Earlier this month I received a package from a lovely woman on Ravelry who was selling some vintage patterns. I'd picked out the ones I wanted buy and she ended up throwing the rest in for free. The pattern books ranged from the 40s to the 50s and have some really cool patterns I can't wait to make.
This first photo is a vintage Woolworths 3-ring binder with Workbasket Magazines from 1945 through 1948.
Four full years of vintage 40s patterns! There are hats, flowers, mittens, slippers, and lots of "pan holders". I might use one of these for the September pattern.
Next up some 1940s pattern booklets:
The Crochet Your Gifts booklet has a lot of patterns. There are bibs, aprons, collars, doilies, flowers, glass jackets and more pot holders. The bags look amazing but the directions are often vague and list a stitch pattern and leave it up to you to decide the sizing.
Here are some of my favorite booklets from this delivery:
The Scatter Rugs booklet is from 1940, the Hot Plate Mats is from 1950 and Centerpieces is from 1951.
The Puritan Crochet Book is from 1950. It says crochet on the front but there are a couple of knitted patterns in it. Quick Tricks in Crochet is also from 1950. This has hanger covers, candy cups, hats and bags and belts.
The Crochet Lacy Pickups is from 1943. This has several Dickeys, some fascinators, gloves, collars, and hats. It also has a few knitting patterns.
Here are the rest of the 1950s booklets:
I thought the cardigan on the front of Modern Crochet was nice but it turns out it's a knitting pattern.
And here are the last two - the 1960s booklets:
There are so many fun things in all of these books I don't really know where to start!
The winning pattern for August is the travel slippers.
And because I read the pattern all the way to end for once I know it also requires:
I couldn’t find anything about that specific yarn but the pattern does give a gauge. A regular worsted weight yarn with a J hook gave me the required 3 single crochet to 1-inch gauge. I found some Lion Brand Jeans Colors in the color Corduroy on clearance at JoAnn. Since I have no idea how big a skein of the Phentex yarn I grabbed two skeins.
I have a stash of buttons but I think I might do something different for the bow. Maybe some flowers made with crochet thread. I’ll have to see what looks good with the finished slippers.
These look fairly simple but the directions are pretty short so I think there will be some extrapolation on my part. It starts out with a sole that’s two identical pieces sewn together. Then the upper part and it’s all slip stitched together.
The Jeans yarn is super soft so these should be pretty comfy when they're done!
It was the month Richard Nixon resigned and Gerald Ford was inaugurated as president.
Inflation was rising, nuclear tests were happening in Nevada, the USSR and France.
Eight of the top 10 TV shows were on CBS; Hawaii Five-O, M*A*S*H, Good Times, Maude, Rhoda, The Waltons, All in the Family, and The Jeffersons. NBC had the other two; Sanford and Son and Chico and the Man.
Missing the games shows from 1974? Here’s an episode of Match Game from August 12, 1974 with Orson Bean, Betty White, Brett Sommers, Charles Nelson Reilly, Richard Dawson, and Dr. Joyce Brothers. Hosted by Gene Rayburn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLIcVCQrHP0
July Top 40 that year included;
The New York Times bestseller list for the week of August 6th was Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carré. Watership Down by Richard Adams was #2 on the fiction list. It’s not too surprising to see that All The President’s Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward is #1 on the non-fiction list.
The August 1978 Workbasket Magazine had five crochet patterns;
Your two choices for August are:
Travel Slippers. These call for Phentex Polypropylene 3-Ply Knitting Yarn in two colors, a size J hook and 2 round buttons.
Tote Bag. This uses knitting worsted yarn in two colors and an F hook.
Let me know which one you think I should make this month!
I finished the leaf mats while traveling this month. It was an easy pattern to follow and memorize. It's done mostly in the back loop to get the ridged look of the leaves.
Here is the description Workbasket Magazine had for the leaf mats; “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.”
I did one in worsted weight and an E hook and a set in #10 thread with a 1.75mm hook.
The worsted weight version started out as the large leaf but I realized I was going to run out of thread so I started decreasing faster. It’s 8 ¼ inches tall.
Here’s the final version of that one with the medium thread one on top of it.
The thread versions turned out well. The large one is 5 ½ inches, the medium one is 4 ½ inches and the small ones are 3 ¾ inches. The medium one is a good coaster size but I’m not sure what I’ll use the rest of them for. Any ideas?
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!
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.