Sunday, 5 April 2015

Adventures In Stitchcraft - Still in 1933

This week, I will be sharing some of the women's knits and homewares from the February 1933 issue of Stitchcraft.

Luckily for me, the Chicago World's Fair was held in 1933. A street was designed overlooking Lake Michigan, where a number of houses were built to showcase new design and building features for modern homes.

They featured such modern conveniences as central heating, air conditioning and time-saving kitchen appliances. I love that the octagonal home (called The House of Tomorrow) even had a hangar to park the family airplane! 
And some interiors:

The White House kitchen, 1933

From a 1933 Sears and Roebuck catalogue
Designed by Alvar Aalto, 1933. The chair on the right looks exactly like the ones they still sell at Ikea.
Glass furniture was the latest fashion.
 One of the features in this issue was 'Modern Bathrooms'. 

Having the bath in a niche was typical of the era.
I found this article about how the owners updated an original 1933 bathroom, while keeping the original feel. I love it!

In other homewares, the issue featured this gorgeous embroidered bedroom set.

Love the advertisements as well!

An article in this issue states that knitted items are very much in fashion and there are some lovely knitteds to show this.

I just love the shape of the jumper (sweater)  on the cover.

This sweater is called 'Pointing To Smartness'.
'The lime green yoke of this navy jumper drops to a point at the back as well as at the front. The draped handkerchief effect at the neck is exceedingly smart and becoming.' Agreed!
It is knitted in Patons Super Scotch Fingering 2ply, which I seem to recall reading somewhere (pretty sure in one of Susan Crawford's books) is equivalent to modern 3ply. But still!

This lovely number is 'Knitted Tweed' and includes the pattern for the crochet cap with feather trim. So stylish!
It uses DK tweed wool in a brown and white mix for the body and dark brown for the trim. I just love the triangular clip fasteners.

And this is 'The Chic of Check'. 
'The check pattern of this attractive garment is extremely smart in nigger brown and natural, fastening down the front with tiny silver buttons.'

Knitted in Patons Super Scotch Fingering 4ply - I really love this one!

As this is an English magazine, the word 'nigger' seems to not have had the negative connotations that it had in the US by this time. According to the Collins Dictionary definition of nigger brown, it is an old-fashioned British term for a certain shade of brown that is now considered offensive.
Still, the use of the word made me cringe. But, as I tell my daughter who is currently studying Australian history for her final year, you need to look at historical documents from the viewpoint of the time, not from our world view. At the moment, she is studying the history of the Aboriginal people under British settlement and there are (from our world view) some horribly rascist and totally illogical justifications for removing the Aboriginal people from their land. But at the time they were considered perfectly reasonable.
So we must just ignore words like this that seem terrible to us, but at the time were just a word in common usage and were not used with any intended malice.

Here is an update on the first completed project from Adventures In Stitchcraft, the baby vest.

If anyone wishes to knit it as well, it is a very simple project. The pattern is as follows:

The pattern calls for 3 ounces (85g) of 3ply but I used 4ply sock yarn. 100g was not enough, however, (oops, so much for that experiment!), so I estimate you would need about 130g of 4 ply. The needles are No 5 US or 3.75mm. I would probably go down to 3.5 or 3.25mm needles as well, which would make it closer to a 3 month size. 
As you can probably see in the photo, the sleeves on my vest were slightly thinner and shorter than the Stitchcraft pattern, due to the fact that I was running out of yarn! When I reached the sleeves, I divided the yarn I had left in half and knitted a sleeve with each until I ran out. This is why I estimate you would use about 130g of 4ply.

Front and back in one:
Cast on 76 stitches.
1st row: k4, * p2, k2, repeat from * to the end of the row.
Repeat this row until work measures 10.5 inches from the commencement.
Next row: k4, (p2, k2) five times, cast off 28 stitches, (p2, k2) six times.

Work on the last 24 stitches as follows:
1st row: k4, * p2, k2, repeat from * to the end of the row.
Repeat this row for 2.5 inches.
Leave this stitches on a stitch holder until other shoulder is worked.

Join wool at neck edge and work on the remaining stitches to correspond, ending at the neck edge, casting on 28 stitches and working the stitches which were left on the stitch holder. (This, of course, makes the 'window' for the head hole!)
Continue in rib to correspond with the front. 
Cast off.

The sleeves:
With the right side of the work facing, commence 8 inches from the lower edge of the garment and knit up 68 stitches evenly (34 at each side of the shoulder seam).
1st row: k4, * p2, k2, repeat from * to the end of the row.
Repeat this row, decreasing once at each end of the needle in every 6th row until 62 stitches remain. Work 3 rows without shaping. Cast off. 
Work another sleeve in the same manner.

Join in the wool and using a fine crochet hook, work around the neck as follows: * 1 tr, 2 ch, repeat from * evenly all round.

Sew up side and sleeve seams. Thread a ribbon through holes at neck.

What I really love about this pattern is the wonderfully forgiving nature of the 2x2 rib. As the pattern states, the vest should fit a baby for its first year as it will stretch as the baby grows. This must also make it comfortable for baby to wear and would make it very warm as well. 
I definitely will be using this pattern again!

Before I start knitting any patterns for me, I will be going through this measuring and resizing process from Tasha's blog.  I have made so many garments for myself and been disappointed with fit, so am going to do it properly this time. Especially considering vintage magazines have super slim models with fitted garments! - not quite what I look like!

If you haven't visited Tasha at By Gum, By Golly before, head on over for a vintage treat! She has lots of lovely free vintage knitting patterns, as well as heaps of other vintage sewing, wardrobe and hairstyles tips and tutorials. 

Look forward to seeing you next week!


  1. Interesting seeing the new modern style homes and the interiors. I love the jumpers and cardigans from StitchCraft of that age very stylish. The babies vest looks lovely!

    1. Thanks for visiting! I do love all designs from the 30s. My grandparents built a house in the 30s and it still looks really great.

  2. Another interesting issue of that magazine and your baby vest has turned out beautifully :) Thank you linking up with Wool on Sundays :)

    1. Thanks! I am having fun with it - a new issue next week!