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.