I’ve had my eye on this sweater for years now. So cute. Now if I can only overcome my fear of sewing together a million crochet pieces then I will have an amazing new wardrobe addition. This pattern comes from a 1967 Woman’s Day I found at a church rummage sale. Amen!
Last week I had mentioned that I was working on sewing my first hat and I am proud to say that yes, this happened and no, it wasn’t awful. I used fabric scraps from my stash: vintage pale blue velour, purple satin that was already partially made up into a vest à la Aladdin (not by me), and the only grosgrain ribbon I apparently own in grass green. I used Simplicity 7213 from 1967 for the pattern and found it to be easier than I imagined. I don’t own a tailor’s ham so pressing the rounded seams and darts wasn’t exactly an option but I think it looks alright without that super important part. I also marked everything on the wrong side and when it came time to gather the body of the hat, all the markings were already hidden! Grr. Now I know for next time. I did mention I’m not the best at sewing, right?
The pom pom may be the most depressing part of the whole thing (see my face below for evidence of extreme sadness) because I’ve made them before and this is a pathetic excuse for one. I will not be sharing any closeup shots of that today. Or ever. I think the yarn was wrapped up in the skein funny because one whole side looks sort of wilted though I made it only yesterday.
Overall, I love it! I can’t wait to try another one in more coordinating colors and to take the time to press it properly and mark out my gathers. I’m actually wearing a me-made pumpkin cardigan under my coat but I’ll have to share that another time.
I also made up several different variations of vintage hat patterns that I have already knit and have available on Etsy. I made berets in white, navy, turmeric, and a navy and cream middy cap. I love making these tiny 1930s hats because even though they’re simple berets, they are so versatile in how they can be worn. You can almost make it look like a different hat for every day of the week.
My friend Stacey had requested a navy 1920s-style cloche awhile back and I was finally able to hand it over to her last weekend. I used crochet cotton, doubled and just kind of eyeballed it while working in half double crochet in the round. I wish I had paid more attention to what I did exactly because I would really like to make more of these even if crochet cotton is very slippery and makes the time spent making a hat stretch into sweater territory. But it was worth it!
I think my next knitting endeavor will involve finishing up some vintage knitting projects. I have a 1940s sweater I “finished” several years ago but the collar never looked right after three attempts so it is still sadly hanging unworn in the closet. There’s also a lace 1930s sweater that is sleeveless but finished otherwise. Collars and sleeves are sometimes the most daunting tasks of making a sweater. I know it sounds crazy because they take much less time than the body but they can be finicky and often prevent me from finishing a beautiful piece…for years. I might also try sewing up a 1950s blouse or a 1960s dress if I can convince myself to cut into this beautiful vintage bed sheet. Maybe.
I am a knitter, first and foremost. I learned how to crochet before I ever picked up sticks but even now, when I think of crochet, I still immediately envision day-glo mountains of acrylic worsted and the horrific kitschy crafts they can be looped into. There is nothing wrong with liking that sort of thing, in fact, I love kitsch! (Send me all of the walnut, pine cone and seashell owls that you don’t want.) I just never want to become the person who falls into the trap of making “beautiful crochet pieces” that all end up looking like they belong on the back of a toilet in the 1970s. I don’t want to become disillusioned and creatively misaligned! I used to see it as a slippery slope from dinosaur amigurumi to craft show-caliber crochet Barbie clothes but I’ve changed my mind a little bit.
Until college, my only experience with yarn involved a large, plastic needle and The Little Mermaid sewing cards. For my 19th birthday a friend gave me a hot pink scarf and told me she made it herself. I was beyond impressed. We went to a craft store where she told me what to buy and showed me how to make really long, wobbly-rowed, single crochet scarves out of Red Heart. I only made a few before hanging up my hook and going out to the bar to sing No Doubt songs at karaoke. I guess crochet wasn’t really my thing then, either.
In my post-karaoke days I crafted a decent amount of crocheted coasters, iPod cozies and cat toys. I just always seemed to find crocheted clothing and accessories displeasing to the eye. (I think we can all agree that granny square vests and jumbo leg warmers are not exactly the definition of elegant.) Maybe I was just so frightened by all the bags of unused crochet cotton in holiday colors at flea markets and partially finished afghans donated to thrift stores that I failed to see all of the dainty crochet creations that are out there. I’d been vintage knitting for a while but tended to avoid anything that required a hook for more than weaving in loose ends or emergency sweater surgery. That is, until I had a sick-with-the-flu epiphany while trapped in rural Michigan this past winter.
When I watched the new Bonnie and Clyde miniseries while visiting my family in January, I learned two things: 1) Warren and Faye were abysmally absent and majorly missed. 2) Crochet hats can be potentially pretty when worn at a prim and proper angle. It was this specific topper (below) that got my heart all aflutter with butterflies over the lost (to me, anyway) art of hooking. I was back in the crochet boat and my knitegrity would just have to wait.
I started out with a few simple crochet cloche patterns from the 1930s and 1950s in single and half-double crochet. They were easy enough but what was all this “through the back loop only” business? I didn’t have time for that. And yarn that is the thickness of dental floss? This is crochet! It is meant* to be quicker and easier than knitting! I just upped my yarn weight and lowered my stitch numbers until it felt right. I still get all antsy and hook through any and all loops visible to me and try to use at least fingering weight yarn but I am learning the patience of a truly dedicated vintage crocheter. My latest work-in-progress involves size 10 crochet cotton (held doubled up, of course) and many hours of Californication on Netflix. Now, I may be on a slippery slope of some kind but at least it doesn’t involve a box full of crocheted egg cozies sitting in the attic.
*Sources unavailable at this time.
Photos linked to sources.