A few ramblings about knitting, mainly vintage stuff and other bits and bobs

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Lister 515 - Fair Isle Skating Outfit

Fair Isle Skating Outfit
This is an amazing skating set (or just an amazing set of clothes) consisting of a Fair Isle jumper with matching hat and a flared skirt with gloves.
The Fair Isle is fully written out but there is also a rudimentary chart that is used with the written pattern to help you keep track
The jumper uses 8 colours although this could be reduced if you want a more subtle sweater
Date: estimated later 1930s
Measurements and materials
Jumper - bust 34 to 36"; length 18.5"; sleeve seam 17"
3-ply or light fingering; 3.75mm US 5, 2.75mm US 2, and 2.25mm US 1 needles.
Original used 6 ozs Lister's Lavenda 3-ply in black, 1 oz in blue, green, violet, and mauve, and 1/2 oz in yellow, stone, and pink
Cap - average adult head
3-ply or light fingering; 3.75mm US 5 and 2.25mm US 1 needles.
Original used 1 oz Lister's Lavenda 3-ply in black, 1/2 oz in green and stone
Skating Skirt - length 25" (0.5" allowed for dropping); waist adjustable
4-ply or fingering; 3.75mm US 5 and 2.75mm US 2 circular needles; 1 zip 6" long; 1 yard petersham
Original used 14 ozs Lister's Lavenda 4-ply
Gloves - Fit average woman's hand
3-ply or light fingering; 3.75mm US 5 and 2.75mm US 2 needles
Original used 2 ozs Lister's Lavenda 3-ply in black
Tension: 7 stitches and 9 rows to 1 inch using 3.75mm over stocking stitch

Monday, 9 March 2015

Pin and Needles - the ultimate craft magazine

In September 1949 a new craft magazine hit the newsagents and it's name was PINS AND NEEDLES. With their bold and bright, almost cartoon like, covers it must have been refreshing to see in the post war era.

There had been craft magazines before, most famously Stitchcraft, but nothing that had covered the range of crafts that Christine Veasey imagined for hers. I have 49 copies of this wonderful magazine ranging from the first edition until to No. 167 for December 1966. Published quarterly until November 1952 it then went bi-monthly. By March 1955 it had become successful enough to go to being a monthly publication which it continued to be into the 1980s (but under a different editor and company).

Initially it was mainly knitting and crochet with a bit of needlework or embroidery. There was the occasional wood working project, usually furniture but sometimes toys or garden items. As time passed, the subjects spread to include dress making, tatting, hair pin lace, and cooking. There was always a good coverage new sewing patterns that you could buy directly from the magazine offices. Christine Veasay went to America on regular trips and brought back ideas that were new and fresh and translated them to the British sense of taste.

In March 1955 a section called Home Making was introduced. Britain suffered a severe housing shortage during and after the Second World War but by 1951 houses were springing up all over the UK. Although a great many were council owned, tenants could decorate them as they chose and Pins and Needles was there to help. They offered decorating advice, what the latest colour schemes were, how to renovate old furniture, how to build new furniture: everything to make your house modern. Within a few months, the Home Making section had been re-branded into Weekend Workshop which was aimed more at men with 'Bertie Buggetwise' as their guide to making everything from glass topped coffee tables to built in wardrobes, and advice on how to plumb in sinks and put up tv aerials. 

Unlike Stitchcraft which was marketed by Patons and Baldwins to sell their yarns, Pins and Needles had to rely on other sources of income namely advertisers. Initially it was mainly yarn and handicraft suppliers with the odd advert for a knitting or sewing machine but as the years progressed more and more general catalogues, along with calls for people to become agents for them, became common. Whereas the early advertisers stressed their value for money and quality product, the latter ones start offering credit as a means of payment and offering the latest this and the newest that, possibly paving the way to the economic crash of 1973.

Aside from it being a crafting magazine, it also documented the changes that the British people were undergoing and reflected not just fashion trends but social and economic ones too. The Britain of the late 1940s was one of hardship, rationing and a country coming to terms with the cost, both financially and socially, of a global war. By 1957, full employment, a rise in consumerism, wages, and export led Harold MacMillan to make his 'never had it so good' speech and Britain was booming.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Pins and Needles Covers

The covers of Pins and Needles

No. 1 Winter 1949
 No. 11 Summer 1952
No. 12 Autumn 1952
No. 15 March 1953
No. 17 July 1953
No. 18 September 1953
 No. 19 November 1953
No. 20 January 1954
No. 22 May 1954
No. 27 March 1955
No. 29 May 1955
No. 32 August 1955
 No. 35 November 1955
 No. 36 December 1955
No. 37 January 1956
No. 39 March 1956
 No. 40 April 1956
 No. 41 May 1956
 No. 49 January 1957
No. 52 April 1957
 No. 53 May 1957
No. 56 August 1957
No. 58 October 1957
No. 59 November 1957
No. 60 December 1957
No. 61 January 1958
No. 62 February 1958
No. 63 March 1958
 No. 64 April 1958
No. 65 May 1958
No. 66 June 1958
No. 68 August 1958
No. 69 September 1958
No. 72 December 1958
 No. 74 February 1959
No. 75 March 1959
No. 76 April 1959
 No. 82 October 1959
No. 83 November/December 1959
No. 86 March 1960
No. 92 September 1960
No. 98 March 1961
 No. 99 April 1961
No. 121 February 1963
No. 153 October 1965
No. 167 December 1966
No. 105 October 1961
No. 124 May 1963
No. 165 November 1966