I've had this booklet for years and while I haven't made anything from it yet, it has been a good resource for how to think through the older patterns. The booklet was printed in 1990 by the Knitting and Crochet Guild of London and compiled by Gertrude Kuehl. Not only does it have patterns from 1855 to 1917 it also has a two page introduction written by Gertrude on past terminology and pattern writing styles.
More specific terminology started to be used in the mid-19th century when patterns were beginning to be published and that led the way for more standardized terminology in crochet. It's still far from being completely standardized and one of the things I had to figure out when reading patterns in this booklet was whether the instructions were in UK or US terminology.
Gertrude says that patterns from that era were either very detailed or just gave you a stitch pattern and let you figure out how to do the rest. She goes on to remind us that the patterns that we would consider lacking in details were more "open-ended" to the Victorian crocheters since they were probably used to making their own sewing patterns. The use of what they called "tension square" (what we would call a swatch) were used to help provide calculations for figuring out measurements, how much yarn they would need as well as whether the yarn was suitable for the project. She says, "For those of us who have been spoon-fed on detailed printed instructions, this may seem like a giant leap into the unknown, but in fact it holds the potential for greater adaptability of design to an individual's needs and opens up each pattern to the use of a wide range of yarns and threads."
Let's leap into the unknown!
This booklet has a two very helpful charts; one for hook comparisons to guide you through to modern US hook sizes and another for yarn comparisons for the fibers that are used in the booklet's patterns.
I'm going to share a selection of the patterns instead of all of them just to give you an idea of what's included in this booklet.
The first pattern in the booklet is this "Wrap for Lady, With Hood". This has very detailed instructions and they are written without row breaks so it's a little difficult to read. It also gives you the yardage of fabric you need to line the wrap.
There were several patterns for tops including this Wool Jacket. The directions seemed pretty detailed but there is no information on how big this would turn out. Going with the idea of using this as a guide would work pretty well though. You could easily add or subtract rows with their construction method.
There were three collar patterns in the booklet. This is the first. The others include a Rose one that looks like Irish crochet and one done with metallic thread. This pattern, like many others, give a close up of the stitch pattern. That's almost as good as a chart.
There were several flowers intended to be decorative but this was the only one that was a sachet. The sachet packet goes in the base of the flower.
This bag is one of two in the booklet. They recommend using macramé twine and lining it with silk.
There were also hats, gloves, belts, slippers and a few smaller projects like these buttons and a narcissus flower.
The last two I'm sharing this week are a single Dahlia and the Crochet Yoke for a Lady's Nightdress. The yoke seems to have pretty detailed directions but it's also one that would allow you to make that leap. You could easily continue the pattern down for a longer top. It's worked in strips so it can be worked to fit and the thread changed up.
Next week I'll have a finished project from this booklet to share with you. Another leap into the unknown!
We're back to the 80s this week with a Workbasket Magazine pattern. I was intrigued by the reversible part of this pattern. The photo the magazine chose for the pattern did not show enough contrast though so I didn't really have a good idea of what this was going to look like when it was done.
This pattern gives you a specific yarn for this without telling you the weight. They suggest Lion Brand Molaine which comes in 1.4 ounce balls. It says you need two balls of two colors. I looked up the yarn and it appears to be worsted weight so I pulled two skeins of yarn that had 3 ounces each left in them. One was Lion Brand Basic Stitch and the other was Knit Picks Brava Worsted. The pattern had a gauge which I matched pretty closely.
It took me a few tries to get "the trick" of the back and forth. You end up dropping an open loop one one side and using the other color for two rows and then dropping that loop and going back to the first color. Once I got it, I didn't really need the pattern any more since it was a simple repeat. The pattern had you repeat the row pattern until you got to 59 inches or your desired length.
I did not make it to 59 inches. The photo below shows the point where I realized this wasn't going to make it to 59 inches. It's a little over 36 inches at this point and I have enough for maybe one more row.
So now what? I don't want to rip it all out and I can't get more of the yarn in time to get it posted. It's long enough for a cowl! Instead of finishing it their way I seamed the ends together and turned it into a cowl.
It is reversible with one side being more blue and the other side more yellow. It was really hard to tell from the photo that this is what I was going to end up with. I thought it might be just one color on one side and the other color on the other side. I like it though and it makes a nice, thick and cozy cowl.
Based on the criteria this gets a 3.75 out of 5:
Next week I have a booklet to share that has patterns form the early 1900s.
I know this isn't technically vintage but it fits the neck theme. I started this project in September 2022 as my 2023 county fair entry for "Holiday-Not Christmas". It seemed appropriate for a pre-Valentine's day post.
I present to you the Valentine Tie!
The pattern uses #10 cotton thread in silver and red and a steel crochet hook size 3 (equivalent to a 2.1mm hook). I used cream and dark red because that's what I had and I didn't love the way the silver looked in the photo. I happened to have a size 3 steel hook in my collection of randomly gathered steel hooks.
This a pretty easy pattern to follow since it's all single crochet. You get a graph for the colors and a gauge. They even tell you how to change color and tell you to carry the color not being used and work over it. Even though this was easy, it was a little tedious because there are 437 rows! At least the graph was a mirror image so I didn't have to worry about the direction of the row I was on as I went.
Once the crocheting was done I thought it looked pretty good. The cream allowed the red thread that was being carried along to show a little bit but that wasn't a deal breaker for me.
Since this is cotton thread, it really needed to be wet blocked. I've had problems with thread colors bleeding even when soaking in cold water so this time I put some vinegar in and that worked. Yay! I pinned it on the blocking mat and pulled the pins the next day and discovered I'd made a mistake. The pins must have had some rust on them and now I had rust spots in the cream thread. I tried using some OxyClean spot remover on the spots and then let it soak in the spot remover...and that was the next mistake. When I pulled it out of it's stain bath there were red spots all over it where the red thread bled (say that three times fast). And, the rust spots were still there too. Ugh!
After a brief mental reset, I decided I would dye the finished project with the hope that the dye would cover up the spots. As long as I was going to dye it why not try something fancier? Could I make it a gradient?
I bought a box of Rit Dye in Fuschia and some Rit ColorStay and made my attempt. Once I had the dye all mixed up I dipped the bottom of the tie in the dye and held in there for a few minutes and then dipped a little lower and held it. I kept doing this through most of the length of the tie and then just dropped the part of the tie that was just cream in and out quickly. I did a quick rinse, applied the color stay and let that soak and then rinsed again.
It's not perfect but the dye did a pretty good job of covering up the rust and red dye spots without losing the pattern.
I thought it was interesting that this 1991 magazine had very obvious brands in their photo; Kisses and Snoopy. I used Dove chocolate because it's better than Hershey Kisses and I found a cute cat Valentine picture to use instead of the dog Valentine.
And now for it's rating:
Total is 4 out of 5!
This week's pattern is from a February Workbasket pattern. They have directions for a scarf, cap, gloves and legwarmers in some variation of the stitch pattern they give you. Of course, the amounts of yarn given are for the entire set so if you want to make just one of these you'll be guessing at the amounts.
Columbia Minerva John Kloss Heather yarn; 12 ounces of Gray (MC), 4 ounces of each of the other colors they give as Rice (R), Brown (B), Silver Gray (G), Red Onion (O).
An I hook for the scarf (other items use different sizes).
A tapestry needle and 12 inches of 1/2 inch elastic (they don't say in this part what the elastic is for but I was reasonably sure it wasn't the scarf).
The yarn they specify seems to be a sport weight yarn. I ended up going up to a DK weight and used leftover Bernat Softee Baby for the main part of the scarf. The other colors were mostly scraps of DK weight yarn I had.
There is a gauge and I was fairly close to it with the DK weight yarn.
I wasn't impressed by the use of yarn that has unusual color names and that they used a black and white photo for this project. In particular, they used Rice as a color name and gave it the abbreviation R but also had Red Onion which was an O. I ended up using my own colors and had to write out my own color plan for the different rows. Their choice of "O" for Red was even worse when I realized that they were also using "O" as an abbreviation for yarn over.
Row 3 reads, "Sc in first ch 1 sp, ch 1, O, draw up a lp in next ch 1 sp, (O, draw up a lp in the same sp 4 times, O and through 11 lps on hook, O draw through lp on hook (popcorn made)..."
I used white for Rice, green for the Main Color/gray, blue and black for Brown, gray for Red Onion. Once you get through the confusing color and yarn over abbreviations this turns out to be linen stitch with a row of popcorn stitches. It wasn't complicated just not written out very well.
I also guessed wrong on how much blue yarn I would need so I ended up making one end of the scarf blue and the other black.
Here are the final photos:
I think the edges are a little messy and it could really use a border but it's fine the way it is too.
Is the pattern easy to understand? No.
If there is a gauge, could I match it? Yes.
Does it look like the photo? Sort of. I think they used two colors for the bobbles and I didn't see how they did that with the color order in the pattern.
Would someone wear this? Yes.
Did I enjoy making it? Eh. Once I got over the annoyance at their confusing abbreviations it went ok. I didn't hate making it but I wouldn't make this again.
That looks like two yeses and two half yeses so that makes this a 3 out of 5.
Next week it's not a scarf and it's a special Valentine patern!
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.