Fashion · Knitting · Nostalgia

It’s knitting, Jim…

Weldons Book 345
A splendid birthday gift

It’s time to admit to myself that my knitting is stalled. There isn’t any good reason for this; I know I’m tired out a lot of the time from my workdays, and I’ve lost the momentum on my Helsinki sweater since I failed to finish it for Helsinki. I did start the final sleeve, but have only put in a few rows. Sometimes I think ‘Ooh, now would be the ideal time to pick up my knitting,’ and yet I don’t.

It isn’t as if I do anything much instead of knitting because I don’t, I just vegetate and that’s not good for the body or the soul. If I wanted to be lazy, I could at least be thinking about my knitting; I could be making plans for future projects. If I wanted to be surfing the web, I could be reading knitting blogs or looking at scrumptious wool. I’m not doing those kind of things either.

Thus, the knitting content on this knitting blog is noticeably absent.

One thing I have been thinking about is the idea of having a year where I mainly knit vintage patterns. This has been brewing since I opted to use a pattern from the 1970s for my Helsinki sweater, and then my lovely enabling sister included two vintage knitting pattern books in my birthday present and that clinched the deal.

The first book is a small booklet of stocking-stitch twin sets to knit in 2, 3 or 4-ply yarns which has the lofty claim on the cover that 81 garments can be knitted from the instructions. The ladies on the cover seem to be quite pleased about this possiblity. The original cover price was one shilling which equates to 5p in current UK currency.

Weldons size 1
Size of the booklet compared to a DVD, plus a couple of handsome faces as a bonus!

Interestingly, this is Book 345 of a regular knitting publication to which you could subscribe at the princely sum of 13/6 for 12 issues (thirteen shillings and sixpence, or 68p) or 6/9 for 6 issues (six shillings and ninepence, or 34p). There aren’t any hints about when it was published and a very cursory internet search has only picked up on the Weldon’s Practical Needlework plus a few images from the late 19th and early 20th century of knitted items. However, I strongly suspect that these patterns are from the 1950s or very early 1960s based on the style of clothes.

The knits themselves are relatively timeless. I’ve given the codicil ‘relatively’ because it all depends on your aesthetic. I know to some these will seem outdated, and the fact that the patterns call for 2-ply, 3-ply or 4-ply yarn (which would be laceweights through to sock wool at the very heaviest) would be enough to put off many knitters. Or maybe not, one of these in 4-ply wool would be a lot less frightening than something like Joji Locatelli’s Boxy Sweater which a lot of people have knitted.

I’ll go into the book in more depth in a future post but for now, what do you think? Would you knit a jumper or a twinset from this booklet?

5 thoughts on “It’s knitting, Jim…

  1. I have a collection of vintage knitting pattern books. Some are from as far back as the early 1900’s. Filet crochet was very popular at that time as well. Your knitting mojo will return when you find the right project. I find reading others blogs helps me stay inspired.

  2. I remember even as a child taking an interest in the knitting patterns in magazines when we stayed with our grandparents and I think it’s why I love a good 1960s knitting pattern! You’re so right that there’s a connection between the knitting mojo and reading blogs etc. I am sitting here with my ball of wool and the sleeve of my sweater right beside me, let’s see if I pick it up.

  3. I picked it up and started the setup rows for the aran patterning on the sleeve. Unfortunately, I was really struggling and a bit annoyed with myself for losing the great momentum I had with the aran design through the rest of the sweater. I managed the first four rows and I know I’ll soon be back on track with it, but I decided the best thing will be to pick it up again on Saturday because I know I’ve got a clear weekend where I can sit quietly and really concentrate on it.

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