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Here’s a trim, vaguely military number ready for warm weather. The chevron collar tabs are what sold me on this pattern from Sunglo no. 68, with the wee chevron pocket sealing the deal. What could you possibly fit in there? A pack of Listermints? Three cents? Ah, the frivolty and excess of fashion! Even the sleeves are a tad longer than truly necessary, and could be shortened without sacrificing the vintage look.

SunGlo 00

I recently watched a documentary on the Shakers, a religious group who believed amongst other things that work was a form of worship, and should be done simply and perfectly as God was in the details.

This didn’t mean work had to be hard; far from it, the Shakers invented numerous labor-saving devices to achieve a greater amount in less time, including the circular saw, round barns with ground-level hay loading, and the clothespin. In keeping with this belief, buildings, objects and clothes had no unnecessary ornamentation, but were absolutely practical and beautiful in their usefulness.

The Met has a Shaker room on display in its American wing- to look at it after rooms full of gaudy prints, rococo and baroque carved tables and chairs and yards of swag and drapery, is to see zen calm and peace radiating from smooth wood. It’s very austere, almost to the point of severity, but the care with which everything was put together shines warmly through.

A friend of mine is constantly on the lookout for the most basic of striped t-shirts: regular crew neck, stripes between 1/2-1 1/2 inches, preferably in non-neon colors. Somehow, they’re impossible to find. Either they have a v-neck, some weird patch sewn on, paint splatters with skulls and swirls screened over, the stripes have some fake distressed look, something. Every designer feels the need to add their little bit of flair to what is already a perfect design, ruining it from simple perfection. So it is with much of fashion, taking something that is clean and austere and slapping on a frill or tuck.

At the same time, those tiny details can occasionally enhance a basic outline, bringing out its shape more clearly, drawing attention to neat construction. So I hope it is with this pattern, that despite the inherent silliness of a useless pocket, overall the shirt is simple, yet pleasing.

Enough of the philosopy, make with the pattern already.

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This week’s freebie is an adorable 1930s crocheted number with a checkered peter pan collar and matching belt and ascot. The 1930s had the perfect mix of classy and girlie, resulting in a delightfully elegant ladylike look, pretty much the opposite of the modern sorority uniform of knotted t-shirt, sweat/pajama pants rolled at the waist, and grody worn flip-flops. Seriously ladies IT’S WINTER. Cover your feet; the frostbite isn’t worth showing off your french pedicure (ew). It is my sincerest hopes that by sharing a bit of historical loveliness each week I cancel out someone, somewhere swathing their ass in velour reading ‘JUICY’.

Handicrafter cover

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Oh, I am in a generous mood this evening. I’ve decided to post a freeeeeee pattern every Friday starting TO-NITE! Vintage Knitting affecionados, rejoice, everyone else, there’ll be other stuff on here.


Yay Free Stuff!

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Below are two leaflets extracted from the piles of patterns I recently purchased. It’s times like this I wish I’d sharpened my Photoshop skills for more than putting my sisters’ heads on female bodybuilders: ‘Hand Knitting by Lincoln’ dearly needs cleaning up. It’s not the patterns so much as the expressions on the womens’ faces that endears me to this booklet, particularly the lady on the cover’s direct, confident look.

It’s amazing to realize these patterns are all over 60 years old. Cursory attempts were made to determine whether they were still under copyright before saying ‘nuts to this’ and posting. If I can’t find them online or in an easily accessible format, I’d rather risk someone telling me to take them down than to let these images crumble to dust without sharing them.

The full patterns are beneath the cut.

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