The Man with the Golden Cardigan
December 13, 2012 8:01 AM   Subscribe

If you’re interested in vintage knitting and crochet patterns, you might like to check out Re Knitting, the blog of a retired West Yorkshire woman named Barbara who for the past two years has been helping to sort and catalogue the U.K. Knitting and Crochet Guild’s collection of magazines, pattern booklets, pattern leaflets and other publications. Barbara has posted about some of her finds among this collection, which are sometimes drool-worthy, sometimes hilarious, and always interesting. She’s come across such evocative knitting artifacts as: patterns for delicately crocheted WWI-era patriotic tea cosies and milk jug covers, the WWII-era official guide to knitting for the army, instructions for crocheting your own cloché out of paper, patterns for very sexsai 1930’s bathing suits and very mod Mary Quant sweaters, patterns for sweaters commemorating Queen Elizabeth II’s 1977 Jubilee celebration, and patterns documenting Roger Moore’s pre-James Bond career as a knitwear model.
posted by orange swan (17 comments total) 71 users marked this as a favorite

 
You got me with the James Bond in a sweater link!
posted by infini at 8:05 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I can only imagine how tortuously uncomfortable a knitted swimsuit would be.
posted by DU at 8:12 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


DU: I can only imagine how tortuously uncomfortable a knitted swimsuit would be.

Ye Gods, the sagging.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:18 AM on December 13, 2012


The chafing.
posted by DU at 8:24 AM on December 13, 2012


Why were swimsuits made out of wool? Why not cotton? Or linen?
posted by HotToddy at 9:26 AM on December 13, 2012


Plenty of swimsuits are still knit. Just machine knit, with very tiny synthetic thread.
posted by asperity at 9:26 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why were swimsuits made out of wool? Why not cotton? Or linen?

My guess is that you couldn't buy cotton or linen yarn back in those days, and that the knit fabric that was commercially made was only made with wool.
posted by orange swan at 9:33 AM on December 13, 2012


Nice, thanks orange swan!
posted by carter at 9:55 AM on December 13, 2012


This is one of my absolutely favourite knitting blogs. I contacted Barbara recently regarding a blog post she made about old Scottish woollen mills as I was able to help out. She was extremely lovely and knowledgeable in our correspondence.

Sometimes I think the so-called New Wave of knitting forgets about past generations' work and I get such a thrill when I read Barbara's blog as she's so very good at reminding us that politicised knitting isn't not a new idea &c.

In short: excited to see Barbara & her blog here on MetaFilter!
posted by kariebookish at 10:58 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


You could absolutely buy cotton, linen, and silk yarn then. The reason swimsuits were knit from wool (and it was a lightweight tropical worsted, like what men's dress pants are woven out of, not what you would knit a fisherman's sweater out of) is that wool knit doesn't stretch nearly as much when it gets wet, nor does it become translucent.

Wool knit swimsuits really aren't terrible. I've worn them in "Styles of the Centuries" fashion shows and it's like going swimming in ski underwear.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:05 AM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love this blog, and I now really want a sweater depicting the Ribblehead viaduct.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:16 AM on December 13, 2012


Also, wool that still has its natural lanolin is water-resistant, which I would imagine would be useful in a bathing suit.
posted by nonasuch at 11:21 AM on December 13, 2012


Well, I know what I'm making people for Christmas now! Hubby's getting knit swim trunks!
posted by Leezie at 12:23 PM on December 13, 2012


Also, wool will still keep you warm when it's wet, but wet cotton will make you colder.

This is a great find! I wish she scanned the instructions too. I want to make some of these!
posted by apricot at 12:24 PM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh gosh, Orange Swan, I have to leave right this second and here is this lovely thing you left on my doorstep. Well, favorited to hell. Catch ya later and a big THANK YOU.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 12:45 PM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thank you for this - I've never seen Barbara's blog and it's worth subscribing to. Apart from having interesting knitting content, she writes beautifully.
posted by andraste at 1:57 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Historical knitting is the best! Thank you, orange swan.
posted by topoisomerase at 9:53 PM on December 13, 2012


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