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style and knitting

rjf | Posted in Knitting and Crochet on

The senior center in my town has started a knitting group.  Anyone interested in learning to knit or having company to knit is welcome to join.  I went for the first time last week and besides just knitting, there was a pile of old knitting books, maybe late ’60’s and up.  They were really fun to look through but it’s strange how the styles I loved then look so (can I say) ugly now.  “Ugly” may not be the right word and I don’t think “unflattering” quite does it either.  The scary part  is back then I know I would have loved them.  We don’t really notice styles changing radically when it’s happening (unless it’s Brook Delormes) but from a distance of 20 years or more, it’s a shock to the system.  The nice part  about sewing and knitting is that you can have as much or as little fashion updating as you want.     rjf


  1. carolfresia | | #1

    Remember those giant, fluffy, fuzzy sweaters in bright pastels (if there is such a thing) from the late 1970s and early 80s? We had a bunch of patterns for them, from maybe Pingouin? I thought those were terrific, but now I probably wouldn't get much use out of them, either. I did recently come across a book of vintage knitting patterns, perhaps put out by Vogue knitting, that had some really pretty designs, classic and feminine, but you could tell they had culled the best and left those goofy, dated ones out. I think in some cases, just updating the yarn could turn those fussy styles into something a little more contemporary...


    1. rjf | | #6

      I think you're right about the colors but the amount of ease is maybe even more important.  Yeah, Pingouin was a good book but the other one I liked was Scheepjes(?) from the Netherlands.  Really nice designs and the directions were easy to follow (if you didn't get the French version by mistake).  But it's way more fun to design your own.                                                                      rjf

  2. Tish | | #2

    I had a vest, made by my mother, of crocheted granny squares in lime green and traffic cone orange, joined and edged with black.  It was a wonderful new washable acrylic yarn.  That was the sixties.  In the seventies, I had a granny square vest in maroon and sage (earth tones were in) that hung down below my thighs.  I was tres chic.

    You mean patterns like that?

    1. Jean | | #3

      What goes around comes around. Sweater sets are one good example. Very popular in the early 50s. A decade or two later everything was bulky knits. Sloppy loose or body hugging, it comes and goes. With my current figure, body hugging is definitely not attractive. I go my own way, at my age, who cares?

      1. rjf | | #5

        Ah yes! Sweater sets in acrylic.  The girls in the dorm used to shave the nubbies off and once in awhile, destroy the sweater at the same time.  In my highschool, it was a fad to wear your cardigan buttoned up the back so it looked like a pullover.  I thought everyone did that but then I discovered that although the girls in my school wore their socks unrolled, the girls in the town next door always folded theirs down.  How gauche!  "Fad" wasn't a word I really understood at the time; I thought fashion was serious and forever and one's worth was measured by how fashionable one was.  I hope "live and learn" works.                rjf

        1. Tish | | #7

          The duster-length crocheted sweaters are back in style, at least on the University of Maryland main campus.  Jean is totally right about things coming back-- the neon colors are back, and so is tie dye.  I see young women wearing hip-hugging bell-bottom pants, platform shoes, long sweaters, and middie blouses, just like in the 70s.  Of course now there are new names for those garments, so, as my daughter has finally stopped telling me, everything is *totally different* .

          One big difference is in the quality of the synthetic fibers.  The synthetic yarns now are delightful to touch and wear.  We buy them because they are what we really want, not because they're washable. 

          I am fortunate that when my daughter was born in 1982, my mother's arthritis hadn't yet slowed down her knitting.  She pulled out baby patterns from the 50s, that she'd bought when we were all babies. Some of them were dreamy little outfits that she had never had a chance to make because with small children, there wasn't time to knit.  As a first time Gramma, she knit up a storm.  My daughter now has a box of memories of her grandmother, all knit from patterns she used, or wanted to use, to make my things.  The fifties stuff was made of wool and the moths got it.  The eighties stuff is made of feather-soft synthetics, and if I ever have grandchildren, they'll wear them.

          1. rjf | | #8

            It is nice to have hand-me-downs but that's probably not the right word here.  From the grandma's end of things, it's nice to have something to hand down.  I got out a little blue-gingham smocked dress that was made for my middle daughter for her granddaughter and I'm hoping she be able to use the red wool coat all my daughters wore to kindergarten.  What is this fervor to pass things down? 

            One winter my mother sent us a box of crocheted hats; there must have 12 or 15 hats, all different colors and styles.  We had the best time trying them on and choosing which we wanted.  And even today, one of those hats is apt to turn up in a strange place to remind me of her.

            You're through school for the summer?  Have you got some weaving going?     rjf

          2. Tish | | #9

            I'm through for the summer.  I'll finish with two classes next Fall and graduate in December.  I wish I could take a studio class in weaving and maybe concentrate on the typical weaves of colonial New England-- but UMDCP no longer has weaving or pottery in the arts department.  Bummer.

            I've got a floor mat on the loom- untouched for three months until last week.  I'm weaving a pair of cushy soft mats for the sides of our bed.  One is already finished and it's lovely on the feet, but I don't know how long it will last being walked on by regular shoes.  The one on His side of the bed is going to take abuse.   I need to go to the fabric store and find a remnant of a good sturdy upholstery fabric to face the underside of the mats to make them heavier and stiffer.  The finished one feels more like a shawl than a rug.

            By the way, in my last post, I didn't mean to be "dissing" natural fibers.  I did want to point out that the man-made fibers are nicer than they used to be.

          3. rjf | | #10

            Wow.  I didn't realize how close you were to the end.  Only two more classes,  that's great.  I hope they're going to be easy ones.

            What are you using to weave the floor mats? I've been thinking about a bathroom mat, 6 ft X 2 ft, maybe.  Well.....I think about a lot of projects but always seem to start one that wasn't on the list.  Right now it's dark blue and beige dish towels in a pattern called cats' paws and snail trails.   

            I haven't knit for the grandchildren lately but when I did, it was with acrylic yarn that would go in the washer and dryer.  It was the only sensible way to go and those sweaters have a chance to passed down.  My bathrobe is made from polarfleece and there's no natural fiber I've found that could live up to it.  But I like my shirts to be cotton.                   rjf

    2. rjf | | #4

      Yes, some like that but also the kind that fit like skin and had set-in sleeves.  I had a pink angora sweater that I loved.  In home-ec, I made a circle skirt to go with with it, ice-cream plaid wool, pastels on beige.  Oh boy, did I feel classy!   Actually, your maroon and sage vest doesn't sound so out-of-it.  I hope we're all smiling at ourselves.     rjf

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