Thursday, 4 July 2013

A plethora of patterns. Part One.

Shall we start with a bit of a scary one?

A doll's set for a doll that I find a little freaky. The pattern is in 3-ply and is for a dress, coat, bonnet, bootees, vest and pilch. The pilch is the garment that looks like knickers that would cover a nappy. I like this set for its pretty lace detail, the fact that it offers a complete outfit and the colours in the pattern cover. I love Lavenda pattern covers, they are always so pretty.

A couple of weeks ago my friend was given a plethora of patterns from a customer of hers. What a fantastic customer! There was a huge pile and my friend, having sent me tantalising glimpses of patterns via Facebook, got me sat down with a cuppa to have a look through. The patterns ranged from the 1940s to 1980s, from men's to women's, to children's, to accessories. There were 1980s cartoon intarsia jumpers, 1950s crochet shawls, 1970s aran jumpers and 1940s bedjackets to name a few.

My friend and I have a huge love for vintage knitting patterns so I had a very happy time going through the pile. I have pulled out a few of my favourites to look at in a little more detail.

You might wonder what makes a favourite knitting pattern. The first and most obvious is that it is one that I wish to knit, either for me or as a gift or to sell. It maybe the shape, the stitch pattern, the styling or because there is a gap in my wardrobe that I need to fill. However, there are many other reasons. I might love the colouring or styling of the picture on the pattern cover. I might collect a particular yarn company's patterns (the Lavenda ones for example). It might be Fair Isle. It might fit a sub collection of my collection (oh yes, they exist!) like bedjackets, children's cardigans with intarsia patterns, arans, crochet dresses, men smoking in the picture, 1940s Forces patterns. It might have something that makes me laugh like 1970's male models with huge moustaches or 1960/70's family patterns where everyone has a version of the same jumper on. With 1940s and 1950s patterns it may just be the hairstyle, makeup or eyebrows (yes really) of the model. These are a few of the things that make me choose one pattern over another.

So here are four from the big pattern pile that go in my bedjacket collection.

This ticks several boxes. It is by Lavenda, the colouring and styling is gorgeous, the hair and make up is interesting and I really like bedjackets with a big ribbon bow. This is knitted in 3-ply.

These two are in the same pattern booklet, it is always a bonus when you like them both. It is a Patons and Baldwins 1950's pattern. The top one is called 'pretty as porcelain' and is knitted in white and blue. I do like it when the pattern has a name interesting description and when the original colour choice is given. I might not necessarily use those colours but I like knowing what people at the time had in mind. The bottom pattern is called 'fuzzy-wuzzy yoke and lacy stitch'. The fuzzy-wuzzy wool is angora.

This is a Target pattern knitted in the round with a beautiful diamond lattice pattern and knit and purl panels. It is so glamorous, much more chic than a dressing gown!

When looking through a pile of patterns one of my tips is to remember to turn them over and see what is on the back. Sometimes it is just a continuation of the written pattern but sometimes it is a fantastic haberdashery advert, see this post for some examples. Sometimes there are adverts by the yarn company for other patterns. Although this can be frustrating if you see one that you would really want, it is a great way to check out fashions of the time. The next two pictures are patterns advertised on the back of the circular bedcape.

A glorious Welsh dragon.

A fantastic alpine skiing scene.

The big pattern pile yielded up some lovely knits for babies and children. I love seeing children in hand knits, they looks so comfy and cosy and stylish and individual.

You can see that this is in bad condition but in a way I like that as it means it has been used and those garments have been knitted, probably many times. I like that connection to knitters of the past. These are 'designed by "Ena" of Home Fashions and Children's dress' and are 'two comfy cardigans for tinies of one to two years'. The top is 'the fancy stitch style', the bottom is 'the bordered style' with a pretty floral border above the rib.

This is another Target pattern for ages 3 months to 2 years so you got quite a lot for your 9d with this pattern. The bottom left is the matinee coat for 3-6 months with a single button square neck. The other matinee coat in blue is for age 6-12 months and features a patterned skirt. These would be unisex. The bottom right is the crossover cardigan for 12-18 months. The top right is the embroidered cardigan for 2 years. It has lazy daisy flowers embroidered on after the cardigan has been knitted.

This is the most modern of the children's patterns but I am showing them in order of age of child to give a glimpse into the knitted wardrobe that a child may have had and have been through as they got older. Model A has an all over lace pattern, Model B has a lace pattern on the raglan sleeves. The top cardigan is a raglan with a small lace pattern alongside the button band.

The Sirdar Sunshine series is another of my sub-collections. This one has three baby's cardigans for 18 months to 2 years. I like the fact that many vintage patterns are much less gender specific for babies than modern ones seem to be, and the colours are often more interesting than pink or blue. Model A has a V neck and a lace join at the raglan sleeves. Model B has a lovely neck and button band border and is double breasted. Model C has a high round neck and cables bordering the button band.

From the same Sunshine series, three girl's cardigans age 2,3 and 4 years. Model A with the rabbit border is for 2 year olds. Model B with the Fair Isle border pattern is for 3 year olds; Model C with the floral border is for 4 year olds. All have raglan sleeves; a couple of mums have told me that this makes it easier to get the babies arms in and out of their cardigans. Even if I had not liked the cardigans I would have picked this pattern out because of the random toy poodles. Random props is another sub-collection!

Three Patons and Baldwins Quickerknit Woollies for girls age 2 years. I have just completed a matinee jacket in this pattern range. This pattern has a lovely bolero (bottom left), a lace panel jersey (bottom right) and a lace pattern cardigan. I think they are really sweet garments.

This is one of my friend's favourites from the pile, (she loves green), and it ticks many boxes for me. I love the colours and the styling. I love that it is two really presentable little boys in their smart outfits with clean white socks and proper shoes. I love that it is a little twinset for boys. I love the stripy jumper. I love that the six year old in the picture is wearing a tie! It is fabulous.

I also found two gorgeous twinsets for women.

This is a lacy jumper with a cardigan with matching lace panels.It is very pretty. It also comes in a range of sizes from a 34-40 inch bust. It can be hard to find vintage patterns larger than a 34-36 inch bust so this makes a happy change.

This is a glorious twinset; the lace pattern looks like little ears of wheat. It is a nice touch that the pattern on the jumper is in a V shape at the top so that when the V neck cardigan is done up the pattern continues across.

Some lovely accessories for the final pattern in Part One.

What a fun beret! Using the fuzzy-wuzzy angora wool as spokes gives it such an interesting and pretty effect. The gloves are angora on the backs and 3-ply wool on the palms. The scarf is stripes of these two yarns. I think this makes a gorgeous set.

These are just a few out of the plethora of patterns. More coming in Part Two and Part Three!


  1. Wow, wow, wow!!! Goodness girl, what a treasure trove of yesteryear knitting fabulousness! One viewing wasn't enough to savour it all in, nor was two. I had to scroll through three times (and will be going back for a fourth), sighing (in happiness) and swooning all the way through. Each is marvelous (even the slightly creepy doll set), but I think the dragon sweater is my very favourite.

    Wishing you a stellar weekend, my dear friend!
    ♥ Jessica

    1. I am so glad that you enjoyed yourself when you looked through this post. I did so many little squeaks of excitement and just when I thought I had found the pattern that I liked the most I found another that topped it! I do wish I had the pattern for the dragon jumper, I will keep looking out for it!