Monday, 6 December 2010

Tea at the Vicarage

At the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate, I bought a copy of Stitchcraft from September 1934.  Amongst other things, it has several knitting patterns, almost all for clothes for (young, slim) women. There's one outfit for a toddler, but otherwise no men or children to be seen. The fashion then was to wear a close-fitting top with a long slender skirt, and many of the knitting patterns for jumpers look almost wearable today, except that they are probably too short for most of us - they are only 18 in. long.

There is also a charming ad for Patons and Baldwins knitting wools, entitled "Heard at the Vicarage sewing party". Alison, Janet and Enid are discussing the jumpers they are wearing. (It's a Knit and Natter session, in fact.) 
They are obviously intended to look (to a 1934 reader) young and fashionable, as they admire each other's handiwork, as well as the Patons and Baldwins' patterns and yarns.

Janet: ..... Patons & Baldwins never design stodgy styles. How do you like the bright idea I'm wearing now?
Alison: Lovely, dear. What pretty little cape sleeves! But you know I'm all for cosiness, so this long-sleeved style is more suitable for me.
Janet:  Well, the squiggly white hairs all over do make it attractive.

And so on...  (No idea what the "squiggly white hairs" are - the yarn is called Kempy.)

I think that the whole magazine is aimed at young women aspiring to be fashionable, though it's a bit difficult to grasp that the styles they feature were once the latest thing.  For instance, it's suggested that you could make a dressing table set with the free embroidery transfer, and it is just the sort of thing that would have appealed to my Grandma.

And elsewhere there is a puzzling piece about what an "older schoolgirl" could wear, by the magazine's Paris Correspondent. (Stitchcraft had a Paris Correspondent!)     "With the older school-girl in mind, I asked Anny Blatt to choose two models from her collection of knitted frocks".  The suggested outfits look very smart, though you wouldn't think of them as suitable for a teenager (especially as most girls then left school at 14).


  1. This post makes me smile. I also have some older magazines and wonder how people could knit those things. Yours looks more stylish, though. :)

  2. Dear Barbara
    I love the 1934 jumper and would like to knit it. Have you published the pattern online ?
    Thank you

  3. No, the pattern is not online, as far as I know. The copyright would belong to Patons, I believe, who published Stitchcraft and are still in existence.

  4. Thank you for your answer.
    Would it be possible to send me privatly the pattern ? or at least to guide me roughly through it.
    But ...if I'm not mistaken, it's not possible to contact you by email through the blog (nor for you to contact me)...

  5. I am barbaramary on Ravelry, so you could contact me that way.


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