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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?