The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book
26 Patterns Celebrating Four Decades of American Sweater Style
Publication Date: August 2010
List Price: $17.95*
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Paris, Milan, London Cleveland? Yes, it's true. For decades, this Midwestern city of grit and steel remained at the forefront of American fashion. Cleveland was home to such garment makers as the Ohio Knitting Mills, which created knitwear designs for department stores from Sears to Saks as well as for hundreds of labels, from Van Heusen to Pendleton.
Author Steven Tatar discovered a treasure trove of mint-condition knitwear and patterns for men and women when he acquired the mill's archive in 2005. Now, working with the original patterns, from the 1940s through the 1970s, he has painstakingly adapted 26 colorful knitwear projects for the home knitter.
The majority of the patterns are for classic mid-twentieth-century women's sweats, from 1956's Abstract Expressionist to 1976's Puppy Love. But there's much more in "The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book" men's sweaters like 1954's Father Knows Best, as well as dresses, shoulder bags, ponchos, and scarf sets. Clear directions, supplemented by schematic charts and color guides, make all of the patterns easy to follow, for everyone from beginners to more advanced knitters. The patterns are featured in their original colors (teal and tangerine, ocher and avocado) alongside newer palettes geared to contemporary tastes.
As you create your own versions of such mid-century standbys as New American Gentleman, Rebel Rouser, Wavy Gravy, and Beatnik Babe, there's a lot more to enjoy. No run-of-the-mill knitting guide, this fun-to-peruse book includes vintage photographs; fashion lore, including a visual tour of original labels from national brands, regional department stores, and small-town shops; and interviews with Ohio Knitting Mills employees. All told, this book highlights the ingenuity and excitement of an important American fashion era.
From argyle to zigzag, "The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book" brings it all back.
Denise Grollmus has written for the "Akron Beacon-Journal", the "Cleveland Free Times", and the "Cleveland Scene", and has been anthologized in "Best American Crime Writing 2006". She lives in Akron, Ohio.