Monday, September 15, 2014

Oldies but Goodies Video #projectsweaterchest


Hi, Knitters,
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

38 comments:

The Dreamer said...

LOVE your sweater collection. Thanks for sharing these treasures. It's so fun to see how the styles have changed over the years! Great time capsule you have here.

Margo said...

This video was great, made me smile. Some of those sweaters are so BIG!! I actually like the flag sweater best, and I think it is the right amount of oversized. I think your son should wear the snowflake sweater at Christmas! :)

knittybarb said...

Susan - I so enjoyed this! But I gotta tell you - the 80's called and they want their sweaters back!
Barb (KnittyBarb on Rav)
P.S. Love the Natalie Merchent soundtrack too.

floribunda said...

holy cow! did you used to be about 40 pounds heavier? You're just swimming in most of those...

Susan B. Anderson said...

floribunda ~ that's the funny thing, no i wasn't heavier at all. i'm about the same size give or take a few pounds. Isn't that insane?

susan

grahamcrackerzz said...

Wow! Great way to start my week off - giggling for 5 minutes! Did we reallly wear our sweaters that large?!? I think you have lost weight. Looking forward to knitting sweaters along with my fav knitter!

Suze said...

That was fun to watch :)

If you can't part with those sweaters but still want to use them you could sew them into cushy throw pillows. Just a thought!

Anonymous said...

That was fun! You seem to have gone from quite big to quite small (the baby hat collection and toys.)

JoAnna said...

1) Your smile is infectious! I think that made me happiest.

2) In addition to the size, it is interesting how your choice in style and color has changed too. Your favorites seem to be in subtler or more neutral colors and with simpler lines and designs. I mean, a matching houndstooth super sweater and pencil skirt must have been ROCKING IT, but your current natural style fits my mental image of you much more closely.

Susan B. Anderson said...

JoAnna ~ For those of us who lived through the 80s in our teens and twenties we all have many regrets fashion-wise. I have to say, it was pretty fun though!!
susan

Audrey said...

I LOVE that American flag sweater! What a beautiful sweater!

PghCathy said...

What a hoot! Loved your trip down memory lane. I remember the time when oversized was the size of the day.

Anita Cross said...

This made me smile. I have jumpers from then, mostly rowan, all that yarn all that knitting. I have undone a couple and reknitted the yarn for my girls when they were younger. I can't bear to throw them out.

fishgirl182 said...

I love this video a lot. That orange one with the ties wasn't too bad.

knitterbeader said...

Love your sweater collection. Hard to believe they were worn so much bigger back then. However, I no longer have the figure to wear them skin tight like nowadays either. Anyway, a fun watch!!

robin silver said...

That was so much FUN!!!!
you still have the best smile ever!!

donna

Esther said...

What a walk down memory lane. Those big splashy florals are a hoot! I agree with other comments that the flag sweater has stood the test of time the best of all! Thanks for sharing and allowing me to laugh along with you.

Anonymous said...

This is absolutely hilarious.....

Emily S said...

Oh my goodness, this was so funny and cute! Thank you for sharing these with us, it makes me glad that my first sweater looks like yours as well. Blessings! <3

julia27 said...

Loving the idea of #projectsweaterchest
I'm building up the courage to knit myself my first sweater, a cardigan I think the enormous number of patterns is a little overwhelming when aiming for perfect in my mind, so it was great to see your eclectic collection which were probably all the perfect sweater at the time you knit them :)

JackieLemon said...

This was fun! I wonder if in 20 years the sweaters we are making now will seem so funny. I cleaned out all my old sweaters and my daughters and granddaughters went through them. There is still a toddler sweater being passed around (a Penny Straker design - a real classic) and my daughter is wearing a Vogue intarsia sweater that looks like Grumpy Cat out of Tahki Tweed. I can't wait to see what my favorite podcasters have in store for #projectsweaterchest

Carla said...

Okay, you are still so adorable I could eat you with a spoon! However some of those look like before pictures from a weight loss ad! Did you weigh 300 pounds at some point???

Shing Hsieh said...

You totally made my morning. I laughed out loud at you swimming in your sweaters, I have some of those size sweaters deep in my closet also. Loved wearing them, like being hugged by a squishy stuffed bear. The best part, your smile!!!

folksmith said...

living in a college community, i could see a lot of students wearing those sweaters. good to see that your son wore the flag one. looks like there are quite a few that your sons could wear. they are all beautiful.

Noelle said...

Susan, Holy cow that was fun. Make some cool pillows I say! Especially the American flag one...and leg warmers and colorful Christmas stockings, cell phone & iPad pouches, change purses, etc. I don't know, but they could be really cool upcycled, useful treasures. Thanks for the entertainment.

Nancy said...

You are so adorable, Susan! What fun to see your sweater collection. It makes me wish I had saved some of my old creations. I remember making a 3/4 length straight style coat on which I bound the neck and front edge and covered the large buttons with black leather. Quite the style setter! Haha! Thanks for sharing your treasure chest of beauties. Love seeing how styles change.

Nancy in Carmel

GerryART said...

Oh, Susan, this was so much fun ‼️
Smiled all the way through.
Thanks for your cheery vid.
Hugs

Penny said...

I am looking forward to sweater knitting! That is what I love most about Fall. Now to decide which one I should knit first.

I just divested myself of a bunch of sweaters that were too big, too ill fitting or just too worn. Time to knit some new ones!

Pauly Heller said...

So much fun, Susie! But yes, it's probably time to say good-by to a few of those. Of course, I still have the patchwork wool polo collar sweater my grandmother knit for me for my 15th birthday (and I'm 63 now). Somehow I manage to get in one wearing each winter. It keeps Grandma Elsie and 15-year-old me close (even though I'm 63 now, and I've had to patch a few moth holes).

Filozailes said...

Oh it's so fine !
I vote for the second one with beautifull flowers and the numbers 6 and 7.
Thank you to share with us your belle collection, and it's funny and fine to share with you by video.

gale (she shoots sheep shots) said...

What a fun idea! And it looks like you had fun doing it too. How did you not crack up in the middle? I got rid of most of my super wide cropped sweaters but I recall them well.Too funny. In a few years we will laugh at our fitted knits, too.

spanky51 said...

Love the fashion show. You are so gifted and talented. Not only are you a knitting genius, but you know how to pick some awesome background music. Can't go wrong with Natalie Merchant and 10,000 maniacs!

Anonymous said...

That was one of the funnest videos I've seen on any blog--great idea!

Rachel Russ said...

I loved this video Susan! What a fun chest of sweaters you have...I laughed right along with you...and yet I marveled at few that seemed TIMELESS.

Each piece does teach us something doesn't? It ties us to an event, a season or place in our lives.

I love how hand knitting does that. It puts a mark in history for the knitter.

Bless you friend.

~Rachel

deedalee said...

I would pull that red snowflake one out every Christmas morning if I were you! I could totally see sitting in front of the fire opening presents with that on! :)

Ellen said...

This was so much fun! I think you could fit two of you in some of those sweaters!

Kerry McArthur, MPH, RD, CDN said...

That was so much fun! Thanks for sharing the video! It's nice to know that other people have a stash of horribly out of date hand-knits that they can't bear to part with yet would never wear again. Why did we think short and wide was so flattering???

thecrazysheeplady said...

These videos are just. great. What a tribute! :-D