Sunday 9 June 2024

The Wheel of Fortune

I recently acquired a new addition to my collection of knitting needle gauges.  An exciting acquisition, as I had never seen one for sale before, though I knew of it from Sheila Williams book 'The History of Knitting Pin Gauges'.  On one side, it reads 'THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE WIRE GAUGE'. 

It is steel, about 6 cm. in diameter, and it measures needles from size 1 (7.5mm.) to size 24 (0.5mm).  Very roughly, the finer the smallest needle measured, the older the gauge.  Most needle gauges made since the 1950s have not measured needles smaller than size 14 (2mm.), while Chambers' Bell Gauge, patented in 1847, measured needles down to size 28 (0.375mm.).  


The Wheel of Fortune gauge dates, I believe, from the early 1900s. The other side of the gauge has the address 'Head & Son, 191A & 192A Sloane St., London S.W.'   W. H. Head & Son was a haberdashery shop - the Knitting & Crochet Guild has a copy of their catalogue and price list for Autumn and Winter, 1918-1919.  (KCG members can download a copy of the catalogue from the KCG website, and see the whole range of needlecraft supplies that the shop stocked.)  

The catalogue has two knitting needle gauges.  One is Walker's Bell Gauge, descended from Chambers' bell gauge, and the other is the shop's own Wheel of Fortune gauge.    

The description says: 'Made in Steel, very hard, exact in measurement will not alter in use, indispensable to all Ladies who Knit or Crochet. THE BEST GAUGE YET PRODUCED.'

The Wheel of Fortune gauge was on sale by at least 1909, when it was mentioned in The Queen magazine. In spite of being the BEST YET PRODUCED, it doesn't seem to have sold well.  

On the other hand, Walker's bell gauge which was also illustrated in W. H. Head's catalogue, with a small figure of an archer drawing a bow, seems to have sold much better, judging by the fact that many have survived - they can be easily found on eBay.  According to Sheila Williams' book, it had been in production for many years before the 1918-19 catalogue.  The bell had become a popular shape for needle gauges, with many different versions made. (My post on Chambers' bell gauge, linked to above, shows more than a dozen variations.)     

The 'Wheel of Fortune' was a phrase often used at the time - newspapers used it for stories of rich people who had lost all their money or people in modest circumstances who had inherited a large legacy from a long-lost relative.  It was also used more literally for roulette wheels.  I don't know why the gauge is called the 'Wheel of Fortune' - maybe just because it is circular?  

It was not in fact the first circular needle gauge: Sheila Williams shows illustrations of circular needle gauges in knitting and crochet books from the 1840s.  One of these books, by Elizabeth Jackson, says that her gauge is based on those used by wire drawers.  The Wheel of Fortune is itself called a wire gauge, because the sizes of knitting needles were the same as wire sizes at that time - metal knitting needles were basically lengths of wire.  It seems that the circular shape has been a standard for wire gauges for a long time.  I don't know anything about the history of wire gauges; I'm looking into it and will report if I find out anything interesting to knitters. 

Sunday 26 May 2024

1920s knickers

 I wrote a couple of posts last year about several knitted garments in the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection that were made in the early 1950s using Patons & Baldwins patterns from the 1920s.  Here's another:  a pair of lacy knickers.

They don't look very pretty laid out like that, but they were supposed to be worn as part of a set, and would look better with the rest of the set, and on a person.  Though loose knee-length knickers in wool still don't seem an attractive idea, to me. 

I found the pattern in the bound volumes of Beehive Recipe Cards in the British Library, which I wrote about here.  Card No. 61 has a British Museum date stamp for November 1923.  It's called the Princess design, and the set has a camisole and Princess petticoat, as well as the knickers.  

From Beehive Recipe Card 61

('Princess petticoat' was apparently a term for a garment combining a bodice and skirt part, without a waist seam.  The term was current from the late 19th century, and was advocated as a way of avoiding excessive layers of underclothing around the waist.)  I assume that the camisole draped over the model's arm, would have been worn under the petticoat, but would not then have been visible. 

All three garments have the lacy pattern knitted around the legs of the knickers, shown in close-up below. 

There are two other sets of women's underwear in the 86 cards in the British Library, both consisting of a camisole, petticoat and knickers.  The images from the cards are shown below.  

From Beehive Recipe Card No. 71

The photo from Card No. 85 shows that the legs of the knickers in this outfit are extremely wide, and also that the model is wearing what seem to be quite thick stockings .  The stockings would have been held up by either a suspender belt or garters - I'm not sure which method was current in the 1920s.  And possibly she would be wearing a corset, too.  

From Beehive Recipe Card No. 85

I suppose that these garments were quite practical, especially in winter - houses were generally not well heated at that time.  And the lace is quite pretty.  But really, I am very glad that I don't have to wear underwear like this.  We don't think of 1920s women as wearing bulky underwear, but we're too influenced by fashion drawings showing sleek silhouettes, and by modern dramas like Downton Abbey, where I doubt that the actors are wearing woolly underwear.  Most women, I'm sure, didn't look anything like fashion drawings - though that has always been true.   

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Little Dorritt wools

I saw a skein of knitting yarn in the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection recently - Little Dorritt 100% Nylon.   I remembered that I had also seen a pattern for Little Dorritt wool and nylon sock yarn among all the patterns in the collection, so I brought the two together and tried to do some research on the maker. 

Little Dorritt 100% Nylon and leaflet No. 156

The company that published the pattern and manufactured the yarn is named as George Raw Ltd., of Bingley (West Yorkshire), 'Spinners of Top Quality Hand Knitting Yarns", and the address on the pattern leaflet is Harden Beck Mills.  The valley of Harden Beck is now a pleasant wooded area of countryside, but at one time there were several textile mills along the valley, originally water powered.

I haven't managed to find out much about George Raw Ltd.  The company was certainly at Harden Beck Mills in the later 1930s.  Little Dorritt wools were advertised by a shop in Hartlepool in the early 1920s - presumably made by George Raw Ltd., and definitely wool at that point, long before nylon was introduced.  Little Dorritt wool and nylon sock yarn was more widely advertised starting in 1953 (when I think the pattern was published), and George Raw Ltd. was still at Bingley in 1958.  And then in the 1980s, Little Dorritt yarns were advertised by a completely different company - Sejeant Textiles. with the address Tobits, Werneth Low, Hyde, Cheshire.  Then it gets more mysterious:  Ravelry lists Little Dorritt 3-ply and 4-ply sock wool, both discontinued.   There are several illustrations of the 4-ply, one which is clearly the 1950s George Raw version, with "Little Dorritt" printed on the ball band in the font used on the ball of 100% nylon above, and the others the later Sejeant version. But Ravelry says that they are both King Cole yarns, (though some of the ball bands give the Sejeant name as well/instead). I guess that at some point, Sejeant took over the Little Dorritt name  and later still Sejeant started making Little Dorritt for King Cole. All very hard to disentangle.  

But the Little Dorritt 100% Nylon is worth looking at.  In the early 1950s, nylon for knitting was a revolutionary innovation. It was mothproof, didn't shrink, and washed easily.  Pure nylon knitting yarn fell out of favour fairly quickly - it is often not at all nice to knit with, and catches on the minutest irregularity in your fingers.  Wool sock yarn with nylon was also introduced in the early 1950s, like the Little Dorritt sock yarn in the pattern leaflet, and sock yarn still usually has a proportion of nylon for durability (75% wool and 25% nylon, commonly). 

Little Dorritt 100% nylon actually feels quite woolly, at least in the skein, and it might be quite pleasant to knit with (though I don't propose to try).  And although I first thought it was a small skein or hank, it is actually ready wound.  (Can you call it a ball when it's that shape?  I don't know.)  

The yarn advertises its virtues on the back of the ball band: 

A Knitting Luxury

"Little Dorritt" 100% Nylon Knitting Wool is made specially for Knitters who prefer something different.

Here is an exquisite 3-ply knitting yarn made from Nylon which is lovely to handle and extremely hard wearing though soft to the touch.

Garments made from this yarn dry quickly after washing, they do not shrink and the colours do not run.

The ball band also refers to the way the yarn is packed: 


I'm not sure how keeping it in your pocket and using it from the outside would work - a centre pull ball is more amenable to being used in a yarn holder (or pocket) in my experience, but again, I'm not going to try it with the Little Dorritt yarn - it deserves to be kept as it is. 

Although this is a very minor, forgotten byway in the history of knitting yarns, I think it's interesting that so many yarn companies were active in the mid 20th century.  They have mostly disappeared, but they evidently survived for some time - Little Dorritt yarns, apparently under the ownership of George Raw Ltd., were in production from the early 1920s (and possibly much earlier) to  at least the early 1960s.  But small companies had to compete with some very big brands (Patons & Baldwins, Ladyship, Lister and Sirdar, and later Robin, Emu and Wendy, amongst others).  The big brands had big advertising budgets and published pattern leaflets prolifically - at least 200 designs a year, in some cases.  But the little brands somehow kept going and kept introducing new yarns and new ideas, even if eventually they failed.  Well done, George Raw, whoever you were.    

Saturday 23 March 2024

An (Almost) A to Z of Knitting Needles, Part 2

In the last post, I showed knitting needle brands with names beginning A to M - here I'll show the second half of the alphabet.

You might think that it would be easy to find a needle brand for N, but the only ones we could find in the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection are a pair of Novi needles, stamped 'Novi Norway' on the head. I assume that they were made to be sold in the UK, because the word 'Norway' is in English not Norwegian.  They are the only needles in this alphabet in a metric size, and so I think they were sold here after we adopted metric needle sizes in the 1970s. Otherwise, I don't know anything about them.  

Novi Norway needles, size 3mm, 35 cm.

O is for Ostrich

Ostrich needles, size 9, 12 inch

Ostrich needles were advertised in Pins and Needles magazine in 1951.  The ad says they 'are ideal in every way being made of specially finished light alloy which gives strength and lightness.'  It goes on to say that 'their grey finish is restful to the eyes'.  That might be a reason why grey knitting needles became so common in the 1950s and later, though I suspect that it was as much to do with some advantage in manufacturing.  

Ostrich needles were made by James Smith & Sons of Redditch, who had also made Double Century needles from the 1920s until the start of WW2.  Double Century needles had a steel core coated in cream plastic (always cream), and I wrote about them here.   Steel for knitting needles wasn't available during WW2, but ads in the late 1940s showed that the company was trying to start production again.  It appears that the company switched to making Ostrich needles instead - and maybe stopped making knitting needles altogether some time in the 1950s.  
Ad for Ostrich pins & crochet hooks, 1951

Pelican needles, size 3, 10 inch

needles - no idea about these. 

Queen Bee needles, size 7, 14 inch 

For Q, we have Queen Bee needles, made for Patons & Baldwins. They are the usual metal needles - an aluminium alloy with a grey coating.   In the 1930s, P&B advertised Beehive needles, which were plastic, in bright colours, and they were often mentioned in P&B knitting patterns.  I think that Queen Bee needles were introduced in the early 1950s, and knitting patterns often recommended both Beehive and Queen Bee needles - e.g. 'Two No. 12 and two no. 10 Beehive or Queen Bee needles, measured by the Beehive gauge', in a pattern for Patons & Baldwins wool that appeared in a newspaper in 1956.  (In fact, size 12 needles (2.75 mm.) in plastic would be quite bendy, and metal needles would be much better, though also inclined to bend. I wrote about the Patons & Baldwins beehive trademark here.

Robinoid needles were made for Robert Glew & Co. of Robin Mills, Queensbury, near Bradford, a spinning company which made Robin Brand knitting yarns.  The company first published patterns in the 1930s, and specified Robinoid knitting needles and crochet hooks.  The paper label on this pair of Robinoid needles have a 1930s look, though the needles continued to be mentioned in Robin pattern leaflets into the 1960s. The needles themselves have 'ROBINOID' and the size stamped into them, with a white filling, barely visible on the turquoise needles. 

Robinoid needles, size 6, 12 inch

I wrote about Stratnoid knitting needles in 2017 here. They were patented (you can see the patent number in the second photo below) and are made of an aluminium alloy, according to the patent.  They are shiny, rustproof and light, and are some of  my favourite needles to knit with.  In spite of those advantages, which made Stratnoid needles almost unique, in the early 1960s, the company that made them (Stratton) changed the design and made them of the same grey enamelled aluminium as many other knitting needle brands.  But you can still find the original Stratnoid needles in charity shops - they were made to last. 

Stratnoid needles, size 6, 15 inch

Tightgrip needles are made of brightly coloured plastic with a black plastic head.  It was evidently quite difficult to ensure that the head would stay on a plastic needle. 'Tightgrip' says it all.  

Tightgrip needles, size 3, 12 inch

I could not find any knitting needle brand for U, but for V we have Viyella.  Viyella was originally a wool and cotton blend woven fabric, and eventually developed into a fashion chain, but in the 1930s, the company started to produce knitting yarns, with supporting pattern leaflets. Viyella knitting needles are not common, but I suppose were intended as an additional way of advertising the brand. 

Viyella needles, size 6, 12 inch

Wimberdar is, I think, one of my favourite knitting needle names. (Stratnoid is my least favourite.)  They were made by Critchley Brothers, of Stroud, who originally made pins, but diversified into all kinds of small items made of plastic (probably casein) in the 1930s.  They had two mills near Stroud, Wimberley Mill and Dark Mill, and the names were combined to give Wimberdar.  All the Wimberdar knitting needles I have seen are plastic, in many different colours, but the company did also make metal needles under the 'Quaker Girl' brand - the usual grey enamelled aluminium.  According to Grace's Guide, the company moved into making plastic fittings for the electrical industry after WW2, and later plastic pipes for land drainage. In the 1970s, manufacture of aluminium knitting needles was abandoned (again according to Grace's Guide) - presumably this was the Quaker Girl brand, and they had already stopped making the Wimberdar plastic needles. 

No X or Y, but for Z we have Zephyr needles. There are two pairs of Zephyr needles, still with their paper wrappers, in the KCG collection.  But the name Zephyr is not marked on the needles - they only have 'GAUGE 5'  engraved into the plastic.    Plastic needles marked in that way are quite common, and usually knitting needles lose their paper wrappers.  Perhaps all plastic needles marked just 'GAUGE n' are Zephyr, or perhaps there are other makes marked in the same way - who knows? 

Zephyr needles, size 5, 12 inch

So there we have 23 needle brands, from A to Z (except U, X and Y).  Only the Novi needles are marked with a size in mm., so the others pre-date the introduction of metric sizes in the UK in the 1970s.  And I think most of these needles are much earlier, from the 1930s to 1950s.  
Some of them were made by the needle and pin manufacturers based around Redditch, the traditional centre of the trade - Duralite (Alfred Shrimpton & Son), Flora Mac||Donald (Abel Morrall Ltd.), Ladybird and Milward Disc (Milward's), Ostrich (James Smith & Sons).  I would also include Stratnoid, made by Stratton & Co. of Birmingham. 
When plastics were introduced and became a common material for knitting needles and crochet hooks in the 1920s and 1930s, many companies were set up to make them.  I know that Wimberdar needles were made by Critchley brothers of Stroud, but often it is very difficult to find out anything about the makers of plastic needles. The names Bonette, Ezeenit, Ivoree, Tightgrip suggest that these needles were made by manufacturers who claimed some particular advantage to their needles, reflected in the name, but I don't know who made them, or where.  
Other brands were made for manufacturers of knitting yarns, presumably as an additional way of advertising - Anlaby, Cronit, Jaeger, Queen Bee, Robinoid, Viyella - or in one case (Golden Spinning Wheel) the needles were made for a shop  
And as I have said, some brands in my alphabet I know nothing at all about  - Hella, Kirven, .Pelican and Zephyr.  If you have any information about any of these brands, please let me know via the comments.  

Friday 27 October 2023

An (Almost) A to Z of Knitting Needle Brands

Back in 2014, the volunteers working on the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection had a week of concentrated work trying to sort out the hundreds (or thousands) of knitting needles that had been given to the collection but weren't at that point organised in any way.  We called it Hook and Needle Week, but in fact we didn't get beyond the straight, single-pointed needles until much later. The photo gives you an idea of the task we were faced with. 

During the week, one of the other volunteers decided to try to put together a set of needle brands for every letter from A to Z.  It wasn't quite possible, but almost.  This September, I gave a talk on the collection at the Guild Convention weekend, and showed an A to Z set of needles as part of the talk.  I have decided to similar needle alphabet here. 

A is for....  Actually, lots of needle brands, the most obvious being Aero - still the most common brand if you look at the knitting needles on sale in charity shops, although new Aero needles have not been on sale for many years. But here A is for a much rarer brand, Anlaby

Anlaby needles, size 4, 10 inch 

Although it is almost invisible, the needles have ANLABY REGD. 4  engraved or stamped into the plastic, and then filled with some sort of ink or paint that has almost worn off.  It is white on pink, anyway, so can't have been very obvious even when new.  Anlaby was a brand of knitting wool in the 1930s - I only know that because we have two Anlaby pattern leaflets (not in very good condition), one shown below.  

The company making Anlaby wools would not have made the needles themselves  - I imagine that they were commissioned from a knitting needle manufacturer, for sale in shops that sold the wool, as a way of promoting the brand. 

B is for Bonette - full marks for making the brand and size easily visible on the needle.   Bonette needles were advertised in 1957, though they may have been made much earlier.  They were made by a London company, and I think only made plastic needles - whereas the traditional needle manufacturers around Redditch were originally metal workers.  The name may have been intended to suggest that the needles were similar to bone (only better, presumably).  Bone was a common material for knitting needles and crochet hooks until the 1920s, when it was replaced by the early plastics. (See here for an account of how bone needles were made).  The cream colour of this pair may be intended to reinforce that, but Bonette needles were made in other colours too, though perhaps later, when bone needles were no longer made.  

Bonette needles, size 2, 12 inch 

Cronit was a brand of rayon for crochet and knitting (hence the name) in the 1940s and 50s.  Like the Anlaby needles, the Cronit needles would have been made for the Cronit company, to promote the brand. 

Cronit needles, size 8, 10 inch

These needles may have the brand name and size marked on the needles, but if so, the marking is completely invisible.  They are only identifiable because of the paper label. 

D is for Duralite.  The paper label reads Shrimpton's Duralite, so this was a brand name of Alfred Shrimpton & Son, a long-established needle manufacturing company in Redditch.  The needles are coated aluminium. 

Duralite needles, size 13, 10 inch

They have a flattened area towards the head, embossed with Duralite on one side and the size on the other.   There are Duralite crochet hooks in the collection, too, which are marked in the same way. 

I know nothing about Ezeenit needles.  We have a single needle in the collection, along with a very discoloured pair - the photo shows both ends of the single needle. It is rather soft plastic, which makes it very bendy, though in its favour, it is clearly marked.    

Ezeenit needle, size 9, 12 inch

Flora MacDonald
was a brand name of Abel Morrall Ltd., needle manufacturers in Redditch.  The name was originally used only for sewing needles, but then applied also to these unusual knitting needles.  

Flora MacDonald needles, size 7, 12 inch

The needle is only the stated size (7, i.e. 4.5 mm.) for a short length (about 4 inches) at the pointed end, the rest is much thinner.  Oddly, the narrow part of the needle is steel, while the thicker part (and the head) are some other (non-magnetic) metal.  Possibly it is an aluminium alloy, since knitting needle ads sometimes claimed that pure, uncoated aluminium could discolour knitting wool.  A size 7 needle entirely in steel would be heavy, as well as liable to rust, but I don't know why the Flora MacDonald needles were not made in the aluminium alloy throughout - as Stratnoid needles were, for instance.  It seems a bit of a gimmick - and I don't think that Flora MacDonald knitting needles were current for very long.  

The name Flora MacDonald name is stamped into the head of each needle. The thicker part of the needles is stamped with the size, and a registered design number, 703016, which dates it to 1924. 

Registered design no. 703016

The only pair of Golden Spinning Wheel needles in the Guild collection are a slightly translucent yellow (or gold) - I assume in reference to the name. 

Golden Spinning Wheel needles, size 5, 15 inch

I searched for "Golden Spinning Wheel" in the newspapers in FindMyPast,  and found a few ads for the shops of John Smith & Co. (Wools) Ltd. from the 1920s and later.  Further searching found this article on the company.  The main shop was evidently in Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, though later there were shops all over Scotland, and in England too.  The Sauchiehall shop had a golden spinning wheel as its shop sign.  The shops sold knitting wools, as well as ready-made clothing, and many other things as well.   I don't know for certain that these Golden Spinning Wheel needles were made for sale in the John Smith shops, but I think it's very likely. 

H is for Hella.  (You would think that it would be fairly easy to find knitting needles brands beginning with H, but this is the only pair in the Guild collection.) The needles are metal - not steel, so I guess an aluminium alloy.  I don't know anything else about them.   
Hella needles, size 10, 12 inch

I is for Ivoree.  (I guess now it would be spelt Ivori - equally annoying.)  We only have one Ivoree needle in the collection.  It is cream plastic,  presumably to imitate ivory, but it is not as smooth as ivory, or bone either.  

Ivoree needle, size 7, 12 inch

To represent J, I have chosen Jaeger needles.   

Jaeger needles, size 7

The Jaeger company started selling knitting wools in the 1930s, along with pattern booklets produced in association with Leach's, who published many needlecraft booklets at that time.  I wrote about one of the Jaeger pattern booklets in the collection here. The lettering on the needles dates them to the 1930s as well. 

K is for Kirven.  No idea about these. 

Kirven needles, size 8, 12 inch

Ladybird needles are white plastic, like several of the other plastic needles shown here.  We only have one pair of Ladybird needles, so I don't know if they were made in other colours too. 

Ladybird needles, size 5, 12 inch 

As well as the paper label, the needles themselves are marked, not very clearly.   

I searched (as usual) in the newspapers in FindMyPast, and found a couple of ads from 1935 mentioning Ladybird needles.  The ads were for Anchor Tricoton knitting & crochet cotton, but had a footnote in small print reading 'Always use Milward's "Ladybird" Knitting Pins and "Archerite" Crochet Hooks.'  

I think that our Ladybird knitting needles are the ones mentioned in the ads, though Milward's was one of the big needle manufacturers based in Redditch - making plastic needles would have been a significant departure for Milward's at that time. 

In the 1960s and later, there was a Ladybird brand of knitting wool associated with the Ladybird children's clothing made by the Pasold company, but I'm sure our needles are not from that time.  

I've just mentioned Milward's and we next have Milward Disc needles for the letter M.  

Milward Disc needles, size 14, 12 inch

These are grey coated aluminium needles, introduced in the late 1950s, and in production for many years.  A 1961 ad explained their advantages: 'Size recognition is easy and immediate, with the bold, clear, permanent numbers on "DISC" Knitting Pins. And with the plastic "KEEP", provided free with every pair, pairs of a size are kept together with no trouble at all.'  Milward Disc needles were produced in the same design for a long time, and were still current when metric sizes were introduced in the 1970s.  The larger sizes were made in plastic, also grey.  Milward Disc needles are still very common in charity shops.  

With M, we have finished the first half of the alphabet.  That's enough for one post - I'll finish the A-Z in the next.   

Wednesday 6 September 2023

The P&B Family Album

Patons & Baldwins became very good at advertising their wares by the 1930s.  They were publishing about 100 'Helps to Knitters' pattern leaflets every year, intended of course to sell their wools, and advertised the patterns widely.  They also published a series of free booklets, each showing many of the patterns currently available.  An imaginative example of  these booklets is the Family Album, published in 1936. 

It shows a fictional family of Mother, Father and four children.  The eldest, Priscilla, is engaged to be married; another girl, Sue, is old enough to drive a car.  Then Timothy, aged about 11, and Bill, who is a toddler.  They all wear woollies made, naturally, in Patons & Baldwins wools.  Priscilla and Sue knit their own, while Mother knits for the others.  

The six characters, plus the fiancé (David), are shown in scenes of everyday life, wearing their woollies. Here are Sue and two of her friends at the country club.  

Jumpers with collars seem to have been in fashion for women in 1936.  Here is the pattern for one of the jumpers.  

P&B 2998

Elsewhere in the album, Sue is wearing another jumper in Beehive Wool Cord:

P&B 2104

Wool cord was a thicker version of Beehive Wool String, described as 'pure wool looking just like string' - perhaps very tightly spun?  In the two jumper patterns here for Wool Cord, it's knitted on size 6 (5mm.) needles, so probably at least as thick as modern double knitting.  

Priscilla and David don't go out much, because they are saving to get married, so instead they stay at home and make a rug together.  Patons & Baldwins sold rug wool, as well as rug patterns, and many of their brochures feature rugs as well as knitwear.  

Like the other men (and Timothy) in the Album, David's knitwear isn't very interesting - they all wear V-neck sleeveless pullovers, though Timothy in one scene is shown wearing a V-neck jumper with long sleeves.  (The V neck is to show the tie, which was apparently compulsory, even for casual wear.) 

Meanwhile, Mother is shown having a morning cup of tea in bed.

How does she manage that - there's a toddler in the house!  And I imagine that Father has gone off to manage his bank - he might possibly have made the cup of tea first, but I can't imagine that he is looking after 'Bill the Baby' while Mother relaxes in bed.  But my reading of Agatha Christie and other 1930s fiction tells me that a bank manager was a well-respected member of the community, and could probably afford a maid, and possibly a nursemaid for Bill, too.   

Mother is wearing a Dressing Jacket that she (of course) made herself.  It's crocheted, with flowers embroidered around the bottom edge of each sleeve.  

P&B 2991

Here's Bill in his nursery (they obviously live in a spacious 1930s villa.)

As well as the photos of the 1930s family, there are little sketches of the imagined ancestral knitters (in the maternal line, I assume), going back to Great-great-grandmother, born in 1785, "the year James Baldwin set up in Halifax".  Great-great-grandmother used Baldwin's wools, and her descendants used 'best wools' - implicitly, the precursors of P&B 1930s wools, though in fact John Paton & Son of Alloa and J. & J. Baldwin of Halifax were separate companies until 1920. 

The main point of the Album is to show some of the P&B Helps to Knitters pattern leaflets current in 1936, and about 65 of them are illustrated, including those that various members of the family are wearing.  Members of the Knitting & Crochet Guild can download the Album from the Guild website here.  Nearly all the leaflets are in the Guild collection and members can request copies from
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