One of the things I love about the earlier editions of Workbasket Magazine is the pattern service ads. The drawings of the patterns are classic examples of styles for that time frame. The February 1965 edition is no exception to that. They were all 35 cents in this magazine which the internet tells me is equivalent to $2.62. That seems like a pretty good deal for a pattern.
Here are some of ads:
I think my favorite is the Princess Wrap dress with the diamonds from the "Cool and Slimming" page. I probably would have needed this to pull off the silhouette though:
Do you have a favorite from these patterns?
The Pillbox Hat won by a landslide!
About the materials
The pattern asks for these items:
American Thread Company Dawn Knitting Worsted is a 100% wool yarn that was available from about 1934 to 1972. There’s a short history with some old ads for it on Vintage Knit Crochet – Bits of History.
I’m going to use a mix of acrylics; Red Heart Super Saver in Coffee and Frosty Green, Vanna’s Choice in Pink and Premier Everyday in Pine Green. I tried to pull together wool from my stash but I couldn't come up with a good mix of colors.
I’ll use a metal size H hook and I ordered the hat wire and connectors from Rose Mille in Stillwater.
The hat is made with 5 motifs that are sewn together into a circle. Then the crown is made along with some border work. Finally the wire is added and crocheted over. I don’t completely understand the instructions at the moment so I’m hoping it becomes more clear as I start to work it. Wish me luck!
Lyndon Johnson is president and there was a lot going on in the world.
Civil Rights marches, Martin Luther King arrested along with 768 others in Selma, Alabama, Malcolm X killed, Vietnam, the Gemini Space Program.
Music - February's Top 40 included classics like:
Books - Herzog by Saul Bellow was on the top of the list for fiction best sellers and had been in that position for 18 weeks at the beginning of February. The best seller for non-fiction was Markings by Dag Hammarskjold.
TV - Popular TV shows included Bonanza, The Lucy Show, Bewitched and Gilligan's Island.
The Workbasket issue we’ll be choosing from this month has six crochet patterns. This is a very 1960's cover with the hair and knit buttoned cardigan:
Any of the last four could have been chosen this month. They’re all small projects but I narrowed it down to the Pillbox Hat and the Kitten Napkin Holder. The napkin holder will require some extra work if it’s chosen. It says “The napkin holder frame can be purchased from a craft or hobby store” but I can’t find anything similar so I’ll have to create my own if that pattern is chosen.
Let me know which one you think I should make in February!
Last weekend I took a two day class to learn to nalbind. Nalbinding predates both knitting and crocheting and is found in various forms all over the world. Textile fragments that used this technique have been found in Israel from c 6500 BC, Denmark from 4200 BC, Egypt 4th century CE and Peru 300 BC.
This technique was used in Scandinavia during the Viking age is many reenactors are still using nalbinding to create hats, hoods, mittens and socks.
Nalbinding uses a needle traditionally made from bone or wood. We received one in class that the instructor made but I really like the non-traditional one I found at an estate sale.
Because this process has you drawing the entire length of wool through the loops to create knots you’re generally using length of yarn about a yard long. This means you either need to tie knots when that amount is used up or felt the ends together.
The class was held at the American Swedish Institute and was taught by Melba Granlund. It was well taught and having it two days in a row really helped me get the process down. Melba was a great instructor who was able to help everyone in class no matter where they were in the process. She was very patient and had a lot of examples and books we could look through. If you’re interested in this there are lots of instructional videos on You Tube that show different stitches and tons of information online. The ASI has a class in March too.
Here are my samples from class
And here is my current work in progress -
Next week I'll have voting ready for February.
About the pattern:
The pattern is simple motif with four rounds and the place mat is a rectangle with six across and four down.
The pattern asks for these items:
Last week I said I'd use Panda Cotton but I after doing one motif I decided I liked the lacier look of the thread and I wasn’t sure I had enough of it to make a place mat. I’d planned on filling it out with #10 cotton thread but it wasn’t the right size to match the Panda Cotton. I ended up using all of my DMC #5 Perle Cotton in colors I had left over from other projects. Yay for stash-busting!
How it went:
It wasn’t difficult to make the pile of motifs and it was fun to rearrange them to get a look I liked. Tacking them together was not fun. It wasn’t particularly difficult but I didn’t enjoy it. I made two extra motifs just in case I didn’t like one and it was a good thing I did because as I was sewing them together I came across one where I completely missed a section.
Then there was the blocking. I don’t mind blocking but this required a lot of pins and you could really see how my sewing varied from motif to motif when it was done.
Overall this is a nice pattern but not one I really liked making. I can’t imagine sewing together 32 of these for the table runner.
Next week we’ll go way back in time. This weekend I’m taking a class at the American Swedish Institute on nalbinding. Nalbinding is a precursor to knitting and crocheting. It’s sometimes called Viking knitting. I’ll show you what I made and tell you a little more about it.
I have all of the motifs done. I did them all with DMC #5 Perle Cotton I had left over from other projects. Now I just need to decide how to arrange them and then follow the directions for finishing the place mat. The directions for finishing reminds me of the Great British Baking Show technical challenge; “ Arrange 6 motifs across for 4 rows and tack together.”
I thought about making a recipe this month but didn’t really like my choices. Everything was very “hearty” like these:
Or unusual in ways I didn’t want to try.
We have New England Boiled Dinner; I’m not sure how many this is supposed to serve but it must need a really big pot.
How about Potato Pecan Loaf? I had a hard time figuring out how this would taste.
And of course, Beef Tongue Mexican Style
Next week I should have the place mat tacked together if not blocked.
The place mat is the winner of the January pattern. It had 79% of the vote!
The pattern asks for these materials:
Workbasket describes Bucilla Tempo like this; “Bucilla Tempo is a 3-ply 100% Creslan® Acrylic fibre, machine washable.”
Ravelry says that it’s probably a fingering weight yarn. I’m going to use a mix of Panda Cotton by Crystal Palace Yarns (also discontinued) that’s a blend of bamboo, cotton and nylon along with some Aunt Lydia’s Bamboo Crochet Thread #10 size. #10 size of thread seems close to fingering yarn.
The place mat is made up of 24 two-tone motifs with one color in the middle two rounds and color two in the outer two rounds. That seems pretty straight forward. I'll post an update next week along with some other highlights from the Workbasket Magazine issue.
We’ve moved ahead an entire month! It’s January 1981.
Reagan is now president. The minimum wage went up to 3.35/hour.
January’s Top 40 included some of the same songs from last month and a few others;
The Covenant by James A. Michener was in still in the number one slot for fiction best sellers having held that spot since the beginning of November. The number one spot for non-fiction is held by Carl Sagan with Cosmos.
Hill Street Blues and Dynasty debuted in January 1981.
The Workbasket issue we’ll be choosing from this month had nine crochet patterns for me to choose from!
These are the patterns I narrowed down:
Ultimately, I chose two fairly easy projects for you to choose from:
Coffee Mug Caddy – This looks like a coaster you can attach to your cup. The pattern uses scraps of 4-ply yarn so I’ll try a few different yarns to see what works.
Place Mat/ Table Runner – The place mat uses two colors of a discontinued yarn called Bucilla Tempo. It’s a fingering weight acrylic but I have some Cotton/Bamboo that might work.
Let me know which one you think I should make this month! You’ll have until December 29th to vote.
I skim pattern directions and often don’t read them through completely. I look through the materials list a little more thoroughly and sort of assume that if I’ve seen all the materials being used I’ve caught all the important bits. Sometimes I’m surprised part way through the pattern by a process I didn’t expect. That happened with this pattern.
About the pattern:
The pattern as I understood it on the first read is this:
The pattern starts with the body done in a cone shape. The arms are done as a long rectangle and then twisted to form the arms. A chain is done in the white to go through one arm, the body and then the other arm to attach the arms and the end of the chain folded over to make “hands.” The head is done separately. The hair is done as a single piece and attached to the head. The wings are done with single crochet over wire and then shaped into the wings.
How it went:
I started off with the body and followed the directions and end up with a very wide and short body.
This isn't the best picture to show how short this was but it was almost a flat circle. I pulled all of that out and redid the body with alternating rows without increases to get a shape that looks more like the original photo. I think that the yarn/thread I used is stiffer than the recommended thread so it got bigger faster than it would have if I’d used softer thread.
Version 2 of the body worked out perfect.
Then the surprise – “Dip in white glue, twist out excess”
I looked back at the material list.
It didn’t mention glue.
The directions ask you to soak the body in glue and then shape it over a cone shaped paper cup (which is in the material list). I looked at the angel’s fairly stiff shiny body and decided I was not going to soak it in glue and dim the sparkle. If it didn’t stand on its own I would either make it so it had a hanger or I could stuff the body and make a piece to fit over it on the bottom. Decision made – moving on.
Arms – Directions have you make two gold rectangles and a long chain with the silver and set aside for later assembly.
The hair and the head were easy enough. The head was a pretty basic ball and the hair worked like a wig that was sewn on. I don't love the loop stitch and her hair looks like she just had a long flight through a storm.
The wings were also pretty easy. I had some wire in my jewelry making box and that worked perfectly. I combine two different sparkly white threads to make the wings.
I skipped the collar. It was a crocheted piece with a velvet ribbon threaded through it. I didn’t have a ribbon and I didn’t think it was necessary.
Here's my version that stands just fine without glue:
And the cover version:
Next week I'll have the January voting up!
Workbasket has an ad for a 1908 Sears and Roebuck Catalogue – “sure to become a collector’s item”. It probably is a collector’s item but the 1980 version is also a collector’s item now. I found a 1980 Sears catalog available on Amazon for $74.90
As much fun as it would be to buy it and page through it I didn't think it was worth $75. Instead, I found an easy to peruse HTML version of the 1980 JCPenny catalog here. It was fun to page through the 578 pages. It has toys, clothing, shoes, costumes, bedding, tools, dishes, kitchen items, games, computers, audio equipment, instruments, bikes, sports equipment, books, craft items, chemistry sets, guns, lamps, fireplaces, pretty much everything you could want to buy in 1980.
Here are my highlights with links:
You could buy a 625 watt microwave on sale for 391.95 - $100 off! There are disco balls and lava lamps.
An Atari Home Computer System – the computer was $1080 and the disk drive was $699.95.
There is also an Atari Video Game System – for only $144.95
I think we had a set of pots like this:
The Fisher-Price Toys start on page 415. They have the house, the Action Garage, the Farm, The Fire Station, the Circus Train and the School Bus.
A great section on Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back starts on page 438. What kid didn’t want a radio controlled Jawa Sand Crawler?
There wasn’t just Star Wars; Star Trek has a page of toys, plus there is Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Marvel Super Heroes and ChiPs.
Don’t forget the classics; Lite Brite, Spirograph, Etch-a-Sketch and ThingMaker II Creepy Crawlers are there too.
They did sell Latch Hook Kits and other art sets. Keep paging through after that page and there are string art kits, a Needlework Chest, a tiny pottery kit, candle making kit and Doodle-Loom kits. There is an ad for Doodle-Loom in the Workbasket magazine too:
The clothing was interesting and the expressions on the models faces are fun. This is from the Junior Girls section:
I hope you have fun going back to 1980 via the JC Penny catalog!
Next week I'll have an update on the Angel. I'm about half way done and I think it will be cute when done!
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.