Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


Ahh.... I shall borrow this one from you, I think. I love vintage clothes as well, particularly the earlier part of the 20th century, but as I don't crochet it would be silly to spend $ on a book that has a lot... but when I saw it on your blog yesterday (was it yesterday?) I knew I wanted a closer look....

And I am apple green, much like my wardrobe. :P

By Blogger Amie, at 8:54 AM  

Thanks for the play-by-play on that book -- how fun! If you were like me with my "One Skein" purchase, you were reading your book at the stoplights on your way home Thursday!

Okay, the knit-blogger who has a Vintage Knitting blog and database can be found here: She also has a lot of vintage knitting images on her Flickr account here: I sent her a bunch of .jpg's of vintage knitting postcards that I collect, so a lot of the illustrated images, (as opposed to the photographs), are from me.

Finally, here's another website devoted to Vintage Knitting:

Enjoy! :-)

By Blogger Mary, at 2:05 PM  

Oh, and I'm TEAL green, too! Whoo hoo! So glad! My favorite color matches my personality! ;-)

By Blogger Mary, at 3:23 PM  

Ooh, thanks for the book review, I was thinking of that one but hadn't had time to really look through it. That cover sweater caught my eye too.

By Blogger Catherine, at 7:39 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Saturday, March 25, 2006  

I want to tell you about Vintage Styles for Today which I purchased in Richmond. But true to TheQueen’s penchant for having to give the back story - you must understand that I am a time wrenched evacuee from Another Century (you pick, 1299, 1745, 1870, 1903 ...) who spent her childhood in her room, draped in bed sheets over a purloined crinoline snuck out of a sister’s closet or else drawing endless bell skirted dresses for paper dolls. The word Vintage is a sure fire lure for me. That these patterns were from the archives of a 100 year old yarn company is enough to assure my interest. Finally, the cover piece was a winner right off the bat. It’s a crocheted bed jacket that hints of the same curve enhancing flattery those White Lies Designs promise. A quick flip through the pages promised enough interesting designs to warrant a purchase and the book rode home in the car with me.

I have had a day or two to look it over more closely and, while I’m quite glad I purchased the book, I do have some unfulfilled desires about it and happily - I realized there was probably something I could do about them. First the good stuff - for, you must understand, that there is far more good than gripe in my reaction to this collection.

Nancy Thomas and Charlotte Quiggle did a superb job of selecting patterns that would transpose themselves into stylish, contemporary garments. Fashion is so time sensitive, so trendy, so fickle, that what looks good to your eye at one moment can be the source for snide laughter a moment later. Think "Joan Collins Shoulder Pads". Yep. Thought that would get a reaction. And yet - I loved wearing those tight skirt suits with the aircraft carrier shoulders and would do so again if they didn’t look so ... goofy! Goofy now, not goofy forever. I would venture to say that locked away in the Lion Brand archives are many patterns for things that would make me gag today, but that I will be drooling over in 2008. Just takes a little time for a silhouette to come around again.

So Kudos for those wise eyed ladies for picking the patterns they picked.

I was delighted at how much good quality crochet was offered up. The cover design that so won my heart (and that I will make, btw) is crochet. It’s down right sexy, frilly, girly but not either more frilly than I want nor so fussy it wouldn’t be fun to make. Just right, I’d say.

Not only did I like the selections - which includes several shrugs, rib warmers, bolero type tops, I thought their integration of the novelty yarns into these antique designs was very clever. I am a modest fan of novelty yarn. An unabashed magpie, I can’t resist glitter and even fluff has its appeal, though I have had enough hairy yarn for a while. But I am an old hand at fiber crafts. I know that it’s the curling fronds of eyelash yarn that, like some sea anemone beckoning to fishy prey, lures in the new knitter, the teen knitter, the folks who will keep our wonderful craft rich and alive. No new knitters and all those wonderful yarn shops will fold up their tents and fade away. I’d hate to see the landscape as dry as the desert years of the 90’s.

I very much liked the way they chose classic styles for the men and children and left the odd or strange garments to enhance the woman’s designs. This is a singular virtue, not a universal recommendation, for my men are sober and conservative and would not wear Fashion or Style if you held them at gunpoint. The patterns for the guys are classic and elegant, but absolutely not trendy. The ones for children are pretty much the same.

I absolutely loved the hat designs. I am a hat girl anyway. In any crowd, if there is only one hat, it is on my head. I adore them. Buy them. Own them. Wear them. Feel like TheQueen in them. I would rather have a new hat than ... yes. I admit it. Than new shoes - that fit!
There are basket hats, cloche hats, toques, and berets. Hats with draped over peaks, hats with knitted "feathers" (I’ll make that one, but skip the embellishment). Hats with matching gloves. Hats with matching scarves. Hats with matching muffs. Cute cute hats. Hats I would consider "real" knitted objects.

I really do like this book.

But nothing is perfect and there are a few things I would wish for.

First off - why, oh why didn’t the tell us the dates for these designs? I have enough fashion history to be able to approximate the dates of each item, going largely on the hairstyles of the models, but how easy it would have been to just put the year beside each photo. I’d have relished even more historical background, but I also understand how much work goes into a book. I’m married to a writer, after all. I see how knit-picky the publishing business is. But a date? That would have been so fun, so easy, and so true to the meaning of the word Vintage.

Second. I thought some of the original designs were better than the updated ones. Several collars and necklines were lowered, in the opinions of the editors, I suppose, to "update" the look. Wrong. A knitted coat is pretty much useless if the neckline is so low you can see the bust button on the blouse beneath. Coat = cold weather. Plunging coat neckline = misery. The original version, buttoned up to the neck, is quite pretty enough. A little boxy, mind, but lowering the neckline didn’t make it any less boxy.

One photographic fashion decision made me blink twice - on page 73 - the girl in the beautiful stole, the 3/4 length coat and silver glitter shoes - and faded grey jeans. Huh? Silver shoes and faded jeans?

The modern patterns all had a looser fit than the originals, promised up front in the introduction, to go with today’s more casual attitude about clothing and style. I could see the editors’ point and didn’t mind the adaptations, although I rather like that close fitted look of days gone by. In many cases, I thought the antique original was prettier than the modern version, but that is only a personal reaction, not something I would care to argue in a fashion debate.

Altogether, I think this is a good and worthy addition to my knitting library, and I am becoming more and more selective about adding to the titles on my shelves. I even suspect I may make one or two (or three or four, if they are hats) garments from the book. But the nicest thing this book did for me was to click on a switch in my brain. If I am so fond of vintage clothing - vintage designs, updated or not, why - I can research them and add them to my repertoire. M mentioned a knit-blogger who is compiling a database of vintage patterns. (M, dearest - please remind me of the name). But I’m a librarian, anyway. I am a researcher by profession! I can ... I can look it up!

And I shall. And a whole new room in the Aladdin’s Cave of Knitting Magic opens before me. All I had to do was open my eyes. What fun!

posted by Bess | 8:11 AM