At the Knitting History Conference last year, Sandy Black mentioned her latest book, ‘Classic Knits of the 1980s’, which was published in January 2021.
Many of us know Sandy Black as Professor of Fashion and Textile Design and Technology at the London College of Fashion and Chair of Knitting History Forum, but prior to that she had a successful career as designer and director of the ‘Sandy Black Original Knits’ label from the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s.
Publisher Crowood Press notes how the book discusses “the principal fundamentals of knitwear design and features original, colourful, textural and fun knitting patterns that capture the fashion zeitgeist of the 1980s
designer knitwear boom” and includes “a range of innovative designs from Sandy Black knitting kits, many published here for the first time.”
“Part 1 establishes the fashion and knitwear context of the period and its influence on the development of the designs, examining the entire creative process from inspiration to final pattern.
Lavishly illustrated with photographs, diagrams and charts, special features include patchwork (modular) designs and intarsia or colour-block knitting, with techniques and tips for pattern calculations, working from charts and handling several colours.”
“Part 2 then offers twenty-one original patterns and designs, grouped into themes of textural, graphic, heraldic and ornamental, plus the unique Siamese cat, leopard and tiger accessories. Contemporary photography, together with original images from the 1980s, illustrates the designs’ timeless appeal, with close-up images of intricate pattern details and suggested design variations to aid creative knitters.”
Some may consider the 1980s so recent as hardly to seem like history at all, yet then as now it was a time of revived interest in traditional knitting and intense creativity in new knitting design. Knitwear of the period is already receiving academic attention and one of Sandy’s designs, ‘Fairisle Fun’, with her kit and the jumper knitted from it (as seen to the right), are held in the collections of the V&A Museum https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O68250/knitting-kit-black-sandy/.
Well-illustrated and with technical information as well as patterns of Sandy’s fresh and ebullient
designs, ‘Classic Knits of the 1980s’ is a welcome
introduction to the work of a pioneer of modern fashion knitwear which will be of interest to
knitters and historians of knitting and dress alike.