PunkconformityLife, history, and the pursuit of knitting.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Vintage Pattern Acquisition

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Interestingly, being cold sheep does not actually seem to have saved me a lot of money.  The money that was previously being spent on yarn simply gets diverted into pattern acquisition.  And not just your average pattern acquisition, but fairly expensive, vintage British patterns. My relationship with pdf reproductions of vintage patterns is fraught with tension - I like that they provide access to rare patterns, but I hate having to search around them when looking for originals, and am also leery of the copyright issues involved.

 It should probably surprise no one that as a historian, I love vintage patterns.  There is something very thrilling about holding in your hands a pattern that a knitter from a previous generation liked enough to purchase and preserve. I find that the thrill is particularly strong for WWII-era British patterns.  Knowing the hardships that women of that period lived through, and the shortages and privations they had to deal with, I imagine that knitting booklets were one of the only bright spots in a frequently difficult, stressful existence.  When I hold a 1942 issue of Stitchcraft, I imagine the woman who originally received it with her post being as excited as I am to receive an issue of Interweave, and rushing inside to put on the kettle so she could sit down for twenty minutes to leaf through the patterns with her cuppa.

Bestway, Sun-Glo, and Stitchcraft are my favorites - all of which are on the pricier end of the spectrum, of course.  I love Stitchcraft in particular because of the adverts, for wonderful things like Potato Pete's Recipe Book or Bunco's Toilet Paper ("We ask your indulgence if your retailer is temporarily out of stock").

Material culture is fantastic, and as a medievalist, it is not something I'm used to possessing, so I have been - and still am - willing to spend ridiculous amounts in order to own original vintage patterns.  I just can't allow myself to spend time on Ebay and Webs within the same month.