Thursday, October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday: First Knitting Magazine

The first knitting magazine I ever bought was the premiere issue (1984) of Knitters. It featured articles and designs by Elizabeth Zimmerman, Meg Swansen, Deborah Newton, editor Elaine Rowley, and Lizbeth Upitis, among others.

First knitting magazine I ever bought #tbt #knit #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram #elizabethzimmerman

As a new knitter, teaching myself to knit by making the funny but instructive sampler in Jacqueline Fee's The Sweater Workshop, I studied the magazine page by page, immersing myself in a fascinating world where I learned about the guernsey tradition, strong opinions about wool (Zimmerman's "The Opinionated Knitter" column), and charts (as an artist who loved grids, these especially appealed to me).

After I finished Fee's book and sampler, I went on to create my first sweater, which was knit well enough but I never wore. I made the mistake of putting a colorful band of stranded knitting above the body ribbing. I realized too late that a big band of color around my hips was not especially flattering. (I gave that one away.) 

My next sweater was for my ex-husband, knit in a beautiful tweedy dark green wool. For that one, I used some of the motifs from Harriet Adams's Tiffany's Gansey and Zimmerman's Gaffer's Gansey, both in this issue of Knitters. My sweater, though, was not a gansey but a bottom-up raglan knit in the round—I was still staying safely within the realm of Fee's instructions for raglans. It fit him perfectly! He loved it and wore it for years, often when bicycling, and looked quite dashing in it.

Leafing through the magazine today, I see that though fashions and pattern-writing conventions have changed, some things have not—there's an amusing piece by Millie Sass titled "The Great Rip-Out," which sings the praises of ripping out.

Here's to new beginnings #bluepeninsula #knit #knitting #knittersofinstagram #knitstagram #beginagain

Indeed! I engaged in a bit of ripping-out therapy myself just this weekend as I worked on some design submissions.

What was the first knitting magazine you ever bought? Do you still have it?


Melissa ~ twoknitwit said...

I love this post, Bonnie ~ one of the things I love about knitting is hearing how people came to it and learned, and also all the traditions.

My first magazine was one of the Rowan semiannual big books ~ I thought if I knit *these* garments I'd look like the models and end up in the idyllic places in the photo shoots. Ha. I no longer buy too many magazines and am much happier when I find a single pattern on Ravelry that speaks to me and I know I will wear and love (that's how I found you!).

Thanks for sharing (and I too frogged something recently and LOVED every bit of doing it!)

Bonnie said...

Thanks for commenting, Melissa! Don't we all wish we looked like Rowan models. :-)

Brenda said...

My first few knitting magazines were from Pingouin. Not sure I still have any of them. I don't remember learning much from them, only knitting the front of a sweater with intarsia (dolphins) that was WAY too big. Then I discovered EZ and was well on my way to better knitting.

Patricia -triciaf13 said...

Mine was a 1968 copy of Vogue Knitting. It is disintegrating now, but I returned to it this summer to make up one of the patterns - a sleeveless wool tunic, one that I started and then abandoned when I bought the magazine in 1968.. I am just sewing the grosgrain ribbon into the button and button hole bands down the side. I will wear it over a turtleneck and leggings or skinny jeans. It is interesting that the same designs stil appeal to me now as they did back then and that they are timeless enough that they are still wearable now.
But my, how knitting patterns have changed!! No schematics and the instructions assumed that you knew a lot.. But many of the designs were more structured and required more complicated finishing.
I subscribed to VK for many years but recently dropped it. I like Melissa, I prefer to buy single patterns now, like yours.