Wednesday, 14 January 2015

More Knitting Patterns

Hayfield 1569

Yesterday, we were working at Lee Mills, where the Knitting & Crochet Guild's collection is kept. One of the other volunteers was sorting a couple of boxes of pattern leaflets into numerical order, and said that it seemed to be a never-ending task. As soon as we think we're nearly finished, another boxful or crateful of patterns turns up.  I said that wasn't so at all, and we are making progress, even if it's slow, and we aren't likely to get any more large acquisitions of pattern leaflets.

 I should have known better. Within the hour, someone came round from the next-door premises with four binders of Hayfield pattern leaflets that had been left for us.  They came from the cellar of the local post office, which is also a general store and evidently used to sell Hayfield patterns (and yarn as well, presumably) in the 1980s.   These patterns had been there ever since, and the man who kept the Post office was having a clear-out and passed them on to us.

The binders themselves were extremely grubby from being in the cellar, but the patterns were in plastic sleeves and so were still in good condition.   I have picked out a few;  I chose leaflet 1569, because I like to see a sweater with a landscape knitted on the front.  Even though I have never made or worn one, and don't plan to either, they are quite cheering.

Hayfield 1561

Some of the designs still look wearable, like Hayfield 1561.  That one has a slightly 1930s look to me, in fact, so it is not so obviously 1980s as some of the others.

My favourite leaflets, because of their cover illustrations, are a batch for a yarn called Gaucho.  The stylist appears to have thought: "Gaucho - Argentinian cowboy - American West - Arizona - Mexico - desert - cactus..."   Some of the designs do have a hint of South America, like the llamas on the jacket in no. 1611, though the Aran-style sweater in no 1610 looks a bit out of place.  

 But the best part is the setting.    It's evidently meant to look like desert, somewhere in America, but the leaflets give the location as Sand Quarry, in Addington, Kent.   The broom and laurel (both European)  give the game away, too.   That cactus is plastic, surely.  (I think there's only one of it, and it's being moved around.)  And the rock that the model is sitting on (no. 1620) doesn't look convincing either.

Hayfield 1611
Hayfield 1610
Hayfield 1620, with a cactus photobomb
This batch of Hayfield patterns is a welcome addition to the collection (even though they will have to be sorted...).  Most of the patterns in the collection came from the personal collections amassed by lots of individual knitters - patterns they bought because they planned to knit them.  What you get from that kind of source is a bit hit-and-miss, and stock from a shop will fill in a lot of gaps.  And of course the leaflets are unused - not creased, or worn, or with the little annotations that a lot of knitters (including me) make on their patterns as they are knitting.  We are very grateful to the donor.  


  1. Haha it's funny seeing where the locations actually are! And on closer inspection, the rock and the cactus DO look a bit plastic-y... I have a really similar pattern to the first one, it catches me eye every now and then but I'm not sure I'd have the patience to actually make it! :)

  2. These are great, thanks for sharing. I'm so happy to have discovered your blog, I love all aspects of knitting history.

    1. Thanks for the comment - glad to hear you're enjoying the blog.


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