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gertrude

October 2018

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Make do and mend

At the Market: Stitchcraft Magazine



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.


waste not…1941

Comments

74 years old!

Well done on the find!
That jumper wouldn't look out of place today :-)
I love the duffle coat for the doll.
Treasures
x

Re: 74 years old!

Thank you!
I'm not sure about those pom poms! Looking through, you can see why so many designers are turning to the past for inspiration.
They really are pom poms, alleged to be fashionable at the time! I think it would be rather a nice top without them.
I only seem to find eighties patterns onwards. I was lucky and found a pile of sixties ones once, but never since.
I thought of you! If they'd been knitting patterns I'd have bought them.
Oh I love the look of the Stitchcraft ones! Great finds - well done!
They're a delight!
AAAH STITCHCRAFT! WANT!

My oldest magazines are Home Notes from the 1930s, but I was dead lucky to find those. haven't found anything pre-1960s offline in years. If you ever get any duplicate Stitchcrafts, I will happily buy them off of you. I see multiple measurements, but even so only to about 42in, creeping in from the late 1950s onwards. A lot of European firms today still do limited sizing, and the assumption is indded that knitters can resize, not that they're all the same size.

The Knitter has to be challenging because Simply Knitting is easy; being both from the same publishing house its important not to cannibalise each other's market.

(Apols for typos, 'tis my ninth anniversary today and DID HAZ BOOZE!)
MINE! No duplicates so far, I'm afraid. I've seen on the Ravelry vintage knitting forum how keen people are on them but everyone seems to collect a different period. I think the wartime ones are probably those I'll keep.

Congratulations on your anniversary :-)
Heh, we'd both forgotten!

Looking through my magazines, I have no Stitchcrafts at all (the ones I've read are Kirstie's office ones), but I do have some Needlewoman and Needlecrafts.

My uncle Ken is a keen car booter, so he is under instruction to hunt out pre-1960s knitting patterns for me. He's got some good stuff so far.
Although these finds please me it's sad to think that no one wanted them. I know what you mean, I like to have books which belonged to one person.

(Anonymous)

STITCHCRAFT

AS A COLLECTOR OF 1930s STITCHCRAFT MAGAZINES, I CAN ONLY TELL YOU HOW JEALOUS I AM, I WISH I WOULD HAVE BEEN THERE, CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FIND, PLEASE PUT THEM ON EBAY SO I CAN BUY THEM HA HA XX

Re: STITCHCRAFT

Heh, I don't have such good finds very often.
You never know your luck; I may decide to do that one day :-)