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!
The Angel won by four votes!
The pattern asks for Unger’s Arianne Gold and Silver yarn. Ravelry estimates this discontinued yarn to be sport weight.
At recent estate sale I found some Columbia Minerva Camelot to replace the gold with but I didn’t see any sport weight silver to go with it so my plan is to blend the silver Knit-Cro-Sheen with some perle cotton and see if that will work.
Here is the supply list:
The body, hair and part of the arms are done in gold. The head, collar, wings and hands are done in silver. I may do the head and hands in some other color of sport weight yarn instead of silver - that's the part where gauge will matter the most. The wings are worked over the wire so the gauge won't matter as much for that part. I can either make the collar bigger if the silver thread plus DMC is too small or I can try another color for that too.
Substitutes will need to be found for:
Next week I'll share some of the interesting ads from the 1980 issue and an update on how the Angel is going.
In this month's crochet time machine we're heading back to 1980.
This photo is from Christmas 1980 and was taken at my grandparents’ house. We were always a crafty family. My mom made the matching dresses for my sister and me. The framed rug I’m holding is one I made and my grandfather framed for me for Christmas. It now hangs on the wall of our office/Tayla’s room.
Reagan was president-elect, and Apple made its initial public offering. If I could go back in time and make just one investment I'd buy some Apple stock.
John Lennon was shot and killed so his songs were playing on the radio a lot. Now when I hear one it always reminds me of being at the orthodontist. It seemed like one of his songs was always playing when I was stuck in that chair.
Other December Top 40 that year included some classics like;
The Covenant by James A. Michener was in the number one slot for fiction best sellers in December and had held that spot since the beginning of November. I haven’t read that book but I have read two of the other best sellers from the list; Firestarter by Stephen King and The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M Auel.
I did read a lot then but there was also an excellent TV line up then. Magnum PI premiered in December 1980 and there were other classics like; M.A.S.H., Alice, Lou Grant, Hart to Hart, Mork and Mindy, Charlies Angels, Dynasty, Dallas, my favorite: Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and my sister’s favorite: BJ and the Bear.
The Workbasket issue we’ll be choosing from this month is a double issue.
It’s November/December 1980 and it has six crochet patterns; Jacket with Scarf, Bouquet of Carnations, Poinsettia Tunic, Littlest Angel, Star Snowflake and Silver Wreath. Because I’m still working on holiday gifts I’m giving you two of the smaller ones to choose from:
The Littlest Angel (also in color on the cover above):
The littlest angel is made with Unger Arianne gold and silver yarn. This is approximately a sport weight yarn or a #3 thread. It also uses a cone shaped paper cup and a 4 inch Styrofoam ball.
Silver Wreath in crochet:
The Silver wreath is made in the same yarn plus some plastic holly and berry trim.
Let me know which one you think I should make this month!
!I finished the scarf but ran out of the matching yarn for the hat. The scarf turned out better than I thought it would!
About the pattern:
The pattern started with motifs; two for each end of the scarf.
The motifs start with a ch 4 to form a ring. I started with a magic circle and went on to make the granny square motif from there. Once those are done you sew two together and then start the body of the scarf from one side a motif continuing on until you get to the desired length and then sew the other two motifs together and connect them to the end of the scarf.
The body is done with double crochets and chains and looks like a granny square in rows.
How it went:
This was pretty fast and simple. But, once I finished the body I thought it looked unfinished (thanks State Fair Judges for telling me everything needs a border!). I added a border in the contrasting blue color from the second round of the motif and it looked much better.
I mixed the yarns from the motif to make the fringe and it was finished!
I love the vintage ads and I always make sure I check those out for each month we choose. As I was paging through the November 1978 issue one ad in particular caught my eye and brought back a lot of memories.
I had a subscription to the House of Miniatures. My grandpa built houses and occasionally furniture for us. He was a pretty stoic man at that time and putting together these miniatures made me feel closer to him. I've since given these away so I don't have any pictures of the ones I did but they were definitely put together by a 10-12 year old and were far from perfect. I remember the ones with fabric were my least favorite since it was hard to glue on correctly. I don't think I had an actual doll house but my grandma made me little rugs and blankets for the bed I made.
You can still find kits on ebay of course and there's a great site done by a hobbyist that gives some of the history and shows many of the kits and catalogs. I know I did one of the clock and a Queen Anne Tilt Top Table, a canopy bed and a dining room table with chairs.
Since this is a November issue the recipes revolve around Thanksgiving and are very...brown.
You can see a small piece of the one recipe that has some color - Gumdrop Bars. Gumdrop bars are described as a sweet bar cookie studded with gumdrops. They also add a creamy vanilla frosting if the gumdrops aren't sweet enough.
Next week I'll have the scarf done from the scarf and hat pattern. I ran out of the main yarns with the scarf part so I'm going to skip the hat.
It was close but in the end the Crochet Hat/Scarf Set was the winner.
About the materials
I’ll be using
Either the green or blue will be the stand in for the four ounces of Mohair.
The pattern starts with motifs; two for each end of the scarf and five for the hat. It looks fairly simple but depending how long it takes to get the scarf done that may be the only piece finished by the end of the month.
It’s almost Halloween. If you really want to get back to 1978 and stick with the holiday theme here are some of the horror movies that came out in 1978:
November Top 40 that year included some classics like;
War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk was in the number one slot for best sellers in November. I've read two of the books on the top 15 for fiction; Illusions by Richard Bach and The World According to Garp by John Irving.
If Life is a Bowl of Cherries – What Am I Doing in the Pits? by Erma Bombeck was in its 27th week on the non-fiction best seller list. Mommie Dearest by Christina Crawford moved into the #1 spot for the week of November 26.
The November 1978 Workbasket Magazine had five crochet patterns; a sweater and shoulder purse, a square doily, decorative muffler and your two choices for the month; a long-legged clown or the crochet hat/scarf set.
The Long Legged Clown is described as a “darling, soft toy clown.” It calls for several colors of worsted weight yarn, a size J hook, felt, glue and “ample stuffing”.
The Crochet Hat/Scarf Set also uses worsted weight yarn and Mohair. The Mohair is used as the main part of the scarf and the motifs are done in regular weight yarn. If this is chosen I might choose to make the one of the two and would not use Mohair.
Let me know which one you think I should make this month!
About the pattern:
The pattern is not difficult to understand and it’s fairly simple to make if you can work with thread and understand how to crochet in the back loops.
The pattern is done in four parts; the middle ribbing, the top border, the bottom border and the bottom.
The middle ribbing is done in the back loops and makes a nice stretchy fabric. This method of making a ribbing stitch could be adapted to other patterns once you know how to do it. The top and bottom border are mostly shell stitches using back loops. The bottom is a circle that you make separately and then sew on.
The holly leaf motif is done in pieces and sewn on.
It uses two strands of size 20 cotton thread for the main parts and one strand for the holly motif.
How it went:
I chose light blue and gray cotton crochet thread size 10 and used just one strand. I thought they’d be good winter colors and it also made it a little easier to see the crochet thread than a dark green would have been. The pattern has you make the ribbing a little smaller than the glass you’re going to put it on and then sew the ends together to make a tube.
The border is done right on to the ribbing. I made them one row shorter on both the top and the bottom.
The bottom is done as a separate piece and then sewn to the tube. I decided to do it right from the border instead. Trying to work from the outside in was a little more difficult than it usually is since they’re circle pattern wasn’t a typical circle pattern. It didn’t quite work and it seems a little looser than it should be.
I did not make the holly part. Someone at the October Crochet Guild meeting suggested a snowflake and I think that would look nice but I wanted to be done with this so I just left the extra motif off.
How it turned out:
I like how the color combination worked out but I don’t love this pattern. I put it over a small jam jar and it looks ok. I’m not sure the bottom piece is necessary if it’s just decorative. This might be cute as a votive holder or to dress up a jar of jam or other preserves.
I'll have the November patterns to vote on ready! My November selection of Workbasket Magazine has only six years; 1954, 1967, 1975, 1976, 1977 and 1978.
I'm about a third of the way done with the Holly Glass Muffs in blue and gray. Hopefully I'll have one completed by next Sunday.
In the mid-month posts I've shared the best of the different sections like Making Cents, other patterns in knit or other needlework, the interesting ads or some of the recipes. This month I made one of the recipes from the Harvest Time section.
This month's section feature's pies, gingerbread and molasses and included Spicy Molasses Doughnuts, Struesel Gingerbread, Fig-Pineapple Twist, Molasses Popcorn Balls, Molasses Cookies, Molasses Taffy, Orange Zabaglione and Molasses Peanut Brittle. This section includes a description of how molasses is made and some of the different kinds of molasses.
I haven't baked much in the last few years and most of the baking has been with alternative flours like coconut and almond flour so I was hesitant to take on any of the recipes that had yeast. I also don't like molasses much so those recipes were out too. I wanted something fairly simple from the list that I had most of the ingredients for. I chose Mellow Pumpkin Cake.
The only ingredient I had to buy was buttermilk. We had a can of pumpkin and and some flour and sugar left over from previous recipes. I didn't think I had shortening but technically coconut oil is a solid at room temperature so I decided I'd try that.
Ingredients out on the counter I discovered that I only had 1 cup of white sugar. I had Sucanat though so I used that for the last half cup. Since Sucanat still has it's molasses content I thought it sort of fit in with the theme.
Step one is creaming the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. After mixing a bit, I started to worry. The coconut oil didn't feel light and fluffy and the Sucanat wasn't really mixing in. I continued on though and ended up with what felt like a lot of batter for a 9x9 pan. It all went in to a lined and greased pan and into the oven.
I took it out and let it rest for a bit while I continued to watch The Great British Baking show.
I can hear Mary saying "Oh dear. It's a bit under baked." You can tell because the middle sunk while it was cooling. It's still edible though and has a crisp outside that's pretty tasty (I've had a few pieces..)
So the 1963 recipe was a good one. I think it was the baker's skill in this case that made not perfect but still edible.
Next week I should have a Winter Glass Muff done with a pattern review for it.
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.