Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A trip down Nostalgia Lane...

I love to collect old needlework patterns, most are knitting, but there are some for crochet scattered throughout the years. Let's take a look at a few. (Apologies for the lack of clarity -- old photos plus my poor skills do not a sharply focused photo make. Clicking 'should' make the images larger, which may help.)

First up, a filet nightgown. This is from 1918 - Royal Society Book 12. This is actually just three sections of filet work in the cup and under bust area of the nightgown -- the rest is fabric, no instructions for sewing. I suppose there was greater general knowledge of such things back then!

Next, another filet garment, this time a tunic from Bear Brand's Blue Book (1920). It's worked in Shetland Floss, with a size 2 bone or amber (?) crochet hook. Gauge is listed only as 3 rows = 1 inch. It's worked in one piece from the front bottom hem, increase for sleeves, up across shoulders, and then down to the back bottom hem. Sleeve cuffs are added later. The filet motif (on both front and back) is a butterfly.

Another Royal Society pattern, this one an infant's saque from 1943.
Worked in Royal Society Six Cord Cordichet size 30 -- steel hook size 10. Gauge: 9 loops make 4 inches; 5 rows make 1 inch.

Jumping ahead to 1954, we have a couple of Vogue Knitting Book patterns. Details are hard to make out, even on the original, but notice the soft folds on the sleeve of the "Soft, lightweight cardigan." It does indeed appear to have a nice, soft drape. It's worked in Bear Brand or Fleisher's Wonderized DeLuxe Sock and Sport Yarn (that's a mouthful!), Bucilla plastic No. 2 hook, and is trimmed with over 400 4mm beads and 90 rhinestones (sewn on later). Gauge is 14 stitches = 2 inches and 11 rows = 2 inches.

Or, how about a crocheted ribbon dress in shell stitch from the same issue? Thirty plus spools of Unger's Gossamer Silk Organdy Ribbon is worked with a No. 3 plastic hook. There are 5 covered buttons plus a side zipper to insert. Dress is to be lined with nylon tulle, but you're on your own as to how! Gauge is 1 shell pattern = 1 inch and 2 rows = 1 inch. I wonder how much each spool of silk ribbon cost back then?

Our last stop is Vogue Knitting Fall/Winter 1965. A two-piece dress made from Unger's Les Coraux (translation, anyone?) and an F hook. Gauge is 4 stitches = 1 inch and 8 rows = 3 inches. You'll need some tulle to make facings for the blouse, which is worked in separate pieces. The skirt is worked from the waist down in one piece, and is later stitched to a purchased (tailored) slip.

(Editted to add -- babelfish translates Les Coraux as coral(s), and the nifty discontinued yarn guide at www.vintageknits.com list Unger's Les Coraux as a wool, mohair, vinyon blend. Now we know.)

That's all for now -- hope you enjoyed the trip!

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