Meet Irene Baxter
This week I had the amazingly good fortune to meet up and chat with Irene Baxter. Meeting Irene was a dream come true for me as she was one of the original mid-20th century knitting experts, working on many women’s publications and magazines in their knitting departments during her long career. So, with the wind howling around her seafront apartment (and accompanied by many varieties of delicious cake), I spent a lovely afternoon finding out about her experiences over the years.
Irene grew up around Blackheath and started work on Woman’s Weekly in 1938 as their resident knitting expert, continuing to work with them throughout the Second World War. After marrying and a brief sojourn in India where she and her husband started their family together, she returned to the UK South Coast, family in tow, and returned to work as Knitting Editor for Woman’s Realm in 1958. What started out as a 2-year contract extended into a 22 year career, during which she also headed up the Crafts Department. Her tenure there spanned enormous changes in the approach to hand knitting, yarn innovations, and peaks and troughs in handknit popularity.
I’ve condensed our chat, making it briefer to cut out some of our tangents, but you can also download a full transcript of our conversation. (more…)
Lee Target Cardigan Revisited
A lovely lady got in touch recently to let me know she’d successfully knit up one of the free patterns offered by Skiff – and what a great result!
Sounds like it all went smoothly: using Patons Merino she found she didn’t find the need to adapt the pattern in any way. Says Claudia “I think the tension squares are key when doing vintage patterns, and this wool and needle combo seemed to work.” Here here.
With vintage buttons from her gran’s sewing box to finish off, the finished article looks stunning, and I love that shade of red (my fave colour).
Fancy giving it a go yourself? You can find the pattern over on the Free Vintage Knitting Patterns page – please send in more pictures of any items you finish using a Skiff pattern (bought or free), I love seeing the fledglings hatch …
Skiff Vintage Knitting Club: Susan Crawford
Crikey it’s opening night down at the old Skiff Vintage Knitting Club … the martinis are flowing, the piano player’s in full flow and your investigative reporter (that’s me) is grabbing the moment and chatting to any happy souls who happen to pass through and spend a few moments reclining on the red velvet chaise. I’m fascinated by what drives other vintage knitters on, and I’ll be inviting inspirational ladies (and gents) to join me in Skiff’s exclusive basement club … the company’s scintillating, the answers are fascinating and every Q&A will tell a personal story, not just about vintage knitting, but what makes knitters tick in general.
First to join me is the lovely (and prolific) Susan Crawford, knitwear designer, lecturer, co-author of ‘A Stitch in Time, Vintage Knitting and Crochet Patterns 1921-1949′ and the editor of Knit On The Net … did I mention she was prolific? Step inside and help yourself to some canapés …