This week has been one for remembering and celebrating the past. Knitters can even enjoy a brief glimpse of the then Princess Elizabeth plying her needles in this short link:
History has always been a part of my life for as long as I can remember so I am always looking back, whether it was in childhood tours of historic places, my reading, music, choice of related entertainment, and, of course, textiles – all were and are related to the past. I do appreciate the present and its ever-changing technology which allows me spend most of my personal and professional life in the past but I am far more interested in something that is newly discovered about the 18th century than the next e-something about to be released. I also appreciate my vintage wool in spite of the plethora of choices now available from all over the world.
This wool, Patons Totem, is a little younger than the reign of the current monarch, dating from the early 1960s, I do believe, having belonged to my mother and looking like kind she used to knit pullovers for my brother. Three gossamer fine 3-ply strands make up each of the three strands of the crepe twist and they are skeined by weight. Like most of my wool from the 1950’s-1960s, it is not overly soft but it is not harsh, either. I tend to use these wools for historic projects from earlier eras but I have never knit with this one yet and I don’t have any plans for it. If I do ever use it, though, I will keep the label as there is so much information on it starting with “CREPE TWIST, DOUBLE KNITTING, WEIGHT 1 OZ (28.35 GRM) AT STANDARD MOISTURE (my italics), CONTENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH BS.984:1941.” I do hope that “1941” refers to the year as that is the year in the film clip linked above. One side of the main section has a logo with “P & B” within, “ALL WOOL” below that, and “SHADE 5 LOT 69” next to that. The top of the label notes that it is “PRINTED AND TRADE MARKS REGISTERED IN GREAT BRITAIN” and the bottom section states that the wool is “MADE AND GUARANTEED BY PATONS & BALDWINS LIMITED IN GREAT BRITAIN” – guaranteed! The other side of the front of the label advises to “KNIT FROM OUTSIDE” (no pull skein here) and, best of all, that “IN CASE OF COMPLAINT PLEASE RETURN THIS BAND WITH THE WOOL.”
Now, most vendors and shops will take back unsatisfactory yarn but the labels don’t usually declare so. I won’t say that it is a product from a more civil past. No era is or was perfect no matter how rosy the glow that surrounds the images or memories. I like, however, to think of objects like this as one of those arms of the past reaching out through history, giving us a tangible but always all too fleeting moment of our own with something or someone from another time. An appropriate find in this week of Jubilee, and a suitable companion for the current modern project on the needles?*
*Tardis Socks by Swallowed by Sky, http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/tardis-socks