Back in June 2013 I submitted a knitting book proposal to a publisher thinking that it was a long shot and I'd be lucky if I even got a reply. To my complete surprise they got back to me and suggested that I took the book in another direction than what I originally proposed. Well, almost two years and many drafts later, the said book, Vintage Knitting, was published earlier this month.
The publisher, Old House, specialises in printing facsimile editions of out of print books and my editor and I both thought that one of the 1940s knitting books written by Margaret Murray and Jane Koster deserved a re-issue but in a different format. We chose their 1941 book Knitting for All Illustrated as our source book and so began the difficult choice of which of the original patterns to reprint in the Vintage Knitting book.
The 1941 book has fifty-three patterns excluding variations and as it wasn't feasible to include all these in my new version, they had to be whittled down to 25 and then to the final 18, which are a varied choice for all knitting abilities. Believe me, this was hard to do and I 'ummed' and 'ahhed' about which ones to keep and which ones to leave out; anyone who is familiar with Murray's and Koster's books will know that their patterns were very comprehensive and full of wearable designs.
The pages are reproduced exactly as they are in the 1941 book with only a minor bit of editing...
|Vintage Knitting is in the background with the 1941 copy in the foreground|
To complement the patterns I also wrote a chapter focussed on knitting and making do, but from a contemporary 1940s viewpoint. This involved reading and researching a pile of primary source material from the early '40s such as needlecraft and womens interest magazines to get the feel for a 'voice' and vocab appropriate for the era.
One of the fun things though was choosing the photos to go into the book, as Old House were keen for it to be fully illustrated throughout. I knew that there would eventually be a reason for me to keep on collecting old magazines, knitting patterns and books etc. and I'm glad that did as I had a wide to choice to pick and choose from.
As well as a selection of the 1941 patterns, the 'Principles of Knitting' chapter is also included and reproduced in Vintage Knitting.
As most of the original chapter's content is still relevant today, not much editing was needed; only a few tweaks to bring it more in line with contemporary knitting and the patterns featured in the book.
The one thing I was adamant about though, was that Vintage Knitting had to re-use the endpapers from Murray and Koster's 1941 book. Those of you who are familiar with Murray and Koster's series of knitting books for Odhams Press throughout the 1940s will be aware that the charm of these books includes the different endpaper designs that incorporated visual aspects of knitting such as balls of yarn, needles and even hands. To have published Vintage Knitting without reproducing these original endpapers wouldn't have felt right as an important feature of the 1941 book would have been missing. So I'm happy to say that they have been included:
|The endpapers from Vintage Knitting are the paler version whilst the original ones are more vivid|
If you buy the book I hope you do enjoy it as much as I did working on it and thanks for choosing it.
Finally as a 'thank you' to all of you who follow my blog and put up with my ramblings, I'm giving away a copy of Vintage Knitting. All you have to do is be a follower of my VK blog and leave a comment below. Feel free if you want to comment but not be entered into the giveaway - just let me know. For those entering the giveaway, it'll be open until Friday 5th June; after this deadline a name will be pulled from a hat in true traditional style and I'll announce the winner soon afterwards on an updated version of this post.