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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

knitty: ohio knitting mills - part of Cleveland, OH textile history

The Ohio Knitting Mills Knitting Book: 26 Patterns Celebrating Four Decades of American Sweater Style
Author - Steven Tatar & Contributor - Denise Grollmus

This is one of those books I have been waiting for since I saw the preorder listing on Amazon. I really didn't know anything about the title, but since I live in Ohio and into textile history of just about any kind I went ahead and preordered.

If nothing else I was intrigued by the cover sweater which appeared to be a inspired by the 1965 YSL dress that was inspired by Mondrian. YSL was inspired by the Composition series of Piet Mondrian and he translated his paintings into dresses for his fall collection in 1965. After reading about that pattern, it turns out that OKM reproduced that design and sold it for $30.00.

The book is really delightful. A little touch of the history of the mill and 26 modern recreation of a few of there designs. The pattern range in history from the 40's - 70's. I wish there were earlier examples of there works, but that is always the way things are.

The technical drawings that are inside the book jacket in the front and the back are probably my favorite touch. But the photo of the original garment and the modern interpretation is a nice touch for each garment.

You can still purchase some of the vintage sweaters from the mill.

I sheepishly didn't know much about the Ohio Knitting Mill, but I checked out there site and a couple of other sites about the mill and the shop......

So what happens when you have a collection of over 10,000 knit wear garments stored in a time capsule?

You open up a store in NYC, create a web site to sell vintage sweaters and release a book about the history of the Cleveland, Ohio sweater mill.

"Yves Saint Laurent: 'Mondrian' day dress (C.I.69.23)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000 ndash;. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/C.I.69.23 (October 2006) Source: Yves Saint Laurent: "Mondrian" day dress (C.I.69.23) | Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Other links of interest

Sketch up for auction by YSL for the Mondrian dresses of '65

Christie's Auction photo of Piet Mondrian's Composition avec bleu, rouge, jaune et noir, 1922, (estimate: $10-14 million), which sold at Christie's

Photos from the YSL, Style, Style, Style book

Cleveland, Ohio was second to only NYC for textile manufacturing at one point in time.

The Ohio Knitting Mills was founded in 1928 by Harry Stone whose family for three generations ran the mills until it was closed during2003.

What really saddens me is that this great collection of American textile history was not documented it has been sold off piece mill to vintage collectors. The mill once made garment for Lord & Taylor, Sears, Montgomery Ward, Pendleton, Van Heusen, Jack Winter, Queen's Way of Fashion, Petti, and Easmoor. The other disheartening and sad thing is, this may be the only way to buy an American mill made sweater at this point in time.

http://ohioknittingmills.wordpress.com/ - http://www.ohioknittingmills.com/

To See a real treat of some of the photos taken from people who have seen the photos

Ohio Knitting Mills @ Lizard Lounge on Karmalot - A creative coop - Click Here

Photos on Country Living - Click here




  1. OMG...I actually owned that dress whenI was in high school. Um, ir doesn't look any better now.

  2. Lovely post. Thanks for the links to the web site. The sweaters all look small, but there are some really nice ones and it's great inspiration.

  3. whoa, am I that out of the loop or is this book just flying under the radar?! I'll definitely check this one out