Tuesday, 16 March 2021

Stitchcraft Number 2

Stitchcraft magazine was published every month for 50 years, from 1932 to 1982, except for a few years during the Second World War when paper shortages meant that it was published less often. The Knitting & Crochet Guild has copies of most issues, and I have put a pdf version of the 2nd issue, from November 1932, on the Guild website.  (The first issue, from October 1932, is there already.)  Members who are interested can download it, and maybe knit something from it. Here I'm outlining what's in this issue. 

Stitchcraft, November 1932

The cover shows that it was "for the modern woman and her home", and covered Knitting, Crochet, Embroidery and Rugwork.  Stitchcraft was owned by Patons & Baldwins, and the main purpose of the magazine was to sell the company's wools.  All the garments shown on the cover are made with P&B wools.  The company at that time also sold embroidery wool (used for the stool top) and rug wool, used for the nursery rug, embroidered in cross-stitch.   

The main image on the cover is the jumper with red and white diamonds - 'a gay colour scheme for grey November days'.  For me, it's the most attractive of the designs in the magazine, and the stranded knitting would make it very warm. 

Another of the cover designs is shown there as striped.  A note with the photo inside the magazine says: "it is a pity that, owing to the fact that blue and grey photograph alike, the striped pattern of this  charming little jumper does not show up in this illustration of it."  Sounds like someone made a mistake there. It certainly looks much more interesting on the cover, where the stripes are clear.  Although the photo doesn't show the two colours, it does show that the stitch pattern creates some texture in the fabric too. 

The other striped garment on the cover is crocheted, in three colours. I think I would like it better if the model's pose in the photo didn't look quite so awkward and uncomfortable - though a short jacket, fitted to the waist, is not something I would want to wear anyway.

The cover also shows a very charming outfit for a little girl - a dress with yellow ducks around the lower edge, and a pair of knickers to wear with it (though actually they look more like rather baggy shorts).   

The top right of the cover shows a V neck pullover and long socks.  These are intended as "Christmas presents for men who are critical!"  Perhaps it sounded rather different in the early 1930s, but I think that anyone who is critical of a hand-knitted Christmas present doesn't deserve it.  (On the other hand, knitting something as a gift for someone without checking first that it's what they want is a bit risky.)  Stitchcraft's suggestions for these undeserving men are, first, a sleeveless pullover. ("A pullover must be conservative in style to make a masculine hit, but a touch of difference in stitch is permissible.")  Then, "golfing husbands and brother will appreciate the extremely well-shaped golfing stockings", which are shaped to fit the calves, rather than relying on the stretchiness of the knit. Finally, there's a nice-looking plain cardigan with pockets, in Shetland wool (not shown on the cover).  "A rather bright navy blue is the colour that well-dressed men are choosing for their cardigans this winter."

There are several other knitting and crochet patterns inside the magazine.  The one below looks quite practical, because it's knitted in thick wool (as long as you don't mind a jacket that finishes at the waist).  "Paris sponsors short, snug-fitting jackets for winter walks. This particularly fascinating example is given especial cachet by wide ribbing, gleaming clip fasteners and the casual chic of a large soft collar. To go with it, there is a cap in the turban shape that is so smart and so universally becoming. The thickness of the attractive wool the coat and cap are knitted in make them particularly quick work."

Elsewhere in the magazine, there is an ad for the clip fasteners used on the jackets, declaring "Buttons are finished".  A bit premature, I think.  

The mention of Paris is backed up by a report by Stitchcraft's Paris correspondent, on the hand-knits shown by the Paris designers.  The sketch below shows two designs by Jean Patou, a ribbed cardigan and a zipped pullover, both worn with leather belts. 

Although it mainly carried patterns for Patons & Baldwins products, Stitchcraft gave instructions for making things in other manufacturers' (non-wool) products, too.  From this issue, you could make a "Sunshine set for morning tea".  It's intended for tea in bed: a tray cloth, tea cosy and napkin in yellow linen, with filet crochet trimmings, worked in Ardern's Star Sylko crochet cotton.  And there was a cookery page too - " 'Quick to Make' Cakes for November Teas".   At a time when Patons & Baldwins leaflets cost 2d if there was only one pattern in the leaflet, and up to 6d if there were several, it was very good value for 6d.  


  1. I saw this was now up on the Guild site. I only have one sleeve to go on my Diamonds jumper. It is a very simple pattern. Then I can move on to the next available issue!

    1. It has been on the Guild website for quite a while, and accessible to members, but I've only recently publicised it. We don't have the December 1932 issue - I think I've said that before. But next time I can get to the collection I'll get another issue to scan. I think the Diamonds jumper is the nicest pattern in the November 1932 issue - for anyone who is too old for the dress with ducks around the hem.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...