Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Knitting Bag from 1934

Throughout 2013, I ran a series on this blog of images of actresses from the 1930s and 1940s who were photographed knitting or were truly knitters. I often drew attention to the knitting bags in some of the photographs, from simple cloth ones with wooden handles to special ones for knitting for the troops during World War Two.

The only knitted knitting bag I found in photographs was one being used by a young Shirley Temple, pictured here possibly in the late 1930s:

Later photographs of her showed her knitting but not with that bag:

After some research, I found a pattern from 1934 for a “Sport Coat – Alpine Hat and Knitting Bag, 1. Style No.222” for "Yarncraft" in the American Magazine, November, 1934. This one resembles Shirley Temple’s knitted bag.

I haven’t quite figured out how the knitting bag fits into the coat and hat ensemble unless the three were aimed at women like me who never leave the house without knitting. My knitting goes out to work and visiting with me but I also carry it as a reverse jinx in the hopes that my transport won’t break down or I will be stuck somewhere with nothing to do. At any rate, the bag from 1934 is a close fit to the one with the young Shirley Temple.

The bag is supposed to be knit in “Germantown Zephyr.” I don't know the exact weight of Germantown from the 1930s but I do know what one kind was like in the 1980s, namely close to  Brown Sheep’s Nature Spun Worsted. I chose that yarn in Bit of Blue.  Considering that a coat was also to be knit in the same yarn, it must have been fairly substantial. “bone needles 7 mm” were suggested but based on my calculations of the finished bag’s size, I used 6 mm/US 10. The pattern was a very simple repetitive one and is knit in a rectangle, measuring 19” long. It should be lined with “Sateen.” My bag is lined with a mint green sateen. 

It is not, however, as large as the one in the photograph but that may be because I rolled over and hemmed too much knitted fabric into the slots of the handles.

The finished bag measures 15 ½” across and 8 ¾” long. 

Monday, 2 February 2015


I am moving house. Downsizing, clearing out, packing up. As a result, my projects are suffering.With all the best intentions, I packed  and am still packing the knitting, quilting, needlework, rug hooking in what seemed and seems to be a systematic way. Much of it is in temporary but retrievable storage. Somewhere in the process, however, two very important collections went missing, namely my complete set of Weldon’s in facsimile editions and the small group of photocopied patterns from them that are my working/marked up ones for current projects. The projects, themselves, are safe in a container next to me as I type but not the patterns. As I am in another Year of Completion and these Weldon’s projects are small but time-consuming, the situation is rather frustrating.

Luckily, I have more projects, of course, in progress and planned so I do have some things to feature on this blog in the coming months. The non-knitting one pictured here is one I did decades ago. It is a mixture of stitchery and glued-on materials on linen. It was a kit from the much missed The Needlewoman in Regent Street, London.

The piece is large and framed, under glass, but was difficult to photograph, especially close-up, hence the dark image.