Monday, 13 January 2014

1940s Stitchcraft Magazine: A Catalogue


Stitchcraft magazine needs no introduction if you're a fan of knitting using original patterns from the Thirties, Forties and Fifties; maybe even the Sixties and Seventies! I'm sure that many of us are keen collectors of these too, not only for the patterns but for their historical context and also for the plain fact that they are lovely to look at.

The issues published in the Forties must have certainly stood out on the shelves of the local newsagent or a street-stall with their colourful covers and attractive, fashionable models. In fact, whilst I was compiling the catalogue on the above tab, I was surprised at how much the cover designs vary; ranging from glamour girls like the one above to the 'girl-next-door' and even 'high-fashion' poses that wouldn't have looked out of place in Vogue or Harper's Bazaar


A selection of my favourite covers


Stitchcraft must have certainly cheered up wartime and even post-war knitters, who probably eagerly awaited the next monthly issue; although this wait would have been even longer if the issue covered two months like this one:



Although Stitchcraft is mentioned very frequently throughout the net, I couldn't find an online visual catalogue for all the issues from the Forties or other decades. I might not have been searching thoroughly, but I thought such a resource might be useful. I knew that one would be helpful for me to pin-point the issues that my collection is missing or even to put a cover to those whose covers are lost. So in a pro-active moment (or number of hours!) I decided to collate a catalogue of all (well, nearly all) the covers from the Forties in chronological order (these issues don't comprise my entire collection unfortunately!). I've posted my efforts on the above tab, although you'll notice that there are certain covers missing. By the way - if you have these issues in your collection it would be greatly appreciated it if you could be so kind as to email me a jpeg of the cover so that I can add it to the catalogue for completeness :-)

The next Stitchcraft catalogue? Well, I'm thinking of doing one for the Fifties as I've got quite a few of issues, but this will probably take me a bit longer than this one.

Let me know what you think of the catalogue and I hope that it'll be of use to you too!



19 comments :

  1. This is great, thank you for taking the time to do this! I don't have any Stitchcraft issues yet, but I do plan to collect them (I only recently started knitting). And you are very right, the covers are so lovely to look at!

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    1. Thanks for your feedback Renée :-) Great to hear that you've started knitting too. Have you checked out www.ravelry.com yet? Its like Facebook but for knitters - and very addictive!

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  2. I love Stitchcraft - I only own one 1960s copy. This one is fab, love the lady's cardies.

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    1. The cardies are brilliant aren't they? Keep up with your collecting!

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  3. What a labour of love. Enjoy just looking at the covers and all the pretty knits!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

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    1. Thanks, Liz. I quite enjoyed collating it all together and finding covers that were new to me.

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  4. This is such a great idea, thanks for taking the time to do it. I love Stitchcraft, it is so lovely to look through as well as to knit from. I think it would be great to do the 1950s ones too. I will look and see if I can contribute any covers.

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    1. Thanks for your kind offer, Katie-Em. I think I will start to look through my Fifties Stitchcrafts and will let you know which ones I might need.

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  5. I own every issue from the 1940's. I can send you the missing pictures, if you like. It may take me a while to dig them out, but I'll get them photographed as soon as I can. :-)

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    1. Lucky you, Lucy! Yes, it would be great if you could send through the missing covers, thanks ever so much and no hurry about sending them. Brilliant :-D

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  6. Those covers are really lovely to look at! I'd wish i could knit properly but it seems to be so difficult to me and takes ages. My granny is the best knitter in our family, she made the prettiest jumpers for me when i was younger.
    Have a fab day! xx Tani

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    1. Hi Tani :-D, do stick with the knitting - it took me twenty years to learn how and now I'm hooked (I started to learn properly in 2008). You won't regret it.

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  7. Oh, that's a brilliant idea! I don't have many from the 1940s, but I've got lots from the 1950s and a fair few from the 1960s as well. I don't like the 1960s ones as much; the 1940s and 50s ones feel like they were from a time when knitting and needlecrafts were commonplace, whereas a lot of the 60s ones feel like they were traditional crafts trying to keep up in a time when they weren't as wanted - that's the youthquake for you, I guess. And without those ladies carrying on their crafts, probably many fewer of us would be doing them today, so I shouldn't be so hard on the 60s Stitchcrafts!

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    1. Thanks, Mim. I know what you mean, as the issues from the '60s don't look as lovely as those from previous decades. Perhaps Stitchcraft's creative art director from the '40s and '50s had retired by then, hence the later issues missing that certain something.

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  8. That's a fantastic resource, thank you for taking the time to do it (even if it was a labour of love). I love the 'technicolour' of the colours. Will have to have a look in the garage to see what ones I've got.

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Woolly. I'll have to make a start on the Fifties issues now whilst I'm in the swing of things!

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  9. This is so useful, thanks so much for your efforts. I too have tried to find a resource on line, but despite its popularity there doesn't seem to be one.
    I love the covers on the big early 40's issues before the paper rationing, I agree that they must have really stood out and inspired a lot of knitters.
    What about the Needlewoman & Needlecraft and Needlework Illustrated magazines?
    Great idea, well done!

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    1. Thanks for the great feedback, its really appreciated. I don't know about those magazines yet, but I've got ideas for more resources!

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  10. I was given a lot of Stitchcraft Magazines recently. Including some from 40's.
    Also a full set from 1952.
    Lovely magazines and all in great condition.

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment on my blog; I do enjoy reading each one.

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