Baby Georgie and Royal knitwear watch – a knitter’s top 5 picks

While others may follow the Royal family in Britain for the fashions of the princess of the day, I have a slightly different angle. Rather than being concerned with whether Kate is wearing McQueen or Whistles, I’m wondering whether Prince George’s cute name jumper is hand or machine knit.

It started me thinking about knitting and the Royal family and I discovered some nuggets of interesting knitting (and knitwear) history to share with you here to mark Prince George’s first birthday on 22 July.

1. The “George” powder blue cashmere sweater was gifted to the prince’s proud Granddad  by Royal Warrant holders (and makers of Prince Charles’ socks) Corgi a Welsh knitwear company.

2. Another popular knitted item “worn” by little George was the shawl he was wrapped in for going home from hospital. This shawl was also a machine knit, by GH Hurt & Son, identical to the one his Dad was wrapped in for the same occasion (according to my reputable source, The Daily Mail).

3. Neither of these items matched the knitting copycat frenzy caused the by Kate’s green ruffle shawl from Couture Candy. It’s sold out, so if you want one its probably a nice thing to have the knitting skills to make it yourself. In 100% cashmere please! There are several patterns on Ravelry – just search “Kate’s shawl” or “Middleton shawl” and take your pick. There is also a Ravelry group dedicated to this iconic accessory.

4. The above examples aren’t the first time Royal knit wear inspired a knitting trend. Back in 1921 the Prince of Wales, who later became Edward VIII wore fair isle vests and set knitters off to puzzling over their colour palettes everywhere.

5. Now for an item that was actually hand knit with incredible skill, is the gift to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to celebrate the birth of Prince George from New Zealand. It is a delicate lace shawl, designed by Margaret Stove, and spun and knitted by Cynthia Read. After looking at photos of the shawl its not surprising that this was Cynthia’s comment on finishing it: ”Oh the relief, it’s wonderful,” she said. “I had a nice lie down, it was lovely to get it finished.”. The pattern is Filmy Fern and available in Margaret Stove’s book Wrapped in Lace: Knitted Heirloom Designs from Around the World.

And apparently both Queen Victoria, the Queen Mum and Queen Elizabeth all knit, so its not just us common folk who have the joy (embarrassment?) of wearing those slightly itchy, somewhat wonky hand knitted sweaters made by family members with much love, but not worn much after the age of four or five when autonomy and fashion sense kicks in. Although if it were to be knit in 100% cashmere…..

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