If there’s one piece of advice I could give to a collector of old knitting and sewing patterns, it would be this:
Make sure your friends, family, acquaintances and colleagues know you collect these crazy old things.
I didn’t even realise the benefits of this myself until late last year, when I was gifted with a pattern book for knitted novelties. My unexpected benefactor happened to mention she had a book she thought I’d love and an hour later, it was in my hands. Mine! To keep!
On top of this, I’ve had people taking pity on my inability to cultivate a fabric stash by doing it for me. This is awesome, in my opinion, although I’m now faced with the problem of finding a way to make use of this donated stash. As problems go, it a good one to have.
More recently, I came in to work one Monday morning and found a little parcel on my desk with my name on it. Intriguing, I thought to myself. Why should anyone be giving me a mysterious gift? And since I’m chronically incapable of dealing with my own curiosity longer than absolutely necessary, I set to opening this little bag and pulling out the treasures inside, which looked a little like this:
One copy of Winter Warmers in exceptionally good condition and, even better, an entire knitting book devoted to glove patterns from the fifties. Or so I’m guessing. It’s tricky to date patterns when there are no models with helpful hairstyles, so I’m purely going by the book number here. I already have a copy of Winter Warmers (actually, I have two, but the first one is in rubbish condition) but I’d never seen the glove book before – it’s an absolute treasure! Gloves are so much fun to make and they are ridiculously practical. The pair I made last year are one of my favourite makes ever: they’re cosy and warm and I get a huge kick out of glancing down at them every now and then so I can marvel at the fact that I made them myself. And as we move ever deeper into Winter, the idea of making yet more gloves becomes increasingly attractive… and now I have a whole book full of patterns to try!
So if you collect interesting old things and you’ve been keeping your obsession a secret, put a stop to that right now. Let all and sundry know what you collect and you never know what might turn up on your work desk of a Monday morning.