Wednesday, 16 December 2015

An archive of wonder - part one 1920's-1950's

A few weeks ago, I, along with a group of friends, went on a very exciting day out to the Knitting and Crochet Guild Archive. The Knitting and Crochet Guild is a charity dedicated to all aspects of UK knitting and crochet, preserving the heritage of the crafts whilst encouraging it's development. The archive houses the Guild's collection of books, patterns, needles, tools, gadgets and made items.

We were booked in for a handling day which involved a tour of the archive and then a chance to see and discuss some of the items from the collection, and to handle them whilst wearing cotton gloves to prevent any damage. This was all fuelled by tea and biscuits and much excitement!

The three Guild members who were showing us around did an amazing job. They were very knowledgeable about their subjects and were really enthusiastic. They were not at all fazed by our stream of questions and the shrieks of excitement and the ooos and ahhhs that accompanied each reveal of the items. Thanks to them we had a super day.

I took so many photos of these incredible pieces that I need to split the posts about this visit into several parts! It is such an opportunity to show some of these items that I don't want to leave anything out!

The garments were all laid out on a black tablecloth for us to see them clearly. The lighting isn't always brilliant but I avoided using the flash so as to not cause any damage. If you mentally dial up the vibrancy of the colours a little then you will be on the right track! It was just great to actually be able to take photos so thanks to the Guild for letting me.

This is a lovely 1920's yellow crochet tunic.

Look how fine the work is! This is a close up of the bottom edge.

This is closer up still to show the delicate picot edging.

This copy of Fancy Needlework Illustrated contains similar patterns which helps in the correct dating of the items.

The next item we saw is this beautiful 1930's jumper. It is knitted in various pastel rayons/artsilks.

Here is a close up and you can see that the main body of the jumper is knitted in a slip stitch pattern.

This close up shows the lovely crochet neck edging. The jumper fastens with buttons at the shoulder.

This gives us a view of both the right and wrong side of the work.

This is the inside of the jumper, those coloured stripes are beautiful!

We were also shown a couple of 1930's children's dresses which were knitted from Robin patterns.

They were knitted in a mixture of rayon and angora. Here you can see the angora yoke.

This pink dress has a square necked angora yoke.

This knitted jumper is from the 1950's and is beige with a blue diamond lattice pattern on the front but not on the back. It is knitted in 3-ply wool and may  have been part of a twin set.

The blue lattice is not knitted in to the garment, it is embroidered on using straight stitch. The jumper has a centre back opening fastened with metal poppers.

We were able to learn some of the history about this jumper. It was knitted during the donor's daily commute, she knitted many item in her journeys. She also donated a brown pixie hood to the archive, I hope she used to wear them both together.

This is a 1950's knitted jacket in dusky pink 2/3-ply and was knitted from a Vogue pattern. It is really very tiny, the waist measures 22 inches.

The buttons are gilt. There is a lace inset pattern done the sides of each button band and across the bottom.

Under the cuffs and the bottom band are lined with petersham to stabilise them.

Here you can see the really neat stitches attaching the petersham to the knitted fabric.

Most of the items in the collection have been acquired through donations and the Guild are working on making sure all areas of knitting and crochet and all eras are covered.

Part two is going to focus on garments from the 1960's to the present day.