1950’s era Workbasket Magazines had the subtitle “Home and Needlecraft for Pleasure and Profit”. The July issue focuses on the profit part with ads, the "Women Who Make Cents" section and a special article titled “Putting Profit in Your Handwork” by Kathleen Warren.
I counted eighteen ads for info on how to sell cards to make money. July must be the time to gear up for Christmas.
Here’s a list of the ads:
And if selling cards wasn't your thing, you could sell children's clothes or fabric
Need something a little more interesting to sell? How about raising parakeets for money or selling religious mottos:
There were also ads for making and selling costume jewelry, pocket sized water heaters and hosiery.
Home based businesses have been around for a long time! Would you sell any of these things from home?
Remember the losing pattern from last month? I was featuring the June 1977 issue of Workbasket Magazine and you chose the girl's dress over the one skein hat. A friend from our crochet guild, Crochet Twin Cities, offered to make the hat so I gave her one of my extra copies of the June issue.
Julie finished the hat and had this to say about the pattern, "It was easy enough to follow or figure out what was meant by the instructions. I used Lion Brand 24/7 cotton and used most of the 186 yds in the the skein." So, it really was a one skein hat! She made two versions. One with a round top and one with a flatter top and plans to add flowers to embellish them. Thanks Julie!
Even with a small flurry of last minute votes for the Swanky Dishcloth the winner was still The Leaf Mats in Crochet.
Bucilla Wonder-Knit is a discontinued 100% acrylic yarn and is probably worsted weight. There is some available on Ebay but as usual, I'll pull something from my stash. I found this assortment of green yarns in varying weights and I'll try a few to see how they turn out. The Red Heart Soft is 100% acrylic like the recommended yarn so I'll try that. I'm also curious on how this will look in thread so I pulled out some green size 10 crochet thread to try. I'll use a 3.25mm hook on the worsted weight and probably a 1.7mm on the thread.
There are three different sizes for the mats. An 11.5 inch, 9.5 inch and 7.5 inch. This is mostly done in the back loops to get the ridges and looks simple and fairly detailed for a vintage pattern
Next week I'll have some of the great vintage ads from this issue. There is definitely a theme going for the July 1954 issue! Here's a preview of one of the ads:
This July we’re going back to 1954.
Eisenhower is president. Elvis recorded his first commercial record. On The Waterfront was released and Father Knows Best was on TV.
The best seller fiction book was Not as a Stranger by Morton Thompson and the non-fiction best seller was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. I haven’t read either of those but there were other book released that year that are still popular today. The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien were both released that year. His friend C.S. Lewis also released a book that year; The Horse and His Boy.
The top song that year for both June and July is “Little Things Mean a Lot” by Kitty Kallen. Other top songs include "Sh-Boom (Life Could Be a Dream)" by The Crew-Cuts. “Hey There” by Rosemary Clooney, and “Sway” by Dean Martin
Workbasket Magazine had more of a focus on crochet in this issue. There are four crochet patterns, one knitting pattern and two tatting patterns.
There’s the Pillow Top (pictured on the cover). It uses an afghan hook and I have yet to master Tunisian.
There’s a Sunflower Hot Plate Mat that uses bottle caps. I’m assuming these would have been metal caps in 1954. I considered trying it with buttons but decided against that.
And the two vintage crochet patterns you’ll choose between this month are:
Leaf Mats in Crochet.
This is described as, “This set consist of four leaves approximately 11 ½ inches, 9 ½ inches and 7 ½ inches from point to end. Three skeins of Bucilla Wonder-Knit and a steel crochet hook size 0 was used to make the set.” Bucilla Wonder-Knit is a discontinued worsted weight yarn made of 100% acrylic.
Swanky Dish Cloth.
“Here is a wonderful gift or bazaar item. This piece takes about 200 yards of knitting and crochet yarn; use a size 8 steel hook. It measures 12 ½ by 13 ¾ inches.” The yarn they describe is pretty vague so I’ll have to do some gauge tests to figure out what will work on this one.
Time to vote! Should I make the leaf mats or the “swanky” dish cloth?
Sometimes people ask me if I ever fail with crocheting patterns. They think because I’m so prolific with finished projects I must never have to take them out. The answer is I fail, often.
My failure on recently published patterns:
Sometimes I fail over and over. I have a beautiful shawl kit I got at a conference but I can’t get past the third row. Somehow, I miscount in one of the first two rows every single time. It’s not the fault of the pattern writer because I can work backwards and see exactly where I made the mistake but I keep making one every time. That pattern has been put away for now. This one needs a hard reset – I may try a different yarn to see if that can help me get past my mistakes.
I made my sister a cool skull top. I thought the gauge was fine and since the pattern didn’t have a version small enough for her I even adjusted for that. Or so I thought. After getting the front and back done I realized it was too big for me and she’s a few sizes smaller than I am. I had to take apart the entire project and start over. I ended up going down a yarn size and a hook size and it ended up much better. Plus the original color was gray and the wine color of this is gorgeous. In this case, it was partly a pattern gauge problem and partly a resizing problem so I had to work out the math on this one and retry it.
My failure on vintage patterns:
My most recent failures involve two vintage hats. A friend was having a 50th birthday party with a 1950s theme. I had a dress I bought at a vintage shop and wanted to make a pillbox hat for the party. I had the perfect pattern:
Or so I thought. My first attempt on this gave me a very short hat. I thought that would be easy to remedy so I added some rows. Then it got wider than would work on my head. Ugh. I ripped it all out and decided to try a different pattern:
I manged to finish this one, including putting the hat wire in and then I tried to block it. I ended up with a Frisbee. I cut out the wire and tossed the rest of it in the garbage. I wore my hair up with no hat.
Do you ever fail with crafts? How do you deal with that?
I was going to tell you about how I failed to make a vintage hat this week but the dress is finished so I’m going to share that with you instead. Next week I’ll share the two hats I tried to make and failed.
This dress was one of the easiest patterns I’ve done from Workbasket Magazine. The directions were clear and it came together very quickly. It was easy to remember the pattern in the round and portable so I could work on it on the bus or while watching a show. The top is done in rows and the bottom is done in rounds. The back has buttons but just uses the natural holes in the stitches for the button holes so no extra button holes to add to the dress. It’s timeless and sweet; perfect for a small child.
I used three colors of Knit Picks Brava Worsted; Canary, Grass and Hunter. I made no changes in the pattern other than the colors. I added orange buttons on the back for another spot of color. I love how this turned out!
The dress was the winner with 60% of the votes.
Workbasket Magazine usually specifies a yarn and just gives you a hook or needle size but this time they’re giving the brand name of the hook and giving yarn weight instead of the brand. I thought this was unusual and checked all of the knitting and crochet patterns in this issue to see if they were all like that. Only one knitting pattern in this issue doesn’t follow that standard – it goes back to the more common brand name yarn and generic needle size.
I’ll use Knit Picks Brava Worsted in whatever colors I have in my stash. I don’t have 12 ounces of any one color so this will be done in at least two colors.
This works the bodice in rows and then the skirt in rounds. It’s finished by sewing up the sides of the bodice and the shoulders and adding buttons to the back. It also has a hat which isn’t shown the photo! This is also one of the first times I’ve seen a credit for the designer. This was designed by Susan L. Kraus. Susan still has a website and designs on Ravelry.
Next week I’ll share some of the craft fails I had last weekend!
Jimmy Carter is president. We were still heading to the movie theater to see “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” that had been released in May. Bestselling fiction included Falconer by John Cheever and The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. I remember The Thorn Birds getting passed around school and town but I don’t remember the Falconer. The non-Fiction bestseller was Your Erroneous Zones by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.
The Walt Disney Movie “Rescuers” is released, Wonder Woman was on ABC that summer and the first Apple II went on sale.
Top 40 hits were:
· “Dreams” – Fleetwood Mac
· “Got to Give it up” – Marvin Gaye
· “Feels Like the First Time” – Foreigner
· “Lucille” – Kenny Rogers
· “Jet Airliner” – The Steve Miller Band
· “Heard it in a Love Song” – Marshall Tucker Band
· “I Just Want to Be Your Everything” – Andy Gibb
· “When I Need You” – Leo Sayer
· “Knowing Me, Knowing You” – ABBA
Workbasket Magazine says sunbonnets are back in for mother and daughter and they had five crochet patterns. This outfit on the cover isn't one of them but it is a great photo of 1977 hair and makeup.
Patterns in this month’s issue include a child’s Vest, a flower motif doily, a hairpin lace stole, a girls dress and a one skein hat.
This month you’ll choose between the One Skein Hat and the Girl's Crochet Dress. Both use worsted weight yarn.
Which one would you like to see made?
This crocheted bag with fringe is one of my favorite patterns so far.
About the pattern:
The bag worked mostly in the round and alternates sections of single crochet and puff stitches. It uses double crochet near the top for the drawstring.
How it went:
This worked up really fast and it’s adorable. There was one abbreviation in the pattern that I’ve never seen before. They used “O” for yarn over when describing how to do the puff stitch. “Ch 2 (count as part of puff st), (O, draw up lp in same sc as last st) twice, O and pull lp through all lps on hook, ch 1 to close puff).
It asked for worsted weight yarn and I used Bernat Home Dec which is a little heavier but still used the J hook they recommended. My gauge was a little bigger than theirs but since it’s a bag sizing isn’t an issue.
I also made a couple of changes as I went along. Since I was using a heavier yarn I didn’t think I needed a double crochet in the drawstring round so I dropped that to a half double crochet and that worked perfectly. Their drawstrings are a row of chains and then a row of single crochet. I like the way slip stitches into a chain look better than the single crochets so I did that instead.
I found a few matching beads in my stash and added a fringe. I didn’t add the last bead trim that they put across the bottom of the bag. With the multi –color yarn and the fringe I didn’t think the extra beads would add much to the finished project.
After I finished the bag I started working on a 1950s style pillbox hat for an upcoming party. So far I've taken it out once and redone it. I'm now considering either starting over and making more changes or trying a completely different hat. I'll give an update on that when it's finished!
The Pinners Conference was May 8-9 in Minnesota this year and it was my first year going. There was a huge variety of classes and booths and it was tons of fun. I bought the VIP ticket which got me into the Thursday night party and unlimited classes on both Friday and Saturday.
The VIP party came with a swag bag that had jewelry, a macramé kit, washi tape, a t-shirt, coupons for the vendors and so much more. They also had great door prizes and there were about 8 vendors that had free make and takes.
There were hour long classes on painting, stamped charm bracelets, signs, hand lettering, wall hangings, bath bombs, cooking, wood block printing, calligraphy, organizing, journaling and lots of sewing classes.
I took classes on soap making, wire wrapped jewelry, hair styling, macramé, leather jewelry and string art.
If you weren’t interested in taking a class, at least half of the booths offered make and takes for a small fee or even free. Goody Beads had lots of different make and takes for $5-$10. Michaels had free pom poms to make.
I made a coaster for $5 on this beautiful refurbished vintage sewing machine. I didn't care that much about the coaster. I just wanted to use the machine!
I made this tile for free at the Pebeo booth. It uses paint that’s meant for glass making.
This clock was made at the Build Bar booth for $15
This make and take was free for VIP ticket holders:
Overall this was a great event. There were a few things that could have been improved.
I'd definitely do this again and with the VIP ticket. It was definitely worth it for me.
I'm from Minnesota and have been crocheting since 2003. I inherited a box full of Workbasket Magazines from my mother-in-law and became obsessed with the vintage patterns. I'm a member of Crochet Twin Cities, the local Crochet Guild.