A New Challenge: Crochet!

As part of my Vintage Pledge I vowed to challenge myself and, as part of this challenge, I really wanted to push myself out of just sewing up garments. Hand embroidery is one thing on my list of things I want to try and Nora’s Bee Stung 1940s-style Embroidery post has really spurred me on to give it a go. However, before I rush into it, there’s one other craft on my list that I’m tackling first, and that’s crochet.

I cannot knit. I have resigned myself to that fact and have made my peace with it. However, crochet has always intrigued me and I have dabbled a little bit in the past. My mum taught me how to crochet a Granny square and I did start making myself a blanket. That was about 4 years ago and it’s still not finished! Roll on a few years and, as my love for the 1930s grew into an obsession, I started falling in love with all the wonderful crochet garments that were on offer during this decade. So, on Tuesday I took the day off work and joined in with a local crochet workshop. And I loved it!

The first thing I learnt was that my mum had taught me all wrong! I was crocheting exactly as you would knit by holding the yarn in the same hand as the hook. So for the first hour or so I had one of the tutors sat next to me screaming “No!” every time I tried to put the wool into my right hand. It was weird trying to re-train my brain to do it a different way but it was definitely worth it as it looked a lot neater.

My Granny Square

Treble stripes crochet

During the day I managed to complete a Granny square (the proper way!) and a striped piece with different stitches. This was really useful as it gave us a chance to switch colours. (Please excuse the tight first line, I’ve learnt from that!) Again, this technique was completely new to me. However, the main thing I was really happy about was finally learning how to read a crochet pattern. This has always been a mind field to me before.

I was the only one who turned up with a clear idea of how I wanted to progress and what I wanted to end up achieving, so I took a 1930s jumper pattern with me that I’d bought from Etsy. One of the tutors did a sample piece from it and showed me how to read the pattern as she went along. I also wore my new-to-me 1930s crochet top that I picked up at the Dig for Victory Show and this provided a great visual reference for the stitches she was doing.

After the workshop ended I went straight home and dug out my big stash of wool. I sat down in front of the TV and set to work trying to crochet a flower from a book my mum had bought me years ago. It contained lots of patterns for vintage flowers and I’d always wanted to make something but it was all gibberish. Well, no longer! Yes, I could actually read them. It was like being blind and finally being given your sight back!

Crochet Poppy

And this is what I’ve achieved so far. It still has a couple of leaves to be added but I’m struggling with them because they’re so fiddly. I won’t let it beat me though, I will figure them out and I’ll post it on Instagram once it’s all done. You’ll probably see a few patterns pop up there too as I spot ones I want to try. Talking of which, here’s just a few I have in my very long wish list!

1930s crochet collar scarf

I’ll start with something simple like this scarf collar from 1935. Its pretty much all the same stitch so once I’ve mastered a few it should be fairly easy to do.

Vintage Crochet Collar Pattern

I haven’t found a true vintage collar pattern that I really love yet (I will keep looking) but I do particularly like this one on Etsy that’s designed by blogger Jasz Schneider. It looks simple enough now that I can identify the stitches!

Theodora Goes Wild 1930s Beret

Berets are a definite must for the 1930s and this one from the incredibly talented Theodora Goes Wild will be the first one I tackle.

1930s hat, bag, collar, cuffs and belt crochet pattern

And how about an entire accessories set in the same pattern? A hat, bag, collar, cuffs and belt all to match, who wouldn’t want that? Seriously though, that zig zag effect is gorgeous and I’d love to try at least one item.

1930s wide brim hat crochet

I think it’ll be hell of a long time before I build up to this stunning wide brim hat and gloves but I couldn’t leave it out. They’re so incredibly beautiful!

1930s Granny square coat

This 1930s Granny square swagger coat is definitely a must as it looks so simple. It literally is a large amount of Granny squares stitched together. Even I can achieve that!

Granny square cardigan

And this is going to be my colour inspiration! I love this and can just imagine the blue and white combination in that 1930s coat.

1930s crochet jumper

This 1930s buttoned jumper was the one the tutor sampled at the workshop. I chose it because it appears to be quite simple. It’s made up of just two pieces, the front and back, and then sewn together at the side seams. As there’s no separate sleeves to worry about it won’t be so stressful.

1930s crochet cardigan

I also rather like the look of this 1930s double breasted cardigan, mainly because it’s not all lacy. Instead this is a tightly stitched piece that’ll keep the warmth in, perfect for a cardigan.

1930s tennis top skirt

Tops and skirts are probably going to be the main thing I’ll end up doing once I get into the rhythm of it. This skirt and top is aptly named ‘Wimbledon Crochet Dress’, which implies it can be worn as a dress despite it being separate pieces.

1930s crochet dress pattern

This ‘Country Club Dress‘, however, is just one piece and it’s my dream to be able to make one like this. Did you see Emileigh’s on her blog just recently? I cannot tell you how much I love her dress!

1930s crochet evening dress

And talking of dresses, how about this stunner? Yes, it’s an evening ensemble that’s done completely in crochet! I adore this concept, it’s so incredibly unique.

Now, I’m off to research more about where to get crochet cotton from, which most of these are made in. I also really need a set of different sized needles, particularly the smaller ones. I currently only have a size 4mm and this tends to be too big for most cotton pieces. (You see how much I’ve learnt?!)

Do any of you crochet? Are there any tips you could share, or perhaps a 1930s crochet pattern you might think I’d like?

Cate

Just a vintage gal suffering from the Golden Age syndrome. Lover of all things old, lingerie obsessive, crafter and enjoys rummaging at flea markets.

29 Comments

  1. Hi Is great to hear your enthusiasm for a newly conquered skill . Love the photos of future projects , can’t wait to see them completed , that tennis ensemble in cotton would be devine , like you I’m a sewer first , my crochet is self taught and confined to small items so far but your post has inspired me!

    • Thanks Emma! I’m determined to make things I will actually use or wear rather than crocheting bags and scarves that will just sit there unloved. I just need to buy some new needles and crochet cotton so I can get started! xx

  2. You’re doing well – very ambitious. I have tried crochet many times and a flower is as far as I’ve got.
    I will look in my magazines and put up the pictures on my blog. You might see what you want.

    • Oh yes, that would be fab, thank you! I’m determined to make something I can actually wear. xx

  3. Ohhhh I cannot WAIT to see all your creations, the flower is adorable and I cannot wait till your making full on dresses (it will happen quickly I’m sure!).

    Good luck with your new hobby 🙂

    Liz

    • Thank you Liz! I’m just trying to decide what to do next but I’m so eager to get on with it so I can progress to a dress quickly! xx

  4. What an incredible feeling to finally conquer a new skill. You have done so well! I’m not off granny squares yet, but I love them so much, I might never stop making them!

    • Hehehe! Yes, I was like that for a while but it’s now time to move on and make myself something that I can wear. I can’t wait! xx

  5. How exciting! I’m so glad that you had a fabulous time, enjoyed it and got the hang of it too. The poppy is great, have just seen the finished one on Instagram. I love all these crochet patterns, some really glorious items! I saw Emileigh’s dress, it was a beauty. I have quite a few vintage crochet patterns so do say if there is something you want.

    • Ooo, yes, I may take you up on that, thank you! I’m off to look at wool for the jumper you’re making me this lunch time, but I’m sure I’ll get side-tracked by crochet stuff 🙂 xx

  6. I love crochet, though I’ve strayed away for the lure of knitted tops for the moment ~ that blouse pattern you put up, that might just lure me back! How gorgeous! I can’t wait to see what you end up making, I’m sure it will be fabulous. ❤

    xox,
    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    • I’m so eager to start the blouse but really need to learn to walk before I can run! My first project is definitely going to be Theodora’s beret, just because it’s a modern pattern. After that it’s on to the tru vintage ones. xx

  7. Crochet is a lot quicker than knitting, so I look forward to seeing what you make.

    Deramores are a very good online yarn retailer – masses of stock, and stuff often arrives by the day after ordering. However, they cater to modern crocheters who I think tend to use thicker yarn than is used for vintage patterns, so for the fine stuff Sewandso will be good. (http://www.sewandso.co.uk/Departments/Crafts-and-Latch-Hook/Crochet.aspx)

    I keep meaning to do more crochet and embroidery, but never seem to get round to it.

    • I think it was from Deramores that I bought the wool from for the pullover you made me, so will check it out as they were very good. Thank you for the other one too, I’ll definitely have a look on there. I have managed to find a reliable hook size conversion for the steel hooks used in the 1930s and have found a website that sells them. Bizarrely they’re one of our customers at work! I’m going to start with Theodora’s beret first, just because it uses modern hooks, terms and yarn, just so I can get used to making an actual garment. xx

  8. How spectacularly lovely! I can’t knit or crochet worth a lick myself, but both greatly appeal to me as well and I find myself rather drawn to crochet in a fashion context, in particular. These examples have seriously upped my love for this classic handicraft all the more and I’ll now be dreaming of a granny square swagger coat for a long, long time to come. 🙂

    Happy crocheting, sweet Cate!

    ♥ Jessica

    • Thank you Jessica. Yes, I’m determined that this time of trying I am definitely going to learn how to do this, even if it breaks me! 1930s crochet is far too wonderful not to have in my wardrobe xx

  9. Had just read your current post and had to come back to look at these. I checked out the country club dress on ravelry.com and its done in a 2 hook which is as small as I will go – the pattern says a 3 but that also could be an old hook size. There are two linked patterns, one is the country club dress and the other is this which is a two piece which I am now definitely going to try as a two piece would be so useful!

  10. Wow, a whole world has opened up to you hasn’t it?! That’s amazing! I love your flower, that’s very clever indeed. You can do some really authentic 1930s stuff, look at all that inspiration you’ve posted. Woo hoo! I can’t wait to see what you come up with. As for me, I have started SEWING, I blame you!! I have a few mini projects on the go while I wait for supplies like bias and interfacing to wing their way through the post. It’s most exciting. I can’t even sew in a straight line yet but I’m having fun, so that’s what counts! xx

    • It sure has, although I’m worried I’ll have no time left to do anything else in my life! What with sewing and doing up my house, adding crocheting to mix is going to keep me very busy.

      I’m so glad you’ve started sewing. Yay!! Yep, just have fun with it, I made loads of mistakes as I was learning but it’s how you improve. You know where I am if you get stuck at all xx

  11. I can’t knit, well not really, I have had a spin but didn’t get far before I was getting frustrated, but I do crochet. I just need to get the hang of reading patterns which baffle me!

    You’ve done really well, I love your granny square and your poppy. I made a daffodil last year x

    • Thanks Melanie! Yes, figuring out the patterns was the main bit I struggled with and the workshop really helped me get over this. If you know anyone who crochets, I’d recommend sitting down with them and a pattern you like and getting them to go through each bit step by step whilst you’re actually crocheting. One of the tutors did this with me and it just clicked! I’m now soaring through making my first ever garment, a 1930s beret. Yay! xx

  12. How great that you are conquering a new skill. You have so many ideas on what you would like to achieve, so I’m sure we will be admiring your first 1930s creation soon. Good luck, Cate! xxx

    • Thank Ann! I’m about half way through my first one, the 1930s beret in a navy blue cotton. I can’t wait to get it all finished and wear it. I just hope I’ve done it all correctly! xx

  13. I don’t crochet, but I may just start after these AMAZING inspiration pics! I adore the buttoned sweater and the evening dress. These pieces are all so unique, just absolutely true to the past eras in a way that nothing modern could compare to.

    • They really are Lauren and I want to be able to make them all right now! It’s so tempting to just launch myself into the harder projects like the dresses but I really need to up my skills first before tackling something so complicated. xx

  14. So glad you enjoyed our workshop Cate! If you ever need a refresher you can always pop into our regular weekly ‘Crafternoon’ at Lechlade Craft Barn! It’s a free drop in – come and show us your latest project! The kettle’s always on….
    We have some lovely Christmas workshops planned with vintage and upcycled materials, including paper, fabric and more so keep an eye out for those!

    • Thanks Jennie! I will definitely keep that in mind and thank you for all your help. xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.