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Knitting patterns for men. Delightfully dated.

The Library Digitisation Unit of the University of Southampton has a Knitting Reference Library with Victorian knitting manuals and other old and really interesting knitting reference books and instructionals.

They also have, under the section slightly misleadingly titled “Knitting Patterns”, a lot of title pages of 1950-ish and onward printed knitting patterns, all of them for men’s upper body garments. Unfortunately, it really is only the title pages, so there are no actual patterns to be gotten. However, it is wildly interesting to just take a look at all of the title page pictures with the garments modeled: Some of the sweaters and cardigans look really timeless, and you wouldn’t be surprised at all to see them worn today, or a pattern for them sold, or a garment like that on a hanger in a clothes store.

Some others, though? To my modern eyes, they look really, really weird. Some of them remind me of Captain Kirk, some of them loudly scream “Nineteeneighties!!”, and some of them made me think “That looks like a dressing gown or pyjama part, that was worn on the street? Wow!”

Mind you, though, when I browse through modern knitting pattern magazines, I sometimes also wonder who would actually wear this. Those things are looking weird in a different, more up-do-date way, though.

So – if you enjoy looking at slightly weird older knitted garments – have a rootle in the Knitting Reference Library’s 164 “knitting patterns”. You might be as delighted as I was.

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