While working on the 1990s post for my 20th Century series, I stumbled across what might be the penultimate nineties knitting: New Kids on the Block and Vanilla Ice fan sweaters. These sweaters were made by Joanne Conklin, who, as she explains on her blog:
We were living in Germany at the time and bands like New Kids On The Block were huge with the teen set. However, there were no fan t-shirts to be found anywhere, so I decided to knit sweaters. I made one for my daughter, then her friends, and word-of-mouth spread and the next thing you know I'd knit over a hundred of them, selling all but about 6 of them.
I can't get over the sheer level of detail and care that went into these designs, and the idea of knitting over a hundred of them stuns me. The New Kids on the Block and Vanilla Ice should have hired Conklin to design their fan merchandise. If you are, or know a die-hard fan of these old bands (or just love ironic kitsch), you'll want to know if Conklin has published the patterns anywhere. It seems not. Conklin has moved around quite a lot since 1990 and is no longer even sure if the patterns still exist, or if so, where they are among her belongings. Oh well. At least we can still hang tough and check out the hook while the DJ revolves it, courtesy of YouTube.