If you are a knitter or crocheter, you will find this book fascinating. The book, Manual of Worsted Work For Those Who Knit and Crochet, by the Lion Yarn Company was printed in 1912! Although I am referencing a digital book, it still amazes me that the original survived and someone (probably Lion Brand) was thoughtful enough to digitize it for the world to access. Lion Brand Yarn Company is one of the oldest yarn companies in the U.S. and manufacturer of a huge variety of yarn…see my post on the Lion Brand Yarn Company.
The forward in the book goes like this,
‘It is most essential in the undertaking of any work that the best material should be employed to obtain the best results, and with that end in mind we offer this new edition of the LION YARN BOOK to those interested in the accomplishment of Knitting and Crocheting.’
I agree with this philosophy 100%. Depending upon the project, crocheting and knitting requires an enormous amount of time, and I believe we should use the best type of yarn possible for the project. Now, I didn’t say the most expensive, but the most suitable yarn for the project.
Back to the book! The first third is devoted to instructing you on crochet and knitting stitches. A number of the crochet stitches are new to me, like the twisted stitch (my personal favorite name), the star stitch, trellis stitch, honeycomb stitch, and butterfly stitch. In knitting, the mosaic, smock, ripple stitches are new and intriguing. It dawned on me while browsing this book that practicality reigned supreme on the choice of items to be crocheted or knitted. No cute little animals, amigurumi, toys, flowers. I suppose creating these items were most likely viewed as frivolous and frowned upon by craftspersons in 1912. If it’s a question of being warm or having a cute toy, I choose warmth!
There are crochet and knitting patterns for infant and children wear, afghans/blankets, women’s patterns for sweaters, vests, hats/hoods, jackets, capes, wristlets, slipper and bed socks. And for men, the standard cardigans, themed socks, gloves, and scarves. A few non-clothing patterns are a dog jacket, knitted horse reins, rattle and baby bottle cover.
Below are a few of the original pictures from the 1912 Lion Brand Manual of Worsted Knitting and Crocheting (cleaned up, of course)…click on thumbnails for larger images. Enjoy!
You can see the patterns developed in 1912 were copied to reflect recent decades in fashion and remain relevant today. Take for example the boy’s reefer coat…the style is classic and enduring; the polo hat also fits in this category. The cutaway style of the 1912 breakfast jacket is very similar to the sweater styling of 2008-2009, and the girl’s 1912 bolero is not all that different from today’s boleros. The only item I recommend not making and wearing is the women’s Eider hat! It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to wear this hat with or without the crocheted plumes, but this is my personal opinion.
Now, go and start crocheting or knitting a vintage project! Click Lion Brand Manual of Worsted Knitting and Crochet1912 and Vintage Projects on Etsy.