Solving Vintage Puzzles
Editors' Note: We asked Whitney Dorband, PieceWork's marketing specialist, to tell us more about the vintage patterns she re-created for Knitting Traditions and Crochet Traditions.
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.
Rewrite for clarity.
These patterns are like the worst written prose in any book, and they run sentences together rather than break each new instruction into a separate row. It can be confusing. Rewriting the instructions so that every pattern change gets its own separate line or even just making a distinct mark within the pattern to know when there is a change helps immensely.
Keep track of rows.
Be willing to compromise.
Don’t always stick to the original.
Those are my little tricks for working with vintage patterns. Once you understand how the pattern works, the knitting (or crocheting, or whatever craft it might be) becomes all the more enjoyable. It’s the challenge of the piece that makes the final product all the more special. Check out Knitting Traditions Fall 2012 for some great vintage sweater patterns that you can try your hand at reworking.