Sue's mother was a domestic science teacher and her training, in the 1930s, included needlework. Sue showed me some of the work that her mother did on her training course - a set of needlework samples.
Most of the samples demonstrate various sewing techniques, including two delightful outfits for small children. There are only three knitting samples - one is a doll's scarf to show basic casting on and off, and plain knitting (i.e. garter stitch). Then there is a leap in difficulty to knitting socks - one sample shows a sock toe, and the other a sock heel, except that the sock toe is shown in a little drawstring bag, and the sock heel is converted into a doll's bonnet. These samples also show stocking stitch and rib, so anyone who could make these three little pieces had mastered a useful range of knitting techniques. I'm sure that Sue's mother was a very competent knitter, and knitting these samples would have been a simple task for her. Perhaps the point was not to show that she could knit, but to devise a set of knitting exercises to use when teaching children to knit. I think they would have worked well - little girls could have made things for their dolls without a lot of effort, and practised several knitting techniques at the same time.
All the samples in the collection are beautifully made, but one in particular is an amazingly neat piece of work. It demonstrates darning a tear in a woven piece of cloth, and is almost invisible on the right side. (In fact, I think the line of red running stitches must be to point out where the tear actually is.)
|"Hedge tear" darn - right side|
|"Hedge tear" darn - wrong side|