Friday, 5 July 2013

Poppleton's Patterns

Last week, I sorted a box of patterns issued by Richard Poppleton & Sons, a spinning company which had mills at Horbury near Wakefield.   We only have the one box of their patterns - nearly 300 different ones.  (The company no longer exists:  it was taken over by another spinning company, I think in the 1990s when hand-knitting went through a difficult time in the U.K.) 

The oldest pattern that I found was number 824, which also appeared in the earliest Poppleton's ad that I have seen, in Vogue Knitting book in 1949.   

Poppleton 847
 I don't know whether pattern 824 was the first pattern they issued (but why would they start numbering there?) or whether previous patterns had only been circulated locally, and they were trying to become better known by advertising nationally.   It must have seemed a propitious time for spinners:  in 1949, clothes rationing ended in the U.K. 

When I am sorting patterns, I look out for the ones that we have the largest number of copies of - I assume that those patterns are the ones that sold best, and so are the ones that were most attractive to knitters at the time.  One popular Poppleton's pattern is a picture sweater, with a country cottage on the front - the leaflet was advertised in 1981.  

Poppleton 1647
But the most popular of all the Poppleton's patterns seems to be a leaflet from later in the 1980s  (I guess).  It doesn't appeal to me at all as a knitting project - almost all the interest is in the yarn.  But if you wanted quick results (and it was still the 1980s and so you wanted an oversize, loose sweater) you might like it.   

Poppleton 2242
 (In fact, a designer friend tells me that over-size, loose sweaters are coming back into fashion, which seems very bad news to me.  So you might like to keep an eye on Poppleton 2242 for future reference.) 

Poppleton may seem like a jokey sort of name, but it comes from a village near York (or in fact two villages, Upper and Nether Poppleton).  And anyone who reads The Times Higher Educational Supplement (or has read it at any time over the past 30 years) will be familiar with the University of Poppleton:  Laurie Taylor writes a regular column, The Poppletonian,  about events there. 

4 comments:

  1. I'm looking for pattern 2045 can anyone helpful please x

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    1. Leaflet 2045 doesn't appear to be one that we have in the Guild collection.

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  2. I recently came across some yarn by Richard Poppleton at a thrift store. Baby blanket yarn. I'm trying to find out if there's any way to date it? Do you know? tammyhuffaker at yahoo dot com

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    1. Hi Tammy I'll reply by email - Barbara

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