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5/4/11: Vintage Snippets — McCall Needlework Winter 1946-47


One of the things that I find so interesting and wonderful about crafting–especially needlework–is the history. But it’s probably not the type of history you’re thinking of. Yes, observing and learning the handiwork of past peoples (Chinese, American Indian, etc.), and designers (Coco and Dior), is all fine and good, but for me, seeing a quilt or a sweater that was made by a great grandmother during WWII or the “woman next door” is what I find real enjoyment in.
I like handcrafted items or supplies that have a true-to-life story attached; something that can help transport a person to a different time and place.
That is why I thoroughly love poring over the old McCall Needlework magazines that I own. Most of them are from the mid 70s to early 80s that used to belong to either my mother or my paternal grandmother. I also have a 1946 Winter issue from my sister’s godmother, Virgina Garton, who gave it to us before she passed away. This issue would have to be my favorite needlework-related magazine of all time.
It is this magazine that I will be sharing snippets from during the month of May. The issue is chocked-full with captivating knitwear designs, sewing patterns, tips and advice, and may I say, great advertisements? 🙂
So now I present to you a few clippings from McCall Needlework Winter 1946-47.
The two pages below showcase most of the women’s knitwear featured in the magazine. (By the way, there are knitting patterns for these printed in the magazine. I wonder if I should give one a try?)
{From left to right: Norwegian Star Pullover and Cable Dart Sweater}
{From left to right: V-Neck Cardigan, Round Neck Cardigan, and Black Evening Cardigan}
What I really enjoy about these vintage magazines, is the unique writing style of the authors. Take for instance, the description of some of these sweaters.
When speaking of the Black Evening Sweater this author states: “Swing away from frothy after-dark styles with a black evening sweater, lightened by groups of green buttons, matched to a decorative belt.” I will never associate the word “frothy” with beer ever again. 🙂
You notice something about these sweaters? Look how tailored they appear! Their silhouettes could be mistaken for couture jackets, couldn’t they?
Oh, do you want to see some of the ads? Don’t worry, they aren’t your typical ads of today; far better!
One of the first ones you will come across when flipping through the magazine, is this one from Hero Knitting Needles:
Don’t you just love the illustrations? Much more eye appealing than the Photoshop images of today. Do you know if the Hero brand is still around? I have one double pointed needle from Hero but I think it is at least 20 years old.
Here’s another illustrated ad, this time for McCall toddler patterns, or as they say, ‘tiny tots’.
How can you not buy a pattern to make a dress as adorable as this one? Hm?

Another ad that caught my eye is from Hiawatha Yarns:

I have never ever heard of this brand of yarn. Even though I have no clue on what this yarn company is about, I want one of their Fashion Books please!

I’ve just scratched this issue’s surface; I will be sharing much more as this month progresses. So keep an eye out!
What about you? What vintage crafting magazine or book means a lot to you? What history is behind it? Have you ever made anything from the publication? What do you like the most about vintage magazines like this McCall’s Needlework?

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