Thursday 28 June 2018

More Tools and Gadgets

A few weeks ago, a long-standing member of the Knitting & Crochet Guild sent a small group of tools and gadgets as a donation for the Guild collection.

There are only seven items in the donation, but five of them I had never seen before.

The "Carnell" needle for blanket making (at the top of the photo above) is a hook for Tunisian crochet, which can be extended, up to about twice its original length, by attaching one or both of the extra lengths of metal tube.  We have  a Carnell needle in the collection already, but this one has a rolled up set of patterns in the box, and the box is in better condition too.

Robin Silk Winder

The Robin Silk Winder is, I guess, made of some sort of pre-WW2 plastic, and would have been used for artificial silk knitting yarn - like the Felix the cat winder I showed here.  And we have a child's dress in art. silk and angora, knitted to a Robin pattern, so it's nice to imagine the silk winder being used to make the dress. 

Viyella needle gauge and row counter 

The Viyella knitting needle gauge and row counter is a small barrel-shaped object (surprisingly heavy) with the gauge holes in the ends.  We have one in the collection already, but it's useful to have an extra one that we can take to trunk shows, and let people handle it and work the counter.

ORCO Handee Gauge

ORCO Handee Gauge - U.S. Pat, 3,068,580

The ORCO Handee gauge is a patented American gadget with a sliding pointer for (I suppose) more accurate measurement - according to the patent, dated 1962, it's designed for both sewing and knitting. (Not sure yet how it ended up in this country.)

The "Little Dorrit" Triple Knitting Counter

The "Little Dorrit" Triple Knitting Counter is not one we have in the collection already, although we have other similar row counters made of card.  (I don't know why it's called the "Little Dorrit" - was she a knitter?  I could find out by reading the book, but I shan't.)  This kind of row counter seems very flimsy to me, but in fact, the pointers still work perfectly well on this one, even though it seems to have been well used.

The Wimberdar 'Positive Row Counter'

The Wimberdar 'Positive Row Counter' is a much more substantial gadget. I think it's called a positive counter because you can only change the count if you're positive that you want to do it - unlike a lot of counters where there is a wheel to turn or a pointer to move, and it could easily be done when you weren't intending to.  The Wimberdar counter has two discs with the numbers on inside the case - one counts single rows and has the numbers 0 to 9; the other counts 10s of rows and is numbered 1 to 14 (plus a blank, showing in the photo).  You change the count by inserting the end of a (fairly fine) knitting needle into the hole at the left of the window at the top, and move it to the right of the window.  When the units disc has got to 9, the hole at the left of the window is lower down, and coincides with a hole in the 10s disc, so that you move both discs at the same time.   (Hope that's clear.)  It's very clever.  There's a leather case to go with it, too.  I kind of feel that I want one, but in fact, I know that I wouldn't use it - I'd rather count rows by making pencil marks on a piece of scrap card than use a row counter.  Though if I had a really nice one like this....

'Dont Lose Your Wool' yarn holder
Finally, and my favourite, is a yarn holder in a leather case. There is a bangle to go round your wrist, made of some sort of plastic, and hanging off it, are two wooden balls that go into the middle of your ball of wool.  Thus:

The piece of wire is a bit springy, so you can compress the two balls together, to push them into the  ball of wool, and then the wire springs apart to hold the wool firmly.

I have never seen another yarn holder of a similar design, and there's nothing on the holder or case that gives any clue to who made it - the only writing is 'Dont lose your wool' on the case. A really clever design, even though they don't appear to know about apostrophes.

A very nice little group - we are very grateful for the donation.   The yarn holder will be part of a trunk show for the Lincoln branch of the Guild on Saturday.

Wednesday 6 June 2018

Pattern leaflet designs

It's been four weeks since my last post - in the meantime we have been on holiday on Greece, for two weeks,and it always takes me at least a week to catch up with life when I get back.  We had a wonderful time, with Naturally Greece, visiting two of the islands, Ikaria and Samos, and then after the official end of the holiday we had a few days in Athens.  Maybe I'll post some photos later. Maybe not.

Now I'm back to work on the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection.   Yesterday we were sorting a box of Patons & Baldwins patterns, and found this pattern for gloves and mittens - there were several copies of it.  It was published around 1950, I think.

Paton's leaflet 652

It looks at first glance as though the people in the photo are looking at an important document - perhaps architects on a site visit, looking at the plans for a building.  Or maybe engineers looking at the blueprints for a new jet aircraft.  Definitely something significant.

But when we looked more closely, the drawings on the paper are nothing like that.

Here's one that I have made clearer - it's a cartoon of a small girl who has tied up her father (?) and laid him across the model railway so that she can run over him with the train.  And the gloves in the pattern are children's, so it looks as though they are considering whether or not this is a feasible plan.

Whoever designed the covers of Patons pattern leaflets at that time evidently thought that straightforward illustrations of gloves would be too boring.  The next two leaflets were also glove patterns.  Leaflet 653 has a surreal illustration of four gloved women's hands bursting though a page of The Times.

Paton's leaflet 653

And leaflet 654 shows (the hands of) three men poring over a street map. One of the men has the inevitable pipe.  The image looks slightly sinister somehow, as though they are planning a bank robbery.

Paton's leaflet 654

Patterns for other types of clothing usually have more straightforward leaflet illustrations, though not always.  Leaflet 694 shows the model buried up to her waist, like a scene from a Samuel Beckett play.

Paton's leaflet 694

The glove patterns must have sold well - copies turn up over and over, and leaflet 652 was reprinted at least once, with the same cover illustration.  But I think I have only seen one copy of leaflet 694, in the Patons archive, though the jumpers are perfectly nice (in a 1950s way), it's a useful pattern with several options, and the bright colours are attractive.  Perhaps the idea of being buried up to the waist spoilt its appeal.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...