Image Details: ‘Hoodie’ by Davharuk, via Flickr
Nowadays, the humble hoodie, rather than being a utilitarian item of clothing, is often villified as the uniform of choice for the feral ‘yoof’ of Britain. This reputation is perhaps a little unfair: yes, a lot of young people choose to wear one, but then so does my Mum on occasion, for reasons of comfort and warmth rather than to hide her face as she holds up the nearest off-license at knifepoint. Which is clearly what all the ‘yoof’ will be planning on doing with their hoodies on. I think not, somehow. More likely, they will just fancy a sherbet fountain and a gallon of your finest Pepsi Max, please, shopkeeper.
The term hoodie entered popular usage in the 1990s, and although hooded clothes had been around since the Middle Ages, the modern style of hoodie as we know it was only introduced in the 1930s, by Champion, for labourers in the frozen warehouses of New York. Popularised in the 1970s, chiefly by Mr Rocky Balboa (‘Aaaaaayyyddddrrrriiiaaaaaannnn!’) by the 1990s, the hoodie had spread to encompass skaters and surfers, been embraced as a garment of choice in Universities across the United States and featured in fashion collections by the likes of Armani, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. By the mid 2000s, it had become a symbol, in the UK at least, with young people ‘up to no good’, prompting the banning of wearing hoodies in public places such as the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent, and a rather theatrical leap onto the bandwagon by John Prescott, saying he felt threatened by a group of hooded teenagers at a service station. Give me a break, wet pants.
Hoodie hype aside, it’s time I cut to the chase: my latest finished project, which is indeed a hoodie of the knitted variety. Now, the pattern I used referred to it as a raglan jacket, but I think this is just a bit of spin to ensure that the mild mannered knitters of GB are not dissuaded by any negative hood-related connotations. The pattern is by King Cole, number 2821, and has patterns for several different variations of jumper, cardigan and hoodie in both stripes and plain.
Undeterred by the drooling, slightly ginger but acceptably cute child on the front of the leaflet, I decided to give the pattern a go. I did the size 3-6mths raglan jacket version. This knitted up much faster than I thought it would and is entirely suitable for beginners: it’s all stocking stitch with a liberal sprinkling of garter stitch around the edges. The only criticism I would make is that there are a LOT of seams, particularly around the neck band, which look a bit untidy in my opinion as they are visible when the top button is undone. That said, I wouldn’t envisage having the same problem with the sweater designs. I used Sirdar Snuggly Baby Crofter Fair Isle effect DK yarn in ‘Nessie’, shade 0154. This is a machine washable, nylon/acrylic mix, with 179 yards to a 50g ball. Now I never usually knit in acrylic, as I prefer natural fibres, however, this is a baby garment and as such is likely to be puked on within the first 5 minutes of wear, therefore being machine washable will come in terribly handy. The yarn is actually quite nice for man-made fibre, and is a lot softer than a cheaper, 100% acrylic yarn would be. The pattern called for 2 x 100g balls of King Cole yarn, but as I substitued in the Sirdar, which was in 50g balls, I bought 4. I only ended up using just over 2 balls though, so for this size, if you are going with the Sirdar, I would only buy 3.
So, this is my version…
…the yarn was intended to be unisex, as Shinybabytobee’s sex is unknown at this time and shall remain so until he/she pops into the world, however, the more I look at it, the more it looks a bit girly. The buttons are an Etsy find and come from a shop called BigFish, which is run by a very nice lady called Kirsty and carries all kinds of haberdashery type supplies. These particular buttons are hand printed and pressed in the UK and came in a bag of mixed shade polka dot.
I wonder if they allow hoodies in Mothercare?