memory lane – the 90’s

Time flies when you’re having fun, even faster when you’re knitting.

This is not so good on a rainy Sunday afternoon that you’d like to last for days, but excellent on a long haul flight.

I’m about to embark on just such a thing, to a trade show in Ohio, USA. I always knit on flights, and I’m shocked when people ask me if it’s ok. I thought that had been resolved a long time ago but it seems not. I’m told that knitting is forbidden on Qantas flights. Can this be true? It’s years since the USA airlines officially approved knitting. How cranky of Qantas.

My favourite needles for travelling are bamboo circulars. They’re compact, friendly-looking, and there’s no danger of a needle dropping and rolling under the seat of the person three rows in front.  A knitter crawling along the aisle peering under seats is bound to cause an international incident.

I will be taking a nice lightweight project on my circulars, perhaps a small mohair shawl in a light coloured yarn so I can see it when the cabin lights are dimmed.

Speaking of trips, let’s head back to the 90’s. Hard to believe it’s more than a decade in the past, and that soon we’ll been talking about the 10’s in sepia tones.

During that decade I was, for the most part, designing knits for LL Bean of Maine while living in Santa Monica. It was a happy time. My children were big enough to ride their own bicycles but not yet demanding to dropped off at the mall.

1993. The cardigan above and below was so dear to me that I wore it for most of the decade. It’s a little bit South America, a little bit Amish quilt.

Then there was American Quilt (below) which was a best seller in 1995.

Here’s a pattern that combined my love of Native American motifs with Maori weaving patterns from New Zealand.

This abstract floral cardigan  (note in all of these the emphasis was on the motifs, not the shapes, all of which were simple and boxy) was inspired by some stenciling I’d seen on a wall in India.

Later in the 90’s I did some designs for a company that made, of all things, cowboy shirts. The beautiful ones with piping and embroidery. The owner thought some cowboy themed knits would work well in places like Montana where it’s cold out on the prairie. I designed several and although they didn’t really work for the cowboy market, they’re enjoying newfound popularity with my son Pete and his friend Polly here. This one is based on the classic 1950’s shawl collar jacket.

In resurrecting some of these designs it made me think I’d like to update them. Picture knits are coming back, I think.

If any of my knitting compadres from Wildfiber read this, I’m going to be there on Wednesday evening, June 9, 5:30 -7:30, and I’d love to see you. Come and join me for a knittin knit in!

–Mel

7 Responses to “memory lane – the 90’s”

  1. Kate Bruning Says:

    I am so enjoying these trips down memory lane. I was trying to define what fashions were like in the 90’s so it was good to have a reminder. I picked up a book from the library today with Beatrix Potter patterns in it. The jumpers themselves were a little dated but the actual picture knits were sublime. Have fun in America!

  2. Marla Says:

    Oh Mel,
    This is great news. I will stop in for a cuppa and a chat.

  3. MildlyCrafty Says:

    You can take needles on Aussie flights now, woo hoo! http://www.heraldsun.com.au/travel/knitting-needles-nail-clippers-allowed-on-flights/story-e6frfhb6-1225813553670

  4. Polly Says:

    I love all your designs, but those cowboy knits are fabulous. Update update update please!

  5. Nicky Says:

    Have a great time. See you when you get back

  6. Karen Says:

    See you in Santa Monica. Safe travels, my friend.

  7. Boutiqua Says:

    WOW bring back 90s knits!! I love the geometric shapes! Would love to see some vintage Mel Clark designs, where can they be found?

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