8 Jul 2008


I received the most wonderful gift in the post yesterday from a dear reader in New Zealand.
Pearl contacted me last week to see if I would be interested in giving a home to some of her vintage knitting patterns.
Of course, I said.
When the parcel arrived yesterday I was overwhelmed and very touched that someone could be so kind and generous.


After a week of watching the fourth series of All Creatures Great and Small to accompany my knitting and marvelling at all the beautiful postwar knitting for man, woman and child this was a very appropriate gift.

The fourth series has the two Herriot children at primary school age and the Herriot family as well as Callum and Diedre have such beautiful knitwear.
I once read about an English lady who designs and knits the clothing needed for the period dramas that the UK does so well.
What a marvellous job, to research the patterns, colours and yarns used and then knit these wonderful garments that add so much to the feel of the show without screaming for attention.

If you get the chance to view these shows again and you are at all interested in knitting, look again with knitters eyes and I promise you will be richly rewarded.


I just love these young girls Tams.


Pearl ( my generous reader) said that this pattern belonged to her mother and the pattern was used to make twin sets for Pearl and her sister, the rest of the patterns were given to her by an elderly neighbour.
What a treasure trove.


This Stitchcraft magazine is actually quite small because of paper shortages, about A5 size and has cooking tips from the Ministry of Food as well as an ad for new clothes without using coupons by turning last years overcoat into a jacket and skirt.
I'm not sure if this means it is World War 2 vintage or just after as I'm not sure how long rationing of materials continued after the war.
Perhaps my UK readers might know? Maybe Natalie?

I do have a Stitchcraft magazine of my mums from the early 50s and it is a larger magazine.






Now this one is my very favourite.
This is the front cover


and this is the back


and tucked amongst the bed jackets and dressing gowns there are three sets of underwear.


With the weather we have been having lately some superfine woollen handknit underwear is starting to look attractive.


But look at this little number, sideless knickers.
I suppose because it is all in one you undid the legs at the side to go to the toilet.
The suggested yarn is lingerie silk and I can imagine that this underwear set was delicious to wear.
The crossover straps are so that it can be worn under some divine evening dress.

So that is your vintage dose for today.
I'll post the recipes tomorrow and put up some links to help with those who are wanting to make their own dolls.

19 Responses to “ ”

  1. And I notice that the underwear models are all "normal" size women not sticks on stilts! What a lovey gift jenny - how lucky you are.

  2. Oh wow... Love the vintage underwear... especially the second to last pictures. I wonder where you would find lingerie silk these days? Laceweight?

    They are running ACGandSmall on our PBS station currently, and the kids are school age, so maybe its the same series you watched? We love it on Sunday evening. RIght now, James has been pondering whether to make a move to a possible more lucrative job.

  3. Hi Robbie, yes back in the good old days when it was OK to be normal and more likely too.

  4. Hi Willowcaroline,the silk underwear is knit on UK 12 and 13s which are equivalent to 2.75 and 2.25mm needles or US size 2 and 1.

    Yes that is the same series that I have just watched. It has to go back to the library tomorrow so I'll have one last look at it today if I can.There is such a long waiting list for the various series at the library I have been waiting for about four months for this one.

  5. We are lucky here to have two PBS stations that carry the series.

    I have always loved this show since I was little and my mum used to watch it.

    I must admit I love looking at the lovely handknits. Tristan always wears lovely vests and Rosie seems to have the prettiest cardigans.

    So, can I ask, which Helen did you prefer? I quite liked Carol Drinkwater myself. Such a beautiful face.

    Knitty, Vintage and Rosy

  6. Hi Lisa, my favourite Helen was Carol Drinkwater. I agree she had such an attractive face and womanly figure.

  7. Those berets are just gorgeous. Lucky you Jenny!

  8. Amazing!

    And that last little number...wowee!

  9. I love James Herriot!! I used to watch it with my mama and still catch an episode when it's on. I can see it here every day at 17:30, but that's usually cooking time.
    When I look at all those cool patterns I get even more frustrated I'm so horrible at knitting! Perhaps I should try again, but I did a cardigan for a doll a few weeks back and even that failed miserably. :-(
    What an amazing gift from Pearl, you have your work cut out for you now! Perhaps knit them all and sell the pieces in your Etsy shop! People like me who are horrible at knitting would love it.

    Christine from the NL

  10. Wow! What treasures indeed. And we love the BBC shows here in the states, we have been watching All Creatures for awhile now. I still love Keeping Up Appearances though:-) But I know what you mean about the knitted pieces in the show--gorgeous!

  11. My family and I always loved the All Creatures Great and Small series... in fact, I was just watching it again while visiting my mum in June- brought back a lot of nice, homey memories.
    I really have to practice my knitting- look at all the wonderful things I am missing out on!

  12. The tams are breathtaking!

    I can honestly say I don't think I'll ever knit my own underwear.

  13. What a treasure, Jenny. Incidentally, today I received a lovely gift from a sweet and generous blog reader as well - a brand-new set of homeschooling books.

  14. I love those sideless step-ins! How gorgeous. I also love the models wearing their high heeled "slippers", with the boa fluff decoration. Very sweet.
    Lisa x

  15. Jenny, I meant to mention that years ago, I was producing a radio programme and had the great fortune to meet Christopher Timothy (aka james herriot) who was in Australia for some reason. He was a real sweetheart, and both myself and the presenter were just a bit wobbly about meeting him as we'd both been great fans of the show. (He wasn't wearing any knitwear at all!) Lisa x

  16. My mum was born in England in 1953 and she had a ration book.

  17. Just a quick comment on the paper shortages affecting magazines. I don't know precisely how long they lasted, but I think that it was for several years after the war ended. I found some beautiful Lux Knitting Books at the thrift store dated 1942 and 1951. The 1951 book has a blurb in the front that the 1942 book was incredibly popular and sold out within weeks, but because of the shortages they could not print another book until 1951. The one thing that baffles me is the Australian Lux Knitting book is just over 50 pages, while my Canadian one is 112 pages...

  18. I love vintage stitchery books. I was born in 1944 so perhaps they trigger some forgotten memories. My daddy wore suits to work and when they needed to be replaced, my mama turned them into suits for her. And when THEY became worn, she somehow turned them into coats for me. So I was a round little girl full of giggles and carrying a lot of doll babies while kept warm in some sort of Marlene Dietrich coat :-) She told me that when I was very small, shoes were still rationed here in the US. They bought my high top baby shoes in winter, and then when summer came and my feet were bigger, Daddy would cut the toe leather off and they became my summer 'sandals'

  19. The knitted undergarments are what we used to call snuggies...I never knew why they were so named but they kept us warm under our skirts when the wind was blowing. They used to sell them and coulotte like half slips that were decorated with such pretty lace. The older slips were so beautiful and of soft materials. I don't know where you would even find them now a days so pretty. I have through the years saved my patterns for underthings and robes and night wear and am glad I did as I can make them myself and use up the beautiful materials I already have or ones from things reused. I don't see many patterns for such things in the books anymore. Thanks you sooooo very much for all the effort you go to to show us these things. You all make me feel so good knowing other women are out there than cherish homemaking and the feminine things of life. Jody


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.