Friday, February 15, 2013

workroom bookshelf

It had been a while since I had paid a visit to the Book Garden, my favorite local bookstore-flowershop combo, but I happened to be driving by the other day and couldn't resist its siren's song.

I hit paydirt.

I have never seen so many knitting books there; one or two collections had clearly come into his possession recently. In my defense: I didn't buy them all. But I did scoop up every one of the older books, and several choice new ones as well. The owner had a box, tucked in a dusty corner, full of Workbasket magazines from the 40s, 50s and 60s. (Great article here about the Workbasket; I will have to check the dates of the ones I bought.) I had resisted mightily during the last few visits, but I threw in the towel this time and added the entire box to my pile. 

Actually, it was more like I used the box containing the Workbaskets to hold all the rest of my intended purchases, and it was just a bonus that they came along with me.

At the checkout, I made the mistake of asking if he had any knitting pattern pamphlets in stock. He has wised up since my last purchase two years ago, when they were in a box in a different dusty corner of the store. Now they have their own labelled bins, right next to the ones for agriculture and gardening. It's a step up in the world for a traditionally women's-based pursuit! There were quite a few in there that also could not be resisted, and I ended up with my biggest haul yet.

Problem was, my workroom bookshelf was already crammed to the gills, albeit rather sloppily. An intervention was in order.

I spent a pleasant afternoon cataloguing all the pattern books by date. Some copyright dates were noted in the books; quite a few were not. Even the internets didn't have a clue, and I had to make an educated guess (denoted by a question mark) based on fashion and hairstyle, except in the case of bedspreads or doilies.

Isn't Pineapples on Parade possibly the best title ever?

Once in their smart plastic sleeves, I was able to arrange them by date. Turns out my oldest one is from 1934! The Workbaskets were also put into chronological order, starting in the 1940s, which is when I discovered about a dozen duplicates from the 50s and 60s. Anyone interested? First one to claim them, gets them. The advertisements alone are worth a look.

Ignore that Learn to Tat book. No current plans, but impossible to leave behind.

The bookshelf was aggressively rearranged, because of course nothing gets thrown out.

Old nestled next to new, based more on height than any specific organization.

I'll share some of the best finds in the coming week.


  1. Organization is wonderful! The sweater on the top model in the photo of the pamphlets looks like one my mother wore in a bunch of photos from when I was a baby in 1954-55. Hair looks pretty similar as well! Nice blast from the past!

  2. What a great find! I remember a stack of Workbaskets that my Grandmother had in her work room and there were always a few pattern books (mostly crochet) by her chair in the living room. When she was sitting, her hands were always busy.