Tag Archives: 70s knits

Where it all began

16 Jan

When those outside of the knitting community think about knitting their immediate thoughts turn to grannies (a lot of blame falls squarely on the songwriters of The Wheels on the Bus), ill-fitting cardigans and jumpers, and finished items so bizarre that only a mother’s love could persuade anyone to wear them.

she knits and purls too...

However in recent years, in a backlash against disposable fashion and a desire to reclaim old crafts, knitting has enjoyed something of a revival, and I for one am glad about it.

One of my earliest memories of my grandma was of her sitting in an armchair, glasses perched on her nose, a pattern on her lap, and the frantic ‘click-clicking’ of her needles as she watched the early evening news. That woman was gifted. She could tut-tut the government’s recent disastrous decision in one department or another yet never miss a stitch. She could turn her hand to any manner of garments, ranging from swimwear (way back when) through to evening wear, and not only would she follow patterns, she also construct her own as she knitted. Fabulous.

Unfortunately I didn’t get enough time with her as she passed away when I was 5 years old. However that striking image of her along with her soundtrack has stayed with me.

But we’re something of a crafty family. My aunty was also a prolific knitter, and after watching her speed-knit her way through another fabulous garment, at the age of ten I asked her to show me how it was done.

The next time she visited she brought along with her a short pair of size 4 needles and a ball of luminous orange wool. I remember being amazed at the contrast of the almost neon wool against the cool slate grey of the needles.

My first few attempts were laughable, stitches too tight and then too slack. Holes where there shouldn’t have been and big knots scattered throughout the piece. However with a lot of frogging, patient explanations and demonstrations I managed my first few wobbly rows of knitting, and gosh was I proud.

Various family members were ‘treated’ to garter stitch scarves of every colour and length, my Dad even got a (too-tight) woolen hat, which he wore  regardless of the marks it made on his forehead.

Then the inevitable happened. After a few months I went to high school where knitting wasn’t considered the done thing, I got stuck into my studies, I took up playing the piano and lived my teenage years.

It wasn’t until I turned 18 that the needles started calling again. A few new stitches were mastered, and I wore my ‘quirky’ (read bonkers) scarves and fingerless gloves to college.

I took all my knitting paraphernalia to university, but was too focused on my studies and university life to sit knitting.

It’s only now since I’ve graduated, undertaken post-graduate studies and been on the hunt for a job that I’ve properly rediscovered knitting. As my previous post mentions my eyes were fully-opened to the vast range of knitted goodies that could be made at the Knitting and Stitching Exhibition in London. It was then that I dived straight back in all guns blazing.

Crafting mecca: The Knitting and Stitching Exhibition

I take inspiration from vintage photographs, charity shop finds and women’s magazines, particularly Cosmopolitan, Glamour and Company. I love looking at their fashion pages, capturing the essence of the trend, and recreating my own take on it.

The next post will look at a piece which takes inspiration from 70s knits.

Anyway, I’m off, the needles are calling!

SKP x