Vintage Inspired Knitting
Knitting in the early 20th century has an interesting history. Though the industrial revolution made it easy for sweaters and other knitted goods to be mass-produced, two world wars and an economic depression breathed an interesting new life into hand knitted projects. When the entire country was being asked to make do or do without in order to support the war effort or simply to survive during difficult economic times, knitting became something the people could rally around. During the wars, the Red Cross even began to offer free knitting patterns so that knitters could be a part of the war effort without leaving home.
When the wars ended, dedicated knitters continued with their work, creating delicate pieces with intricate stitch patterns. A lot of these patterns are available for sale around the web but many more have been archived and made available for free on sites such as Vintage Purls. My favorite is the Tie-Neck jumper from 1947 but there are plenty more excellent designs to choose from for men, women, and children.
One of the biggest problems with seeking out vintage knitting patterns is that people were much slimmer when the patterns were created. This leads to a lot of authentic vintage patterns coming in limited sizes. Fortunately, there are a good number of designers who have heeded the call for vintage style patterns in larger sizes and have come up with original designs based upon old favorites. Susan Crawford has volumes of knitting patterns titled A Stitch in Time. The first volume contains patterns based off looks from 1920-1949 and the second volume is dedicated to patterns from 1930-1959. These dramatic patterns are beautifully photographed available in a number of sizes so that everyone is sure to find something that works for them.
Arbour House Publishing
For different options, one need not look any further than my beloved Rowan Yarns. Not only have they released the fantastic Vintage Knits, they have dedicated sections of their magazine to vintage inspired knits. If you’re looking for something interesting, scour your local yarn store for Rowan 36 or Rowan 44, both of which contain exquisite patterns for vintage inspired sweaters and accessories, like this dramatic beaded cardigan:
If you’re really feeling inspired by the vintage style of women from the 1940’s, you can always do as they did and “knit your bit”, creating warm hand-knit pieces from WWII patterns and delivering them to a local Veterans Center.
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