Get ready to laugh as I take a trip down memory lane by trying on some of my oldest sweaters in this 5 minute video. If you can't see the video on the email update click right here to watch!
Some of these gems are over 25 years old at this point. I carefully selected the music by Natalie Merchant, Kind and Generous in particular, because I truly feel gratitude toward all of the sweater knitting experience that went into each of the garments. I learned so much during the time I knit these sweaters. No matter how dated and goofy they look now each one served a purpose and helped me improve as a knitter. Even now as I look back at the enormous amount of knitting that went into the oversized, gigantic look of this era, I remember them fondly even though I would never wear any of them today.
The most striking difference to today's sweater designs is how enormously WIDE the sweater style was and not even that long ago really. Some of the sweaters were like knitting two sweaters in one that you would make today. The sheer amount of fabric is somewhat amazing! I think the size really helped me get faster and better.
All of the sweaters in the video were seamed and knit flat in pieces (except the poncho, of course).
Here's a quick run-down on the 13 sweaters from what I can remember and in the same order as the video:
1. Fruit and Leaves sweater by Susan Duckworth: That is not the real name of the pattern. This sweater was knit using some unidentified Italian wool for the background and embroidery wool for the fruit and leaves. I purchased the wool at The Knitting Tree. The fruit was knit in using intarsia. I knit this sweater right after I got married 25 years ago and in my first year of teaching middle school. I brought it to school with me everyday and very occasionally I would get a few minutes at lunch to knit on it. I remember I had to learn a specific crochet edging for the collar. The fruit was supposed to cover the entire sweater front, back and sleeves. I got very burned out as you can see and put it only on the front but I think it's hilarious that I put one bunch of grapes on the center back. Why?
2. Rowan Magazine Flower sweater: I made this in Tahki Cotton Classic purchased from a long gone shop in Madison called Yarn It All. The owner suggested the Cotton Classic because of the color selection. This sweater is all worked in intarsia and I also had to learn a crochet border for this edging. The inside of the sweater is so messy. I had no idea what I was doing.
3. Rowan Denim People sweater: I was so crazy for everything Rowan and especially the denim yarn. I just loved this yarn so much. As you'll see in the video, I bound off the neck way too tight and could barely get it over my head without leaving a mark.
4. Donegal Tweed Acorn Sweater: I have no idea what the origin of this cardigan is or where I got the acorn buttons. This one is very wide and short and the color selection is off somehow. I think I duplicate stitched on the acorns and the button band is sewn closed I think so I didn't have to make buttonholes. The entire thing is pretty horrible.
5. Rowan Summer Tweed Collection - light blue with leather-laced front. Super cropped but a little more fitted than some of the others. I loved that Summer Tweed yarn a lot!
6. Gigantic Cabled Rowan Double-Knit Wool ~ This huge sweater took me forever to finish and the pattern is from a Rowan collection. I learned how to cable on this one. The yarn was held doubled throughout and I remember that the yarn would make my hands itch while I was knitting it. I cut the fingers off of some cheap little stretchy gloves to wear while I worked on it. The funny thing is after I washed it it didn't make me itch any longer. I still am known to throw this one on for a freezing cold winter day. It is like wearing an enormous wool blanket as you can imagine.
7. Gigantic Red Snowflake Intarsia Sweater: This sweater is simply hilarious. It is made out of Lopi yarn purchase so many years ago, decades ago, at the Wisconsin Craft Market when they had one tiny aisle of yarn in the back. I think I used the same Rowan pattern as the cabled sweater but included a snowflake chart from another sweater (how clever of me!). This one never got much wear and for good reason. It's pretty ridiculous.
8. Cream Rowan Big Wool Poncho: There was a time when Rowan Big Wool also came in a version where fuzzy wool bits were included. The pattern is Rowan, too. Do you notice the trend of the turtle neck? A lot of my sweaters used to have turtle necks. I don't mind a turtle neck to this day but not usually in my sweaters.
9. Flag Sweater: Another Tahki Cotton Classic knit for which I can't remember the pattern information. I did used to wear this one. For this past 4th of July my son wore this all night at our family celebration. It was pretty funny and I enjoyed that.
10. Oh Houndstooth!! This is a Vogue Knitting pattern from one of the old magazines. I LOVED this sweater so much after I knit it. I learned chart reading and colorwork here. I was in graduate school working as a P.A. (program assistant) for the School of Education at the UW- Madison in the late 1980s. I remember clear as day wearing this to work along with the matching pencil skirt I knit as well. Yes, I said handknit matching houndstooth pencil skirt. And yes, I did wear them both together at the same time...... and I don't have the skirt any longer, not sure what happened to it. I wish I still had it. The yarn is unknown but I remember that it had a chain construction and it is a surprisingly light weight garment.
11. Orange Rowan Cork Sweater with leather ties: Clearly Rowan enjoyed the leather tied Henley style sweater design for awhile. Not much to say about this one. It's really not too bad.
12. Noro Kureyon Ribbed Turtle Neck: Not much to say about this one either. This was very fitted, a little cropped and a pretty simple style. It's probably 8 to 10 years old at this point.
13. Colinette Point 5 Ribbed Turtle Neck Sweater: This is a pattern from Interweave from the early 2000s and the yarn is a thick and thin wool. I remember that the yarn was very expensive and I bought it with a discount from the yarn shop where I was working. It is again a little too short but other than that it's not too bad.
Well, there you have it! 13 Oldies from the sweater chest. I should somehow use them otherwise, get rid of them, store them elsewhere, etc. You can see that even after removing the 10 Favorites and 13 Oldies from the chest that it is still quite full.
There are many more handknits still sitting in the chest. It would be nice to have room in the sweater chest for new sweaters to come and that's my plan.
Jasmin from the Knitmore Girls and Leslie from The Knit Girllls and I chatted last week about #projectsweaterchest and we have some fun plans coming up. We are hoping to get a sweater knitting movement going where we all knit sweaters together and share and spread the joy! I hope you'll consider joining in. There isn't going to be a short timeline, in fact it is going to be quite a long time frame so there isn't any pressure. More to come on that soon.
I'll be back soon with more of the Top 10 Favorite sweater patterns.
If you want to check out the 5 minute video of me trying on my favorite current Top 10 Sweaters click right here!
xo ~ susan