Meanwhile, over on Instagram, I have been working through my #50yearsofPatonspatterns series of posts, starting in 1979 and working backwards. We are nearly through the 1960s, and I picked two Mary Quant patterns to represent 1965 and 1966. In both years, she designed a collection of knitting and crochet patterns in Courtelle yarns, for several of the spinning companies, including Patons. There were nine Patons patterns in all, six in 1965 and three in 1966. I'll show them all here.
First the 1965 leaflets. The yarn for all six is Patons Flair, a wool-Courtelle blend, which was DK weight, to judge by the tension.
Patons 9526, below, is a skinny-rib sleeveless polo-neck sweater - perhaps not as distinctive now as it was in 1965.
Next is a ribbed cardigan, with a small collar, knitted in reverse stocking stitch, folded in half and stitched down. You were clearly not intended to wear it as an extra layer, so it's more a button-up sweater than a cardigan.
And finally, an ensemble of jumper and skirt, with a bonnet and stockings. The body of the jumper is ribbed. The skirt looks as though it is in the same rib, knitted sideways, but in fact it's knitted top down. The sleeves, stockings and bonnet are all crocheted.
It's notable that wide ribbing is a feature of all these 1965 designs, so the jumpers and dresses fit closely.
It's easy to distinguish the 1966 leaflets from the 1965 designs, across all the spinners that had these Mary Quant designs in Courtelle. The leaflets in the 1966 collection all have the Mary Quant daisy as part of the background, and the models have the Vidal Sassoon geometric hairstyle that she had adopted herself and made famous. The 1966 Patons designs are all in a pure Courtelle yarn, also a DK weight by the tension.
The first of the 1966 Patons designs is leaflet 9700 - a cardigan and stockings outfit. They are both worked in rib. The front of the cardigan has a smocked yoke, worked afterwards by using a contrast thread to bind adjacent ribs together. (The instructions for the smocking are a bit skimpy, I have to say.) There are also bands of smocking in the stockings, just below the knee - whihc looks a bit strange.
A Mary Quant exhibition is opening at the V&A next month, which I hope to get to. And there is an exhibition at the Fashion & Textile Museum on "Swinging London: A Lifestyle Revolution", until June, which features the work of Mary Quant and Terence Conran. It seems that there is a resurgence of interest in the 1960s, and Mary Quant in particular - so I'll offer this post as a knitting and crochet contribution to that.
This brings back memories for me as 9701 was the first jumper I ever knitted. I was 15 and the only items I'd knitted before were a couple of scarves, some dolls' clothes and a matinée jacket for my cousin's baby. I couldn't crochet so my granny offered to do the edgings for me. This was fine except that to finish it for me, she pressed it well using a hot iron and a damp cloth, as that was what she always did to her own woollen knits. I'd used the specified Courtelle Double Crepe in pink with maroon contrast. Sadly the jumper 'relaxed' somewhat widthways and was very baggy. My mum managed to salvage it by taking it apart and resewing the side seams. We never said anything to granny and in fact it did look very nice once mum had taken it in.ReplyDelete
I've still got the pattern and quite fancy knitting it again, maybe in silk or a silk mix. I certainly wouldn't use an acrylic - I haven't done so for decades. I'm still not much of a crocheter but now I'd ask my daughter to do the edges for me.
I remember knitting a jumper for myself in a synthetic yarn, and my mother pressed the life out of it.... I think the 9701 jumper would still look good. Maybe a cotton yarn would work too? I knitted another Mary Quant pattern from 1966 (not a Patons one) in cotton and it worked very well.Delete
Yes, cotton might well be nice. Actually I probably wouldn't do such a young style for myself, but I've 2 granddaughters aged 18 and 12 and it would certainly suit both of them. Regarding pressing, I think it was often quite disastrous,even when the pattern called for it. I remember a lovely cabled jumper that granny made, probably for one of my uncles. The cables looked beautiful before she pressed it and flat and pointless after she pressed it. No iron ever goes near my handknits.Delete
Oh yes, flattening cables, ribs and similar stitch patterns is another pitfall.Delete
I really enjoyed this. I have a couple of these patterns and would love to find them all one day. When I can knit again I will be moving some of these to the top of my list.ReplyDelete
As a member of the Knitting & Crochet Guild, you can have a copy of any of the Patons leaflets. But you might prefer to find your own originals of course.Delete
Really enjoyed this post.ReplyDelete
Makes me wiah I still had all mine and my late mother's old knitting patterns!
I still use some of my late Great-Aunt's knitting needles,passed down to me via my mother.
Good to hear that you enjoyed the post. I still have a few of my mother's knitting patterns from the 1960s, but none of her needles, though I do like knitting with vintage needles.Delete