There’s a special kind of craziness reserved for vintage knitting patterns. It was that very craziness that attracted me to collecting them in the first place. Yes, that’s right: I began collecting old knitting patterns because I adored their insanity, not because I had any plans of making something from them. This changed, of course, but I honestly think I never would have picked up my knitting needles again if it weren’t for the glorious madness I was accumulating in every op shop I visited.
The sixties and seventies are my favourite period, although the fifites deserve an honourable mention for their men’s pattern books where gentlemen are either just standing around, casually smoking with shotguns hooked over their arms or they’re sitting in a comfy chair while their women bustle around them, tending to their every need. As nutty as that may be, it doesn’t hold a candle to the multi-coloured crocheted men’s vests of the seventies or my all-time favourite sixties pattern book, which I call ‘Shenanigans in the Library’ and will one day share with you and you will understand everything.
Op shops rarely disappoint when it comes to providing me with these treasures, although sometimes I’ll walk out with nothing, having found only a desultory smattering of rather bland nineties patterns. Other times, however, I’ll come home with a handful of awesomeness and this was the case last weekend, when I paid a visit to my local op shops and came home with this:
So many treasures!
All of my favourite patterns in the socks and gloves book seem to have been designed for children, which is somewhat disappointing. I’m determined to make at least one of them, though – I’ll just have to adapt it a teeny bit. Even though there are plenty of modern patterns for accessories such as these, I’ll never buy them. It’s just too much fun to use a decades-old pattern like this and swan around in a pair of socks straight from the 1940s. There’s nothing like it!
This one won me over with the promise of knitted and crocheted bags, but it gets even better: you can make headbands, too. See that… thing the model is wearing on the cover? I could totally make that if I wanted and then I could head on out, confident in the knowledge that my head… thing matched my handbag.
This? Oh, this is just a crocheted dress and matching coat. Isn’t it all kinds of amazing? It doesn’t use wool, though. Oh no. It uses crocheting cotton, which is much finer. It’s in this pattern that I believe vintage style meets complete insanity because that is one gorgeous dress but the hours of painstaking work that would go into its creation almost belie belief.
And yet, I rather want to make it.
Quite a lot.
Although not in white.