Friday, 10 October 2014

Some Vintage Knitting Resources

In my journeys around the internet I have discovered some vintage knitting patterns and resources that I thought worth sharing.  Although I knew about Trove*, the free online archive of Australian newspapers and magazines, which contains many free patterns, it was only recently that I came across the collection of digitised knitting books put up by the State Library of Victoria, Australia.  The Australians truly are good to us.


Among the books I have found in the State Library's online collection is the 1933 edition of Woolcraft, a thoroughly useful publication containing a wide range of patterns, particularly strong on socks and baby clothes.  I have started gradually adding the patterns to Ravelry and they can be seen here; it is going to take me a while to get them all up there.  Incidentally the 1915 edition is among a range of books available here.

My personal favourite is the 1948 Woman's Knitting Book which features this dashing reindeer jumper on the cover, which unusually for the period is fully charted.  You can see the woman's role in society in flux between the wartime working women, as seen in a knitted suit, "designed primarily for the business girl or traveller" and the 1950s ideal housewives, as seen in a brightly smiling advert for "Raco Aluminium Ware", "Bright Kitchens Happy Homes".  There is a good range of patterns for all the family, including a man's skiing jumper, baby's layette, gloves, cardigans and socks.  I have added the front cover jumper to Ravelry as I thought it might appeal to those looking for a retro Christmas jumper.

woman's knitting book

Given the age of the collection it is unsurprising that there are various booklets of "service woollies" or "knitted comforts", the austerely covered booklet P&B (Patons and Baldwins) Knitting Made Easy from 1941 is part pattern catalogue, with tips on knitting for the forces and a handful of patterns.  There is also a booklet from the Australian Comforts Fund dating from 1940 and a booklet from department store Coles, Knitting for the Forces.

The last item I will mention for today is the Viyella Nursery Book, listed as dating from the 1940s and containing a great many patterns for babies and children up to five years old.  Some of the patterns are perhaps knitted with finer yarns than we might use today, but a little adaptation could make bigger garments.  There are a great many other baby booklets such as From 2 to 5: 11 smart and practical new styles, Smith's Ideal Baby knits and Toddler knits and Baby Knitting 6 months - 2 years.  Also included are a great many baby books by a lady called Ella Allan but I shall go into them in another post.

I hope you enjoy these resources as much as I have been.

P.S. My crochet blanket is making slow but steady progress.

*There is a Trove group on Ravelry whose members have been doing an amazing job of locating patterns and adding them to the pattern database.


  1. Wow that is really amazing! I have a lot of vintage patterns; maybe someday I can find time and a way of uploading them... The reindeer jumper is fab.

  2. I've got really into vintage patterns lately. The only thing I'd say about sharing them online is copyright etc. These ones are either pre-WW1/1920ish, or from government collections. The law also seems to vary by country.

    The reindeer one is fab, would make a great Christmas jumper. So unusual to have it completely charted too.

  3. Ooh, lovely ... thank you so much for sharing these links :)