money to someone who usually spins their own. I worried about how to make it pay for itself and ended up making this pattern from 1938. It's in A Stitch in Time - the first edition. The original pattern tells you what to wear with the jumper. If you make it in cornflower blue, for instance, you need a blue linen skirt, a rose pink scarf, a blue flower clip and navy blue shoes. As I didn't have any of these essentials I made a tammie from the same wool and a skirt from a bit of left over woolen fabric I found in a cupboard. It turned out quite well.