The Gift of Ohio Knitting Mills

It was December 22nd, and I’d just visited the Ohio Knitting Mills website for the very first time. Their offering of deadstock sweaters from 1947-74 were just what I’d hoped for: vivid, vibrant windows into the fashions of the past. The truncated waists, the short-sleeve cuts, the glassy-glossy buttons…every piece offered on the site seemed lifted from the dressing room of a Bing Crosby musical. In no time I knew my own winter wardrobe would be needing just such a blast of Bing-y coziness.

But the bold blue cardigan which had become my favorite offering on the OKM site was nearly $150, and with Christmas just three days away, the old “Tis the season of giving not receiving” guilt threatened to thwart my Crosby-colored dreams.

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Worse yet, I had already gifted myself with the Lomo LC-A camera for the holidays, so I couldn’t even use that guise as my excuse. It took but a minute though for me to twist my mid-January birthday into a perfectly legitimate opportunity to buy myself a knitted treat a few weeks early.

Within a half hour of ordering my birthday cardigan, a Steven from OKM rang me up, kindly concerned if my order was a gift that needed to arrive instantly for Christmas. I assured him it wasn’t, no need to rush the delivery, after which Steven excitedly described how the sweater I’d ordered was the same variety Mr. Rogers was often supplied with. Awesome to know, and awesome of Steven to provide such great customer service at every step!

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When my birthday present to myself arrived, I was concerned I had been sent the wrong sweater. On-line the cardigan had appeared so electrically blue, but the sweater sitting in my box was more subdued in its saturation. More of a cornflower blue, like a Perry Ellis golf sweater from 1992. I wasn’t digging it like I had dreamed and, for $150, I felt I needed to return it.

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But those darn glossy buttons reminded me of a sweater my German grandma had knit for me as a youngster back in the 70s. So I decided-to-decide that the outdated-ness of the yarn’s blue made the sweater more evidently vintage and rare-seeming, not just something I fell into at The Gap two winters ago. I knew I had it in me to give the sweater a safe and loving home, after all.

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The exact shade of this much-debated blue never quite registers accurately in any of the photos I’m presenting here, so trust my written descriptions if you’ve become confused. And though I had originally wished my sweater would seem more Life Aquatic-like in its coloring for when I’d pair it up with my recently-acquired red cap, I think my Team Zissou homage will pop just perfectly.

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You’re welcome, me.

    2 Responses to “The Gift of Ohio Knitting Mills”

    1. Max Says:

      What shoes are those? Are they desert boots by any chance?

    2. will Says:

      Max-
      Yes those are desert boots, classic Clarks brand. I got them very recently, but the Clarks store near me seemed to be phasing them out. 86077 is the style number, I got them in Brown Antiqued. I find I can wear them with just about anything!