July 2024

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Columbia-Minerva Infant’s Three Piece Set – Number 744-21









I’ve said it before. I like working with old patterns.

Recently during an organizing attempt to get all my stash and patterns in some sort of order, I came across a page that must have fallen out of a booklet somehow.  For the life of me I couldn’t find said booklet in my possession anywhere, so I am stuck with just this one lonely page, #32, which in researching I found came from Columbia Minerva #744 ” Teach Yourself to Knit, the Easy Way”.  I’m guessing from the late 50s to early 60’s. Whether I saved it from oblivion, or perhaps my mom tucked it in with her old patterns handed down to me, I’ll never know.

It seemed to be a rather straight forward type of pattern, 3 pieces, a hat, some mittens and bootees, all in rather a utilitarian, plain looking Garter and Stockinette Stitch combination.

I was going to just scan this pattern page to save it digitally and then just discard the lonely page, but something made me stop.  Could this be a pattern that my mother made? Was this Plain Jane pattern worth trying to make up?  I thought why not, at the least I could donate the attempt to reproduce this to charity.

And so the adventure started.

Looking over the written pattern, which takes only half the page for all 3 items, I noticed all the items were knitted flat, with seams to finish. Two seams down the back of the hat, with an added seam to attach the neckband. Each mitten had one side seam from top to bottom. The bootees also had a seam down the back of each which continued along the sole.

This may have worked for them back then, but we know we can do better! That was the voice inside my head telling me, or rather challenging me to do just that, a bit better using skills that might not have been widely available back then, or perhaps knitters knew them and it was just the yarn company’s way of getting a pattern to print quite small and quick.

Either way I had sucked myself into this and began the re-write and re-knit.

The Hat – for my first one, I followed the pattern as written and tried using the invisible vertical to horizontal weave to seam up the back. It looked OK, but the seams on the inside looked and felt rather bulky.

So on my second try, I eliminated the 2 back of the head seams, because who wants some poor little baby trying to sleep with thick bulky seams at the back of his head. Then on my third try, I changed how the neckband was made, not separately and sewn on later, but rather picked up from the bottom edge. Thereby making the hat seamless and in one piece.












The Mittens – for these the solution was easy. Simply cast on in the round with DPNs or using the magic loop method with circular needles. Seamless, one piece.

The Bootees – here the solution wasn’t as easy. The original pattern had them cast on at the bottom, or sole edge, and then decreased working up toward the cuff. That would mean a seam across the bottom and up the back. The solution I found was working in the round with a provisional cast on that ends up being woven together with the Kitchener Stitch. This also allows you to work the bootees just like the mittens, on DPNs or with the magic loop method. Seamless, one piece.

Full instructions for the “encore” of all 3 pieces are here, along with the scan of the original lonely pattern page #32.

Cheers for knitting seamlessly!





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