The 70s, Diaries, and Crochet


Bel Powley as Minnie in Diary of a Teenage Girl

I had a diary when I was a young girl that had a flimsy key and lock built onto the covers. It was a birthday gift and the concept had to be explained to me that I may want to write down my thoughts and have them remain a secret. I have no idea what I wrote in it, but it was read by either my mother or my brother (who I am sure would have been more interested in breaking it’s security system than accessing my thoughts), and I learned early to never keep a written record of my goings-on. I also love the quote, credited to Tallulah Bankhead;  “Good girls keep diaries. Bad girls never have the time.” Suffice to say I was busy in my youth. And if you happen to have a letter I wrote you, please burn it.

I went to see a screening of Diary of a Teenage Girl last week. I really enjoyed it for a few reasons (great acting, loved the animation, a touching story) but I don’t want to write a movie review. I want to talk seventies knits.


Kristen Wiig as Charlotte in Diary of a Teenage Girl

Maybe I shouldn’t say knits, because I think it’s really crochet that stands out.  There is a scene in the movie where silhouettes dance in front of a beach sunset, and I couldn’t help but notice the netted long fringed poncho playing in the light. I tried really hard to find the exact pattern on Ravelry but came up short.  I found so much more though, and really any search for seventies ponchos will be entertaining at the very least.

Side note: While I was browsing I came across a knitted pattern called the Painted Desert  that is so my jam that I get a feeling I can only describe as a blend of Christmas morning combined with a triple shot espresso and diving into a pile of warm laundry from the dryer when looking at it.  The one drawback is I’m sure this project is a bit beyond my skill level, so it remains an illusive dream.

Painted Desert by Carol Sunday

© Sunday Knits

Minnie, said teenage girl, makes progressively better choices in clothing (and men) as the movie moves along. Riding that line of ‘cool and funky’ and ‘far-out and funky’ can be a bit tricky. During the seventies, more was definitely more, and you could pair that bell sleeved chunky cardigan with a fringe boot and beaded glitter purse. I’m imagining Sissy Hanshaw-esque aesthetics from  “Even Cowgirls Get the Blues” by Tom Robbins here, but Minnie is definitely punk, and not of the love festival aesthetic you may be imagining. The more I think of it, the art direction in Diary of a Teenage Girl is amazing.

Without being able to find the netted poncho from the movie I went on a search for patterns that made me think of “Diary of a Teenage Girl” as a whole, as well as my own childhood – which is more late seventies to early eighties to be honest. The strong trends seem to blend through the decades anyhow. Three’s Company was one of my favourite sitcoms as a kid.  Check out these sweaters and socks with crochet detail on Priscilla Barnes and Joyce DeWitt circa 1982.

Threes Company

There is so much to share from Ravelry I got a bit overwhlemed so I only picked a few favourites to show you, but I would *love* to see your classic seventies pattern picks. What would you knit today, and what brings back the memories?

This cowl neck poncho is quintessential for me. The rainbow of colours against ecru, a big cowl neckline, and the chunky knitted fringe. Yes, quintessential.

Cowl Neck poncho

This oversize granny square vest  is a great example of seventies aesthetic, with modern styling. The pattern is called Floating Net. I think it could look ultra modern in the right yarn, but it has the ability to go both ways. I find much of the seventies style revolved around authentic hand crafts – the opposite of the cookie cutter fashion of present day- and I find that so appealing.

Floating Net

This chunky lace poncho is a perfect modernization of the seventies crochet pattern for me. Modern, but has that macramé feel. I really love it.

© Annelies Baes (Vicarno)

My mom had a silk top with a crocheted and fringed trim in teh early eighties that I remember well. It seemed so exotic and the dark colours looked beautiful with her pale skin and dark hair. I really liked the top pictured below but it`s from an out of print Japanese book. Actually, most of the crochet patterns I was drawn to are from modern Japanese publications, which I thought was interesting. I wish these books/patterns were available in English! (and that I could crochet!)


by OlgaR Flickr

Fringed crochet shawls!

Gradient Shawl


Q: Shawl by Yumiko Kawaji (川路 ゆみこ)


Party Time by Barbara Warner © Twilleys of Stamford


U. Rose-patterned shawl バラ模様のショール by Jun Shibata(柴田淳) © PetitesChoses

Peace Out Home Free (that’s seventies lingo for “Goodbye Friend”).


2 thoughts on “The 70s, Diaries, and Crochet

  1. mothercrow

    Thank u for this memory.. I graduated high school 1967 so remember well the 70’s er wait, maybe not. Too much going on back then, but I do remember that most of me and mine were busy crafting , beaded necklaces, ponchos made from bl.ankets, jeans were $4 that shirts $1 but everything else wasn’t cheap, so u made your own. This was, of course before Walmart. I remember a ffully embroidered silk shawl, as big as a blanket. I’ll have to do some Ra revelry pattern browsing, but mostly I remember the patterns of the time having broad shoulders and tiny waists and no hips. shops were plentiful, and good yarn at a reasonable price was plentiful. I member a bearskin coat from thesalvation army for $5


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s