close knit: the neighborhood yarn shop

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Vintage Knits

Are you fan of thrift stores and vintage clothing? Do you want to avoid knitting what everyone else is knitting this year? If so, try knitting or crocheting something from a vintage pattern. I have collected vintage patterns, pamphlets, leaflets and books over the years and have used them for many unique knitted projects.
I knitted from mostly vintage patterns when I was expecting my son. I made his baby blanket from the 1940 pamphlet below and I knitted helmets, booties, soakers and sweaters from thirties to fifties patterns as well.
There are always cute options for babies and kids.
I have my eye on some of the sweaters from this pamphlet, now that my son is almost five.
If you have a flair for the dramatic, there are many striking designs for women and men.
There is a caveat, though. Vintage patterns are written in more formal language than today's knitting patterns. The women's patterns are quite fitted and may be sized differently, so it's important to measure carefully before determining your size. And, the patterns almost always call for skinny yarn - most call for sport or DK weight and some call for a thinner gauge, like lace or sock.
Many patterns call for discontinued 100% acrylic yarns, but when I look at the classic designs, I imagine them knitted up in sturdy wools. I think of Ella Rae Classic and Rowan and the new St. Denis Nordique. I have used Rowan DK yarn for vintage patterns, as well as Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Baby and Cashmerino DK with success.
So, next time you're at a yard sale or flea market, be on the lookout for vintage knitting or crochet patterns. Or, check out the options on e-bay. I found pages of them there. There are groups on Ravelry dedicated to vintage knits, as well as countless websites. Try googling "Vintage Knitting Patterns" and you will come up with endless resources, many of them free.
So, find your vintage pattern, stop by the shop and let us help you with yarn choices. Then, check out the area vintage shops to complete your look. And when you're finished, don't forget to come in and show us your retro vintage look!

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