Sep 192014

The fall/winter issue of Vogue Knitting from 1985(!) fell into my lap through work, and I gladly took it home to immerse myself in the handknitting culture of the mid-80s.

The first thing I noticed (well, after the 80s styling) is that almost all of the outfit shots for the sweaters incorporated garments made from Vogue sewing patterns, and the pattern numbers were included. Multi-crafting must have been much more common 30 years ago. Way to go, multi-crafters! A couple of patterns for machine knitting were also in the issue.

I like this cropped cable sweater, and it would totally fit into my wardrobe today – sans shoulder pads, and in a bold jewel tone or dark neutral.


I like the use of color here, with the white cable on a bright solid background.


Elizabeth Zimmerman wrote an article for this issue! (For the non-knitters reading, EZ revolutionized the modern world of knitting.) In exploring Bohus knitting and Emma Jacobson’s legacy, while she provides tips on knitting your own versions, EZ implores readers to avoid trying to recreate original Bohus sweaters verbatim. “You must resist the impulse to copy. Emma and her designers must be left to rest in peace with their lovely work.”


The magazine includes patterns by capital-F Fashion designers such as Adrienne Vittadini, Calvin Klein, and Perry Ellis. I’m not that tapped into today’s knitting mags – does this high fashion publishing still happen? [Update: I got my hands on a recent issue of Vogue Knitting, which features designs from Eileen Fisher…so, yes. Not so surprising – it is Vogue, after all.]


Click to embiggen and see the full effect of the comedy/tragedy pullover, and the greyhounds frolicking on the turtleneck.vogue-85-perry-ellis

Acknowledging the circular nature of style, the magazine republishes a Vogue sweater pattern from 1962 in the “Then and Now” feature.


And bringing us right back into the mid-80s – knit your own shoulder pads!


One of my main takeaways, leafing through the pages and reading the ads, is realizing what a fortunate time we knitters live in with our easy access to information – with the internet in general, of course, and Ravelry in particular. Since I started knitting 11 years ago, I wasn’t in the yarn world at the time when yarn-crafters had to send in mail orders to receive yarn samples and swatches. Now we just pop on to Ravelry to find out about yarns and patterns, and to get inspired and informed by other knitters’ projects. Even projects from a Vogue magazine from 1985!

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