Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Wednesday Night Project 060110

'The Little Girl's Knitting and Crochet Book', front cover, 1915
What Happens When We Wind!
There's nothing wrong about the wool
When first it is untied;
The strands are lying evenly
And neatly, side by side.
But you should see what happens when
We start to wind that wool!
It gets in knots that won't come out,
No matter how we pull!
It keeps on slipping off our hands;
It tangles left and right;
And long before we're half-way through
It's in a dreadful plight!
The ball jumps down to find the cat,
And then it wanders round
And ties itself to table legs,
And things upon the ground.
And while we're looking for the ball,
Our Mother says, 'Oh dear!'
'You've got it in an awful mess!
'You'd better bring it here.'
V & A - Knitting Patterns for Children click here.
The V & A website has an array of resources and free patterns for knitters. I particularly like the 1940’s vintage patterns that are available for download by clicking here
'The balaclava helmet', from Essentials for the Forces, 1940s.
'Essentials for the Forces', Jaeger, 1940s.
'When You're "Off Duty"', from Woman's Weekly, 1940s
'A Happy Thought', from Woman's Weekly, 1940s

1940s Patterns to Knit

The 1940s in Britain was a high point for hand knitting. Women on the home front could make a contribution to the war effort by knitting for the troops using patterns that were often given away free. Many specialised patterns developed such as the balaclava helmet with ear flaps for use in telephone operations or the mittens with a separate forefinger for firing a trigger in the cold. Once the war was over both clothing and knitting wool were still rationed but people turned to knitting as a cheap way to enhance their wardrobes. Fine wool and pretty lacy patterns became fashionable.
The Archive of Art and Design holds a collection of knitting patterns from which a small selection has been made. They fall into two groups: wartime knitting and general knitting.

Knitting in the Archives

The Victoria and Albert Museum runs the Archive of Art and Design from a base in west London. The Archives collects documents related to firms and individuals who worked in the creative industries. They have a small collection of documents from people who designed knitting or who taught it or practiced it. The collection is strong on people active in the mid 20th century.

  • Eileen Calvert, knitter and needlewoman: collection, about 1930-86.

  • Elizabeth Davenport, knitwear designer: papers, 1937-88.

  • Ephemera Collections: patterns for crochet, embroidery, knitwear and sewing, 1885- about 1979.
    AAD Ephemera

  • Ethel Garnham, crocheter, knitter and seamstress: collection, about 1930-51.

  • Ramah Judah, embroiderer and knitter: collection, 1918- about 1949.

  • Knitting Patterns: about 1939- about 1959.
    AAD/1990/11, AAD/1995/34

  • Eve Sandford, knitting designer: albums, 1961-9.

Contact Details
Blythe House, 23 Blythe Road, West Kensington, London, W14 0QX, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 7603 1514
Visit The V & A website - Knitting Section here


Irene said...

Love your piece about knitting in the l940's; I was there, knitting squares in primary school. Also piece about V & A collections. Wonder if they'd like some of my old Stitchcraft magazines.

The Sunroom said...


I think that's a great idea and I'm sure they would welcome them.Failing which you could scan them and publish them online or I wold be happy to do that for you.

Best Wishes