Knitting Memories…

Last week and the week before I was traveling for work. All very sane and civilized, with a ton of Bliss sample products that were hoarded and brought home. But while I can resist the lure of online shopping at home and resist the urge to hang out at the mall, I’m really powerless against impulse purchases when I’m feeling a little lonely and isolated in a hotel room. That’s when I’ll purchase Flirty Girl dance-to-fitness DVDs. (Yes, I have — from a hotel in Sarasota.) So after some fairly intense work days and nights, I found myself on eBay and bought this vintage, August 1978 Seventeen magazine. With shipping, I paid 15 times the cover price; perhaps I should have invested in stacks and stacks of magazines back in 1978.

This magazine and I, we have history. I had a copy back in the day that I pinched from a pile at my church that had been donated for collage projects. That’s right; I stole it from my church. It was already a year or two old, but I pored over it, studying the Famalore shoe ads and tutorials on how to alter your wide straight pants into the new tapered pants — so hot this season.

So amidst the suggestive ads for Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific! …

… and the Columbia House offers (11 8-tracks or albums for only $1 plus shipping and handling!) …

… and supermodel Jennifer O’Neill talking and talking and talking about 87-cent nail polish …

… and late-teen Michael Jackson looking healthy and normal and not sporting a razor-thin nose or a weird split in his chin …

… and Mariel Hemingway modeling this season’s new Annie Hall-inspired menswear …

… was a feature on seven pieces you could make to assort for a month’s worth of ensembles:

Brilliant!

A couple of years after swiping the magazine, I knitted my first sweater with my trusted friend, Seventeen — that green classic sweater that could supposedly knit up for $4.75 and assort into so many outfits. I used black K-Mart brand sayelle yarn; the same yarn my grandma preferred for all of the ripple afghans she was churning out at the time. So it wasn’t luxurious. And the fit — well, it was horrible. I later learned this was because I was knitting incorrectly, twisting every stitch, which made a tight, tight fit that wasn’t really appropriate for either that year’s preppy fashions or the dress code at my Christian junior high school.

A bit after my failed sweater, armed with a Coats & Clarks booklet that showed me how to make cable stitches, I tackled making cables and knitted that sweater’s companion, the vest (with “cables fore and aft”) on the same feature. That turned out much better and was actually wearable, so I wore it. A lot.

That 1978 Back to School Issue of Seventeen paved the way for the dozens and dozens of sweaters (and scarves, hats, mittens, shawls, baby blankets and, once, an attempt at a knitted cat cozy) over the next three decades. Some worked, some didn’t, but the win percentage has definitely increased over the years.

So maybe this late-night, lonely-hotel-room purchase wasn’t so frivolous after all. In fact, I might add to my bucket list to one day remake that green sweater, this time not twisting every stitch.

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3 thoughts on “Knitting Memories…

  1. Pingback: Three Magazines I’m Loving | The Christmas Plan

  2. Pingback: Page not found | The Christmas Plan

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