In remembrance of knits past

Yesterday, I came across this photo of a sweater designed by Marc Jacobs for the Fall/Winter 1985 edition of Vogue Knitting:

389_2__mediumI stared at it in shock.  Why?  Because I knit this sweater, and like many of my early knits I have no idea what happened to it.  I didn’t even remember it until yesterday.

I bought every issue of Vogue Knitting the instant it hit the news stands.  I was living in Washinton DC at the time, working as a paralegal in a law firm while taking time off between college and graduate school.  I read this issue and instantly knew this sweater was for me.  I remember shopping for the Lopi yarn.  I knit the sweater in a deep charcoal grey, and the colour panels in yellow, orange and red.  It was absolutely fabulous.  I loved it!  It was so completely 1980s too.  I was young without much cash; I could never afford a designer label but I could walk around looking like a million dollars in that sweater.

The sad thing is, so many knits disappeared over the years.  Why?  I can think of a few reasons.  I was considerably thinner then, what would now be a size 0, I think.  Once I hit my late 20s I began to put on weight and then pregnancy sealed it, so I am now a fairly average size.  Perhaps as I filled out I gave some sweaters away?  Second, some things definitely got eaten by moths over the years and were regretfully and lovingly retired.  Third, I have always been a wanderer.  I was born in California, and have lived in Michigan, Florida, New Jersey, Long Island, Manhattan, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Boston and Tucson before leaving the US over 20 years ago and moving to Australia, Germany and the UK.  And in many of those places, I would shift houses frequently.  With all of that moving, things are bound to get lost or left behind.  Moving aross continents is expensive so you tend to whittle away all of your belongings each time you move.

Another factor is that back then I was definitely a process knitter; I knit for the sheer joy of it rather than for the finished product.  But now, how I wish I had all of my early knits carefully packed away.  (Regular readers of this blog may recall the posts I wrote two years ago about the beautiful clothing knitted by my mother and grandmother that my mom has carefully kept all of these years.  I promise, I am now reformed.)

So, here’s to all the knits I’ve lost!  You kept me sane in crazy times.  You made me happy. I learned from you and became a better knitter.  We had fun together while it lasted.

9 thoughts on “In remembrance of knits past

  1. I would so choose to knit this today and be happily in love with it until the end of time. Think I will earmark it, now. Thank you for reminding me.

  2. OMG! I remember seeing that in Vogue Knitting back then, but I was diverted to cables because of “Knitting in the Old Way.” I, too, wonder what happened to some of them. There was the fitted green mock turtleneck; fitted because of twisted rib stitches. I loved that sweater. But, I, too, was a process knitter, so I’m comforted by at least memories of them. The last paragraph of your post almost brought tears of agreement to my eyes.

    • Hi Susan. Thanks for your comment. It’s really nice to know when I hit a chord that resonates with other knitters. Funny, it was very shortly after I knit this one that I also got diverted into cables in a big way. We must have been on the same trajectory.

  3. I love that sweater! Isn’t it amazing that Ravelry has so many of those older patterns available for viewing? What an amazing resource.

    I remember (back in the 80’s!) Elle magazine (the US version) published a knit pattern in the back of the magazine on a tear-out sheet. What I would give today, to see those patterns again! They were all designed by big-time designers of the day and were works of art in their own right. During one of my famous culls, my stockpiled Elle magazines were either recycled or donated. I cringe thinking about the potential those patterns had.

    What is sadder is that I don’t have to go back 30 years to forget about knits. I came across my beautiful Lopi Saga today and was reminded that I haven’t worn it once this season.

    Thanks for jogging my memory. I’m now off to stare at wool I have conveniently forgotten about, too!

    • Oh, those ELLE magazine patterns! I forgot all about those. I, too, had a pile of Elle magazines, mostly saved for the knitting patterns. They were usually pretty good ones, too. Boy, we are so spoiled today when it comes to patterns. I remember when it was really difficult and expensive to get your hands on a good knitting pattern.
      And, just saying, if I had a handknit Lopi Saga in my closet, you better believe I’d be wearing it!

  4. Pingback: “Sherman, set the Wayback Machine to 1989!” | Knitigating Circumstances

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