George Bain didn’t only create patterns for family and students. Occasionally he designed for craftspeople or commercial companies. This jumper was made by Gander Crafts, based in Muir of Ord, close to Bain’s home in Drumnadrochit. But this may be just a coincidence. We haven’t yet been able to find out when it was produced. Perhaps it was several decades after they moved away.
The jumper is machine-knitted using a brown tweed-coloured background. The design is of repeated green interlace panels, separated by smaller green motifs. The sleeves have an all-over check design in the same colours. The front, back and sleeves are hand-sewn together.
This item was gifted to the museum by Bain’s grandchildren. It seems likely that it was bought by them long after the George and Jessie Bain moved to England, in 1952.
This long sleeved, ladies jumper with its vivid interlace was knitted by Bain’s daughter Claire. She was following one of his charted designs, using stocking stitch. The wide blue interlaced strands, outlined in red, flow seamlessly onto the sleeves. If you look closely at the stitches you can see how this was done.
The body of the jumper and parts of the sleeves are knitted as one piece. Perhaps Claire used a long circular needle. The rest of the sleeves, with their closely fitting cuffs, were knitted separately and then grafted or sewn on.
George Bain charted many patterns to be used for knitting. There is a hint in his Celtic Art, Methods of Construction that he may have been thinking of publishing a book on the subject. When his son Iain retired, he gathered together his father’s knitting charts with the hope of printing them too. This never happened.