|The Lismore Cable - Finished Swatch|
It was always more popular Stateside than here at home, despite the fact that the clothes were made from appallingly scratchy pure wool, very coarse and often replete with twigs and bits of grass and thorns, depending on the living quarters of the sheep.
My mother and many local women knitted for this designer and it was a veritable cottage industry. I guess it was a major success as he went on to leave the Civil Service and become a full-time designer, and he went on to live in Farney Castle in Co. Tipperary where he designed porcelain as well as knitwear.
|Lismore Cable swatch blocked|
I can't but think there was a certain irony in the fact that many of the home knitters like my widowed mother would have been clients of Cyril in his role as the Social Welfare officer. I wonder did they fear if they were too prolific in their output of jumpers would it have a negative impact on their pensions? The fear of "having your pension cut" was a very real one for people like my mother, who was a single mother through widowhood in the age when there were no supports other than the Widow's Pension and the Children's Allowance. I found a letter recently from the 1960's where her pension was noted to be 10/6 a week - that's 10 shillings and sixpence, or 55pence in old money, or about 70 EuroCent.
It can't have been easy, as they were under pressure to have the garments done in a certain timeframe, and the pattern sheet carries all kinds of dire warnings and admonishments of the consequences of getting the wool and/or garment soiled. Such transgressions had to be paid for by the knitter, and if a garment couldn't be cleaned to satisfaction the home knitter had to buy it for the cost of the wool. Now I know why my mother was always in a state to keep the wool clean, keeping it in pillow cases in the pre-plastic bag ubiquity era.
|Tivoli Twirl scarf|
|Some of the Frilly Scarves I made recently|