Saturday, March 22, 2008

Retro Knit Easter Weekend!

Not much knitting going on here today. I have had workmen in the house most of this week, fixing up the many electrical problems I had be saving up for two mammoth sessions. Now the world is a brighter place because the lights in the dining room and bathroom now work. I also went out and got all new smoke alarms and fire extinguishers and installed them myself. Isn't life in an old house just grand? Now I have to turn my mind to other things like cooking for Easter dinner. I am supposed to make a salad, not my forte, but I decided to make one with apple slices, lettuces, crumbles of cheese and toasted pecans. I got that Trader Joe's Raspberry and Gorgonzola salad dressing, which is fabulous, and while I was there a nice lady customer told me that the Champagne Pear Vinaigrette is also great so I got that too. That taken care of, I came home and just finished making a large batch of macaroni salad. Tomorrow I will make a batch of rolls, turning on the breadmaker for the dough before I leave for church.

I like cookbooks and knitting pamphlets from the WWII years. This Bucilla booklet is from 1940, right before the war began for the United States, but it was also printed in Canada where the war was already a reality. Wartime sweaters were usually done with thicker yarns since the knitter was probably now a working person with less time for knitting. The cover shows a twin set done in two different colors. The instructions say that the cardigan is red and the pullover is blue. They are knit on size 10 needles at 4 1/2 sts per inch. The cardigan is more of a jacket since it has no closures.

The plaid cardigan is a typical 40's silhouette with wider shoulders and a fitted waist. The garment description says that it is "gay, youthful, dashing!". The Materials List says that the sweater is blue, red, and green on a white background. Look how perfectly the horizontal plaid lines match across the sleeve/armhole seam. The tops of the pockets and the bottoms of the sleeves are trimmed with a row of crochet.

Fabric was in short supply during the war so it was common for pullovers to take the place of blouses. This lacy sweater is supposed to be "ideal for suits". It has sleeves with gathered tops and is slightly longer than waist length. It is knit at 7 1/2 sts per inch on size 2 needles. I like the 1940's hairdo, too. I have always wondered how they managed that front section of hair - was it combed over some sort of form or just curled up on itself? I'll have to ask my MIL since she lived through those times.

This sporty ribbed cardigan is trimmed with front pockets that have a croched and embroidered arrow design at top and bottom. The front and neck edges also have crochet trim as does the shoulder seam. The front band is crocheted and so are the buttons.

How Hollywood is this sweater?! The pleated sleeve tops and the bodice neck and front are trimmed with rhinestones, and the waist is made narrow by using a shaped wide ribbed section. The directions call for 2 yards of rhinestone trimming, something I have never seen. The sweater is knit at 7 1/2 sts per inch on size 3 needles.

Right now I am going to relax for the first time in days and crochet on the afghan or actually work on the green cardigan which is still hanging forlornly from the knitting machine.


Anonymous said...

I love your retro Fridays, but I wish I could get the patterns your referring to... would you consider circulating them. Also have any ideas on where to get ribbon yarn these days, I can't find any here in NYC. Thanks for your blog

redpajamamama said...

Well, I really wish I could put the patterns on the blog but everything after about 1923 or 1925 is still under copyright. Some companies have gone out of business and their stuff is in the public domain, but I can't afford a copyright search to find out. There are places on the internet you can find vintage knitting patterns such as

I have seen ribbon yarn in some yarn shops, sold on very small cylinders and very very expensive. I quickly did a search and found this, for example: