A blog for the Mt Lawley Stitch'n'Bitchers. If you're in Perth, WA, and you like to knit, crochet or just gossip— or if you want to learn how— come down to Exomod in Mt Lawley every Monday from 7.30pm and catch some crafty action! Email Clementine for more info: indienial (at) gmail (dot) com

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I finally found my 'Knitted Garments For The Family' book. I knew I'd left it at my mum's, and every time I went round I'd scrabble furiously through the bookshleves looking for it. KGFTF cost me 50c at the Save the Children book sale last year. It is old enough not to have a publishing date, but I would hazard late 1940s (it doesn't look wartime, nor does it look like Dior's New Look has hit the silouhettes yet).
I love for a whole bunch of reasons. The little 'family' made of balls of yarn with needles stuck in for legs on the cover is only one reason.
The section on knitted homewares at the back (rugs are just like garments for your house. and isn't your house just like one of the family?)
It showcases many crazy stitch patterns otherwise lost in the vestiges of time and the middle of a Barbara Walker book. There are alternate stitch patterns (or necklines, or sleeves, or something) given for every garment so you can individualise. There are gorgeous classic cardigan aplenty.
Then, always good for a giggle, there's the false blouse front, to be worn under a jacket. It's like the front of a jumper, with a band to go round your neck and your waist to keep it on. It took motherly wisdom to explain the reason for the false blouse front was to give the appearance of clothing when one could not afford enough yarn to make a whole garment. Wouldn't want to have to take off your jacket though.
The editor seems to think it's totally reasonable that a woman would knit a long-sleeved, calf length dress entirely in three-ply yarn (that's finer than sock yarn...).
There's the shock and sense of relief that it's a different millenium one gets every time one looks at the 'neat and practical' men's cardigan knit in colours labelled as 'natural' and 'nigger' (no joke).
There's an entire section dedicated to knitted underwear. I can understand that a 'matron' may want a 'vest and pantees set' to keep her warm. But the 'French knickers' mystify me. French knickers sound brief and naughty (bearing in mind the 'sports briefs' cover anything between the the tops of your thighs and your waist). Yet the French knickers are not skimpy and delicious. They are scallop-edged, knitted shorts that go from the true waist to, well, the knee. I have no idea how clothes are supposed to go over the top of them. Not even the 'smart tailored dress for town or country wear' would prevent a terribly defined VPL (somewhere near your kneecaps).

I am queueing up for the opening of the save the children book sale this year in the hope of finding another gem like this.


Blogger Clementine said...

ooh, I have/had a book like that. It's either at my Mum's in QLD or it got thrown out in one of my many moves. It was from 1951, according to the inscription in the front ("happy birthday dear margaret, yada yada yada, May 1951"). It was a bit falling to pieces but god the patterns were awesome.

And yes, they really did seem to think it reasonable that you'd want to knit a a full length dress in 3ply, with 2mm needles... I guess patience went out with false blouse fronts, eh?

9:21 am  
Blogger spider_knit said...

I got an excellent old Patons knitting magazine for $1 at an antiques fair a while back.. several were used as a basis for the Vintage Knits book. Very cool cardigans and top, often with lace and ribbing. Very 50s stuff.


I keep looking at things like this in 4ply and thinking about wether I can get through one. Then again, I never thought I'd knit lace, so...

6:47 pm  

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