It's 1969. You decide to make your husband a V neck pullover. What do you pull out? Your handy Raglan Sweater Wheel! Why it's what you use to make baby sweaters, cardigans for yourself, sweaters for your children of all ages! My neighbor found this when she cleaned out a closet a few days ago. A fellow knitter, she came running over to show me and we sat in awe, honoring the knitter before us, so resourceful to create such a tool. Copyright 1969, Bea Freeman, Bryn Mawr, PA.
Working with this thing is quite an adventure. You start with "Read First" - which basically gives gauge instructions for fingering, sport and worsted weight. All the knitting instructions are in the color sections, back, front and sleeve. Then you SPIN SPIN SPIN until you find your size - baby, children, sub-teen, boy's teen, juniors on one side, flip to the othe side for misses, women's, men's. Small bits of text give all the neck pick-up instructions, button-holes, etc. It's all there!
What isn't there are color photographs or mention of yarn, except for gauge. Are we all so spoiled by what we have at our fingertips today? Beautiful magazines, patterns, yarns, access to the internet all give us endless sources of inspiration. Did these women knit for self expression? Perhaps they did. By only having the bare essentials - the sweater wheel and some decent wool, they were left to their own devices to make the design their own and to make the actual knitting more interesting. Maybe they added stripes. Or Fair Isle patterns. I wonder what sort of magic was created from the Raglan Sweater Wheel.
Well, it's the year 2004. We have our templates, too, complete with beautiful photos, suggested yarns, and expanded to include hats, mittens, scarves, etc. Still, there is something beautiful in the simplicity of the Wheel. Even though it belongs to my neighbor, I feel secure in knowing it is near-by, just in case I get the overwhelming urge to knit up a V-neck raglan pull-over for my husband or children.