La maglia – the art of knitting

As a child, one of my favorite things to do in my spare time was sneak into my mom’s closet and go through all the boxes full of pictures and polaroids from her childhood and teenager years. Something that I always found very fascinating and interesting was how much knitting she had done: colorful dresses, skirts, socks, hats, scarves, pullovers and even swimsuits. There were so many kinds of materials and patterns that I began to think about all the pieces I could create myself.

 

Cover of "Mani di Fata" | 1957

Cover of “Mani di Fata” (Fairy Hands) a popular Italian knitting magazine | 1957

 

That’s when I started to talk with my mom about her hobby and asked her to teach me.  As my mother patiently showed me how to knit and explained the different techniques, I started to realize how nice it is to create something from scratch, something you can actually wear, especially now that we live in a decade when almost anything you can imagine can be purchased somehow somewhere.

 

Cover of "Mani di Fata" | 1957

Cover of “Mani di Fata” | 1957

Cover of "Mani di Fata" | 1957

Cover of “Mani di Fata” | 1957

 

I found out that, many years ago when mass production wasn’t widespread, little girls used to learn kitting techniques in order to be able to create outfits for their dolls. From that first experience with knitting they would develop their designs and challenge their skills with patterns and materials. It was also very common for girls to take knitting, needlecraft and crochet classes in middle school, because learning these skills were considered very important steps in a young lady’s eduction. Knitting at home was also considered a valuable way for mothers and daughters to spend time together.

 

Cover of "Mani di Fata" | 1949

Let’s knit! | 1949

 

In the 1960s women used to create their own chic dresses as they combined their knitting knowledge with sewing machine skills. When it was time to go skiing they would make very thick and extremely warm socks for the whole family. When it was time to go to the beach they would make swimsuits for the kids even though they were heavy once they were wet and were difficult to dry.

 

A sweater with square neck and moss stitch bands outlining the waist | 1969

A sweater with square neck and moss stitch bands outlining the waist | 1969

Cover of "Mani di Fata" | 1957

Cover of “Mani di Fata” | 1957

 

I was so fascinated with all these memories my mom shared that I threw myself into knitting and, with a lot of effort and after several failed attempts and moments of frustration, I managed to get my first pullover done when I was 12. It was grey, with a hood and a big pocket on the front.

 

Cover of "Mani di Fata" | 1957

Cover of “Mani di Fata” | 1957

 

Cover of "Mani di Fata" | 1957

Cover of “Mani di Fata” | 1957

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