Home Notes April 1935
I was lucky enough to come across a number of early 1900s and 1930s Home Notes magazines recently. Loathe as I am to part with them, I know they’ll just end up sitting wrapped up in cellophane in my vintage knitting/magazine collection, so I’ve loaded them up onto the site. Of course, that couldn’t just be the end of it … I sat browsing through them and realised the descriptions were getting longer and longer as I got lost in these fascinating snapshots of a complicated era, so my explorations have ended up here instead.
Home Notes was a women’s magazine including fashion features, stories, recipes, advice and knitting patterns … there’s not a lot of information out there, but from what I can gather it possibly ran from the early 1890s – 1960s, hitting its readership peak in the 1950s.
I’m presently lost in the April 1935 edition – the magazine flaunts its debs and celebs like the the 1930s depression had never happened and it’s an odd mixture of ‘ladies, know your place’ and female pioneering spirit. An advert for Ovaltine is endorsed by the actress Ida Lupino, who went on to be the only woman director in Hollywood in the ’40s. An article by Dorothy Crosbie is entitled ‘I Don’t Envy Today’s Debs’ with the byline ‘Miss Modern’s struggle for a good time is too much like hard work‘, and concludes ‘Now Miss 1935. I want you to look at yourself and take stock of your assets. Are you pretty, smart, well-groomed, intelligent and socially presentable? Yes? Well then, why in the world is it necessary for you to indulge in this breath-taking pursuit of anything male?‘ Read the rest of this entry »
I had an email the other day from somebody asking me why I’m not selling .pdf copies of patterns instead of the originals.
It’s a good question and a hotly debated topic over on the relevant Ravelry boards - I’m sure there are more sales and profit to be made through selling copies (although to be honest I’m never going to fund that pied-a-terre in Paris through vintage pattern proceeds, originals or copies).
This isn’t going to be an in-depth post about copyright licencing, but briefly … UK creative licence states that copyright remains in force for the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years or, where the author is unknown, 70 years from the date the pattern was published (see the UK Copyright Service website for more info). I know there are many people out there selling copies of patterns and it’s unlikely there’ll be any comeback – it seems to be nigh on impossible to trace who created the patterns in the first place and the larger concerns who bought up some of the vintage companies in the ’50s and ’60s don’t seem to be overly quick to respond to any queries (although I’d be sweating slightly if I was selling any Vogue pattern copies.)
I’d feel uncomfortable about selling vintage patterns without at least trying to do some research, but sadly I just don’t have the time to do this at present. The fact that the author is untraceable makes me feel a little sad too – these fantastic designs were created by unsung talented designers and, at the risk of sounding a bit pompous, I’d rather not cash in on the fact that they weren’t properly recognised at the time.
Besides all that the patterns themselves are rather special items and that’s the business I’m in – selling the original patterns not the copies *insert usual book-championing arguments I’m prone to spout at the drop of a hat in the face of any pro-Kindle debates*. Admittedly it makes the patterns harder to part with but more enjoyable to send out to like-minded enthusiasts.
Having said that, I do keep a scan of every pattern I sell so I have a huge library and may re-consider the possibility one day (in a mythical future where I have more time or they’ve decided that hey we were wrong, cloning is ethically okay really), particularly for the 1930s patterns which are possibly out of copyright already.
There, got that off my chest. Now where was I? Oh yes … compiling an iTunes compilation list for a friend …
*Note*: For US copyright info, read Kristen Rengren’s post.
Knitting Mag February
A pretty impressive ‘Knitting’ magazine this month (February’s edition) it’s gone all vintage, using the land girls as its inspiration and including an article by vintage knitting champion Susan Crawford (one of her lovely patterns also features).
Patterns include a great 40s-inspired fair isle tank top, a gents military-style cardigan (which Mr Skiff has got his eye on) and cool satchel-style bag. Must admit, not many knitting magazines inspire me to pick up my needles but this one’s making my fingers itch …
Vintage craft books
I’m adding to my vintage craft book collection and it’s such a joy to go through the pages I thought I’d share some of them here.
I feel such a geek listing them … erm, some justification was meant to finish this sentence but I can’t find one, I am a geek.
They exude an enthusiasm which I feel around again at the moment in the craft revival and I think they’re apt for right now. Many of them are from the war or just post-war period so they were a necessity – how to use your scraps, how to make do and mend, and the Government issued leaflets along similar lines. Just think, not only was craft seen as a great and useful hobby, it was of national importance!
- ‘Pins & Needles: Treasure of Family Needlework’ (2nd ed 1953)
- ‘Modern Knitting Illustrated’ (1st ed, approx 1945)
- ‘Wooden Toymaking Step by Step’ (2nd ed, 1963)
- ‘Practical Knitting Illustrated’ (1st ed, approx 1940)
- ‘Encyclopedia of Needlework’ by Therese de Dillmont (1st ed, 1897)
- ‘Gifts You Can Make Yourself’ (1st ed, c.1940s)
I think we’re at a time when recycling and cutting back are high on our agenda at the moment so I can only think the craft renaissance will continue. Materials can be so expensive now – if you look at the knitting books on the shop shelves you’d be forgiven for thinking that there are only about 3 wool manufacturers worth buying wool from, and that a size 12 jumper will cost a minimum of £45 to knit up. It’s about time we saw some cheaper alternatives coming to the fore, but I think that will only happen when knitters develop the confidence to experiment a bit more, to read their wool bands, do their tension squares and think ‘hmm, this will knit up the same as that Rowan wool for half the price’. I’ve been a sucker for that myself in the past but no more, I’m going to do some more research and find out some good quality alternatives.
It’s time there was a bit of a backlash against the expensive brands – in these times of fiscal need, craft should be a more satisfying and fulfilling way of saving a bit of wedge here and there.
Got rather intrigued with making pop-ups recently, so started off with some gentle experimentation on Lucas’ 2nd birthday invites. The lion’s there because he’s a Leo. Get it? Here’s a hint – use a very sharp, small pair of scissors (and even then it’ll take you forever).