Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book Giveaway

Hi Knitters,
A couple of years ago or so I was visiting my publisher, Artisan Books, and my editor pulled out a box of sweaters for me to look at. As I looked over a few of the original sweater samples from the 1940's-1970's I became completely fascinated with this future knitting book. I loved holding the original and fantastically vintage knits in the office that day. The sweaters looked exactly like something my stylish mother would have worn during my childhood. How I loved her clothes back in the day. She was so chic. Anyway, I couldn't wait to see the finished book and my day has come!

With this initial introduction in mind I'd like to present to you, The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book. It's a knitting book with a unique twist. Here is the blurb on the back book flap about Steven Tatar, the author:

Cleveland sculptor Steven Tatar was hunting for scrap metal when he stumbled upon the now shuttered Ohio Knitting Mills. He bought the company's sweater archive and opened Ohio Knitting Mills, a stylish Brooklyn storefront, where for two years he sold vintage knits that had never been worn. He now sells limited-edition sweaters on his web site, Ohio Knitting Mills.

Basically to boil the story down a bit, Cleveland for many decades housed garment makers, including the Ohio Knitting Mills. The OKM, for short, made knitwear for stores and brands like Sears, Saks Fifth Avenue, Pendleton and hundreds of other labels. Steven Tatar discovered a large amount of mint-condition knitwear when he acquired the mill in 2005.

The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book has taken 26 of these original knitwear pieces and breathed a fresh and modern day adaptation into each of them. Each of the original pieces has been given new life with a design twist that updates the look but always keeps true to the vintage feel of the original. Patterns and schematics and instructions are provided for each of the patterns.

This is a wonderful, historical and beautifully crafted book. I just love the book design. I think it is timely as well. There is always an interest in vintage and retro fashion but I feel like there has been a definite resurgence of this trend as of late. The photography really captures the updated and modern flair given to the knitwear.
Each pattern has the original knitwear piece in an inset photo with a description and the year it was made. The example above is one of my favorites in the book. I would love to have this sweater in my wardrobe. The original design was for the winter collection from 1956. Each pattern has a description that explains its place in fashion history as a project introduction. The book is a good read along with the patterns. It is very interesting.

On a side note, the talented Kristin Nicholas wrote the instructions for the embroidery work on several of the projects. You can't get better than that. She is the embroidery expert like no other. What a bonus.
This original sweater is from 1972. I love the modern shape of the new version. The original had a drawstring waist on a long tunic shape. The new version is a much more flattering option that would look great on many body types.
The book offers a scarf, a hat, a bag and a couple of dresses as well as sweaters for both men and women.

How about that dress on the cover shot? It is stunning. I'll tell you what, when I was younger and thinner I would have knit that dress in an instant. Then I would have been wearing it with the black tights and a pair of black Mary Jane's all over town. I kid you not.
This one is from 1967 and the original is timeless. I love this sweater! This is going on my to do list for sure.
There is a lot of historical information and entertaining photos.
I love the photo pages of the original sweaters all lined up. Here are the good and golden ski sweaters of the 1950's. I can't ever get enough of the old stuff.
The instruction and technique support is thorough and helpful.
"Vintage-inspired projects updated for the modern knitter" sums the book up perfectly.

Steven Tatar did a guest spot on WGN in Chicago a couple of weeks ago. It is a fun clip because he brought along lots of projects from the book, both old and new. He did a great job.

If you'd like to win a copy of The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting book please leave a comment on this blog post! Please only enter once and please leave your email or Ravelry name on your comment so I can easily contact you for your mailing address if you win. I will randomly select a winner in a few days.

Good luck.
best, susie