Wednesday, May 12, 2010

what i found in the garden

By way of background, I have to start by saying that this kind of book:

is a source of endless fascination to me. I picked this up at a church rummage sale during my college years, and despite a gazillion moves since then, have never been able to part with it. I am reasonably sure that I will never need to know twelve different ways to repurpose a man’s shirt into children’s play clothing or a woman’s blouse but I like knowing that I could if I needed to. Even better yet, that there was a time when such skills were held in high regard.

So when I went to check out the knitting pattern basket at the Book Garden, I was excited to find it overflowing with a considerable collection of knitting pattern books which spanned the last seventy years. My heart started to go pitter-pat when I saw this one on top, dated 1942.

Here's an example of the patterns, several of which I would consider knitting today. Note the promotional poster in the background! The recommended yarn is Chadwick's Red Heart Wool, in the days before Red Heart became the scourge of the acrylic yarn world.

This booklet was another must have, even though I know I will never make a thing in it:

Every barnyard animal pattern has a little poem, most of which relate to production in terms of the war. The pig's poem talks about trading coupons for ham, the goat's poem about how he gave up his tin cans to the salvage board. The black sheep's poem is the best in this shepherd's mind.

It reads "The black lamb on this farm is proud / And holds his head above the crowd. / He has a right to be elated / For let it here and now be stated / The clothes of all the battling forces / Are made from wool which he endorses."

Then into the post-war years, with less patriotism and utility and a lot more glamour:

The sizing is a revelation. Look at that woman's waist in the right-hand photo! That belt must be about 12 inches long. I would have to knit a size 18 in these patterns to fit me, and I'm not exaggerating for effect, as the chart below proves.

I also picked up a few books from the early sixties, mostly because I couldn't resist the hair-dos.

Though I doubt I'll be knitting this hair-don't any time soon.

Tomorrow I'll reveal what I left behind...


  1. ooooo, coming your way in July, I will have to stop here. Loved the post!

  2. Oh my, what a lot of wonderful treasure there! good for you. I found a basket of Work Basket magazines at an antique shop I went to with my mother and sis last week but didn't have the time to sort through them. Next time.