Wednesday already and I haven’t had a chance to boast about last Saturday’s market finds. Apart from a couple of books, I got this great haul of Stitchcraft magazines from the 1930s and 40s. There are some more, without covers and a few copies of a magazine completely new to me: Modern Living. These date from the 1950s and were published by the North Thames Gas Board. The joys of gas cookers and gas fires ('just plug into the gas point' Yikes!) feature largely. All these magazines were obviously part of a house clearance. I could also have had old dressmaking patterns (useless to me) and a strange machine for making buttonholes. It would be quicker for me to do a buttonhole by hand than to work out how to use it.
Stitchcraft was owned by Patons & Baldwins, so naturally it features knitting patterns using P & B yarns and embroidery using their threads. I’m most interested in the knitting, of course. It’s noticeable that the editorial always emphasises the easiness of the pattern; not at all like The Knitter today, setting out to be challenging. Another interesting feature is that only one size is offered for each pattern and no measurements are given. If you were the ‘wrong’ size, you’d just have to adjust it yourself, I suppose. Plus, just about everything is knitted in 3 ply.
message from Lord Woolton
I’m really enjoying reading these mags, not least for the advertisements. Health products feature heavily (Ovaltine recommended as a health food) as do beauty products and discreet references to ‘feminine hygiene’. My favourites are probably the ads for Rowntrees Fruit Gums: ‘Try them between cigarettes!’ and ‘Good between smokes.’; these merry slogans above a drawing of a bulging-cheeked schoolboy. Sadly, I’ll have to sell some of these as I simply don’t have anywhere to store them as well as those I’ve already got but meanwhile I’ll have a lovely time admiring the fashions of yesteryear and wartime thriftiness.