Size Inclusivity circa 1989

Today, I was thumbing through some old issues of Vogue Knitting.  I stumbled upon this issue from 1989:


Look carefully at the cover, where it says “Special sizes Part 1”.  Intriguing, no?  Further investigation reveals this:


Two patterns designed in special sizes.  The text reads: “At long last: Fashionable details programmed into two on-the-go career tops designed and sized for the full-figured woman”.  Here is the kicker.  Every pattern in this edition (with the exception of these two) comes in 5 sizes: to fit 32, 34, 36, 38, 40″/81, 86, 91, 96, 101 cm bust.  These two sweaters, designed for us full-figured gals, also comes in 5 sizes: to fit 38, 40, 42, 44, 46″/96, 101, 106, 112, 116 cm bust.

Let’s review what this tells us:

  1. “Normal” women are sized only from 32-40″.
  2. “Full-figured” women are sized only up to 46″.
  3. Apparently, if you are a size 32-36, the full-figured sweaters won’t suit you, and if you are above a size 40, none of the “normal sweaters” are going to suit you. 
  4. If you are not a size 32-46, then you are not the target audience.

This was 1989, of course, and things have changed since then, right? Well, yes and no. Emma just requested a pullover designed by Kim Hargreaves (Tan, Ravelry link here). I had a look and it comes in 6 sizes – 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, and 43 (81, 86, 91, 96, 101, and 109 cm), which are labelled XS, S, M, L, XL, and XXL. So, in 1989 my current size would make me “special”, while in 2020 I am XXL. Head thunk.

On the other hand, lots of designers are now striving to be more size inclusive. Just today, I’ve been looking at a new Kate Davies pattern (Treit, Ravelry link here), sized from 33-60 inches, and an Andrea Mowry pattern (Pink Velvet, Ravelry link here), sized from 32-64 inches. And a quick look at a recent Vogue shows patterns with a much wider range of sizes, like Aegean (Ravelry link here) sized from 32-52 or Staple (Ravelry link here) sized from 36-60.

One of the reasons why we knit is that we can tailor things to fit. But in the old days, a full-figured girl would need to exercise a lot of math to make that happen. Today, we can all be equally mathematically challenged and still knit something that fits.

Blast from the past

On February 10th, 2006, I sat with my two daughters on a couch in Potsdam, Germany, knitting needles poised, television on, waiting for the start of the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.  The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, had come up with a cool challenge for herself – pick a challenging knitting project, cast on during the Opening Ceremony, knit like crazy while watching the Olympics, and finish the project before the Closing Ceremony ends.  She wrote about it on her blog and thousands of knitters around the globe decided to join her in the challenge.  It was fun, it was cool, and it gave us an excuse to both watch every second of television coverage and to knit like maniacs.

Somewhere there is a photo of the three of us casting on our first stitches.  Emma was 12, Leah was 11, and I was determined. I picked a pullover by Nicki Epstein that was featured in the Fall 2004 episode of Vogue Knitting. I still have the magazine:


And here is the pullover, part of a feature article about Nicki:


I finished the challenge – succeeding in completing an entire sweater before the Games ended – and then promptly ripped it out and re-knit it as I realised I should have knit it in a different size.   (It was so long ago I can’t remember whether I knit it too small or too large the first time around).  But I remember the sense of accomplishment and the fun.  (Both girls were beginner knitters and made scarves.  Pretty good scarves, too.)

For the last month, while Emma was home she has been helping me clean up and organise the house.  This included going through all of my knitting stuff (more on that in a future post) and while doing it, we found the sweater!


It still looks great.  No pilling, no stretching out of shape, just like it was finished yesterday.  It has been packed away for well over a decade.  Emma was 12 when I knit it and she is 25 now and, can you believe, it still fits her!


This was a very nice blast from the past.  It brought back some fun memories.  I knit this back in the days before Ravelry – before I kept records of my knitting. It was a time when I was just starting to find blogs written by knitters and to become entranced with knitting again.  It was a time when the girls were young and we could indulge in silly projects and be creative as a family.  (Actually, we still do that.  We’re just not as young anymore and live many thousands of miles apart.)

Emma has gone back to Vancouver now.  We are sad.  So is the pullover:


Doesn’t it look dejected?  Don’t worry, pullover!  Maybe in another 13 years, we will pull you out and Emma can model you again!  And you will probably still fit!

Gilded paradise


I finished my gold shawl weeks ago, but waited until I was in Sicily to photograph it.  We were staying in an absolutely fantastic villa, called the Commenda di San Cologero, which is beyond gorgeous.  (It also has the nicest, most friendly staff you will ever meet.  I’ve stayed there twice now, and hope to return soon.)  It is on the eastern coast between Catania and Syracusa.  As you can see from these photos, it was a most beautiful backdrop for this lovely piece of knitting.


The pattern is the #02 Reversible Cabled-Rib Shawl, by Lily Chin and originally from Vogue Knitting, Winter 1999/2000.  It can now be found on-line as well; check the Ravelry pattern page here for details.


The shawl is knitted in the now discontinued yarn, Kidsilk Haze Eclipse, by Rowan Yarns in the colour Virgo.  It is a very lovely shade of beige gold.  If you don’t have any Eclipse saved up, don’t fret – Kidsilk Haze is readily available and works perfectly for this pattern.  (I have previously knit this shawl in Kidsilk Haze in a vibrant green, which you can see in this post.)


Many people have commented on the repetitive (and endless) nature of this pattern.  If you look over the projects on Ravelry you will see that I am not the only one who called it “boring”.  (Although there are those who find it “meditative”).  It is essentially a very big shawl knit in 2×2 ribbing in lace-weight yarn with cable crossings every 12 rows.


The first time I knit this pattern it took me 20 months to finish – it was so boring, I kept putting it aside to knit other things!  I finished this one in just over 4 months.  Perhaps this relative speed is because, having worn the green one countless times over the years, I know that the benefits outweigh the effort.   Perhaps, I am simply in a more “product knitting” place right now.  Or, dare I say it, perhaps I have been too lazy to cast new things on and thus managed to power through.   Whatever the case, the end product is absolutely worth it.


In the above photo, Emma is wearing another project of mine, the Viajante shawl, which I knit in 2013; this was another endless, repetitive knit in lace-weight that produced a magical garment.  (We photographed this piece in Sicily as well; it will feature in an upcoming Wearability Wednesday post, so keep your eye out for it.)  Today just happens to be Emma’s 23rd birthday – Happy Birthday, gorgeous!

I am still planning a long travel post for you with lovely photos of our adventures in Sicily. It will have to wait until I get home, however.  I am, rather ironically, writing this post in the middle of the night in my hotel room in Malaysia while suffering terrible jet lag.


See that smile in the above photo?  Well, you would be smiling, too.  It was the best holiday ever!

How to make a long flight bearable: the knitter’s solution


In the past five days, I have flown from London to Johannesburg and back again!  That is a seriously long way to fly for such a short period of time.  I was there on business (to teach a workshop) and so can’t even give you many impressions of the city; I had no time for sight-seeing.  I can tell you that everyone I met was super-friendly and that the students I taught were amazing – so dedicated and optimistic and smart!


I approached the flight as any knitter would: what project would make the best airplane knitting?  I had finished up all the projects I had been working on so needed to find something new.  It had to be lightweight, take up no room in my handbag, and be fairly monotonous and repetitive.  There was one obvious choice.


Last year, I bought a dozen balls of Rowan Kidsilk Eclipse in the colour Virgo, just after it was discontinued.  I used five balls to knit my Gossamer pullover, but put seven balls away with the intention of knitting another Reversible Cabled-Rib Shawl.  I knit one years ago, in a vibrant grass-green, and it remains one of the favorite things I have ever knit.  You can see it in this post, where my enthusiasm for the project is hard to miss.


This shawl will be gorgeous in the Eclipse!  It knits up incredibly sheer, with lovely texture and movement.  The pattern was designed by Lily Chin for the Winter 1999/2000 edition of Vogue Knitting.  It has since been published in many anthologies of Vogue Knitting patterns and can also be purchased on Ravelry (link).  The green one took me over 18 months to knit!!!!  Not, I might add, because it is difficult, but because it is a boring and monotonous knit and kept getting put aside for more exciting projects.  I can say with absolute authority, however, that this shawl is worth every minute of knitting time.

I can also say, that with 4 more trips to Johannesburg planned this year, I am likely to finish this one in less time!  I have a good 18 inches done (unblocked), which means I have one-quarter of the shawl already knit.



And now, I think, I deserve a nap!

Green, glorious green!

Today is Wednesday and it’s time for another Wearability Wednesday post.  For those not in the know, this is an occasional series on the blog where I look back at something I’ve knit and examine it from a Wearability standpoint: do I actually wear it?  How do I style it? Has it stood up to wear?  The focus of today’s WW post is the absolutely gorgeous cabled rib shawl:

5084935078_0e4f0c0bca_zThis shawl was designed by Lily M. Chin and published in the Winter 1999/2000 edition of Vogue Knitting (where it is called #02 Reversible Cabled-Rib Shawl); you can find the Ravelry link here.  I think it is likely that this is the single most-worn item of any I have ever knitted.  I love everything about it.

5084343247_710cb2e8ab_zIt is not a knit for the easily bored.  Knitting this takes endurance.  It is not a difficult or complicated knit.  It is, however, very long and repetitive.  This might be why the project took me so long to finish.  I fell in love with it when I first saw it.  (Thanks, Mom, for shipping copies of Vogue Knitting to me all over the world for so many years!)  I waited until October of 2008 to cast on, however.  This may have been aided by the fact that by then I lived in England and I could purchase Kidsilk Haze from my local department store.


I didn’t finish knitting it until July 2010.  It of course does not take  22 months to knit this unless you keep throwing it into a box and letting it sit for months on end while working on other projects.  I did this at least three times due to extreme boredom and tedium.  If you plan on knitting this, do as I say not as I do:  This shawl will be one of the best things you ever knit!  DO NOT consign it to your WIP pile.  Plow ahead and finish it and you will never regret it.


Why do I love this shawl?  I love its delicacy; if you hold it up to the light it is practically transparent.  It is surprisingly warm.  The cables give it a sense of movement and fluidity.  It is very long and can be worn in so many ways, draped over the arms, wrapped two to three times around the neck, tossed over your shoulder.  It looks great with jeans and a t-shirt, it looks fabulous and classy with a dress.  I wear it in all seasons, as a shawl and as a scarf.  I bundle up in it in the winter and wear it on a summer’s evening.


What do I love most about this shawl?  It’s colour.  It is green, glorious green!  I never get tired of this colour.  It cheers me up on dreary days.  It adds impact to a simple outfit.  It stands out in a crowd.  It gets noticed.  It is uplifting.  As Kermit the Frog sings:

But green’s the color of spring
And green can be cool and friendly-like
And green can be big like a mountain
Or important like a river
Or tall like a tree

from “Bein’ green” by Joe Raposo

I frequently think about knitting another one.  Yes, it really is worth all of that effort.  My only hesitation is to find the perfect colour to knit it in.  I have seen beautiful examples of this knit in the palest of colours – pearl grey, ivory, soft pink.  It is truly lovely in these soft shades.  But I want something vibrant and alive – a rich, deep red, a gorgeous purple, even brilliant oranges and yellows (not my usual choices) appeal.  When I first saw this green sitting in with the Kidsilk Haze in the shop, I had to buy it.  My choice was made before I even was aware of it.  So, I suppose I am waiting for a colour to grab me by the throat and say “Knit me!  Knit ME!”

4-IMG_2638I have also seen many examples of this knit in different yarns including some worsted weight wools.  To me, however, this shawl demands a light, soft, beautiful mohair – it is made for Kidsilk Haze.  I think that if you are going to spend thousands of hours knitting in virtually endless ribbing (perhaps a slight exaggeration) to produce a garment that you will wear countless times, then you should splurge and buy the very best.


Not a month goes by when I don’t wear this shawl.  The photos from my back garden (with me in a white t-shirt) where taken by Emma in October 2010.  The photos in Tucson (black dress) are from April 2012, while the one on the bridge (purple turtleneck) was taken on campus a few metres from my office, just last week.  Here is one taken yesterday (as you may be able to tell, we are having an unseasonably warm February):


Well, dear readers, that’s it for this edition of Wearability Wednesday.   Lily Chin’s Reversible Cabled Rib Shawl is a completely successful knit in every way; one that is both beautifully wearable and that wears beautifully.


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.

RETROspective Knits – part 1

We had a holiday in April, detailed in part here on the blog, in the deserts of Arizona and California.  For much of that trip we were staying with my mom, Marylou, and stepfather, Stuart.  One afternoon, we were all sitting in the living room, drinking coffee and chatting.  I was knitting, of course, and Emma and I were absorbed in “blogtalk” – planning photo shoots and upcoming posts, future series, trends in knitting, etc.  We began discussing ways to photograph my green mohair shawl (subject of a future Wearability Wednesday post).  Mom said “Kelly, do you remember the green mohair coat I knit?  Here, let me show you.”  She ran out of the room, and came back minutes later with a beautiful coat, hand knit in 1965, and lovingly and carefully stored away for many decades.

This started a parade of hand knitted items, carefully washed and packed away, that had been knitted by my mother in the 1960s and 1970s.  Also, a few items that had been knitted by my paternal grandmother, Edna.   We could not help but notice that all of these things fit one or more of us, and this started a melee of trying on and strutting up and down the living room in vintage hand knitted garments.  Soon the living room looked like a yarn bomb had gone off in it; knitting covered every surface.  At some point, Emma and I looked at each other and everything “clicked”.  Here was a great thing to blog about!  We would take these lovely garments, with their oral history from my mom, and combine them with new photoshoots, showcasing three generations of women wearing a family’s knitting heritage.  Furthermore, we would “rock” this vintage vibe, using great desert locations, and cool photos of us, having a blast.

I thought about different ways to organize the outfits for this blog; chronologically, by knitter, by wearer, by style, etc, and decided to go with what I do best and just wing it.

One of our favorite pieces from my mother’s collection is a minidress, knit in a horrible synthetic yarn in baby blue and white, which we dubbed “the popcorn dress”.  I am not sure why we called it this, since the stitch pattern is definitely not a popcorn stitch, and more like a jacquard, but once in our brains it was hard to dislodge.

The popcorn dress is completely shapeless, and made out of sticky, horrible stuff, and in eye-popping (not in a good way) blue and white.  It looks not very interesting at best, and hideous at worse, until you put it on, and then it transforms itself into the height of 1960s kitchiness.  It is fun, sexy, stylish, vintage dressing at its best.

For a shapeless style, it really delivers on the body-shaping front.  Each of us – mom, myself, Emma and Leah- tried it on and it made us each look shapely.  However, I must admit that this particular style shouts “young”, so we only photographed the girls in it.  You can see here, that the dress looks super cool on each of them.  The photos of Leah are taken in the street outside of my mother’s home in Scottsdale and the shots of Emma at a friend’s house in the desert foothills outside of Tucson. (Of course, one of the problems with this blog is that Emma is a better photographer than I am; the photos with Emma in them suffer from my comparative lack of skill.  Luckily Emma is photogenic enough to mostly make up for this, but if she could, she would totally be behind and in front of the camera simultaneously.)

Can you tell that we were having fun?   The back neck of the dress should be buttoned; somewhere along the way the button went missing.  However, I kind of like it this way, so we left it as is.  Here are a few close up shots.

Marylou knit this dress in the late 1960s when we were living in Florida.  She wore it all the time.  My mom was a gorgeous, slim blonde, and I’m sure she turned heads in this dress, even in the 60s, when this style was common. Mom wasn’t sure of the exact year she knit this, or where she found the pattern, so when we returned to the UK, Emma and I pulled out the box of 1960s and 70s knitting magazines, and began a search.  Yes, dear readers, go ahead and be envious – a decade or so ago, when I was living in Germany, I received an enormous box in the post, weighing 50 pounds or so, filled with all of my mother’s old knitting patterns, and a note saying “I thought you might like these.”  It is a wonderful and much cherished resource.  Emma found the pattern right away in the 1969 issue of Vogue knitting:

You can see my mom’s scribbling on the pattern page.  If you look carefully, you can see that the small size is a 10.  If you needed proof that sizes have drifted in the US, this is it.  This dress would certainly qualify now as a size 6, or maybe a 4, but then it was a 10.  And 10 was the smallest size.  While we were searching through the magazines, we also found a piece in the 1997 Vogue knitting, with a similar dress, which they had updated from a 1962 Vogue Knitting issue.  For those of you who wanted to knit a similar dress and can’t locate a 1969 issue of Vogue, this one might be more accessible.

This dress really delivers a lot of bang for the buck.  It is interesting how something so shapeless can be so shapely.  This, of course, is the great thing about knitwear.

I absolutely adore the photos of Leah standing in the palm trees in this dress.  It is a real example of how much this blog benefits from Emma’s skills with a camera.  Leah also loves these photos and is now after me to knit her this dress in a less weird feeling yarn, so maybe another popcorn dress is on the knitting horizon.

I was born in September 1961 in California.  My dad, Lee, had just been accepted into the graduate school at Michigan State University; so as soon as the hospital released me, my parents put me in the back seat of their bright orange VW beetle (purchased by my dad while serving with the military in Germany) and drove straight through to Michigan.  There, we set up house in Spartan Village, a dormitory facility for married students and their families.  My childhood memories of Spartan Village are amazing; growing up in the 60s on a university campus, in a married housing dorm teeming with other children, in a period filled with political demonstrations and hope and music – it was a super place to be.  Interestingly enough, I went back to Spartan Village with Doug and the girls in the summer of 2003.  Doug was teaching in a Linguistics Summer School there, and we spent a month in Spartan Village living just next door to my childhood apartment.  I had the most amazing sense of deja vu all summer.  But, I must say, as an adult the place seemed decidedly less super than my childhood memories suggested.

One of our neighbors there, Marge Stevens, taught my mother to knit.  Mom was already a great seamstress, but had never knit before.  This must have happened almost immediately after moving there, because the first thing that she knit was this baby outfit for me.

It is a bit faded now (it is after all, 50 years old), and hard to photograph in the bright desert light, but you can see that it is cream, with pale green stripes, and knit from wool.  Mom had it put away with my baby shoes, and also with the little hat (on the flower pot) which was knit for me by my paternal grandmother, Edna. I will feature some of Edna’s knits in the next installment of this series.  I wonder if my mother knew, as she knit this baby outfit, that she had unleashed the knitting genie from the bottle.

By the time I was a teenager and spending all my spare time knitting, weaving, spinning, needlepointing, and generally engaged in fibre-related activities, my mother was an accomplished knitter.  She knit much of her working wardrobe.  By this time, my parents were divorced, and my mom worked for the local newspaper in the small Long Island town we lived in.  One of the staples of her wardrobe at this time (mid 70s) was the skirt set.  Here are photos of my mom and me modelling two of these skirt sets. (Though they both still fit her perfectly, they are definitely on the snug side on me.)

As you can see, they still look great and have held up beautifully.  The rust set, which Marylou is wearing, I remember particularly well.  I remember her knitting it and groaning from the sheer number of bobble stitches she had to knit for the vest.  In fact, this was intended to be a long sleeved sweater, but mom got tired of making bobbles, and it became a vest.  She wore this all the time; it was a very chic but functional and comfortable working outfit.

Mom and I modelled these skirt sets for these photos in the middle of the day in Scottsdale, Arizona, in the heat.  Did we complain?  No.  Actually, we had a blast.  It was so much fun modelling all of these great knit pieces.  It was one of those girl things; a cool project that kept three generations of us busy for a week; planning outfits, locations, shoes, makeup, taking endless photos, giggling, reminiscing.

In the late 70s, or maybe very early 80s, my mom made a lovely turtleneck, with lace panels, in a beautiful smoky grey mohair.  Mom wore this sweater for a few years but eventually she got tired of me continually borrowing it, and gave it to me.  I wore it frequently.  I especially remember wearing it at college, usually teamed with a grey and wine pencil skirt and high heeled wine coloured boots. (I went to Barnard, at Columbia University in the middle of Manhattan; in those days, I was always well turned out as befitted life in such a thriving fashion capital. This might have also been because they didn’t make jeans in my size back then.) Recently, I took it out of storage and gave it to Emma, who also loves it.

The great thing about this sweater is that it has been worn, and loved, by both my mom and I and now will be worn and loved by my daughters.  And it looks every bit as great today as it did the day it was finished.  These photos were taken back at home in the UK, on a cold, bleak May day, and Emma looks really pleased to be modelling something so cozy and warm.

I had forgotten, until I saw these photos, how much I loved this sweater.  The lace panels are so subtle, but really add to the beauty of the fabric.  Also, I am admiring the fact that it looks so lovely, while not having any shaping.  In the past few years, I have mostly been knitting very fitted garments, but can really see the appeal here of an unstructured silhouette.

Here is another unstructured silhouette that really delivers.  My mother knit this purple dress sometime in the mid 70s.  She wore it teamed with a pair of suede flats that matched the smocking, but in keeping with our Southwestern theme, we have paired it with bright red cowboy boots and hat.

I love this very unusual pairing.  And I love how the dress flows; it seems to have a lot of movement in it.  You can imagine it swirling and flowing around the legs as you walk.  The two photos below show the beautiful craftsmanship involved.  (She’s a great knitter, my mom.)  The combination of the unique rib and the smocking is visually pleasing, and I just adore the pop from the contrast of the coral and purple.  Just the tiny bit of coral detailing really makes this dress.

And no one can deny the appeal of red cowboy boots.  These boots belonged to my mom.  They now belong to Leah.

The hat, a genuine Stetson, was a gift to Doug from Stuart.  You can see him modelling it in the photos of his Brick pullover, from an earlier post.  You might have noticed that the girls borrow this hat.  A lot.

I started out this post by mentioning a green mohair coat that Marylou knit in the mid 1960s, so I will end the post with it.  I remember being very envious of this coat, which I thought incredibly glamorous.  When mom first made it, she lined it with black netting.  This was intended to give it more structure, but actually it made it feel stiff and awkward, so she didn’t wear it very much.  A number of years later, mom ripped out the lining, and after that, she wore it more often.  Mostly, she would wear it to go out in the evening, to add glamour to an outfit, as well as warmth.

See?  I’m still having fun.  Even wearing a mohair coat in the desert.

I love this one.  I love the colour, I love the length, I love how it looks so chic but feels so cuddly.  From a comfort perspective, it is like throwing on a much worn sweatshirt, but team it with a dress and a pair of heels and it looks fabulous.  I would also wear this with jeans.  In fact, I just might need to sneak this one back in my suitcase the next time I visit my mom.

This concludes the first part of an anticipated three installments in this RETROspective series.  I plan to post the next one in mid-July and the last in mid-August.  I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as we enjoyed putting it together!

Stoking flames

In this series, Wearability Wednesdays, I revisit a garment that I knit in the past and look at whether, and how, it is worn today.  Today, I am going to go farther back into the past than before.  In the summer of 1998,  I was visiting the States with the girls, and spending some time with my family.  Doug stayed in Potsdam and worked, and then joined us later.  As usual, I devoured the latest Vogue Knitting magazine (Spring/Summer 1998).  Though there were quite a few sweaters that appealed to me, I found myself drawn to a half page article in their book’s section about the release of Minnowknits, Too: 26 Uncommon Knits for Kids Big andSmall, by Jil Eaton.

The article was illustrated with a photo of an adorable little red jacket in a boucle yarn, with an assymetrical front and red buttons.  The pattern was included in the Vogue magazine.  I was sold.  I ordered the yarn and set about making it for Leah, who was three years old.  In fact, I ordered enough yarn to make two of these jackets, one for Leah in red, and one for Emma in white with multicoloured flecks.  At that time, I was not knitting much because of a repetitive stress injury (likely to be the topic of a future post).   I managed the red jacket, but Emma’s never even got cast on.  The yarn is still sitting in a box on my shelf.

I have looked and looked but can’t find any photos of Leah wearing it.  But wear it she did, for quite a few years.  And it was adorable.  I can’t find my notes, but I believe I knit it in the size 24 months, as Leah was small for her age, and the next size up was 4 years.   Eventually, it got folded up and put away.  Two years ago, my older daughter Emma, then 17, found it when we were cleaning out the closets and said “Mom, I bet this would still fit me!”  She was right:

The above photo really shows the colour and texture of the yarn well.  It looks like flames, doesn’t it?  (Thus, the name of the post.)  Here are some photos of Emma wearing it this April on the Apache Trail in Arizona.  It looks great on her, and it is very hard to believe that it is actually a three year old’s jacket.  (Though one would certainly not describe it as “roomy”.)

I particularly like it teamed with the cowboy hat.  Emma is wearing Doug’s Stetson here (a gift from my stepfather, Stuart).  Every hat ever made looks good on Emma, but this Stetson fits surprisingly well with this outfit.

In the photo above, you can see that the assymetrical front opening of the jacket buttons up to the round neckline.  It has an oriental flair to it.  When Leah wore this as a toddler, it was usually buttoned right up.  It has a totally different neckline when Emma wears it now, with the top buttons undone.  It gives the jacket a much different look.

So this wraps up this month’s Wearability Wednesday post.  The little red jacket, designed by Jil Eaton; the only sweater I know that looks equally adorable on a toddler and a teenager.