Knitting From 60 Years Ago

Last week I took the afternoon off for my birthday and went antiquing with my dear friend Meda. We have been antiquing buddies for years, and always have fun hunting for treasures. She is the one who got me into cloche-ing. The bottom two photos in that post are from her house.

One of the things I picked up last week – a stash of old McCall’s Needlework magazines from the early 1950’s. I thought I might make some more mannequins for the shop with some of the color print ads and articles in these magazines. I had fun going through them and seeing that, although the names and styles change, you can always count on certain things with knitting:

Knitters still want their yarn to match well for each project:

People are still knitting socks:

and using sock blockers:

Colorwork is still popular:

There are always “new” techinques which will “revolutionize your knitting”:

People are still wearing needle bracelets (although back then it was a symbol of achievement on a sales person or a knitting instructor):

There are patterns and projects that still make us ask, “What were they thinking?” Like this petal hat:

Or the broken eggshell hat (not to mention those scary stuffed poodles):

Or these attractive belts:

Or these “at-home” shoes:

But the most important thing remains exactly the same, from 1952 to 2012 – always check your gauge:

It makes me wonder which 2012 patterns, techniques and accessories will cause laughter to the knitters in 2072?

Sheri lovingthecostofyarn&patternsbackthen,though


  1. i want to get men to look adoringly at ME like that, with a snap of my fingers! (Perhaps no-dye-lot wool is the secret I’ve been overlooking. Or maybe it’s her outfit…)

  2. I can’t remember knitting 60 years ago but I do remember 60s knitting. The thing I like about 21st century knitting is the use of charts. Best I recall we only used them in the 60s for colorwork. When I first saw charts I thought no no no. Now I can’t imagine how I knit without them.

  3. I LOVE the children’s sweaters. The hats are hysterical. Wish I had a waste that small again to wear the belts 🙂 I’ve seen a pattern or two on Ravelry I couldn’t believe anyone would knit (not the garment or accessory ones) :-0

  4. OK – that was pretty fun AND hilarious. Thanks for the afternoon pick-me-up (PS – find out if WS will make your extra 7 or 8 mannequins and just one more #9 for me!)

  5. I have some of those from my sweet mother-in-law’s things. Very interesting to look at. I also found an early 1900’s knitting technique book. That was a wow find!

  6. Great post. A belated Happy Birthday to you. I loved the sweaters! I’d to make the kitten sweater. 🙂 And the “at home sandals”…I thought they were pretty cool. Not so much the petal or the eggshell hat. I agree…60 years from now some of the creations from today will be laughed at!

  7. Well, I knew I was old, but I guess I didn’t know HOW old……I actually REMEMBER some of those pictures…..(as a VERY little girl)… mother knitted that petal hat!

  8. I would actually knit that broken eggshell hat. I wouldn’t wear it because I don’t think I can pull it off but it’s cute.

  9. I actually have a copy or two of Botany Knitting Magazine as well as some other knitting pattern books from the 40s and 50s…….and have taken very good care of these treasures.

  10. I think some of the knit toys will get a lot of laughs later, especially ones that reflect old things (like record players) that will be even more of a figment of their imagination 30-40 years in the future.

  11. My mom made me the kitten sweater when I was a girl and my girls got to wear it too!! She also made my brother the train sweater, which my son has worn. Fun!!

  12. The one that is going to make people laugh is that metal ring that you can hang a ball a yarn off your wrist on. I can’t walk and chew gum, much less walk and knit. Seriously.

  13. I love my gizmo that hangs from my wrist. My ball of yarn isn’t always falling to the floor and getting dirty. In fact I love all my gizmos that I have ordered from Loopy Ewe. You should see the yarn I have…………………HAPPY KNITTING.

  14. I have those sock blockers!…got them at an estate sale…fun to see the ad! I love the petal hat too and the kitchy poodles! Thanks for sharing…

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