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Vintage Knits

Vintage Knits 25 classics patterns for modern knitters. is a fabulous collection of, guess what, Vintage Knits, put together as a project, almost of love, by the staff at the National Library of Australia to showcase a craft that has, over the century’s waxed and waned in popularity, but is now enjoying a revival, yet again. 

A selection of women’s, men’s and children’s patterns from the NLA Archives, were chosen to be re-knitted in modern yarn by members of the staff to see what difference the modern yarns would make to sizing and look of the traditional patterns.

Most of the patterns range from the 1930’s to 1950’s, a time in Australia when wool was king, acrylic was still to be considered as a go to year for crafting into knitted garments and while there was angora, silk and cotton, they were nowhere near as popular or cost effective as wool.

Each section of the book is commenced with fascinating snippets of Knitting through the ages, going as far back as nalbinding, from Africa and Scandinavian country, to knitted cotton stockings found in tombs in Egypt, and knitted cushions with Arabic script woven into the patterns which date back to the Crusades in Europe and before.

A resurgence in knitting happened around the First and Second World Wars when it was imperative for the troops to have plenty of socks, scarves, beanies or balaclavas and gloves, Women and men, even children, knitted for the war efforts worldwide. During the Second World War women were allowed to knit in church during the sermon.

Post war it was economic, in straighten times to undo/unpick knitted garments and reknit them into a smaller garment or new fashion design, which many born in the post war years will remember well. The knitting history is fascinating as it its modern day resurgence with a trend towards the funky, individual and quirky uses such as tree wrapping, creating red poppies for Remembrance Day,, yarn bombing and so much more.

But, back to the 25 classic knits. Each piece has the traditional pattern, helpful tips and hints to convert the stiches, needles and yarn to modern products and a current picture as well as the traditional one published, of the knitted garment modelled by NLA staff member or their children.

Each of the patters carries a personal name, which, way back when patterns were printed for mass circulation in magazines and newspapers, the designer felt it gave them a far more personal appeal to be named after someone which gives each garment a little more personality..

If you are a knitter this is a must have, if you are a beginner and love the patterns for their originality, there are helpful tips to get you started or simply indulge in a well thought through, creative, useful and interesting book on Vintage Knits.

Fancy something a little different for your winter look; well get knitting and enjoy the time spent crafting something that is uniquely you.

Author National Library of Australia. Ed. Melody Lord.
Publisher National Library of Australia
ISBN 9780642279668
Distributor National Library of Australia
Released May 2022