I've decided to use my unexpected free time to showcase the Patons pattern archive, which was given to the Guild a few years ago. I have picked out a pattern from each of 50 years covered by the archive, starting in 1979 (because it's 40 years ago, a nice round number), and working backwards to 1930. I'll post them over on Instagram (where I am @barbaraknitsagain), starting today with the 1979 pattern, also shown here:
Assigning dates to the patterns is sometimes a bit tricky. The later 1970s pattern leaflets have copyright dates, so that's easy. Because we have the archive, we have the master copies, and in the 1960s and 1970s, those often have the date of issue written on. In the 1950s, the company had a club for its customers, with a quarterly newsletter, Knitters Circle News, that usually mentioned a few of the latest leaflets. Otherwise, I have relied on ads in magazines - the magazines are dated, and I assume that companies would only advertise their newest patterns.
There are two periods when it's been particularly difficult to find a representative leaflet for a year. The first is during World War 2, when for several years Patons did not advertise their leaflets. They may have produced catalogues for yarn shops, but if so, we don't have any in the collection. So assigning a year of publication involves some guesswork. The other is in the early 1930s, when there are gaps in the archive. The earliest leaflet in the archive is number 170, published in the late 1920s. (The company was then called Patons & Baldwins - it had been formed by a merger of Patons of Alloa and Baldwins of Halifax in 1920.)
|Patons & Baldwins Helps to Knitters No. 170|
But I hope that Instagram users who like vintage knitting patterns will enjoy seeing the changing styles as we go back in time from 1979. If it proves popular, I might repeat the exercise, maybe with patterns for men or children.
And as I've said before, members of the Knitting & Crochet Guild can have copies of vintage Patons patterns, for personal use, on request - just email email@example.com.