May 2024

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Working with Vintage and Antique Patterns

A week ago Sunday, I ventured out and off this island to get into the city (the only city that can be referred to as just the city, NYC of course) and had the pleasure of participating in a class given by Franklin Habit at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, “Working with Vintage and Antique Patterns”.

If you are in any way interested, or just curious, about learning more about the history of hand knitting, I would highly recommend that you take this class, and get to meet the knowledgeable and thoroughly likable Mr. Habit. It was also my first visit to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, which I truly enjoyed. All the yarns are cleverly yet neatly displayed making a feast for a yarn lovers eyes. The selection was huge, plus the new Martha Stewart and the LB Collection yarns are to die for!

During the class Franklin introduced us to the collected works of Jane Gaugain, an Edinburgh shop keeper, who sparked a Victorian age knitting revolution. We even got to swatch a piece from one of her patterns, a leaf block utilizing a surprising amount of knitting techniques for such a small square bit of knitting.There was so much more, I can’t even begin to tell you.  I left with a newly sparked imagination and the need to get serious about researching the patterns I have collected and getting them organized.

I am not going to admit how many years, but I have been collecting “oldie” knitting treasures for quite some time now, both knit and crochet, books and patterns ranging mostly from the 1930’s  through the 1970’s (the latter ones are mine, bought back then). So, I have an interest in the past and learning from what others have learned before us.

There are times I feel I have a real connection with the past, when my hands just do something when I am knitting or crocheting, without any conscious effort. Like some sort of saved past life experience, or memory that my hands just know how to do.

My only recreation from an antique pattern was from my oldest treasure, The Art of Crocheting, published by The Butterick Publishing Co. in 1891.




I adapted the Crocheted Shoulder Cape shown above for my daughter’s first communion day.


Looking back on this now, I wish I had taken notes while doing it. You know what they say “Hindsight is always 20/20”.

Live & learn, from now on I will be taking notes on any re-dos of antique or vintage patterns.

There are so many patterns out there that have just been waiting for curious knitters and or crocheters to re-discover.

So be brave and not afraid to experiment and try working up something from an “old” resource.

In just glancing through some Needlecraft magazines in my collection, I found an adaption of the block we worked in class.

Click to download below & then again at top of next page.

Leaf & Diamond Bedspread block 1919

If you can’t download this – email me at and I will forward it to you.

Happy Holiday Knitting, Crocheting, Spinning………


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