A working visit to the British Library yesterday reminded me of a very strong, almost obsessive connection that I have always had with printed matter and particularly, books. I have always been completely obsessed with them. As a very small child, books were the centre of my universe. I have read voraciously all my life, and collected books with even more enthusiasm than knitting patterns or wool. But then of course, knitting patterns come in the form of booklets, pamphlets and full scale books and this two pronged obsession has, I have recently realised, produced my own ever growing archive about knitting, sewing, craft and yesteryear in general. I have hundreds of books and thousands of patterns and at some point I am going to need to make sense of it all, to start creating a proper archiving system - that's how big it is getting! However on this dark and dismal March morning, when Spring has declined to join us, I thought I would share some of the 'Collection' (sounds rather grand, but I guess that's what it is).
On that subject, this is probably my favourite of the mending books that I have. The Art and Practice of Mending was a Pitman publication from 1933.
'With the right tools, a little patience, and a good knowledge of the basic principles of needlecraft, dressmaking for yourself and the family will prove as easy as ABC, and you will be able to take pride in saying "I made it myself"." With the timing of this republication maybe it suggests that there were many women who had not had time to learn these skills during the war years and were in need of instruction.
No collection would be complete without Mary Thomas's books. I also have her Embroidery book.
A couple of contemporary books looking backwards are No Idle Hands which looks at the history of American knitting and also Knitting by the Fireside and on the Hillside which is not an easy book to get your hands on, which looks specifically at knitting on the Shetland Isles with an economic slant.
So these are just a tiny part of my collection. The magazines and single patterns are too numerous to photograph individually but I'll try and share a few more at a later date.
All images copyright Susan Crawford © 2012 and must not be used with express permission being granted by the copyright holder.