The World of Ephemera #1

Welcome to my first post in my new series on the world of Ephemera – featuring rescued pieces of paper that are just too interesting to recycle.  Today our subject is knitting and crochet patterns.

Yes, back in the late 1960s they had knitting patterns for outfits for fashion dolls – not busty Barbie, the much more girlish UK Sindy.  In fact, this particular pattern is for a nine inch doll – Sindy’s little sister Pepper (who had very prominent freckles which don’t show up on the scan). 

The patterns on offer make an odd combination – a winter three-piece and an Austrian dirndyl – but my dolls had them both thanks to my Gran who, once she no longer had babies to knit for, produced loads of knitted clothes for them.  I can also remember a white moss-stitch textured cocktail dress with salmon-pink sequins on the front. This was the dress which usally adorned my one and only ever, Barbie (with bendy knees) I got when I was ten; it was a real mini-dress on her, and my favourite.

Moving on to knitted teacosies – the butt of many a joke.  There are two variants in this pattern from the 50s/60s – one is knitted and the other crocheted. My Mother-in-law still uses a knitted one that looks suspiciously like the picture to this day. 

They’re actually a jolly functional design; you don’t need to expose the teapot to the cold to pour, although if you have a dribbly pot, the cosy will get stained beneath the spout.  But don’t despair – due to the fab new synthetic fibres in the double-knitting wool du jour, they will always wash well and never wear out!  Just one thing –  tell me, why is it that knitters seemed to choose particularly unattractive colour combinations? 

Now for some more crochet. Afghan squares were – probably still are – a wonderful beginners crochet project.  This newspaper clipping is very reassuring:

“There’s no need to feel apprehensive about tackling a large project if you have never crocheted before. It takes about eight squares to get used to handling a crochet hook in conjunction with wool at the right tension. After this, each square will take you about 30 minutes to complete and, without making a mistake, you will be able to watch televsion or talk to your friends at the same time.”

My Mum did do some crocheting, I don’t recall ever seeing a full bedspread of Afghan squares though – but I still do have the mini blanket she did for my dolls – it’s still in use today on the rare occasions, now my daughter’s nearly ten, that the dolls come out.

If anyone would like the Afghan bedspread/throw pattern, leave a comment and I’ll email you the scan.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these woolly novelties.  I have a thick wodge of other vintage knitting patterns but I’m going to save all the wonderful photos of people posing in jumpers for another post or two in the future.

0 thoughts on “The World of Ephemera #1

  1. Becky says:

    Goodness this takes me back. My Nanna had a tea cosy just like that. I could do with one, could I have a copy of the knitted pattern at some time? Thankfully she didn’t have the matching doll loo roll cover!

  2. Working, as I do, in a charity shop, you would be amazed, at both the nanas who come in looking for knitting patterns for doll’s clothes, and the children who, when the parents buy them a naked Barbie doll, ask if Nana will knit her some outfits.

    The knitting patterns are still very much available to buy and still in great demand.

    Unfortunately, when we were first married, some 31 years ago, the doll loo roll covers, were all the rage and I am ashamed to say, that I actually did knit one. They were the ‘bees knees’ at the time, as were so many other things, that today I would not give house room to.

    Does anyone even use a teapot these days, to need a cosy?

    Nostalgic yes, would I want to go back, definitely not!

  3. LizF says:

    Oh that takes me back! I had knitted clothes for my Barbies and Sindy courtesy of the lady next door as my granny had arthritis in her hands and my mum was no knitter and while some of the expensive clothes bought for them didn’t survive, quite a lot of the knitted garments remained when I passed my dolls on to my daughters!
    I had mostly Barbies as we were the nearest big town to an American airbase, and the local toy shop stocked more Barbie than Sindy to cater for them, but I did have a little sister doll for Sindy although mine was called Patch for some reason and had a very odd hairstyle as well as the almost dayglo freckles!
    I think Yvonne has a point about teapots – I do use one but only if I am doing an afternoon tea, otherwise it’s a teabag in a mug I’m afraid (although that doesn’t stop me coveting one of the huge seasonal teapots that Emma Bridgewater does at vast expense!)

    • gaskella says:

      I had to beg for years to get a Barbie! Lucky you. The hand-knitted clothes did last I agree.

      I too only use a teapot when being posh. Though when I was at the senior school, we technicians always used one at tea-break in the afternoons.

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