A Closer Look at a Knitting Booklet

Coming of age in the crafty late sixties and early seventies, I was always trying to learn to knit.  I’d find someone to volunteer to take me on, and then we both would realize that my left-handed brain simply could not wrap around their right-handed instructions.  I bought that little Learn How Book from Coats and Clark Yarns,  thinking that I could teach myself, but that didn’t work either.

Finally, in her last years, my mother-in-law, who was a world-class knitter, was able to teach me the basics.  I learned by facing her, observing like looking into a mirror, instead of sitting side by side.  I managed to make a little neck wrap that buttons and looks cute, but that was pretty much my limit.

I used to look in vintage knitting booklets and just dream of all the wonderful designs, but eventually I just stopped looking through them, knowing I’d see something I wanted to make and knowing I couldn’t.  Then several years ago I took some old things to a local vintage dealer to trade, and included was a vintage knitting booklet for baby things.  The dealer began looking through it and was delighted to find in one of the photos a Bakelite baby rattle being used as a prop.  She then produced an identical rattle from a display case.

She said she always looks through old needlecraft booklets because the props are so interesting.  Lesson learned.  That’s why I looked through the 1950 sock booklet when it turned up in a bin at my Goodwill Clearance Center.

Along with the socks were the best little illustrations of people in their sports clothes.   These aren’t just generic drawings, as you can clearly see some of the sock designs on the people.

Note the plaid cuffs of the skiers’ socks.  That’s almost enough to take up knitting lessons again.

Does “trew” mean “completely wonderful socks or stockings”?   Because that is what these are.  Just looking at the photo, would you ever have guessed 1950 as the date?  They are so much like what we were wearing in the late 1960s.



Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Sportswear

18 responses to “A Closer Look at a Knitting Booklet

  1. Interesting post as always Lizzie. I was particularly interested to see your last image ‘Hand Knit Trews’ . . . . . .
    Years ago, we used the term ‘trews’ instead of ‘trousers’. However, I’ve not heard mention of it for quite some time. I suppose the word has now gone out of fashion! However, Scottish ‘trews’ are trousers made from tartan and worn in the evening instead of a traditional kilt. 🙂


  2. I’m left-handed and a hopeless knitter too. I have a few knitting books that I bought simply because I fell in love with the photos/illustrations in them… and because I wish I could knit. Like those socks!


  3. LOVE the socks but knitting inevitably doesn’t hold up. I am sorry !


  4. Thank you for a lightbulb moment! Always wondered why me a knitting never hit it off despite my enthusiasm..now I know! xxx


  5. You have a great eye, Lizzie! I am also struggling to learn how to knit. So far I am at the scarf and hat stage…and may never advance.


  6. Ugh! I’m kicking myself now for not taking a photograph of the amazing photo of a men’s basketball team I saw at an antiques mall yesterday. I thought of you when I saw it, Lizzie…the photo was circa 1940s-early 1950s, I think, and the guys had on Converse with socks rolled down over the tops in really thick cuffs.

    Anyway…I love your sock knitting book, and I wish I had a pair of trews. And a pair of plaid cuff socks.


    • Yes, I think the plaid ones are my favorite design. But you could have guessed that.

      That’s interesting about the boy’s team and their socks. I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen that particular fashion statement.


  7. I’m left-handed, and I love to knit. Maybe I knit right-handed, though. lol My 6-yr-old son and I were just discussing this morning how some people write right-handed, but bat left-handed. I write left-handed, but do many things right-handed. I love the socks. Love the plaid cuffs. Loved the seeing the knitting booklet.


    • I’ve tried knitting both ways with equally bad results! I use scissors with my right hand, but that is because I did not have access to left handed ones when I was learning to cut. I use a computer mouse with my right hand, and I’m sure there are others. I’m a switch hitter. 😉


  8. margecrunkleton

    Liz….am I back on??? The argyle socks are beautiful in the picture above…way above. I made just one pair of argyles in my life as a novice knitter…. aabout 55 years ago. I had to look high and low over North Carolina to find someone to show me how to turn the heel. However, the socks did turn out wonderful….but never again. Glad to be back, Liz.


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