Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Retro Craft- Sirdar Gemini

Craft, as we know it, hasn't actually been around that long. Before craft was something housewives picked up to amuse themselves, it was the preserve of wealthy girls showing off (embroidery), a make do and mend necessity (traditional American patchwork) or a way of making a living for skilled craftsmen with years of experience and a squadron of apprentices. When mass production and new industrial techniques eliminated the need for so many craftsmen, craft fell by the wayside and became a hobby marketed to women (and to a lesser extent, men) with time to fill. And that's how we ended up with a plethora of horrible horrible craft publications.

Retro craft is going to be a series of blog posts in which I look at some of the craft blasts from the craft past hiding around my parent's house.  

Starting with this gem, which I think I picked up at the Reading branch of Oxfam.

Knitting publications from the past boggle the mind. Did people really dedicate hours and hours to their lives knitting some of these things? You have to wonder what they were smoking back then. This book starts out promising.

Not too bad, but I can't imagine anyone over the age of about 13 wearing that. If you knitted the jumper in a solid colour it could work. Equally, the next few patterns were unremarkable- a short sleeved mint green thing, a horrible shapeless (but warm looking!) jumper, and a plain cardigan. The cardigan is probably the most useful pattern in the book, even if the girl does look rather violated in her posing.

We're still in the salvageable part of Knitsville here. I think if you replaced the baby blue and pink with charcoal and grey, this would actually make a pretty nice guy's jumper.

Then we cross the tracks into the bad part of knitting town. 

What is this?

Tennis wear for snow days? A bust minimiser cleverly designed to blend in on a fishing boat?

The least feminine cardigan award goes to...
Can you imagine spending hours and hours knitting that only to try it on and look rectangular? I think my dad has this in grey somewhere.

My only explanation for this next piece is that it was some sort of deleted scene from the film Grease and the spurned costume designer tried to market the pattern to make up lost cash.
It's just... horrible. And pointless. This thing just should not exist.

The last pattern in the book is what I can only describe as a "fuck you" jumper. A big fat FUCK YOU to everyone with a beloved relative who knits. A FUCK YOU to knitters themselves, who occasionally cling to finishing garments even when they are rapidly heading to a bad taste place of no return.

It's wrong. It's evil. It's the yellow bobble jumper.

The most disturbing thing about this monstrosity is that somewhere out there, there's a hipster who would pay good money for this.

Maybe it's time I tried to source some yellow Sirdar Gemini.

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