Sunday, 25 May 2014

Seven snaps for seven days - twenty one

Gorgeous coloured flowers have appeared in the garden.

Lovely day with family. My niece gave in to the need to sleep and got snuggled up on her mum's knee with her toes sticking through the gaps in the crochet.

Fabulous coloured steps leading into The Royal Exchange in Manchester. I had a trip to the theatre to see The Last Days of Troy by Simon Armitage. It was excellent.

My family's cat on her 18th birthday! I didn't take this picture as she lives with my parents but I requested a picture of her with her cards from my sister and I. My dad obliged.

Walking my dog and having a closer look at the budgie graffiti which has recently appeared on the boarded up windows of a disused mill. There are 5 budgies, two white, two blue and this one. I think they are rather cheerful.

Collected my new glasses, got to love a bit of sparkle! Hoping that these cure my headaches that have been stopping me doing as much knitting as I have wanted to.

The most perfect bowl of strawberries for pudding. Sweet and juicy and shiny and perfectly red, I could have eaten them all!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Handmade 1930's sportswear for women

I was looking through some of my 1930's 'The Needlewoman' magazines to do some research for my second birthday blog post and my eye kept getting caught by images of sportswear. I kept seeing lovely hand knitted jumpers and then seeing the props in the photos were tennis racquets and golf clubs and could see a theme emerging and feel another post coming on. So here is a little tour of 1930's women's sportswear.

Tennis seemed to be the most popular sport if judged by how many times tennis outfit were featured.

'Tennis days are here again'
From the June 1934 issue. Here is the lovely, evocative description from the magazine:

'Now that the long, light evenings are back again, everybody is on the tennis courts getting ready for the summer tournaments, and smart "woolies" are by no means the least important item of equipment. The jumper shown above has two essentially practical features - the short, capelet sleeves, which leave the arms gloriously free to serve and smash and volley, and the deep, tight fitting basque which prevents the jumper from "riding up" with every movement. The jumper is knitted in a pretty fancy stitch in white, with narrow ribbed edgings of scarlet'.

It makes me wish that I could play tennis just so that I could wear it.

The next few pictures are from the same issue. This coat is stunning.

'Tennis woolies are so smart'
'To be fashionable you must knit odd sleeves and only half belts and collars to your smartest coats this year! The coat is correct for tennis or informal wear at the seaside on summer evenings, while, completed with a little red beret to match, it would look smart for walking. The neck and coat fasten with large triangular buttons, allowing the white tennis frock to show above and bellow the belt fastening'.

I love the idea of adding a red beret to make it a walking set. It puts my walking clothes firmly to shame!

A dress motif for a tennis player
'This motif has been sketched on the cape collar of a tennis frock in white or cream silk. The motif could be worked on any tennis frock, blouse or jumper and would look particularly smart on a beret or scarf'.

'A coat of arms for the tennis player!'
' "Five tennis racquets rampant over afield of tennis net" is how this jolly little "Coat of Arms" might be described in heraldic language - with apologies to the College of Heraldry! Every sportswoman likes to have a touch of embroidery on her sports clothes and this little motif, amusingly arranged in the form of a "Coat of Arms" will give a smart, exclusive air to tennis blazers and frocks'.

'The "Coat of Arms" is shown here on a
regulation sports blazer'.
'Made in white or cream flannel, with the embroidered motif and gilt or steel buttons, such a smart, businesslike blazer would not disgrace the centre court at Wimbledon! This same motif could well be adopted by a tennis club or team as its own particular badge, by working it in club or school colours and adding the necessary initials'.

The magazine suggests the following colours - Greys, Apple Green, Light Rose, Light Madder Pink, Light Electric Blue, Ochre Yellow, Light Periwinkle Blue. I always enjoy it when magazines with black and white illustrations do this as it gives a clearer sense of what the designer was imagining. I also love to read the names of the colours.

The next two jumpers are from the July 1934 issue.

'A waistcoat Pull-over for sport or town wear'.
'A smart Pull-over in white knitted in an attractive pattern of broken diagonal lines. The front opens like a waist-coat down to the ribbed basque, and it is fastened with scarlet wooden buttons. The Pull-over is planned for the slightly-larger-than-average figure and allows ample room for movement without becoming disarranged'.

You might be interested to know that the larger than average size referred to is a 36" bust! I really like the stitch pattern and the buttons and red and white for tennis must have been a trend that year!

'A useful jumper for tennis and holiday wear'.
'Here is something novel and attractive which will appeal to the busy woman - a jumper which can be knitted over a weekend! Thick, 6-ply wool, big needles and a very simple design make this possible. It is a most attractive model, too, and will look smart for tennis or holiday wear since it is in the fashionable cable stitch. This is cable stitch with a difference, though, since only one stitch comes between each cable twist and this is dropped when the top of the work is reached, to give the pretty openwork ladder effect which makes the jumper look so "summery" and unusual. A little tab of scarlet corded ribbon gives a chic finish.

I think this is lovely, the construction sounds very interesting.

Now to March 1939.

A LUX advert
The text says: 'If you have been to Wimbledon, you've seen little coats like this one worn by many of the tennis stars. They play in them when it's cold. Or they throw them round their shoulders as protection after the game. This particular model is the nicest of its kind, with clever groups of cabling, a neat, high neck and a flatter-your-figure fit. Given good care, this coatee should last for several seasons without showing its age. Good care, of course, means LUX. Pure, gentle, best for wool LUX.'

LUX advert close up
Readers of the magazine were able to obtain free instructions for knitting this garment by sending the top of a 6d Lux packet to Lever Brothers Ltd. I wonder who designed the knitwear for them?

Next we are looking golf clothing which seems to be the second most popular after tennis. These next images are from the September 1934 issue.

'For golf or smart country wear'
This jumper is knitted in a brownish red wool. I think it is so smart and I like the way the ribbed yoke extends part way down the sleeves.

'On the golf course, or, in fact, for any sports wear, you will find this the most practical and comfortable garment - there is nothing to get out of place or disarranged. Worn either as a jumper or a cardigan it fits snugly to the figure and may be buttoned right up to the neck or turned back in small revers, if the last two or three buttons are left undone. Knitted in a lighter shade, it would be perfect for Autumn and Winter tennis. The shoulder yoke at the back and front is worked in a pretty twisted rib and the little patch pockets (such a boon to golfers for tees and tennis players for that elusive hankie!) add a smart and businesslike touch.'

'On the banks and braes o' bonnie Scotland'
Aren't the colours in this image just glorious? It is interesting that in the following description it describes the neck line as a new style. I rather fancy this outfit, perhaps without the golf club!

'Long days on the Scottish moors - shooting, fishing, playing golf - and here is just the jumper you will need. It is designed for comfort, with the new loose fitting circular neck which is fastened at the back with three buttons. The stocking stitch and ribbing in which it is knitted are light and yet close enough to keep out the first chill of autumn, while the serviceable pockets add a smart touch to this essentially sporting model'.

Moving on to January 1936.

'A "Lighning" fastened woollen jumper gives
warmth for winter'
This is knitted in rust coloured wool.

'Whether it is for vigorous golf, for walk or for "spectator sporting" a girl would be hard put to find a more trimly attractive jumper than this. The knitting is done in 3-ply knitting wool, fastened with an 18 inch long Lightning fastener which gives a smooth, neat finish, and ensures protection against the cold. Note the youthful little turn down collar and the very attractive stitch used in the knitting'.

In the September 1937 issue there is this jumper:

'A "tweedy" knitted golf sweater'
'This extremely good sports jersey is knitted in a new wool that gives the effect of tweed. Plain wool in rust to match the flecks in the tweed wool is used for the collar and pocket top. The collar is cleverly designed to form both vestee and roll collar, and gives a very becoming neck line'.

Having covered tennis and golf we will take a look at a couple of other sports. Firstly, swimming in July 1938:

'Knit this for your August holiday outfit'
'Bathing suit with detachable skirt'
Isn't this just fabulous? I love all the little details. This one is knitted in brown with yellow accents.

'This neat model features everything that could be desired in a bathing suit - well shaped, beautifully fitting, and equipped with a detachable skirt'.

In December 1937 we get an ice skating outfit which is made using crochet.

LUX advert
'It's the newest style to wear on the ice - this clever adaptation of the popular bolero. Note the loose back which swings out gracefully in motion and the bands of gay colour at the edge. Made with well fitted wide shoulders, and neat small collar, you can wear the bolero loose over your skating frock or, snugly fastened, with a skirt alone. Cunning little Juliet cap to match'.

I like the fact that you are given styling advice. Again, this pattern was available if a Lux box top was sent off.

From July 1938:

In colour on the cover
'For your holidays'
This is such a cute versatile jumper and I like the colourway.

'For tramping, sailing, tennis and more active pursuits'.

From September 1938:

In colour on the cover
'yellow boucle jumper'
'Choose yellow boucle for this youthfully simple jumper - splendid for sports and country wear'. This is so pretty and smart, really well shaped ribbed body and an interestingly patterned yoke.

So, lots to choose from for our sporting activities. Any catch your eye?

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Seven snaps for seven days - twenty

A bit of a funny week so only four snaps instead of seven. Hoping for more in the next week.

Spending the afternoon with my sister and my niece, going for a walk to get a tired but determined not to give in to it baby to go to sleep.

My first ever toad-in-the-hole. I don't now how I have got to my mid thirties and have never made one! Good old Delia Smith How to Cook book!

This year's first goslings on the canal. I have been waiting for them to arrive. This pair of geese had nine babies.

A beautiful fashion illustration found on the wall of the Ladies in Bettys in Harrogate. Meeting a friend there always involves tea and a fat rascal at Bettys.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Would you like to come to my 1930's party?

My blog is two years old today! So, in celebration of this I wondered if you would like to come to my birthday party?

I have spent the day preparing.

I have chosen and arranged the flowers as part of the decorations. There are also streamers and balloons. I made and embroidered my apron.

I looked through my crockery cupboards to choose a tea set and looked through my embroidered tablecloths to find the best match.

I made the final decisions on the menu (to be revealed later) and prepped the food as far as possible.

From Pinterest
I also stocked up on tomato soup, it is on trend and as a hostess I am unafraid!

It is time to get myself ready.

After much indecision and a prolonged trying on session I have opted for the outfit on the top left. Glamorous yet comfortable, suitable for the evening's activities!

It is time for my party to begin, I am so excited!

Welcome everybody, do come in. The martinis are mixed and the big band music is on.

Come and meet your fellow guests - and check out their outfits!

Glad to see you sitting down and chatting.

Comparing fashion notes.

You are always encouraged to bring your knitting to my parties. Find yourself a spot with some like minded souls.

For those not knitting I thought we could play some games. I consulted my book 'The Home Entertainer' to find out what is new and fashionable. I thought we could try some indoor athletics so I have put you in teams. Get ready for:

Running high squeal - each competitor runs from the starting line to the middle of the room, then sings a very low and a very high note. The biggest jump wins.

Putting the weight - throwing ballooons, the one who throws farthest wins.

Walking relay - each person in the team walks heel to toe along a set course. See picture.

Lifting weights - see who can lift the highest number of dried peas from a saucer just by using matches, in a set time.

Light weight boxing - two at a time take part in knock out bouts. Each has a matchbox balanced on the back of their left hand. Boxing is done with the right hand. The first to drop the matchbox looses.

Lemon golf - use walking sticks to hit lemons into the circular paper 'holes' laid out on the floor.

Orange battle - each player has a desert spoon in each hand. The orange is balanced on the left spoon, the right spoon is used to protect your orange and to upset your opponent's orange.

I see we have some winners. Please come forward and collect your prizes!

I am feeling quite exhausted after all that hilarity and activity. My sporting activity is over for the evening. Please help yourselves to more cocktails (do try the tomato juice ones) or a cup of tea if that is more your style.

Food is served: rolled sandwiches of watercress, crab or cream cheese, caviar puffs, olives, chicken mousse, petite fours and birthday cake of course!

The music is on, we have rolled back the carpet, let the dancing begin.

Thanks for coming and helping me celebrate everyone.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Charity shop treasures

I finally managed to drop off several bags of stuff at my charity shop of choice today. I have been trying to do this for a while. On my first attempt part of my clutch broke on the journey and in the ensuring chaos I could not get there so these bags have been travelling about in my car boot for ages. The charity shop gods were obviously with me today because as well as successfully dropping off my stuff I also found some treasures to take home!

I only found one in the first shop.

A very nice tin with the Household Cavalry on it. I remember seeing them at Buckingham Palace and at the Trooping of the Colour when I was little. Sharps confectioners were based in York and produced sweets such as toffee bonbons. King George VI died in 1952 so that must be the approximate date of the tin.

My local town has several charity shops (like most towns I expect) and as I left this one I had a feeling that I needed to go and look in another one. I knew exactly which one the feeling was referring to! I know that sounds weird but I am glad that I did as I had much success treasure hunting in this second shop. Always listen to those charity shop feelings treasure hunters!

This is a modern book which I have flicked through many times before and wanted to buy so when I saw it in the charity shop in pristine condition for a whole bargain £2 I snapped it up quickly. Lots and lots of lovely 1950's adverts to look through, such as this one featuring amazing glasses frames. Which, incidentally, I really want a pair of but having tried some modern versions on last weekend I have found that they do not suit me at all. Very disappointing.

I found three of these fabulous Alfred Meakin plates. I know my mum has some like this. I love roses but I particularly like the colours of the leaves, minty, silvery blue/greens.

A lovely scarf in several shades of green featuring some lovely dogs. I don't think that it is particularly old but the dogs are very cute. It has panels of solid and panels of sheer material which is why the pictures look a bit odd.

I had a good rummage in the book shelves and came away with three great ones.

The first is this 1970's book on patchwork which will be very useful as I am trying to learn how to do patchwork at the moment. I have dreams of lovely patchwork quilts.

The back cover showing what is featured inside. Exciting craftyness ahead!

One of the pictures from inside, I really like the fabrics used in this patchwork block. It also features hexagons which are the shape that I am starting with.

Pretty pattern on the front cover but no clues as to what is inside.

Home handicrafts, needlework and repairs - surely a huge range of topics, no wonder it should be part of a household reference library. In the introductions it says that it is intended to be a practical manual covering topics such as how to fix broken china, how to mend a chair leg, how to lay a parquet floor, how to fix a broken lock etc. It has no publishing date inside but a bit of googling suggests 1930 or 1934 and that this book is one of a set of six which would form the reference library.

This is a list of the black and white photograph plates in the book and from this you get a good idea of the topics covered inside.

This intrigued me at once! It has no publishing date and googling suggests that ii has been republished several times. From the illustrations and the paper I think it is late 1930's.

This is the contents page, look at the array of entertainments featured! They are all illustrated with lovely black and white line drawings.

I will be coming back to these two 1930's books in future posts, when I have had a chance to read and digest some of their wisdom!