Monday 13 October 2014

Vintage Knit Review

I love a freebie and today the postman brought me one thanks to a competition win. Vintage Knit is a lovely hardback book by Marine Malak with Geraldine Warner, filled with 25 knitting and crochet patterns from yesteryear refashioned for the modern knitter.

Now I have to say that my first foray into vintage knitting was when I came across Susan Crawford's patterns and samples at the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching Show a few years ago. There began my admiration of her work adapting 1930s/40s/50s patterns for today and also creating new ones on a vintage theme. I've got used to her style, but it was very interesting with Vintage Knit to see how others have approached the genre.

The cover image instantly attracted me. Marine Malak has a graphic design background. Her work on Vintage Knit combines her love of knitting and fashion with her passion for publication design. There are lots of colour photos in the book alongside with the original black and white shots from decades ago. Otherwise the design is quite sparse. The pattern instruction pages are set out in two columns, which I found slightly odd, but no doubt I'll quickly get used to when knitting.

Photo courtesy of

The book is aimed at intermediate knitters, although there are a range of projects from easy to difficult. Many of the designs use elements of crochet as well. If you're not handy with a crochet hook this may be a turn-off.

Co-author Geraldine Warner, a life-long knitter, says that "one of the most interesting elements of mid-20th century knitting is the way it was allied so closely to the fashion of the time, and yet the quality and style give the designs an everlasting longevity". For me, some of the designs, such as the first in the book, '12 polo mode hats' opened my eyes as to the gulf between what was fashionable then and what is today.

Photo courtesy of

Others, however, screamed 'knit me!' I paricularly like the 'twinset in simple stitches (sadly I don't have a photo of it), brought up to date by knitting a fuschia cardigan and bright orange short-sleeved jumper. The way it's photographed is simply stunning and certainly follows the current colour-blocking fashion.

Also fabulous if you aspire to becoming a Hollywood screen siren is the 'fashionable housecoat'. I love the idea of lounging around my home on a wet Sunday wearing this rather than my PJs. The colours chosen in the book are a bit too 1970s for my taste but can easily be altered.

Photo courtesy of
I would have liked more information on where the original photos and patterns were sourced from, and I had to google what 'fingering' yarn is: 3ply or otherwise known as sock yarn.  However all in all I'm very pleased with the book, which works well as a coffee table tome to flick through as well as a source of patterns.  Vintage fans will love it.

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