Friday, 21 November 2008

A Different World

A long, long time ago, before I was married and before the responsibilities of home and small children took over, I used to go regularly with my father to visit local fleamarkets and second-hand book sales.
He was looking for authentic old fittings for our house which he was renovating, or old books for his collection, while I kept my eyes open for old needlework patterns and magazines.
This was in the early 198o's, long before eBay existed. There wasn't the level of interest in crafts then that there is now, and I was usually able to find interesting items for a pound or even 50p.

These are just a few examples of what I bought at that time.
In the early 20th century, not all publications were printed with a date, but if they aren't, you can usually get a good idea of their age by looking at the styling and advertisements.

There are some lovely illustrations.

Wouldn't you love to have these applique curtains hanging at your window? I would.
Cottage garden flowers like foxgloves were popular subjects for needlework in the 1930's.

The usual way to get your embroidery design onto fabric ready for stitching was to use a hot-iron transfer, and many magazines gave away a free transfer with each issue. In other cases the reader was invited to "send for" the transfer needed to complete the project.

I've always thought it would be quite possible to copy some of the designs, because the stitch diagrams often give all the information you need.

Crochet patterns were often designed to be worked with extremely fine thread - in this case, size 80!

I've kept them all these years, and I still like to look through them from time to time, for inspiration and just because they're so interesting. For me they bring back memories of time spent with my Dad, who encouraged my interest, and they really are an authentic glimpse into another age.