Posted by: Winged Knits | February 9, 2011

Vintage Modern Knits (and giveaway)

In case you haven’t heard yet, an absolutely stunning, fantastically wonderful, new book named Vintage Knits by Courtney Kelley and Kate Gagnon Osborn has just been released!  Can you tell I am very excited about this book!  Kate and Courtney are two immensely talented, smart, fun and very hard working women, this book is yet another of their amazing contributions to the knitting world and I am truly in awe.

The designs in Vintage Modern are pieces that you will not only want to wear now, but for many years to come.  The wonderful selection was very thoughtfully put together to allow for the knitter to learn and work a new technique with each piece while keeping it simple enough that it does not become overwhelming.  And you end up with a beautiful and flattering item, quite a feat!

For me, this is one of those must-own-because -I-want-to-knit-EVERTHING-in-it books, even the socks, and I hate knitting socks….. but I need these!

Whitby Stockings

I would wear these everyday along with this sweater in a coordinating color

Yangtze Cardigan

And these mittens

Cady Twisted- Stitch Mittens

And this hat to top it all off!

Yvette Roositud Hat

Perfect! Hmmm, I had better start knitting…

To see all the amazing designs in Vintage Knits check out the Ravelry page here-


So now that you have seen the lovely pieces in Vintage Modern Knits, here is a little interview with the fantastically talented authors: Courtney Kelley and Kate Gagnon Osborn

(Kate and Courtney are also the owners of Kelbourne Woolens which distributes gorgeous Fibre Company yarns)

How long have you each been knitting for? Why did you learn?

Courtney: In 1997 I pulled out some old knitting needles (old yellow plastic ones with metal tops) and some yarn (a skein of burgundy 100% acrylic) that my grandmother had given me, and taught me to knit with, when I was probably about 8 years old. Somehow I still had this yarn and these needles 10 years later, and somehow they made it with me from D.C. to Chicago, where I was going to school. I remembered how to cast on, the e-loop kiddie method, and that was about it. For a few days I just cast on stitches until the needle was completely full and then took them all back off again.  Then I came to my senses and bought a knitting book, The Reader’s Digest Complete Book of Needlework, from the thrift store and I just haven’t stopped since.

I’m not really sure why I wanted to knit.  I think because it was there at the moment.  I was in school for painting at the time and really wanted to do something practical, or useful.  I was also living alone for the first time and had a lot of time to myself that needed to be filled

Kate: I was quite a…precocious…child and needed to be constantly doing something.  I was also lucky enough to have my maternal grandmother live in the same town as I did growing up, so we spent a lot of time together when I was young.  As the only granddaughter (I have a brother and all male cousins) she and I had a special bond and she taught me how to knit and do other “textile” crafts when I was about 6 or 7.  I think, at first it was a way to occupy my hands and mind, but it was the beginning of a lifelong love of textile arts.  The cover sweater, the Adelaide Pullover, is actually named after the town in Australia where she grew up, and the book is dedicated to our grandmothers as a result of the influence they had in our young lives.

What type of garment was your first design?

Courtney:  The first thing I knit was a baby blanket for a yarn shop I worked at, The Weaving Workshop, in Chicago.  The owner, Lindsay Obermeyer (who’s been featured in Interweave Knits for her knitted artwork) hired me to work in the weaving section—having switched majors from painting to weaving—and then put me to work knitting samples.  The first thing I designed on my own was a pair of socks.  No one, I mean no one, knit socks in the 90’s as far as I could tell.  There was no online knitting groups that I could find (even if I had a computer, which I didn’t) and no books on sock knitting available so I just made it up!  I like the heel I invented and it still works for me really well.

Kate: I was never much of a pattern “follower”, so even when I didn’t consider myself to be a designer, I was always modifying and mixing and matching patterns together.  After moving to Philadelphia in 2006 for graduate school, I began working at Rosie’s Yarn Cellar part time and was given the opportunity to do some design work for the shop.  My first “real” design was a pair of socks, and soon after I published both the Silk Kerchief and Selbu Modern, which really helped jump-start my “career” in the design world.

How long have you two know each other for? How did you meet?

Courtney: I contacted Kate’s school, Philadelphia University, to find some textile students looking for part time work.  I ended up finding Jocelyn Tunney, who is now the owner of Tunney Wool Company (the O-Wool distributors) who in turn introduced me to Kate.  We worked together almost every day the summer of 2006, while I was pregnant.  She saved my life, and supported my decision to have milkshakes every day.

Kate: We met in October of 2006 when I began working at Rosie’s. Courtney was the manager there and she actually hired me! We both worked there on and off through August of 2008 when we started Kelbourne Woolens.

How did you come up with the idea for Vintage Modern Knits?

Courtney: I think the idea came really naturally.  We didn’t start with the title, we just designed the sorts of things we liked and used the idea of historical techniques as our jumping off point for each design.  We wanted each garment to interesting and involve a specific technique that we, and other knitters, could learn more about as we knit and also end up with a great finished product that would be both practical and wearable.  One of the great successes of the book is that none of the designs look overly complicated—because they aren’t!  But each one has something unique or special about it that makes it worth knitting.  If you aren’t learning something with everything you do, then you’re not taking advantage of the world around you.

Kate: The book is really emblematic of our style and who we are as designers.  While at the core, we have differing aesthetics (I am a little more “traditional New England”, Courtney has a more vintage style) we both really love traditional, timeless knitting techniques and reading about and researching the history of knitting.  Our goal was to design a book that will be as relevant aesthetically and as educational 20 years from now as (we hope!) it is today.

Which piece from Vintage Modern (of our own) is your favorite or the one that you think you will wear the most?

Courtney: I have a lot of favorites.  The Rhodes Point Gansey is my favorite in a knitterly way.  I am so pleased with how it turned out, and I am so happy with the techniques I used and manipulated to make it one of the best things I’ve ever knit.  Among other things, the underarm short row shaping allows for a more fitted look than a typical drop-shoulder-style gansey and allows the knitter to work the sleeves in the traditional way; from the shoulder down to the cuff.  It’s looks really great on.  For sheer wearability (if that’s a word) I like the Brigid Jacket.  I just think it is so cute, and will look so great on such a vast range of sizes, body types and can by styled so many ways.  This is a sweater I will wear a lot!

Kate: I really like the Yvette Roositud Hat (coincidentally, named after my paternal grandmother who taught me to sew) and the Margarethe Lace Shawl. I already reknit another version of Yvette in a different colorway for myself, which I do wear quite a bit, and hope to reknit Margarethe for myself in the coming months.

What constitutes a great yarn for you?

Courtney: I like a yarn that is pleasant to knit with.  That can be a lot of different things, depending on my mood.  But I do like yarn that is thoughtful, and I think a knitter can tell.  If a yarn is just another “fill-in-the-blank” that everyone has some version of I’m not that interested.  I love small producers, I love soft tweeds, I like naturally-dyed, semi-solid earthy looking yarn but I love yarn that is soft.  I think I just described our yarns, unintentionally.

Kate: I think my idea of a great yarn is similar to my idea of good design – I am more attracted to yarns and colors that have a timeless quality and look to them; I want something that will last, be warm, soft, enjoyable to knit with, but also look just as good 5 years from now as it does today.  I am not a huge fan of pilling (who is?) and avoid pooling at pretty much all costs and don’t think I have ever knit with a synthetic fiber.  Of course, I love all of the Fibre Company yarns – and consider myself to be incredibly lucky that I can knit with them as much as I do – and consider Canopy Fingering and Terra to be favorites.  I also have a pretty decent stash of 2 or 3-ply minimally processed naturally colored sport weight wools in my studio.

Favorite fiber?

Courtney: Wool.  Hands down, in all styles and colors.

Kate: Alpaca. It is warm and soft – the best of both worlds!

Favorite colors?

Courtney: I really like colors that aren’t colors, per se.  I love earthy brown pinks, I love shades of grey that tend to look green in some light, pink in some light.  I also like purples, but weird off purples that are sort of charcoal.  And shades of white, natural and cream.  But, mostly I wear black and grey.

Kate: Grey (pretty much any shade), mint green and pinks on the verge of coral.  There is not a day that goes by where I am not wearing at least one (usually 3 or 4) grey items of clothing.

Favorite thing to knit (either a type of garment or technique)? And why?

Courtney: Sweaters.  I really like knitting sweaters, and I really like knitting sweaters in pieces.  They look better, they fit better and they are more adaptable even though I know the rest of the knitting world disagrees with me.  I also can’t have enough legwarmers and really wish my sock drawer was full of handknit socks.  Woefully, it’s not.

Kate: Pretty much anything Fair Isle, and I am known as being someone who has a hat (or two) on the needles at any given moment.  In a dream world, I would knit lots and lots of cardigans, but I just don’t have the time!


Want to hear more from knitters, designers, etc about Vintage Modern Knits? Make sure to see these previous and upcoming blog posts and podcasts:

2/5                        Ready, Set, Knit podcast (WEBs)

2/7                        Knitting Daily

2/8                        Knit and Tonic

2/10                      Narrating Life

2/11                      Knitbot

2/14                      Knitting School Drop Out

2/15                      Never Not Knitting podcast/ interview, giveaway

2/16                      Knitgrrl

2/17                      Sunset Cat Designs

2/18                      Neoknits

2/21                      Tenten Knits

2/22                      Lolly Knitting Around


So, do you now wish that you had a copy of Vintage Modern Knits?  Leave a comment (before Monday February 14th, 2011) and I will use a random number generator to pick a winner to send a copy to! Fun!

A huge thank you to Kate and Courtney!

And thank you all for reading,




  1. I love the fair isle yoke sweater! so lovely. A nice collection of designs! thanks for the wonderful blog post and a chance to learn more about these designers.

  2. Wow! I would love to win Vintage Modern Knits, thank you for the opportunity!

  3. I love the photos in the book. I hope that international participation to the giveaway from Finland is fine for you 🙂

  4. Oh, I know, I read their blog and website and this book is on my birthday list – would be so so wonderful to win 🙂

  5. Looks and sounds like a wonderful book. And so enjoyed the interview. Keeping fingers crossed! K x

  6. So pretty!

  7. Interesting interview! Made me want the book, would be lovely to win.

  8. I love Kelbourne woolens and this book looks just terrific–classic, beautiful designs!

  9. Great interview Cecily!

  10. love the mittens!

  11. Kate and Courtney are so talented and sweet. Thanks for hosting this giveaway!!

    I wonder if I start now, will I be able to knit everything in this book to wear next winter??

  12. I’ve had this on my wish list since I first heard about it, great posting.

  13. A very interesting interview. I’m just getting into colorwork and it sounds like this book will be great for that.
    Would love to win!

  14. I would love, love, love to win a copy! So many beautiful designs…

  15. I TOO am very excited for this book – I’ve been anticipating it since I saw the previews online in the fall. I can’t believe that I actually like pretty much all the patterns – it’s rare to get that all in one book!

  16. Wonderful interview! I would LOVE a chance to win a copy of the book! Thank you.

  17. I’ve been seeing thing all over the place about this book and every time it just makes me want it a bit more ^_^ Thanks for the interview and the opportunity!

  18. The sounds great. I’d like one!

  19. I’ve been eying this book for weeks, it would be lovely to win one. There are not many books where I like each pattern, but this is one!

  20. Are you kidding???!!!! I would absolutely love to win a copy of this stunning book. Thanks for this interview and your blog.

  21. I have been drooling over this book! Thanks for the interview, too. I always like to learn more about the great knitwear designers out there!

  22. Thanks for posting this interview! I love the designs in this book and can’t wait to get my hands on it. Winning a copy would be great!

  23. I love this book & had actually put it on my amazon wish list a few days ago. I’m hoping that things go up to larger sizes w/o too much extra math. Everything is adorable though.

  24. I can’t wait to see this book! It’s so cool to learn about how two fellow fiber girls started their own company – and I’m very jealous!

  25. This book looks amazing! Thanks for the chance to win.

  26. The book is gorgeous! It’s tempting to order one RIGHT NOW so I can have it as soon as possible, but I’ll wait just in case I win one in the giveaway 🙂
    thanks for the interview, too. Good stuff all around.

  27. I’ve been drooling over the designs Ravelry and would *Love* to win a copy of the book!

  28. What a lovely book!

  29. This is one of those books that the pictures of the patterns get stuck in my head- like a song- and I can’t stop thinking about them!

  30. I’m dying to get this book! I want to knit all of it!

  31. i’ve been looking forward to this book coming out!

  32. This book is on my wish list!!! I want to knit EVERYTHING in it 🙂

  33. I would love to win this book. Throw my name into the hat!

  34. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this book ever since I saw a few glimpses of the patterns. Congrats to the designers for some fabulous work!

  35. Thanks for this great interview! I’d never heard the story of Kelbourne Woolens before – very sweet!

  36. What beautiful patterns! And thanks for the interview – I enjoyed learning more about the authors!

  37. I enjoyed the interview and I would love to knit the cardigan and knee-hi socks. This is a great book with lovely patterns.

  38. What a great book, I’m not familiar with the designers, got to check them out on Rav.

  39. The patterns in the book are just gorgeous! I can’t wait to get my hands on one 😀

  40. I am so so so excited about this book! I love the Maple Bay cardigan, and the Ajiro scarf, but everything is great!

  41. Great interview! There are l so many patterns in this book that I can see myself knitting.

  42. It is horrible…it is terrible, it is just not fair! I am as addicted to books as much as I am addicted to yarn. I can’t get enough of any of it!! Enough said! As I hang my head, please include me in the drawing!

  43. This definitely looks like a book to add to the knitting library. Thanks for the giveaway!

  44. I do want to be included in the drawing! I find the book “drool worthy”!

  45. what can i say- i really like everything that these 2 have designed. it’s a glorious book, one i hope will fit right alongside my “new england knits” an “shetland trader, book 1”- my 2 favs from last year. 🙂

  46. I’d love to have my own copy, but I’m sure I’ll check this book out one way or another!

  47. Thanks for the chance to win, this book looks lovely!

  48. I think it’s lovely the way knitwear designers support each other and it is really nice to see this interview here on your own blog. I am one of the lucky ones who already has the book, but would love to give one to my mom, so she can carry it around with her at all times like she does her New England Knits….

  49. Thanks for the giveaway, Cecily! The book looks fantastic, and I love all the cabled and fair isle patterns too much to pick a favorite.

  50. what an awesome interview. i love the book and count myself very lucky to know both kate and courtney in person. excellent people, through and through.

  51. That book looks gorgeous!

  52. The grey cardigan is delightful!

  53. What a great interview! That book looks amazing.

  54. This book looks fantastic!!!

  55. I would love to have this book!

  56. I am loving the designs in this book. Would love to win a copy, but I’m sure I’ll convince the hubby to extend my knitting budget so that I can buy it if I don’t win it. He he he.

  57. Thanks for the interview; the book looks lovely!

  58. Love the socks !!

  59. so far, I’m loving everything in this book! wow!

  60. What a beautiful book! I have always loved their designs.

  61. Great interview. Book looks awesome!!

  62. Every time I try to get this book it’s out of stock at my LYS! Can’t wait to get my hands on one, it all looks so beautiful.

  63. What a great interview! Thanks for the giveaway!

  64. I can’t wait to see this book in person. All of designs are lovely.

  65. This book is definitely going on my wishlist!

  66. I would love to own this book. There are quite a few things I want to knit for myself in it, but if I win it, I promise to knit a modified Maple Bay Cardigan first for my boyfriend, whose eyes grew big and excited at the sight (even though I was trying to get his opinion on things for ME!)

  67. This book looks really great.

  68. The roositud Hat is adorable. Thanks for the chance.

  69. The book looks wonderful 🙂 I love all the preview pics. It was great interview with those two talented ladies! Thank you!

  70. Thank you for the chance to win this delightful book!

  71. I’ve seen this book – I WANT it!

  72. Love this book. The Yangtze Cardigan is just the fingering weight sweater I’ve been looking for.

  73. The book is so gorgeous! Cheers to Courtney and Kate for designing such beautiful things!

  74. Fun post – I’ve been waiting for this book for awhile – I must have the Brigid Jacket (among others) 🙂

  75. would love to have a copy of this book; thanks for the list of blogs, etc-some are new to me.

  76. Tahnks for a chance to win a wonderful book

  77. I love anything vintage!!! This book looks fantastic! Wish I was this talented and thanks for the interview, very inspiring!!

  78. The book looks lovely!

  79. Thanks for posting the interview! Looks like great work from two skilled and creative women…..

  80. I would love to have this book! I have been favoriting the patterns right and left for weeks now! Thanks for the great interview too!

  81. I am a huge fan of the Fibre Company’s knitting designs though I have yet to see their yarn in person. I especially like the cover sweater from Vintage Modern Knits. That would definitely be my first project from the book!

  82. Goodness, this book is full of wonderful patterns! Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy.

  83. It looks like a wonderful book of patterns — with lots of techniques to use and learn as a major bonus. I just wish I could use all the Fibre Co. yarns as they’re heavenly to work with.

  84. So many patterns in this book I’d love to knit. I’d love to win.

  85. oooh! giveaways are fun! thanks!

  86. after browsing the patterns on ravelry i’m now even more hoping to get picked! thanks for sharing it!

  87. What a great Book!! *crosses fingers*
    What a must have! 🙂

  88. I love looking in vintage books, and thinking how easily updated some of those styles could be… by someone with the skill! Thanks for the giveaway.

  89. Gorgeous patterns — thanks for the chance to win a copy of the book!

  90. I’ve got to get my hands on that book! Thanks for sharing the interview.

  91. Those socks and mitts are gorgeous! How nice to get a chance to win the book. 🙂

  92. The book looks amazing! I would be very grateful for such a prize. Thank you for holding the contest!

  93. how generous to have a giveaway for this lovely book , many thanks 🙂

  94. Yup – the socks. I’ve never knitted socks (am enrolled in a class to do so in May) but these will certainly be on the needles before my favourite Elizabeth Zimmerman stockings. The pattern in the pink stripe is perfect!

  95. I’d love a chance to win a copy! And, thanks so much for a fantastic review.

  96. I would love to make those mittens and I’m not even a mitten kind of girl!

  97. Oh my – I wanted to knit the sweater on the front cover first, but then I saw those twisted sticth mittens . . . I must have this book!

  98. Ooooh, pick me, pick me!
    I can’t wait to get a look at that book!

  99. Thanks for a chance to win this book. I’m all about those socks.

  100. I’m drooling over the patterns in this book.

  101. Fingers crossed!

  102. This book looks great! Thanks for all the info and the contest.

  103. This book looks amazing. I can see many wardrobe staples and would love to have the opportunity to win and start making them.
    The cover sweater is adorable!

  104. Would love to win a copy! It looks like a great collection of patterns, thank you for hosting a giveaway

  105. I would love to have this book…I have been admiring the projects on ravelry.

  106. I love the mitts, I will be knitting them

  107. I love everything in this book too! I’ve been anxiously awaiting its release. Kate’s “Adelaide” sweater is my favorite, and I’m also excited about the “Brigid” Jacket and “Bramble” Beret. So fantastic!

  108. Love the patterns in this book! Thanks for offering a copy for this giveaway. 🙂

  109. I love historically inspired pieces. This book looks great!

  110. Ay, ay, ay,,,, look what you just did!
    Now I really want this book!
    Thank you 🙂

  111. I so want that book!

  112. I’ve been waiting for this book with bated breath!! I HAVE to have the Maple Bay Cardigan.

  113. This book is moving up on my wish list every time a read about it. So pretty.

  114. Great interview! I’d love to win this book as there are three or four patterns I’d love to start immediately!

  115. Have to learn the twisted stitch of the mittens. Learning a new technique in each pattern is a PLUS!

  116. As a Canadian, I absolutely love the sweater with the beavers. Thanks for the interview

  117. I love all the patterns in this book, especially the cardigans. Thanks for having this contest.

  118. I just love and adore all of the designs, well done you!

  119. This looks like a wonderful book!

  120. Thanks for such an extensive review of the book and patterns along with the interview!

  121. Thanks for the interview & the lovely blog. Beautiful book!

  122. So happy to be looking at your blog. You have truly fantastic designs. Thank you for the interview – it was so wonderfully interesting – and for the giveaway. Happy Valentine’s Day!

  123. What a great book, those socks are a ‘must-have’. I love the Australian link, I am from Melbourne and my nan also taught me to knit. Bravo !

  124. The book looks great!

  125. I so want to knit the sweater on the cover of the book. Thanks for the giveaway!

  126. Wow, that book looks amazing, I want to knit everything in it!! Thanks for doing the giveaway!

  127. I adore the beret and mittens. Looks like a great addition to any knitter’s library. Thank you for hosting this giveaway!

  128. What an awesome book – would love to win it!! Love all the projects.

  129. I love Kate and Courtney so much! They’re so inspiring and their designs are always so beautiful! And this book is no different- all the patterns are so gorgeous! I can’t wait to knit that squirrel sweater!!!

  130. This book looks great! Good luck everyone!

  131. Yum! Love new pattern books with really great collections in them.

  132. Very pretty!

  133. Such a lovely book and a great interview!

  134. Absolutely love the hat! Thank you for hosting this generous giveaway. Amber

  135. This book looks so great! Thanks for hosting the interview.

  136. I love love love that the fair isle sweater on the cover is made with nubbly Terra – that’s the most modern thing!

  137. Just found this blog and was blown away by the book review – is it too late to be included for the give-away?

  138. Ah, how I covet everything in this book! Hope it’s not too late. I think I would probably choose the Bramble Beret first, though that cardigan is to die for.

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