Knit 2 Par 3

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Denise's History of Knitting

After an inspirational Back To School night last week I - with absolute sincerity and no small amount of excitment - offered to come to my daughter's eighth grade class and give a little talk about the history of knitting. My offer was met with so much writhing, eye-rolling and teeth-sucking I thought my kid was having a seizure in the back seat of the car.

Wouldn't you sign up for a class like that? There was recently an very good article in Knitty
about the history of knitting, and you can get down deep on the subject with Knitting in the Old Way, which has a prominent home in our bathroom. So, here is my own history of knitting and as soon as I can I will scan and post whatever I can of the patterns the In The Hole! Link.

The 60's: I came across Jack Frost Two Needle Mittens, my first pattern book, a few days ago while avoiding laundry by reorgnizing my knitting magazines. My grandmother bought it for me at the Woolworth's on Washington Street in Hoboken when I was six or seven (and that would be in the 60's). Boy is this a great book for beginners. It's basically a dozen variations on the two needle mitten for all hand sizes, using a very comfortable thumb gusset so you don't have to be bothered figuring out which hand goes in which mitten.

The 70's: In my teenage years we moved to the 'burbs and there was a yarn store in our tiny town, called The Yarn Barn. They put your purchases in these great boxes with yarn handles. The 70's was a dark time for fashion in general, and knitting was no exception: it turned into crochet. I was famous for my matching granny square ponchos and skirts in wild mod colors. My mom has some of them hanging around in the attic at her house. I was also into groovy crocheted belts and I remember making a few purses too.

The 80's: this decade is notable for the number of sweaters I knitted from the Bucilla Sweaters for Active Men book for boyfriends who demonstrated their activeness by dropping me like a hot potato shortly after being presented with the garment. You can find something like 863,987 hits if you search The Google for "boyfriend knitting curse" and I have almost as many examples of relationships gone bad after finishing a sweater.

The 90's: the availability of novelty and imported yarns in the 90's resulted in a number of tragic mistakes. Vogue Knitting Magazine- the entire decade - is an excellent example. I once knitted a pinky beige sleeveless turtleneck sweater from a Vogue knitting pattern that brought the word "vagina" to mind. Also, I think the end of that decade really gave birth to the bobble. Many of you have been recipients of Red Lipstick's Olive Bobble Hat, reproduced here for your knitting pleasure.


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