A few posts back I shared my experience working with a vintage Lion Brand pattern. Naturally I loved it and hope to make more vintage patterns in the future. So many patterns, so little time, so little Ben Gay needed from sitting in one position crocheting till my eyes are blurry. ha!
I always test new patterns before I make final pieces for my peeps. I want to know the ins and outs of a pattern and all its quirks. It should come as no surprise I alter about 99% of patterns I use. Every experienced crocheter does this IMHO. We just develop our personal likes and dislikes for working in rounds, rows, chains, etc. It is not a reflection on the pattern writer.
So yes my bud Willow (future stuntman) needed a cute Christmas bonnet. I brought over her bonnet and also my stash of yarn for making her a winter hat, scarf and mitten set. She dived right into that box of yarn. Future fiber lover perhaps! Knitting or crocheting as she jumps from an airplane for a movie stunt? Who knows! Anyway Willow. Thanks for all the cute opportunities in crochet.
Using vintage patterns
My buddy Willow likes to keep me busy. Which is great! I am on the hunt for a proper, cute Christmas bonnet and also a hat, scarf and mitten set. Needless to say I will probably be creating that myself adapting various patterns. Its usually like that with children's patterns. You find a bonnet you like but there's no matching pieces. That's just fine. Adapting patterns really isn't as hard as one might think.
But back to Vintage. Yes, I said everything that is old is new again. Well, looking for a bonnet I came upon Lion Brand Yarns recent upload to Ravelry of a knitting and crochet book of patterns from 1912! Oh give me more Lion Brand! The beauty of this upload is that its the entire book right down to stitch techniques. You say, hey aren't stitch techniques always the same? Well for the most part yes but let's say you come across a puff stitch. Everyone has a different version of the puff stitch mostly consisting of more yarn overs and drawing up extra loops on the hook. The way the patterns are written they are referencing their techniques and without those details the patterns would be pretty difficult to achieve. I have never seen patterns written in such short-hand. They're efficient but I did find myself wondering often if I had enough stitches on the hook per the pattern and just winging it. That's why I always do what I call a "comp" of every design I try the first time. This is an opportunity to work out the kinks.
Another interesting problem with a pattern from 1912 is all the yarns are just not made any more. This pattern called for Eider Wool. No information was provided about the weight of the yarn or standard hook/needle sizes for it. I spent some time researching online and found others trying to figure out what the weight was and came to the conclusion that Eider Wool is a #5 Bulky yarn.
The next challenge - hook sizes. Yes they list them. Use a No 9 hook or a No 2 hook. Guess what. We don't refer to hooks like that any more. Its all mm and alphabets mainly. That lead me into researching hooks and I learned a lot of about the history of crochet hooks. Mainly that the patent for modern hooks started in 1912 (strangely the same year of our pattern). I never did find a conversion chart for No 9 equals the following modern hook. So I just used a hook that was appropriate to the yarn weight.
All that being said, thank goodness for Ravelry because I can jot all that information down when I uploaded a project for that bonnet. All the dirty details are in there. I didn't use a bulky weight yarn for starters. I used a heavier worsted weight but for the size bonnet I wanted that was perfect. The pattern makes a child's size bonnet and I wanted a toddler.
Here is the link to the pattern and the book:
A Manual of Worsted Work
Here are my modifications. Using a 6.0mm (J) hook I did the following:
Willow wearing her hat
Willow turns One!
Crochet lover. Ghost hunter. Avid chocolate eater. Kitties welcome. Maker of all things art.