Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Quetzals and Llamas

I have been sorting a lot of Wendy pattern leaflets from Lee Mills recently - several boxes full, of all dates from about 1950 to about 1980.  (We have many more recent leaflets as well, but I had had enough by then.)   Following my visit to see Elizabeth Forster's archive, I was hoping to find patterns designed by her.  Two Wendy patterns are illustrated in her book, The Wandering Tattler, and we found an advert for another in one of her scrapbooks.   And I did find all three. 

It was nice to see the first two in colour.  The full-colour version of the jacket with a pattern of quetzals is quite startling, in fact.   It's supposed to be a resplendent quetzal, the national emblem of Guatemala, which is mostly green with a red front says Google, so the colours are not strictly accurate, but at least they are bright enough.    The pattern of the other, with llamas, was inspired by a trip to Peru. These both date from the mid-1970s, I guess. (The book was first published in 1976.)    

The quetzal pattern leaflet is another that has a stamp from Mrs Patrick's wool shop at Broomhill in Sheffield, that I wrote about earlier.  While I was sorting all the Wendy leaflets, I found a lot with Mrs Patrick's stamp, all of the same vintage, all in pristine condition.  They must have come directly from the shop somehow, and were never sold.  We have very few records of how any of the pattern leaflets came into the collection, unfortunately.     

The third Elizabeth Forster design is a late 1960s dress and coat, in a sort of Aran style.  This pattern must have been quite popular, to judge from the fact that there are several copies in the Lee Mills collection.  

I must say I have never understood the point of short, sleeveless, woolly dresses - (quite apart from the sagging potential of knitted skirts and dresses).   If it's warm enough to wear a thick wool dress, your arms and legs freeze, surely?        


  1. Hi there
    I also have just returned to knitting, after a long absence. I too live in west yorkshire. I found some very old Bestway knitting patterns including a Twinset that I knitted many years ago. the pattern was an old one of my mums and I wore it out I loved it so much. I intend to knit it again when I find the right wool. I too am always amazed at knitted dresses. My mum once knitted a suit from a magazine. It was the whole kit and kaboodle you sent away for the wool from them and the instructions. It was a crepe like wool and the skirt was lined. My mum loved it and the texture of the knitting made it look like an expensive bought one. My mum was a very experienced knitter and I can just remember her knitting Fair Isle berets and gloves for Brown Muffs in Bradford.
    sorry run of at the keyboard again

    1. Thanks for your comment. Some of the suits that Elizabeth Forster designed and kept the samples of are really interesting textures & the stitch patterns make them look almost woven. They sounds like the sort of thing that your mum would have liked. I hope you succeed with the Bestway pattern.

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