Thursday, 13 March 2014

A Vintage Wool Wrapper

A wrapper from a vintage skein of yarn turned up recently at Lee Mills (just the wrapper, no yarn) in the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection.   I think it dates from 1920 or not much later -  the brand is J. & J. Baldwin's Beehive yarn, but the manufacturer is Patons & Baldwins - the two companies merged in 1920.   I like the little engravings of things you could knit with Beehive yarn - a lady's stocking, a pair of leggings for a child, a pair of baby's bootees are all easy to guess at.  The objects at the top right look like some sort of wristlet for a lady.  The drawing at the top left is, I think, a shawl - it is worn over the shoulders and the strings cross over in front and tie at the back.  (I have seen a pattern for something like that.)  All very charming, though they seem a bit old-fashioned for 1920 - similar patterns were current before the First World War.   

On a later ball band, from the 1950s or 1960s,  the company is named as Patons & Baldwins, and the beehive (which was originally the symbol of J. & J. Baldwin) still appears in vestigial form. 

And it is still there on a recent ball-band, though the Baldwin name has disappeared altogether. 

 So, you should save your ball-bands and one day they will be fascinating historic documents.  (I just found three, all different, lurking in the bottom of one of my knitting bags, so it turns out I am already saving ball bands, without actually deciding to.)  

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