Knit Book Club: Vintage Knits — Classic Knitting Designs from Rowan

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Knitting Kit-Jimin (Photo credit: nist6ss)


Sometimes when you pick up an older knitting book, even just a few years old, like this one, (published in 2004) the designs feel horribly dated, and you have to shake your head and put it back on the shelf.  Fortunately, that’s not the case here.  The patterns were all selected to echo the post war era through the 1960s, and go well with today’s Mad Men inspired fashions (have you ever seen one television show inspire fashion so much? Other than Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I mean?).


Vintage Knits, edited by Rowan and shown using their yarns, has patterns picked for timelessness that still hold up nearly a decade later.  One nice thing about this knitting book is that it has wearable men’s sweater designs as well as women’s.  While “the curse of the hand knit sweater” is well known in knitting circles (don’t knit for a man in your life or he’ll leave you), there are plenty of men who knit these days, and having a source for wearable designs is crucial for them.  Two in particular, the Clark and the Jarrett, (login to Ravelry required) are very wearable.


Some of the woemn’s patterns are almost saccharin sweet, like the Bridget and the Mili, and others look enormously better in updated color schemes, like the Laurent, but others are fine just as they are.  My favorites for women include the Elise and the Chantel shawl.


I like the feel of the book, as well.  It’s a large trade paperback with especially sturdy covers and built in book flaps to mark your spot.  The binding is solid, designed to stand up to being kept open to the same page for long periods of time while the knitter works through the page.  The pictures are large, and the paper is semi-glossy, not so glossy as to be hard to read, but enough that it feels rich, somehow.

My only major gripe with the book is that the largest size offered for women is XL, which has a 40” bust, while men’s goes up to XXL, which has a 46”chest.  A 40” chest roughly translate to a size 14 US.  A size 14 is average for American women these days, which means that the books is providing five options for women of average size or smaller, but no options for larger size women.  Sure, it’s possible to get out the calculator and refigure, but why should a plus size woman have to?  The same holds true for the men’s sizes, of course, but at least XXL goes to a greater range of men.


Over all, definitely worth looking for, either at your library, the used bookstore, or, of course, on Amazon or Barnes and Noble online.  But it might be worth a brief note to Rowan to ask them that in the future, they consider all women worth publishing for, not just the smaller ones.


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