Warning: extremely picture-heavy post ahead!
|Woot! To say that I was excited by this would be a major understatement|
All three books were published by Odhams Press Limited, and have the same endpapers in different colours. At least two were written by Margaret Murray and Jane Koster (the title page is missing on one). All have sections on knitting for women, men, and babies/children, but it's the women's items which I'm focusing on here.
None of the books have dates in them, but I think that "Knitting For All Illustrated" is the oldest; probably 1940 or 1941. There is a section on 'Re-making and making do', which begins, "Wool is scarce and precious now", but other than that there's little to indicate that there's a war on.
Each section begins with an illustration.
Most of the items are made in a single colour of wool.
|Pullover and sleeveless jerkin|
This knitted dress is from the 'afternoon' section, but what I really noticed is that the hat is a similar shape to my chimneypot hat.
|Now I just need to knit the 'frock' to go with it!|
On the subject of hats, this fez was designed to be worn three ways - and I think that all three of them would look ridiculous on me.
|Not top of my to-knit list|
Some of the knitted underwear is very practical, some less so. Clearly at this time silk yarn was still available for making this bra and knickers.
|Love the fluffy mules!|
|Close-up, showing the bra shaping|
The thing which really caught my eye was this housecoat - it appears in the Vintage Knit book which I bought from Skoob last month. I can't imagine ever knitting it, but it was lovely to discover that I've now got both the original pattern and the modern version.
|"You'll be getting up earlier in the morning to put it on"|
At the back of the book is a 'how to knit' section. The individual topics are each headed with a drawing of a little wool person.
|Click on image for a larger version|
Things are altogether more serious in "Complete Home Knitting Illustrated". The foreword makes reference to coupons, so the book was obviously published after the introduction of clothes rationing in 1942. Far more of the items are made in several colours of wool, to use up oddments.
|Contrasting sections, and a fabulous hairdo|
|Stripes use up small amounts of wool|
There's not just knitting inspiration; sometime I really want to make the skirt on the left.
|Great (if wasteful?) use of check fabric|
Silk underwear is nowhere to be seen; it's all wool.
|At least she's still got stockings|
Even the hat has a military look to it.
|Glengarry-style cap, and another wonderful hairdo|
Not everything is military and severe though. There's this pretty cardigan with a square neckline, for example.
|Lacy cardigan for 'between seasons'|
The section on re-knitting is greatly expanded from "Knitting For All Illustrated". I wonder, did anyone actually try this idea of replacing worn parts of a fabric dress with knitted sections?
|Dress with knitted sleeves, back, and front yoke|
Despite its title, "Practical Knitting Illustrated" is positively frivolous compared to its predecessors. Gone are references to shortages, rationing, and re-using wool. The New Look has not arrived in the illustrations yet, so I'm guessing the date is around 1947-8.
|No contrasting sections to be seen here|
Making a striped jumper from oddments is the closest this comes to 'making do', and even then the pattern suggests what colours to use.
|Worn with a classic cardigan|
Knitted underwear is a thing of the past, too. Instead there is a three-piece beach suit; a bra top and shorts for swimming, and a skirt to go over the top for sunbathing.
|Sunny days ahead|
It will be a long time before I'm proficient enough to try knitting any of these patterns, but it's nice to have the ideas. Thanks to F for a wonderful present!