Even though I haven't seen the movie yet I thought it would be fun to change up the blog a little and make some vintage Barbie clothes patterns. That meant I needed to find a Barbie to model the clothes. I checked Goodwill but all of the versions they had were either non-classic body styles or had something else unusual about them that meant they wouldn't be great models. One had a torso that was a USA swimsuit. Another had a button on her back that looked like it attached to something. I this found Spa Barbie on FB Marketplace for $5 and picked her up yesterday.
I was surprised when I realized that her legs didn't bend. Apparently, somewhere around 1990 they changed the plastic and after that Barbie no longer had bendable arms and legs. The new version is easier to clean at least. That old plastic always felt a little sticky.
The first pattern I'll make for her is from April 1984. It's an evening gown and wrap and I have the suggested yarn from that era for it. So far I've found five other patterns in my library that range from 1965-1992. One is actually a Ski Suit for Ken but I think it will fit Barbie too.
I'll switch back to neck items after I run out of Barbie patterns.
It took me a couple of weeks but I finally finished one of the Tri-Color Feeding Bibs from the booklet I shared last week. In the instructions it says that these are Humpty-Dumpty, his wife and their twins. I made the bib with the twins.
All three versions use three colors of J&P Coats Knit-Cro-Sheen; dark blue, white and red. A size 6 or 7 steel hook and some double fold bias tape. I used some vintage red and blue Knit-Cro-Sheen and white Aunt Lydia's Classic Crochet Thread along with a size 7 steel hook. They give a gauge for the bib which I didn't check until I was done with the project but it matched. The pattern includes charts for all three of these but they were very tiny so I had to use my printer to enlarge them.
The directions were pretty good for this pattern. They explain how to change colors and that you should carry your unused color along the top of the previous row. There were a few areas where I ended up using bobbins so I wasn't carrying more than one color. They even give directions for sewing on the bias tape that worked pretty well.
I don't have anything bad to say about this project or the directions. I had some issues following the directions for the scallops on the bottom but once I decided to just trust that it would work even though I couldn't quite make sense of it, it did. I had some problems sewing the bias tape on but that's a user issue and not from the pattern directions.
The finished bib is 12 inches by 10 inches so it's a decent size but I'm not sure how much this would protect a baby's clothes. It's still cute in a very 1940s way.
The project I planned for this week isn't quite done. I had several bouts of feline paralysis after vacation and it made it hard to work on projects.
Instead I'll share some pictures from the booklet that the half-done project came from.
The booklet is from 1944 and it's from The Spool Cotton Company. The cover says, "Crochet your Gifts" but they snuck in a few knitted items like a bag and one of the potholders. The booklet uses J & P Coats - Clark's O.N.T. Crochet Cottons throughout the projects in sizes from Best Six Cord Mercerized Cotton size 50, to Knit-Cro-Sheen to Rug Yarn.
Some of the projects that use size 30 thread include a Pineapple Bib, a Pineapple Apron and Tea Cozy, Flowers and Doilies.
Knit-Cro-Sheen (aka size 10 thread) is usually the smallest thread I'll use and the booklet had a few patterns that used that. Potholders from that era seem to be commonly done in Knit-Cro-Sheen and these are pretty classic ones. The project I'm working on now from this booklet is also done in size 10 thread.
The collar below is done in size 50 thread and the sachets in the same photo are done in either "Brilliant" or six strand embroidery floss. The collar might have been an option for a neck project but there's a reason I don't have any size 50 thread. The curtain pulls vary from cord to size 30 thread. The pulls could be fun as a necklace pendant too.
I'm about half way done with the project for next week! Any guesses on what it might be? It isn't anything pictured in this post.
Here's another project to add the the growing list of projects that just didn't work for me; the Bolo Scarf from the September 1985 issue of Workbasket Magazine.
The scarf uses 1.4 ounces of Unger Cruise or Baby Wintuk and a size F hook. Both of the recommended yarns are sport weight but I didn't have any sport weight yarn that I was willing to sacrifice for this so I bumped it up to a DK weight and tried Knit Picks Swish DK with a size G hook.
I didn't make it very far when I realized that this project was just repetitious enough to be boring but I still had to pay attention to the ends of the rows since the repeat had a slightly different stitch pattern at the ends of the rows. Sometimes the final project will be worth this kind of annoyance but this wasn't one of them.
Here's where I stopped and ripped it all out:
I admit that I'm much quicker to stop a project now if I'm not getting any joy out of making it. I think that's a good thing. It means I'm willing to try more things and just let them go if they aren't working for me.
Next week we're going back to 1944!
I planned to make this vintage pattern for the Dakota County Fair but I missed the registration deadline so I won't have any entries this year but at least I'm ahead for next year!
This baby blanket pattern comes from The Easy Art of Ripple Crochet. The booklet has a lot of fun patterns. I'm tossing around the idea of doing vintage ripple patterns for the 2024 blog theme and would definitely use some from this magazine. It has hats, blankets, swimwear, dresses, tops and baby clothes.
The materials for this blanket are six 4-ounce skeins of yellow ombre knitting worsted yarn and an H hook. It does give a gauge but since it's a blanket I didn't worry about it.
I used Lion Brand Mandala Ombre, a worsted weight caked yarn, in the color Mantra. Mantra has a soothing range of blues and greens that was fun to work through. The yarn is a little bouncy and very soft and was perfect for a soft cuddly blanket.
The directions were very simple and I had no trouble following them. This was an easy project that was repetitive enough to be calming and the yarn made it even more relaxing. When I started a new skein I tried to make sure that I was starting with the same color I ended with and that meant starting the skein alternately from the outside.
I was a little concerned about the tassels since I struggle with those but they turned out fine and added a lot to the finished project.
Next week - Another repetitive project (a scarf!) but was it as calming as this one?
I finally finished the Popcorn Potholders from the 1975 issue of Woman's Day Granny Squares. The photo on the right is three of the patterns in this issue. The photo below on the right is from the magazine. I made the Hearty Holders (left) for the fair last year. The Popcorn Potholder is the one on the top.
This is a fun magazine with some cute tops. There are also afghans, dresses and doilies of course. I liked the pink top below but sewing all the squares together isn't my favorite thing to do.
Vintage ads are also fun. There were plenty of yarn and craft ads along with a cigarette ad or two. This one was my favorite for the wicker chair and duck, the long crocheted scarf and the woman's expression. I'm not sure why she's putting the hook in the middle of the scarf but maybe she's just working the ends in.
The pattern for the Popcorn Potholder uses Coats & Clark Speed-Cro-Sheen and a size 2 hook. I used Aunt Lydia's Fashion Crochet Thread in three different colors and a size B hook (2.25mm). The pattern is easy to read and has directions for every row along with stitch counts. I made one major change to this patter and to the Hearty Holders I did last year. The pattern is only one layer and it seems thin and unfinished so I always make a back that is similar to the front without the fancy stitches and use the last row to crochet the two sides together. I skipped the loop hanger because I don't hang these up and it seems unnecessary.
Here's the finished Popcorn Potholders. My popcorn stitches pop less than theirs but I still like them.
And here are the Hearty Holders from last year.
I started working on the ripple baby blanket from a vintage pattern but I still have a few gifts to finish up in the next month. I'll post it when it's done though.
I've had this 1971 Brunswick Strictly Crochet booklet for years and hadn't made anything from it yet. I saw this adorable baby sweater and thought it would be perfect for the Dakota County Fair.
The pattern asks for 4 ounces of Brunswick Windrush and a size 6 or G hook. They give a gauge of 1 pattern repeat = 1 1/4 inches and each row would be 3/4 inch tall. I had some Lion Brand Jeans Color yarn that I know works up super soft so I used that. I only had 3.5 ounces of it so I decided to do the smallest size. I realized pretty quickly that my gauge was smaller than the pattern said it should be but I didn't worry too much about it because I'm not sizing this to a specific baby.
The pattern was easy to read and arranged in lines for each section instead of the paragraph version you often see in vintage patterns. While I don't love making tassels the sweater looks cuter with them. I did have yarn left over so I could have gone up a hook size or made one of the larger sizes but this is fine.
One more fair project done!
I'm taking a break from neck projects to work on some of my Dakota County Fair projects and other projects that I want to make. Many of the fair projects are vintage patterns so I'll share those as I finish them.
Here are some of the ones I have planned.
After the fair is over I'll do a few more neck projects. I found some cute bibs and collars along with some scarves that will be fun to make.
In the meantime, here are some very colorful projects from The Woman's Day Book of Designer Crochet by Jacqueline Henderson published in 1980.
These hats are awesome if I'd had this book last year I definitely would have made at least one.
Can't leave out the swimwear!
I'm not saying I'll make one of these neckpieces for sure but if I can decide what to substitute for rattail one might make it to the list.
I bought "The Family Crochet Book", published in 1971, from ThriftBooks and found a few options for things that go around your neck. There was a short jabot, a long jabot or the collars.
I attempted the scalloped collar on the left above but something was missing in the directions so I gave up. I could have figured it out from the photo but it just didn't seem worth it. I didn't love the flower collar so I decided on the long jabot. But what is a jabot and how do you wear it? Various sources on the internet tell me it's generally a decorative lace panel that's pinned at the neck or attached to a collar. It's still worn in courts of law in various places and it's a part of formal Scottish evening wear.
The pattern asks for a size 4 hook and 2 ounces of Fontein Crepe which as far as I could tell was a 100% wool, fingering weight yarn. I had some smaller balls of fingering weight wool that was gifted to me so I pulled out one of those. They have a chart for hook sizes and that said a size 4 was the same as an H hook.
The pattern does give a "tension" or what we would call a gauge and it tells you what the finished size should be. I was fine on the gauge with the hook size so I started.
This was a lot like making a doily but with only four rounds it went pretty fast. I ended up aggressively blocking it and ended up with something that was 8 by 17 inches instead of 5 by 12 inches they said the finished project should be.
The next trick was trying to figure out how to wear it. There were no photos in the book of anyone wearing one and there was no collar that would go around your neck. I thought about trying a pin but most of mine were pretty thick and I didn't want to put big holes in my shirt. I ended up going with one of the polymer clay shawl magnets I made but even that was a challenge to get in the right spot. It's kind of cute but I'm not sure I'd wear it on a regular basis.
Is the pattern easy to understand? Yes 1.0
If there is a gauge, could I match it? Yes 1.0
Does it look like the photo? Sort of. I over blocked it but even before that it didn't have the ripple. .5
Would someone wear this? Maybe? .5
Did I enjoy making it? I did! It was fast and something I hadn't tried before. 1.0
That gives it a 4.0 out of 5.0.
Remember this booklet from last year? I made this hat from it.
This week I made the scarf that goes with the Flame Hat (the one on the right).
The materials required for the hat are "Dawn" Knitting Worsted yarn in Flame, Fisherman, Antique Gold and Black. I used Premier Everyday Worsted Yarn in Really Red, Cream, Black and some other gold yarn I had in the scrap basket. They give a gauge of 3 solid meshed and 2 open meshes as 2 inches with a J hook and I got pretty close to that. The approximate finished size of the scarf is 6 inches by 94 inches. That's a long scarf!
This is a super simple pattern. The only difficulty is keeping track of what color they want you to use when. It's all in paragraph form with several repeats which made it a little hard to track. I ended up writing down the colors row by row. Once I did that this was super fast to make. I was a little worried about not having enough yarn so I skipped the middle repeat. There were a lot of ends to sew in when it was done but overall it was fast and easy.
The score for this is 4.75. I'm knocking it down a little for the slightly hard to read color order. This is a great pattern for beginners. Even if they mess up the middle part of the color order it wouldn't matter that much. It's the same stitch but it goes fast enough to not be boring.
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.