This year marks the 60th anniversary of British Monach, Queen Elizabeth II.
To celebrate, every magazine, newspaper, merchandiser and advertiser in the country seem to have donned their rose, white ,and blue tinted glasses. So, I have decided to write something a little different. Rather than a hot list, laced with union jacks,bunting and crowns, I bring to you Royal Knittania- The crown jewels of UK knit culture, which have dominated the country over the last 60 years.
Stitchcraft Magazine- 1930s-1980s
A popular knitters magazine through the decades, particularly through the 50s and 60s. This magazine was a go to for the latest fashions and designs.
Twiggy in Artesia- 1960’s- present
Twiggy was a prominent British teenage model of swinging sixties London. Often photographed in iconic, bright artesia knitwear. In the last decade she has become a designer for M&S.
Fashion: Gansey Sweaters 1980- present day
The Gansey sweater. A traditional sweater that has held it’s place in fashion throughout the decades.
The fishermen’s garment of choice was a thick sweater which was close-fitting for warmth and tightly knitted to repel water. The traditional color of the gansey is navy and this one is worked in the round in a pattern of vertical panels with alternate cable and double moss stitch. The name ‘gansey’ comes from Guernsey, one of the islands from which these jumpers originated. By the 20th century workwear like ganseys and aran jumpers was an established type of leisure dress for the middle classes.
Patricia Roberts- 1976- Present day
An innovative hand knit women & children’s wear designer, who’s work won The Duke of Edinburgh’s Designer’s Prize.Design Council Awards in 1986 . She has published 17 books and still continues to run a London store.
Rowan Yarns- 1978- present day
Established in 1978 Rowan became a household name across the world, known for it’s quality yarns & variety of natural fibers.
Nottingham Trent University Offers a knit specific Bachelor of Arts Degree – 1980’s to present day
Fashion Knitwear Design and Knitted Textiles. Three years of knitting for school. Sounds like bliss.
Water Aid Knit a River Petition 2006-2007
Knitters from all over the country submitted blue patches to make this giant blue river that was spread across London to promote a campaign by water aid to stop water poverty in 2006.
The river’s finest hour came in May 2007 when, just ahead of the G8 summit in Germany, over 200 knitters, WaterAid staff and supporters carried a swathe of the knitted river along Albert Embankment, across Lambeth Bridge and into Parliament Square and Whitehall, the home of the British government. Afterwards a small section of the ‘petition’ was handed over to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, calling for pressure on the G8 to end water poverty
Vivienne Westwood- 1970s – present day
My all time favorite designer, known best for her punk inspired wears. Her knitwear, both for the catwalk and the high street is always as beautiful and unique as her other pieces.
Westwood explained: ‘I started making mohair jumpers for the girls – you couldn’t even buy mohair then. I loved the beatnik idea of wearing a man’s sweater with tights.’ This type of garment set the punk fashion for torn and unravelling sweaters
V & A Museum
Fair Isle – 1920s- present day
Fair isle is a traditional knitting technique used to create patterns with multiple colours. It is named after Fair Isle, a tiny island in the north of Scotland, that forms part of the Shetland islands. Fair Isle knitting gained a considerable popularity when the Prince of Wales (later to become Edward VIII) wore Fair Isle tank tops in public in 1921. Traditional Fair Isle patterns have a limited palette of five or so colours, use only two colours per row, are worked in the round, and limit the length of a run of any particular colour.”
Still one of the most fashionable and sought after style of knitwear around the globe, a goal to reach for every passionate knitter and the reason I began knitting.