Saturday, September 06, 2008

Vintage Knitting and Crochet

My family safely returned to New Orleans on Thursday, and thankfully their electricity was back on when they got there.

But before leaving, Don and Mom gave me a box of vintage knitting and crochet patterns that a co-worker had brought Don. Sadly, a knitter/crocheter had passed on and no one in her family wanted the patterns. The co-worker remembered that Mom knits, so the treasure was handed on. I was also given a very interesting knitting machine, I will blog that later.

Included in the box are quite a few clippings of a knitting column from the Times-Picayune/States Item, New Orleans' paper, from the '80s. Those are cool.

Here are a few patterns I am seriously considering.

This crocheted mermaid pajama bag pattern is in an American Thread booklet, undated, priced at 35 cents. The only thing giving me pause on this pattern is the requirement of 13 packages of iridescent bangles...with 100 bangles per package!

Here's the cover and back cover of the booklet with the mermaid pattern. The front cover features a bouquet with flowers made entirely of yarn. What a dust catcher! The back features a "groovy, baby!" tank dress and go-go boots. Plus, if you look closely at the back cover, you will see a bedspread with a eagle motif, and a crocheted and framed eagle piece...the framed eagle is done with pom poms. WHEW! And another dust catcher...a yarn tabletop Christmas tree. Those are too retro even for me.

There are also MANY patterns like these two below, undated and unattributed. On eBay, I found some vendors selling similar patterns who claim they were mail order. Date attributions from the sellers ranged wildly between the 1950s through the 1970s.

My maternal grandmother had a poncho like these, machine made, with the hand slits and fringe. Someone who shall remain nameless did not share my enthusiasm for making one of these...I believe the opinion was that the design is too old fashioned.

I will definitely be making one of these. Totally reminds me of my grandmother. Hers was brown with stripes. Mine will probably be dark purple. Oh and the pattern on the top, those aren't color stripes, that is an open weave stitch, lacy effect. Both of these capes are one solid color.

And, VOILA' ! Saw the same design the next day in a current Lands' End catalog! Everything old is new again! Here is the verbiage from the Lands' End catalog: "Even with vintage touches - a ribbed collar, arm openings and toggle closure - this is a contemporary cape." Hmm. Maybe the Lands' End catalog writers don't quite share my enthusiasm for retro, either. "Even with vintage touches"?!

Here's something even I wouldn't make: a crocheted Pants Suit. Did anyone even wear these?

This is another American Thread booklet cover. You can make your own shag throw rug! My paternal grandmother had a shag rug at the time. I believe it was green. If she reads this, she can correct my memory if I'm wrong. I'm glad we don't rake carpets anymore.

And one last interesting cover...this one is from 1973. It shows several close fitting, cropped sweaters like what we have today. Except instead of wearing them alone and showing lots of skin, back then they called them "toppers" and wore them over something else. Not to be a prude or anything, but I think the majority of people today need to wear them as toppers, too. I'm not against showing a little skin, but some things just aren't flattering and/or don't fit well.


Shay said...

You must make the shag throw rug. In lime green and bark brown, of course!

PrincessPea said...

They're fabulous! I love looking at (and knitting from) old knitting patterns - there's something about re-animating the past that really excites me. The crochet pants suit is astonishing!

Anonymous said...

Look, I was there, and a lot of that stuff was considered corny even then. No body wore some of that stuff except those models. There were plenty of shag rugs though. I don't like the poncho (for me) cuz I don't wanna dress like my momma. Ugh! I had a deep bronze woven wool poncho that was remeniscent of Clint Eastwood in the movie "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly" It was very large and totally cool. My brother borrowed it - he wanted to be cool too - and I don't think I ever got it back. Now, if Sheryl Crow was my momma, maybe. As for the mermaid, if you'll make it, I'll pay for the spangles! I might make one myself. She could be a purse! The Mama