Thursday, 18 April 2013

1930s Chunky Knits

We were sorting more Patons patterns from the 1960s and 1970s this week, at Lee Mills, including patterns for a thick yarn called Totem.   Someone pointed these out, as a post-war innovation.  But although we think of thick yarn as new in the 1950s, it was only 'new' compared to what was available during the war.  Patons & Baldwins had had a Totem yarn in the 1930s, that was at least as thick as the 1950s version.  Here are two of the 1930s Totem patterns to prove it.  

Helps to Knitters 2164

 The Lady's Jumper pattern is knitted to a tension of 4.5 stitches to the inch (approx. 18 st. to 10 cm.) over stocking stitch with size 4 needles (6mm.).  I imagine, from the cover photo, that that is a reasonable tension for the yarn - not too loose, not too tight.  So that would make Totem somewhere around an Aran or Chunky yarn.

The House Coatee is knitted to a much looser tension - 3 st. to the inch on size E needles (whatever they are).  I'm not sure how well the House Coatee would wear, in practice.  It's knitted loosely but is intended to be close fitting - I think it would pull against the single button and stretch out of shape.  In fact, it already seems to be doing that a little bit in the photo.   Maybe if you were very slim, and didn't move and didn't breathe, that could work.         

Helps to Knitters 2158


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