Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vintage VK

Further to my sorting and cleaning efforts, I was rearranging my bookshelves and found a couple of magazine files of vintage magazines. No, I didn’t buy these on eBay or anything – I actually bought them myself and saved them all these years. I never throw out a good craft magazine! You never know what goodies you’ll find in them later.

VK69 cover In the oldest one I could find, a Vogue Knitting dated 1969 (really! I was all of 18 then), I noticed several interesting things. The first to immediately strike me is that many of the sweaters could be knitted and worn today without much in the way of adjustment. The look was long and lean with a little boho attitude.

VK69 colour Totally in style 40 years later. But then this is an earlier incarnation of Vogue Knitting we’re talking about. Always cutting edge. Or the current fashions are even more retro than I remembered!

VK69 bwThe real differences from today’s knitting magazines are in the photography and the pattern writing. There’s a colour section but the vast majority of the magazine is in highly contrasting black and white. Kind of challenges the theory that colour is the most important factor in choosing a pattern to knit, huh? Poor knitters back then had to imagine the garment in whatever yarn colours they purchased before they started knitting. Also the instructions are rather cursory, sizes are not in inches but in the equivalent of sewing pattern sizing (8, 10, 12 etc. with a table of standard body measurements at the beginning of the mag), and there are no schematics or charts. How then do you make a garment that really fits you without a lot of math and trial-and-error? It’s difficult enough with all the information we have to work with in most patterns published today.

I’m glad that modern knitters have demanded more space be allotted for the details that helps us to make a successful garment. Unfortunately not every single piece of information can be included and each magazine does it differently, but it’s certainly better than in the “olden days”. Recently I’ve noticed that there are more items knitted in the round instead of flat pieces and there are many more patterns for the accessories (socks, mitts, hats, scarves etc.) that we all love to make. But where are the knitted trousers? There were several in that old VK! How ‘bout these?

VK69 pants Alright, maybe not such a good idea. However I do have a craving to knit me a pair of tights. Maybe these ones? No, these ones! Oops. I’ve just succumbed to impulse and bought the PDF. I love instant gratification! And check out the designer. Phoenix Bess is only a teenager but…holy cow! What a wunderkind! Or maybe she has a lot of encouragement?

Whew! Where was I? Oh yeah. Even if the fit or details need to be altered to work today, there’s always lots of interesting ideas in these old magazines. Budding designers take note. But you can’t have my copies.

Hey! I’m supposed to be reorganising my books. Not reading everything first! Back to work, damselfly.


TM said...

Hi - we republished that jacket in the late 90s or early 00s - not sure which as not in my office right now. It's a wonderful timeless piece, just as you said.
Trisha Malcolm

Louisa said...

Whoo! How exciting! A comment from Ms. VK Editor herself! You must have feelers out for mention of your magazine because I'm darned sure you don't read my little blog on a regular basis, no? At least I didn't say anything rude! This time. ;) Oh, and I probably also have that issue you mentioned with the republished sweater.