“When you think of knitted garments,” says the 1946 Knitting For All book, “You don’t, if you’re wise think of ‘what the well-dressed man will wear’ – but of what the comfort-loving man will wear, though it is, of course,, as you well know, necessary to achieve smartness as well.”

Throughout the book, men are treated as lovable idiots, who think they are the man of the house, but in fact do not actually ‘wear the trousers’ as no doubt the writers of the time would have expressed it. The book was published just after the war when wool was still rationed, and clothes had to be durable because there was no telling when they might be able to be replaced. Later in the men’s section of the book, a sweater is described as ‘built for endurance and warmth’, and that was its purpose. We seem so driven by fashion these days, and even though Knitting For All was offering clothes which were fashionable for the time,  practicality and use were the main considerations.

There are suggestions for making the woollens practical and individual; knitting for a ‘man who wants a really chunky pullover, but does not like a polo neck’ there is an alternative pattern. ‘Some men hate to have full-length sleeves to any pullover that they wear when ‘working around the place’ because the cuffs catch in things and generally get in the way’ – so the pattern is adapted to accommodate this.

Winter has set in now, and everyone will be wearing hats and scarves, but I’m pretty sure the balaclava helmet in my featured image will not be seen! What is described as a muffler helmet, is actually a beany with a scarf attached… Might this catch on? Be the new warm thing to wear in winter? Maybe…

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On the lookout! Many of you have been looking for just this type of muffler helmet. It does mean that both the head and the throat are properly protected and the careless man can’t leave his scarf behind when he needs it most.

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