Feminist Knitting Patterns!

One of these sunny but still fresh spring days you might find yourself in need for a good, feminist outfit. You have you witty t-shirts ready, but at least where I am right now, it’s not really t-shirt weather yet. So what to do? The answer is a hand-knit sweater/hat/scarf with the message of your choice! You will be ready this time when there is unexpected cold weather just in time for pride…

The other day I read this really nice article „Ten Knitting Patterns for Crafty Feminists“ on The Toast, which has great examples for knitted accessories with feminist messages. However, I am more looking for sweater-inspiration, as there is much more space to get creative. So I did some research and came up with the following:

The Woman’s Woolly

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image via feministbookclub.wordpress.com

I first saw this image on @h_e_r_s_t_o_r_y’s Instagram, which is already an amazing source of inspiration, and then later read more about it on The Feminist Bookclub. I am sure this sweater would be quite easy to replicate using a simple sweater pattern and inserting a self drafted band of women’s symbols!

The Feminist Sweater

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image via the thestylerookie.com

Read more about Tavi Gevinson’s iconic Feminist Sweater over on Style Rookie, and how she got it from Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna. To recreate it exactly, you would probably need a knitting machine, but I saw several images of people with simplified, hand-knit versions of the sweater. More work than the Woman’s Woolly, but also more impressive, I would say!

Everything by Artist Lisa Ann Auerbach

 

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image credit: Lisa Ann Auerbach

The US-american artist is creating sweaters that talk back since 1994, and they cover a wide range of topics from bike lanes to Barack Obama to the war in Irak. You can see all of her work on her website lisaannauerbach.com. It’s fascinating! She even made a zine on the similarities in styling and posture of bondage and knitting pattern magazine photo shoots.

If you prefer to knit your Feminist Sweater with an already existing pattern, I found some great stuff on Ravelry:

Rainbow Mosaic Baby Sweater by Betty P Balcomb

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image credit Betty P Balcomb

Misandry Hat by Glitz Knits Boutique

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image credit Glitz Knits Boutique

Wonder Woman Sweater by Natalie Bursztyn (and it’s for free!)

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image credit Natalie Bursztyn

Now dare someone say knitting isn’t political!!!

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Vintage Patterns: A 1950s Knitting Book

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My vintage pattern collection is slowly growing, thanks to the flea markets and second-hand bookshops here in Budapest. The PeCsa flea market on Saturdays and Sundays in the City Park (Varosliget) has some great sellers of all sorts of vintage books and magazines and well kept Burda-Magazines from the 70s onwards are easy to find. Last weekend I found this beautiful little knitting book from 1958. The illustrations are wonderful, so I wanted to share some of them here!

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The prints are unlike anything I have ever seen before in their great layout, colors and illustrations. The garments have straightforward and simple, but beautiful designs. I especially love the stitch pattern illustrations that accompany each illustration – and their love for tiny pockets hidden in the ribbing!

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Initially I thought of trying to translate one or two patterns and knit them, but as I looked more closely, I let go of the idea: All patterns use needles number 2 or 2,5 (european size), and (for me) that would just take too long to finish a garment. I guess these patterns were written for a time when there were speed-knitting grandmothers readily available, and women invested a lot more time into making clothes. It is also interesting to see, how minimalistic the pattern descriptions are, when you compare them to patterns published today. There was much more room for customization, but also, much more knitting knowledge required to knit these up.

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So even though I probably won’t knit any of the patterns, they are still a great source of inspiration (or decoration for that matter…) and offer a glimpse into the history of knitting and knitting pattern design.