It’s not often we get to see a programme on our favorite craft on TV – so I was really intrigued when I saw that the BBC was showing an episode from The Fabric of Britain, called Knitting’s Golden Age.
The programme attributed the rise of knitting in fashion to Price Edward in the 1920’s and for sure he did have a big influence on knitwear as a fashion statement. However there was surely more to study about knitting’s heritage – for instance knitted stockings both woolen and in fine silk had been handmade for centuries before then. But that said, I really enjoyed looking at the rise of knitwear in the 20’s and especially beyond to the Second World War and the post war boom. I loved that Susan Crawford got involved – I love her take on vintage knits.
There were many memories of patterns that were, for years, in my mother’s collection – think Poodle bottle covers and the ubiquitous knitted toilet roll holders made to look like Barbie in her best prom dress! I am also sure that in terms of the baby matinee jackets, my mother had knitted every single pattern which exists (she still knits them today, aged 84 – although to try and get her away from white, pale blue and pale pink acrylic is simply wasting my time!).
What was disappointing though was that the final 10 mins of the programme seemed really rushed and barely touched the surface of knitting in the 70s and 80s (when I was setting out on my knitting journey!). Yes we saw the monstrosities jumpers worn by Gyles Brandreth, but this was the time when Rowan was starting out with designers like Jean Moss etc and high fashion was still showing hand knitwear – revivals of 50’s ski jumpers for instance (I knitted one from the Phildar Magazine – gorgeous mohair in shades of pink!) were very popular.
Again sadly, the ‘new revival’ of knitting was noted – this revival must be 10 years old now, surely that makes it an integral part of society, like playing poker or watching football?????
Don’t get me wrong – we need more programmes like this, knitting is creative, social and keeps us (mostly) away from rack and ruin!!! Perhaps next time the fine art of yarn bombing can be discussed – bring on Deadly Knitshade!
If you have access to BBC iplayer then I would recommend a watch - the BBC are pretty hot on security of their programmes, so I doubt whether it would be on one of those dodgy TV streaming services......... (I need to have a VPN here in the UAE - which is quite ironic since I do still pay my licence fee back in the UK!!)