As part of my love of all things woolly and British I'm very partial to vintage knitting patterns that take you back to knitting's heyday in the 30s, 40s and 50s. In those decades knitting for most people was a cost-effective way to warmly clothe themselves and their families, wool having the property to keep a body cool in the summer and warm in winter. My grandma told me tales of unravelling old jumpers when they had worn patches or her children had grown out them so as to re-use the yarn for another project. Wasting yarn was unthinkable.
Vintage afficianado Liza Hollinghurst is publishing her first book, Vintage Knitting, in May. You can pre-order a copy at Waterstones here. Hollinghurst is an expert in vintage fashion. She writes for Her Vintage Life magazine and blogs about her life and crafts at The Vintage Knitter.
The colourful design of Vintage Knitting's front cover immediately made me want to dive on in. Inside there are 18 patterns from 1941 accompanied by original black and white photos. Patterns include underwear, a turban, sweaters, gloves, a cardigan and even a balaclava to keep the man in your life cosy outside. The patterns are a fascinating piece of social history and it's interesting to see the models' hair, make up and how they put an outfit together.
Knitting using vintage patterns is not without its challenges and Hollinghurst gives tips for the modern knitter on tension, needle sizes and suitable modern yarns to use. The patterns were originally published during the Second World War and with them comes advice on economical knitting and making new from old.
All in all this is a wonderful little hardback book that, even if you don't choose to knit any of the patterns, is a great read in itself.
For more books about vintage knitting see my previous posts: