Hand-Knit Style in Commercial Knits

As knitters, we can recognize hand-knit garments from a mile away, right? In fact, hand knits often serve as beacons by which knitters recognize their fellow knitters out in the world. It fills my heart with joy every time I spot someone wearing a hand-knit shawl or sweater while waiting in line at the coffee shop or the grocery store. I don’t usually approach strangers, but I can’t help myself when I suspect they’re knitters. There’s just too much at stake!

But in light of a trend I’ve been noticing a from some of my favorite clothing and home decor retailers, I think I might have to start second-guessing my sixth sense for the detection of hand-knit garments. Lately, there are an awful lot of commercial knits mimicking the look of hand knits. I’ve heard that 70’s style is totally hip again in 2016, evinced particularly by the resurgence of the poncho. I think this hand-knit style in general has a 70’s vibe.

Admittedly it makes me a little annoyed that people value the hand-made aesthetic without valuing the effort it takes to make things by hand. But on the other hand, it pleases me to see big companies, the arbiters of contemporary fashion, looking at the things that the individuals who lovingly, meticulously craft things by hand are into. It makes me excited to be a knitter. Why buy what’s essentially a knock-off, when I can fashion the real thing with my own two hands, and look like a fashionista to boot?

If you don’t believe me, just check out these hats, scarves, sweaters, table decor, pillows and more that incorporate hallmarks of hand-knits like garter stitch, bulky yarn, cables, surface embroidery, and even a sort of charming imperfection.

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From Modcloth, this chunky garter stitch scarf with pockets, this quaint crocheted doily table runner, and these darling knit mittens with a crocheted border and flower applique!

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From Modcloth, this sweater with this owl motif made of knit cables and buttons, this drapey cardigan made of rectangles with stitches knit in two different directions, and this cabled cardigan with flowers embroidered on the surface.

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From Modcloth, this super-bulky ribbed hat with a matching super-bulky pompom, these boots with cuffs that look just like knitted boot cuffs, this welted hat reminiscent of the popular wurm hat.

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From Anthropologie, these ponchos with moss stitch, gansey-like patterning, fringes and lace motifs that any beginner knitter could imitate, and this boxy color-blocked mohair cardigan.

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From H & M, these embellished basic accessories including a hat that looks very much like Purl Soho’s Garter Ear Flap Hat, and this child’s poncho with quirky animal appliques.

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From Urban Outfitters, this crocheted doily rug, this brioche knit cowl that looks eerily similar to the one that I designed for The 12 Weeks of Christmas this year (has Urban Outfitters been spying on me?), and this super-bulky, cabled pillow.

Anyway, I think we should go forth and knit or crochet with pride, and let the inspiration flow back and forth between hand-knits and commercial knits. Who needs to shop for pre-made things when we can make them ourselves, take joy in the process, and infuse them with our love of the craft?

Written by Lauren Chesis

Lauren Chesis

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