7 amazing vintage knits!

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Vintage knitting is never out of fashion! Explore Merion’s selection of nostalgic knits…

The 1930s, 40s and 50s were stylish decades for knitting, full of elegant design motifs and garments that were hand knitted with love and care. There were no circular needles, no super chunky yarns – but knitters had more time than they do in today’s busy world, and the level of detail shines through the designs of the past. There are signature techniques and styles that appear; lace patterns, Fair Isle, short sleeves, fitted shapes, deep ribs around the waist, collars, bows, buttons and belts – all of which combine to create vintage looks from different decades.

Susan Crawford is a fabulous knitwear designer who brings vintage patterns to life – and this passion for styles from the past shines through in so many of her designs. Here are seven that we love:

Nancy Jumper

Nancy by Susan Crawford

Feather and fan is a lace pattern that just sings vintage! It’s a simple repeat that is easy to memorise and Susan Crawford’s beautiful Nancy jumper makes the most of the undulating wave carried right through into the neck tie!

Day at the Races Hat

Day at the Races Hat by Susan Crawford

Fair Isle is a technique that although popular now, was an everyday skill in the 1920s, popularised by Edward VIII (whilst still Prince of Wales) thanks to his Fair Isle jumpers and tank tops! Knitting colour work is a much older skill of course – but instantly creates a nostalgic feel and shoots us straight back to the 20s, 30s and 40s! Susan’s fabulous Day at the Races hat not only recreates typical colour work of the time, but evokes the past in its classic tam-o-shanter / beret shape.

Sun Ray Ribbing Jumper

Sun Ray Ribbing jumper by Susan Crawford

I’ve included this gorgeous Sun Ray Ribbing jumper for two reasons – look at that beautiful shaping and nipped in waist, and  – that glorious neckline!  The way fashion celebrates body shapes changes every decade or so – at the turn of the century and during the 20s the androgynous long line drape of belted cardigans and low waisted dresses drew attention away from curves – but as fashion became more daring, waists and busts were celebrated once again with beautifully shaped knitwear! Susan’s Sun Ray Ribbing jumper brings the feminine shape into focus with flattering ribbing and a clever neckline.

Lady’s Jumper Cardigan

Lady by Susan Crawford vintage

Cropped in at the waist to flatter the shape, this gorgeous cardi has fabulous texture and a beautiful squared neckline. Increase the vintage feel with a brooch and your choice of buttons!

Designed in Paris Sweater

Paris Cardi by Susan Crawford

Vintage means different things to different age groups (!) but here we are in the late 50s early 60s – note the boxy shape, concealed pockets and ‘almost turtleneck’ neckline. This stranded colour work is great fun to knit, and a good introduction to working two colours at a time.

Changing Guards Sleeveless Jumper

vintage Changing Guards by Susan Crawford

The British aristocracy is famous for its love of quintessential knitwear, and here is a tank top similar to the one made famous by Prince George, with smart soldiers marching along the midsection! Tank tops – but even more so – tank tops with colour work will instantly catapult you into the past!

Ribbon Threaded Jumper

vintage Ribbon threaded jumper by Susan Crawford

Extra details like threading ribbon take garments from modern to vintage – although this cotton summer top would not be out of place right now! The little puff sleeves are super sweet, and the texture detail with shaped neckline is so flattering and feminine – perfect with a skirt or jeans!

Take a look at Susan’s patterns here and her signature colour palette yarns here!

Do you love vintage knitting? Show us your nostalgic knits on the Community! 

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