It’s arrived! The mightiest tome of vintage knitting patterns to date! Like just about every other knitter with a taste for vintage clothing, I’ve been looking forward with great anticipation to A Stitch In Time Vol. 2 by Susan Crawford and Jane Waller. It’s been a long time in the making but that time was well spent. This book is huge! It’s like a door!
The binding and print quality of is fantastic – filled with thick matte pages. Oh and just look at the cloth cover hiding under the dust jacket!
That spine looks good and strong too; a very important quality in a book that’s going to be propped open relentlessly by readers everywhere…
Because I pre-ordered my copy I also got this lovely little pack of goodies:
I might just test out those sample skeins at some point, but those are posts for another day.
Vol. 2 contains a grand total of 80 patterns and every single one has been re-made and given the lush photography treatment that made the last book so unique! The patterns are all knitted (though some have a little crochet finishing). Apparently there are plans for a dedicated crochet volume some time in the future, so there’s that to look forward to if you’re into that kind of thing. You can see the patterns here and also on Ravelry for yourself (although they won’t all be up straight away).
Ranging from 1930-59, the patterns are divided by decade, with a little detail on the decade’s fashions before each one. The patterns include all sorts, from classic cardigans and blouses to fezzes and shawls. I’m also pleased to see a couple of items that make up in historical value what they lack in practicality!
Each pattern includes both the original and a modern, multi-size reproduction for you to take your pick from. I always enjoy reading old pattern descriptions because you just don’t see phrases like “the most fascinating collar!” and “just so appropriate for summer!” anymore.
On the technical side of things, the modern patterns get an A+. All lace, cabling and colourwork has been fully charted. Even the schematics are a cut above the usual standard. How many modern patterns give you the underarm-to-waist measurement? That stuff matters when you’re trying to get that perfect vintage fit that hits you right on the narrowest part of your waist.
On top of that, an incredible amount of re-sizing has been done. There’s a good range of sizes on offer, typically 32″ – 46″ bust size, although not all patterns have the same range. This is because some items are clearly grading nightmares, but wow, they got recalculated and put in anyway. I can’t begin to imagine the determination you’d need to edit some of the (decidedly gorgeous) lace patterns in there! Susan’s blog has some more detail on the pattern resizing process (and limits) which is an interesting background read.
But what really jumped out and impressed me was the opening sections of the book: An in-depth guide to the intricacies of knitting vintage patterns. There are photoguides to proper finishing, tips on adjusting patterns to fit your own body better, even how to pick authentic looking buttons! No basic ‘learn-to-knit’ instructions here, there’s advanced tips on swatching and grading too. Yet it’s laid out clearly enough that the book could make vintage knitters of us all.
Now for the really important issue: What am I going to knit from this book?
Well for starters I’ve had my eye on this fine gauge ‘Blouse with Gathered Neckline’ ever since I saw previews of it. All it takes is 100g of cobweb lace yarn! I have some lovely stuff from Old Maiden Aunt set aside especially.
I wasn’t struck by the ‘Golden Eagle Ladies Jumper’ much at first but the more I look at it I think “Hmmm…maybe if it was monochrome…and the bows were moved around…oh hey, I could totally wear that!”
And I’ll keep the modern version of this ‘Star Time Dressy Top’ a secret for now…but suffice to say this is exactly everything I love about 1950s eveningwear concentrated into one top. So pretty!
Others I’ve already put on the maybe list: ‘One never tires of ribbing’, ‘Warm Jacket with unusual bobble-stitch yoke’, ‘Trimmed with Roses jumper’, ‘Victory Cardigan’, ‘Middy Jacket’,’So Neat and Sweet’…oh let’s just say 50% of the patterns and at leave it at that shall we?
If it isn’t obvious, I’m kind of in love with the book! So many thoughtful details have come together here, both asthetically and technically, that the end product is an absolute treasure. This really was worth the wait! You’ve never seen a knitting book quite like this before, I guarantee you. I kinda hope this volume does well enough to justify giving Vol.1 the same binding treatment. Can you imagine how gorgeous two cloth hardbacks would look side-by-side on your bookshelf?
A Stitch In Time, Volumes 1 and 2 are available to buy here.