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Pretty in Punk: 25 Punk, Rock and Goth Knitting Projects
By Alyce Benevides and Jacqueline Milles
Published by Chronicle Books (2007)

Review by Cardinal Cox


Write Dope on Pnuk part 89

Knitting patterns. There, I said it. That’s what this book is about. But let’s go back a couple of steps to the mid-1970’s when punk was bursting through, it wasn’t just about the music. I would suggest that also important to the era were fanzines, art and fashion. Vivienne Westwood casts a shadow over that time that continues to stretch through to today. When it comes to DIY, knitting is a step up from painting your own t-shirts or customising clothes from a charity shop. Back in the mid-’eighties I lived in Bedford and Annabel made some lovely clothes (she’d been taught at art school by a certain Ian Dury, so had full-on punk credentials) including mohair Dennis the Menace Red-n-Black jumpers and even made me a jacket that I still have. (Not sure if they were the same mohair jumpers that once got my older brother into trouble at a Jam gig when Bruce Foxton’s sister tried to start a fight with him, though I might be misremembering the story).

So amongst the patterns are hats (as worn by Martin Gore of Depeche Mode), scarves, jumpers/tops, armbands, bum-flaps and bags. What you also learn through the notes is a bit of the background of the authors; they came from New Jersey and learnt about the British scene from The Young Ones and Smash Hits. Can you imagine that? Now think about how we might form opinions of a foreign culture from a similarly skewed point of view.

I was taught about forty years ago how to knit and haven’t tried since then. For the good of everyone I’m not going to try and start now, though this book does have lots to offer to people who probably have more ability than me.


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