Sunday, 13 July 2014

A vintage yellow jersey

After the excitement of the Tour de Yorkshire last weekend things are starting to settle down here. This week has been full of discussion of the sights, sounds and atmosphere of the Tour de France passing through my part of the world. Many of the decorations are still up and the spray painted messages on the roads are still visible.

I thought it was a good opportunity to combine Tour fever with my love of knitting patterns, which, surprisingly, is totally possible. At first I thought I would feature patterns using bikes as props but I am sadly disappointed to report that I don't have any! I don't know if this is due to a massive oversight by the props departments of the knitting pattern companies or just that my collection doesn't contain any. I will keep searching.

Then I thought about featuring patterns with yellow jumpers and I had a discussion about it with my mum who had found me the fantastic pattern that I opened this post with, the two men in yellow playing golf. So a homage to the yellow jersey it is!

Obviously, pre fancy sports fabrics the yellow jersey would have been made from wool.

The yellow jersey is known as the maillot jaune.

The yellow jersey is awarded to the rider with the lowest cumulative time for the distance completed so far.

Please notice that this Mod has matched his roll neck to his socks. Smart.

The sports newspaper which started the race in 1903 was printed on yellow, hence the yellow jersey given to the leader of the race.

The rider who has the yellow jersey at the finish in Paris is the overall winner of the Tour de France.

A green jersey is also awarded which is based on points given for position rather than time.

Riders who often finish highest each day build up green jersey points.

The highest placed rider under the age of 25 gets to wear a white jersey.

The best climber in the race gets to wear a white jersey with red polka dots - 'the King of the Mountains'.

I have been thinking a lot about my maternal grandparents during the Tour de Yorkshire. I also had a discussion with my cousin about them when he came up to see the race. In their younger days they were very keen cyclists and belonged to a cycling club in Sheffield. The second day of the Tour de Yorkshire, the day that went through my village, finished in Sheffield. My cousin and I wondered if our grandparents would have ridden part of the route and how exciting they would have found it to have the Tour in their home city. The above photo is from the family collection.

My grandparents often rode a tandem and they used to tell us all sorts of stories about the places that they went to, and about little tricks like the person at the back putting their feet up whilst the person at the front did all the pedalling. In their house they had a picture on the wall of each of them, taken on the tandem. I know they used to ride long distances at the weekends and it makes me wonder how much of the route they may have covered, and if they ever rode around here.

My grandad took us all out, separately, for a spin on the back of the tandem when we were young. I remember enjoying it whilst also being terrified!

I don't have any photos in my collection of my grandparents on their bikes but I do have this one. The young man at the back with the big smile and the floppy hair is my grandad. I like to think that this is his new bike and a photo has been taken to mark the occasion!


  1. You do have some splendid patterns! That lace panel jumper is lovely.

    I suppose the problem with bikes is that they're wide, whereas knitting patterns are tall, so to include a bike in a photo might mean not showing the garment as large. That's my guess as to why it's hard to find patterns with photos of them in...

    1. The lace panel one is a new one. I can put it up here if you would like? Good suggestion of yours as to why I can't find bikes in patterns.

  2. Great post! I love the pictures of your family!

  3. Love this post!!! Yellow, specifically mustard/saffron yellow, and I fell hard for one another two autumns ago and have been inseparable ever since. Yellow can be tricky to wear, but like most colours, it's usually just a matter of finding the shade(s) that work best with your colouring. For me that's yellows on the lightest and darkest ends of the spectrum, like many of the vintage examples here (all of which I adore!!!). What's your favourite shade of yellow, dear Kate-Em?

    ♥ Jessica

  4. Thanks for your lovely comment Jessica. I really like bright sunshine yellow but it looks truely hideous on me. I found that out one year when I worked in fashion retail and yellow was in but the manager of my shop agreed that me in any of the yellow clothes would put the customers off! Luckily, I am also a huge fan of mustard and that shade does work for me so I can indulge in a splash of yellow that way!