Tips for Crocheting with Vintage Patterns

If you have ever tried to crochet using a vintage crochet or knitting pattern, you understand that it sometimes feels like someone went in and removed every other word or sentence. The instructions can seem difficult to follow if you have never worked with them before. But there are a few tricks you can use to make these patterns easier to follow—for first time vintage crocheters and veterans alike.

Whitney Dorband, PieceWork's marketing specialist, shares some of her best tips, learned while re-creating vintage projects for Knitting Traditions and Crochet Traditions.

Vintage Crochet Auto Cap
Whitney crocheted and modeled our sample Auto Cap, a pattern from the November 1917 issue of Needlecraft Magazine that we published in Crochet Traditions Fall 2012.

I have had the pleasure of re-creating several patterns published in the late 1800s to early 1900s for the pages of PieceWork’s Knitting Traditions and Crochet Traditions. Every time the editors ask me to help them with an issue by working one of these vintage patterns, I am more than happy to and for many reasons.

First, I love to be able to engage in a craft that transcends time. Being able to re-create an article of clothing from many generations before my time renders a sense of awe and also tradition within me. Second, I love any excuse to get something on my needles or my hook. And lastly, I love a good challenge. These vintage patterns are nothing short of puzzles that need to be pieced together before you can reach your final outcome. I love reading and sifting through the instructions, seeing what’s changed and what’s stayed the same through the evolution of knitting and crochet patterns. But when it finally comes down to putting the yarn on the needle I usually have to do a little restructuring of the original. Here are the things that I do with these patterns to ensure success:

Read through the pattern.
Before doing anything at all, read through the pattern in its entirety. This will give you a sense of what you are going to need to do as well as a sense of what troubles you might run into.

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