The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book: 26 Patterns Celebrating Four Decades of American Sweater Style

Overview

Vintage-inspired projects culled from the archives of the legendary knitwear maker...

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.

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Overview

Vintage-inspired projects culled from the archives of the legendary knitwear maker...

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Golden Age of Sweaters dawned in the Eisenhower years, bringing with it a colorful array of apparel that only seems brighter with the passing of decades. This paperback combines wearable practicality with enthralling nostalgia. The generous illustrated text takes you on a tour of more relaxed, pre-twitter times when women spent more time on knitting than constant communication and the book's clear patterns and instructions for 26 projects give you a chance to catch up with heartwarming sweater crafts.
Library Journal
Cleveland's Ohio Knitting Mills operated from the 1920s through the early 2000s under a variety of names and produced iconic garments for American designers and department stores. In 2005, Tatar acquired the rights to its extensive archives, and this collection of patterns, featuring designs from the 1940s to the 1970s, is the result of his research. Like most vintage clothing, some of the designs are difficult for your average Joe or Jane to wear—it takes a certain attitude to pull off a 1960s-inspired mohair minidress—but the stories are fascinating, and Tatar deserves praise for keeping an important piece of American fashion history alive.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579653996
  • Publisher: Artisan
  • Publication date: 8/9/2010
  • Pages: 168
  • Product dimensions: 10.26 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

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.

Cleveland sculptor Steven Tatar was hunting for scrap metal when he stumbled upon the now-shuttered Ohio Knitting Mills. He bought the company's sweater archive and opened Ohio Knitting Mills, a stylish Brooklyn storefront, where for two years he sold vintage knits that had never been worn before. He now sells limited-edition sweaters on his Web site, OhioKnittingMills.com.

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