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Knitting it Old School

Vintage Knits and More

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Knitting it Old School

Knitting it Old School by Stitchy McYarnpants and Caro Sheridan

Wiley.

Vintage knitting patterns provide a plethora of inspiration for crafters who want a classic -- or kitschy -- look. The fine yarn called for in many patterns hugs curves and turns everyone into a bombshell, while the fun shapes bring to mind days and fashions gone by.

Stitchy McYarnpants (aka Debbie Brisson) and Caro Sheridan share their love of all things vintage, fashionable and crafty in Knitting it Old School: 43 Vintage-Inspired Patterns. These projects are knit, crocheted, sewn and heavily influenced by the styles and pop culture of the 1940s, '50s, '60s and '70s.

About the Book

  • Pages: 180
  • Format: hardcover
  • Number of patterns: 43; 30 for knitting, 9 crochet, 3 sewing and one "sewchet," or sewing and crochet
  • Skill level: none given, but most are for intermediate knitters
  • Illustrations: full-color photos and color crochet charts
  • Knitting lessons: one page explains different kinds of cast ons used in the patterns
  • Publication date: August 2010

The Patterns

Knitting it Old School starts out on a bad note for knitters who don't like crochet by offering two crochet patterns - for a tunic and a pineapple-shaped bag -- before any knitting patterns. But the vast majority of projects in this book are for knitters, and there are some real cuties here.

The book is divided into themes rather than time periods, which is fun.

  • Beach Blanket Bonfire features summery projects like the two I just mentioned (and crocheted hot pants!), a tank top and a nautically inspired sweater
  • Snowbound has projects for colder weather link cozy knit skirts, his-and-hers sweaters and a candy-cane-colored hat and mittens set.
  • Vrrrrooom! is inspired by cars and racing culture, with a cardigan riff on the gas station attendant's shirt, zip-up cardis with racing stripes and some pinup-worthy garments.
  • Shake a Tail Feather has clothes for dancing and gets really retro with items like a striped sweater with matching knee socks, a '60s dress to pair with your go go boots and a granny square dress.
  • Sci-Fiber looks at retro visions of the future, including sweaters inspired by the starship and a couple of crocheted aliens

These patters are on the whole cute and kitschy,but some of them are pretty darn wearable, too. Some projects I wouldn't mind casting on include Clara, a summery tank top worked mostly in a two-color diamond pattern; the adorable Apres Ski Skirts, which offer three options for colorwork patterning, three ways to finish the edges and an optional "butt gusset;" the spicy Rally, a slim dress with a houndstooth skirt and a pop of contrast edging; the Saucy Convertible, pictured on the cover, just the thing to bring out any woman's inner sweater girl; and the intentionally ragged Apocalypta, the women's version of a dystopian movie sweater, which still looks surprisingly wearable even after the mutant alien attack.

Crochet fans will love the patterns offered here, too; my favorite is the Atomic Bowling Bag with radiation symbols for pockets.

Bottom Line

The kind of vintage portrayed in Knitting it Old School isn't for everyone. There are some classic pieces here, to be sure, but there are also some projects that will make you say, "what were they thinking?," which is exactly the point.

This book manages to combine the off-the-wall and the wearable in a way that should appeal to vintage-minded crafters with a sense of humor. Those who already love vintage are sure to like this homage to the best of knitting and crochet's semi-recent past. For other this book is a lighthearted introduction that might just make you rethink vintage knitting.

Publisher's website

Projects on Ravelry

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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