Tuesday, 29 May 2012

A month of many parcels!

You know when you’ve had too many parcels delivered when your postman recognises you in the local park and says hello!  Oops :o)  To be fair, not all deliveries have been for me.  The little Y's have had some books and Lego Minifigures delivered (I love these things, so cute!) and Mr Y has had his fair share – or at least that’s the story I’m telling!

I don’t know about you, but vintage finds have been somewhat lacking recently.  Car boot sales have been disappointing with many offering up market type stalls selling new stuff, charity shop finds have been non-existent and there haven’t been any vintage fairs.  Fear not though because, love it or hate it, eBay has come up trumps – AGAIN!

First up are these knitting booklets. 

When I found the Stitchcraft magazines, I couldn’t believe my luck.  I’d been searching for these 3 illusive issues for over 6 years – seriously, it’s taken me that long to track the little blighters down.  In January 1944, Stitchcraft changed for the 3rd time since WW2 began and they reduced the number of issues published a year (i.e taking them down from 12 a year to 9), made the issues slightly bigger in content and produced more so they could be enjoyed by more people.  This means that the 1944 onwards issues are slightly easier to find but 1943 backwards are more tricky.  I have a very large collection of Stitchcraft magazines, all from the 1930’s and 1940’s but there are a few gaps in the collection, including the issues for April and October 1943 – the search continues!

Next up is this one that I had quite forgotten about as I pre-ordered it from Amazon months ago. 

This re-print of the original has a few changes in layout with the “War Years” section having black page edging so it’s easy to find.  I am waiting to get my barnet cut next week before giving some of the styles a go. 

On a Jubilee theme, I bought this gorgeous little brooch for a bargain £2.99, I couldn’t believe I was the only bidder.  Could have something to do with the fact that it’s for the wrong monarch but I love it, although I think the stones have been replaced because they’re just a little too sparkly.  I shall be wearing it this coming weekend.

Next up is this pattern.

I didn't buy this one, instead it was a gift from my mum.  Although I won’t be smocking, needlework not being a strong point of mine, I hope to use the pattern to make a dress for littlest Y.  In theory, it'll be for an event in 10 days time - in reality, as I haven't yet bought the fabric, the chances are slim.

Last up, which arrived in the post yesterday, is this magazine.

We’ve subscribed to this magazine for the last 5 years.  In my opinion, it’s very good, very nostalgic and normally has quite a bit about the 1940’s events scene.  This edition, as could only be expected, has a Jubilee theme, but there is plenty more inside, including a feature on the 1940's event at Crich Tramway museum - were you there??
Totally off topic, not vintage at all, but very, very tasty, this morning I’ve used my tried and tested Nigella Lawson Domestic Goddess book to make these moreish peanut butter cups.  I spent today with a very good friend who is celebrating her Birthday tomorrow.  She's lucky I packed these before she arrived or there wouldn't have been any left for her to take home!!  I always find it amazing how these mysteriously manage to just fall into my mouth!! :o) 

Yum, yum, yum :o)

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Delightful Dolly

Just a very quick post today, the sun is actually shinning so we're going to make the most of it but I just wanted to share this with you. 

Do you remember this jumper??

Well, on Monday, the delightful Dolly, who is the new owner of this jumper, sent me some shots of her actually wearing it.  Dolly had dressed as a member of the Women's Land Army and headed off to the Bluebell Railway's Southern at War event. 

I don't know about you, but I think she looks rather splendid!

Seeing my jumpers being worn is always the icing on the cake so if I've knitted a jumper for you, please send me a photo or two :o)

Monday, 14 May 2012

Bassingbourn 1940's event + more brooches!!

Well, we’re home and boy I’m tired so this post will be more pictures, less waffle.  My poor feet ache and Mr Y keeps laughing at me hobbling along, charmer that he is!  This was our home for the weekend, and cosy it was too.

Despite concerns about getting drenched, the weather was actually glorious and not a drop of rain fell, in fact, we are all actually a little rosier cheeked than we were.  Good old mother nature is making up for it today though because it's currently pouring!

I didn't think to take more photographs of the inside of the tent, but here are a few of our dresses.

The event was held to raise money for the Tower Museum and there were a lot of military vehicles as well as some good displays.

Saturday evening saw us at the bar, listening to a concert by Fiona Harrison, chatting to the lovely members of the Suffolk Home Guard, the re-enacting group that my Dad is part of.

The USAAF arrived at Bassingbourn in October 1942.  Standing on the run way at 10pm at night, we couldn't help but be moved by the fact that in the same spot, nearly 70 years ago, the airfield would have been filled with the heavy bombers of the 91st Bomb Group.  Makes you think of the men who flew from Bassingbourn but never returned.

I was up with the lark, well the noisy cuckoo in this case, and at 5.30am, I was stood in the middle of this freezing cold airfield (oh yes, there was really a frost!!).  I felt very privileged that we were allowed to camp on such an important site.  Silence was broken shortly after though when littlest Y decided to join me - sorry fellow campers, she hasn't yet learnt how to whisper :o)

She was adamant that she needed her brolly to shield her from the sun!!
Breakfast was served from the brilliantly stylish Tin Can Toaster.  I'm reliably informed that it was pretty tasty too. 

As you do, I managed a little shopping of my own and found this lovely knitting pattern booklet.  It’s a little battered but contains some really pretty 1930’s jumpers.

Mr Y also found me not one, but two of the wartime brooches that I collect. 

All in all we had a lovely time catching up with friends, old and new.  I took 2 more jumper orders so my order book is now full and I can't take any orders until 2013!  I can’t quite believe it. 

I’ll take a couple of days out before picking up the needles again and then we'll be starting to get ready for our next event on June 9th and 10th.

For now, I must resist the urge to crawl back under the duvet :o)

Friday, 11 May 2012

Bon voyage corsage!

Have you ever heard of the Snibston Museum??  No?  Me neither, well not until recently anyway. 

The Snibston Museum is located on the site of the former Snibston Colliery.  It’s an interactive museum with Country Park, historic colliery railway and nature reserve.  Snibston houses the largest collection of vintage clothing and costume outside of London!  Who knew?  It’s clearly a very well kept secret.  I found this clip on Youtube which showcases a little of what you'll find there. 

Looks pretty good doesn't it?  Did you see the giant image of the lady wearing a red jumper featured in the first few seconds?  It's from a Stitchcraft magazine, so stylish!  If that wasn’t enough though, there's more!!  From the 26th of this month, right the way through to May 2013, (gives you plenty of time to visit), Snibston museum are having a……….

(can you tell from the capitals that I’m a little excited???)

Picture taken from the Snibston website
Well, how does this post relate to my corsages I hear you ask.  Well, back in March at the Little Vintage Lover fair, I was approached by a lovely lady who works for the museum.  She liked my corsages and, given the new exhibition, thought that they would fit in perfectly.  I was asked whether I would send them some to be sold in the shop!  I was honoured and or course said yes.  These last couple of weeks have been filled with preparing a stack of these lovely bright bunches.

All the posies that I am sending were made using original 1940’s patterns.  I make a few tweaks to the patterns for longevity and also because, sometimes, instructions in these period magazines are somewhat lacking!

First up is the rose, which I’ve blogged about before.  It’s from an original 1941 Stitchcraft magazine.

Next is a little bunch of English marigolds, again from a 1941 pattern, but this time from a Woman and Home magazine.  Each stem is wired which means the bunch can be shaped to stand out on the lapel.  These ones are the most time consuming, the flower heads being two sizes, one just under the inch, one just over.  They are all individually hand drawn onto the felt then cut out and sewn to make individual flowers and then wired together to make a posy. 


Last, but by no means least, are these giant ones.  I got the pattern from a Needlework Illustrated magazine which I think dates from 1942.  I say think because it has no cover but it’s large in size, which makes it from the early war years, but has a stars and stripes jumper which, in my opinion, puts it post Pearl Harbour so I'm guessing 1942.  If anyone has this exact pattern and can tell me the date, I'd love to know.

The Exhibition is on for a whole year which gives me plenty of time to persuade Mr Y to go and take a look and to see my corsages.

As well as finishing the corsages, I’ve been busy getting ready for an event this weekend.  We're turning back the clock 70 years and heading off to Bassingbourn Airfield for their 1940's event.  The Memphis Belle flew from Bassingbourn during WW2 – I love the film – and I’m hoping to get some good shots to share with you next week. 

We’re camping and thankfully, after all the hail, thunder storms, down pours and generally grotty weather, the sun is shining and spring seems to have finally sprung, well for now anyway!

Wish me luck!! :o)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Housewife, 49

Over the bank holiday weekend, between dodging yet more rain, entertaining my family for my Mum’s birthday and knitting until I felt that my fingers would fall off, I found time to watch, for the millionth time, Victoria Wood’s brilliantly written “Housewife, 49”. 

The ITV drama is based on the diary that Nella Last, a housewife from Lancashire, sent in for the Mass-Observation project, that was run during the Second World War.  I watched the drama a number of years ago and was so intrigued by the life of this everyday lady that I nipped onto Amazon, as you do, and bought the book “Nella Last’s War”.  It’s simply brilliant.  It was a book that I just didn’t want to put down and this is what the blurb says; 

In September 1939, housewife and mother Nella Last began a regular diary that lasted for thirty years.  The account that she left of life during the Second World War is moving, fascination and unique.  While Nella’s younger son joined the army, she and the rest of the family tried to adapt to the transformed rhythms of life in Barrow-in-Furness, which suffered terribly from enemy bombing raids.  Writing each day for the “Mass-Observation” project, Nella grows in confidence as a result of her new work, and her diary entries tell a powerful story about the war years, covering everything from sex to the genuine fear of invasion.  This was the period in which Nella turned fifty, saw her children leave home and reviewed her life and her marriage – which eventually she compared to slavery.  This is the war as Nella Last lived it.”

The drama is as wonderful as the book, brilliantly written and incredibly well acted.  Victoria Wood is just brilliant.  There are so many things I could waffle on about, the little details in the sets, the enamel kitchen goodies, the bakelite items and a 3 piece suite, once owned by my parents, that was exactly the same as the one in Nella’s living room.  However, what I really want to share with you are the amazing jumpers.

There are quite a few pictures coming up and, unfortunately, the quality isn’t that good because my camera didn’t want to take clear pictures of my TV screen – stupid thing! 

Anyway, first up is one worn by Nella Last’s sister in-law on what was meant to be Christmas Day 1939.  The dark chocolate and pink go really well together, I'd like to replicate it one day. 

I actually have the pattern for that very jumper!  It might be that mine is a re-issue of a 1930’s pattern but I actually think the pattern is from the 1940’s.  What do you think??

The sister-in-law also gets to wear another beautiful jumper.  I believe it’s a Lavenda pattern and is called the rainbow jumper.  I have seen it knitted up before and it’s so pretty but I haven’t found a copy of the pattern yet – I shall keep looking!

There are plenty of other lovely jumpers, stripy affairs, lots for men, both fair isle and cable but I especially liked these two as well.

Out of all of the costumes, my favourite woolies were worn by a character called Evelyn.  She got to wear some beautiful pieces.

How beautiful is that mustard coloured beret?!  If I could find a pattern for that, I would be a very happy knitter :o)

Friday, 4 May 2012

Needlewoman and Needlecraft

I’m sure it’s clear from my posts that I have rather an unhealthy obsession with knitting patterns.  Not only do I collect the individual patterns but I also, as well as other publications, collect “Needlewoman and Needlecraft” magazines.  In fact, the pattern for my most requested woolly, the “waffle” jumper, comes from a Needlewoman and Needlecraft magazine.  Due to lack of sun, and it feeling far more like winter than spring, also coupled with the fact that some kind sole has shared their rotten cold with me, I’ve stayed in the warm and have had a flick through my patterns and thought I’d share a little bit of information about these fantastic magazines with you.

The first issue of Needlewoman and Needlecraft was released in January 1940 and became a quarterly magazine with other releases in April, July and October.  The magazine was the result of an amalgamation of 2 other magazines, namely Needlecraft, which was first produced in 1907, and The Needlewoman, which was first produced in 1919.  I have issues 136 (December 1933) and 193 (September 1938) of The Needlewoman.

These magazines are quite large, measuring 23cms by 30cms.  There are some lovely knitting patterns in them but, primarily, they are more geared towards needlework of the sewing kind.  I still love them though because they are a wonderful source of information for colour combinations and have some great advertisements in them.  Just look at this one for Bird’s Custard that took up the entire back cover of the December 1933 issue – oh the colours!!

When Needlewoman and Needlecraft first came out, WW2 had begun and Britain was experiencing the “phoney war”.  The size of the magazine had been reduced down to a more modest 18cms by 26cms and had 28 pages.  Sadly, I don’t own the first issue, although I’m forever searching.  The earliest in my collection is No7 from July 1941.  It has a wonderfully written foreword about “Rationing and Needlework” and “….it’s all part of the war effort….a woman needs something to help her to relax to give her jangled nerves relief”. Impossible, I know, but, when holding such a little piece of history, I always wonder what happened to the original owner and what made her keep this humble magazine, or is that only me??  The cover design on this issue is one of my favourites and features a very patriotic pair!

Unfortunately, I then have a gap in my collection so I don’t know when, but between July 1941 and July 1942, due to the paper shortages caused by WW2, the magazine decreased in size again both in measurement, down to 14cms by 21cms, and page number, down to 22. 

The next issue I have is number 11 from July 1942, followed by number 12 from October 1942 and No 13 from January 1943.  Please excuse the rubbish photographs! 

Next up are 15 through to 19.

Closely followed by 21 through to 30.

And finally 32-39.

Obviously, the wartime ones are of most interest to me.  They are peppered with references and tips on how to “make the most”, “do better” and “do without”.  They give such an insight into the life of a housewife during WW2.  How hard it must have been to make every little bit count, not like today.  Goodness knows what the 1940’s housewife would have thought of the 100+ balls of wool stashed under my bed.  Seriously, there are that many, I just can’t walk into a wool shop without taking some home with me!  Mr Y was seriously unimpressed when a further 14 balls arrived from Deramores yesterday!  I hadn’t had time to squirrel them away before he came home - oops!  However, I digress :o)

As to dating these magazines, I don’t know why, but it wasn’t until January 1945 that a date was actually printed on them and, unlike Stitchcraft, this date wasn’t on the front, but discretely placed, in tiny font, on the inside back cover.  Does anyone know why this was the case??   

Needlewoman and Needlecraft continued far beyond the 1940’s.  It had returned to it’s original, first issue, size by No.43 (July 1950) and ran until 1970, when it became “Needlewoman” before finally being incorporated into Stitchcraft.
One day, I hope that I will be able to complete my collection.  On my “to find” list are issues 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 14, 20, 31 and 40.

I know how fortunate I am to have such a collection.  They survived WW2, and previous owners cared enough about them to keep them safe for the last 70+ years so that I can enjoy them.  I intend to keep them just as safe so that others can, one day, enjoy them too :o)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Auction finds

At the weekend, we headed off to an auction.  Nothing special there you might think but this little auction, along with a lot of high end interiors, had vintage clothing!  The auction wasn’t so little in fact, as there were over 700 lots.  At 100 lots an hour, it’s safe to say that my poor feet are slowly recovering from the 7+ hours I spent standing on them. 

Was it worth it?  I certainly think it was.  I love a good auction, as I’m incredibly nosey, and enjoy having a rummage through to see what gems can be found.  From the catalogue alone, the sale had looked very promising for original vintage wear but, in reality, a lot of what was being offered was from a theatre company in Shoreditch so not much true vintage was to be had. 

However, what was there was pretty lovely.  To name but a few, coming back to Suffolk was a 1930’s Astrakhan coat, some original 1940’s shoes for the grand sum of £5!  I couldn’t believe it.  They were in a box of other, more modern, shoes that I don’t think anyone else had bothered to look into the bottom of!!  A 1930’s day dress and, my favourite, a beautiful original 1940’s coat.  The coat is amazing.  It’s made out of a heavy, corduroy feel fabric and is in a deep burgundy colour and, with the exception of the belt buckle which needs some serious attention, it’s in great condition.  To top it of, it’s a utility coat and has the all important CC41 label in the lining!  I always get excited by this label, and hope that excitement never leaves me.  It’s one of the first things I check for when purchasing original clothing, although, sadly, CC41 clothing is becoming harder to find. 

Although I haven't taken shots of the above, The sun stuck around long enough for me to get a couple of shots. 

First up are 2 original 1940’s floral aprons.  These things are so sweet, far nicer than the ones you get today.  Just look at the print on these 2.

Bonus on the green one is that it’s CC41!!  Oh yes, take a look at this.

Another purchase I made, and an auction first for me, was this small collection of knitting patterns.

They weren’t cheap and I was surprised at what they went for, I’d hoped that the eBay pattern frenzy hadn’t extended this far but, alas, it had.  They’ve been added to my ever increasing pattern collection :o)

On more woolly news, I’ve sewn up another one.

This one is in Stylecraft Olive and has such a lovely, scalloped collar.  I did battle with a circular needle to achieve it – those things are jolly hard to get the hang of!