Look at the Things!

Sometimes I just need to come here and shout, “Look what I got!” because I have so much excitement in me that I have to share it before I explode.

Remember a little while back when I recommended that you let your family and friends know you’re a mad keen collector of porcelain cats?  Or 1970s pottery?  Or doilies?  Or whatever it might be?  Well I am back with further proof that it’s the best course of action in the form of a stack of vintage patterns I received from my mother-in-law the other day.  There I was, walking down the hall after sorting out a television issue when I spotted an interesting pile of paper that caused my vintage knitting pattern radar to go off.

“My vintage knitting pattern radar just went off,” I said to the aforementioned mother-in-law.  I always find it’s best to utter your inner thoughts aloud if you want other people to be aware of them.

“Oh yes, they’re for you,” she said.

A hearty stack of old patterns for me!  Could I have been more excited?  Only if someone had come along and said they would pay me a generous annual salary to collect vintage patterns and knit from them and given that this didn’t happen (and is unlikely to, alas) we can assume I’d reached the peak levels of excitement for the given situation.

Said levels were pretty high, though, because have a look at what I was given:

As incredible as this bundle of vintage patterns may be, there was something amazing waiting to be discovered in the middle of it all.  A couple of weeks ago, I found a glorious book of 1940s fair isle patterns on Etsy and added it to my favourites so I could agonise over it whenever I had a spare moment or two.  Could I really justify spending $22 plus postage on it?  Really?  Did it contain $22 worth of awesomeness within its pages?

In the end, I said no to the temptation.  $10 is the most I’m prepared to pay for a vintage pattern book and even then, I’d be thinking twice about it.  So imagine my delight as I flipped through this bounty of patterns and caught a glimpse of a gold coloured cover with ‘Fair Isles’ written on it.  It couldn’t be… could it?

It could be and it was.  The very book I’d almost bought for $22 plus postage was sitting right there, being freely given to me.  I may have stroked it gently and held it close.  I may have squeed.  I may have mentioned it was now my precious and no others may touch.  Moments of serendipity like this happen rarely in the vintage pattern search, and when they do, the wonderful warm glow lasts a long time.

Later, when I was invited to take home some wool to go with all of these patterns, I found a little scrunched up book at the bottom of a bag.  It turned out to be another fair isle book of a similar age with hand-written notations on one of the patterns.  I absolutely love it when I find notations as it obviously means the garment was created and worn and enjoyed.  And in this case, I know it was created by the Chef’s grandmother, which makes it even more special.

When you collect old things, you learn to be good at waiting and you cultivate the knack of patience.  You also learn to look absolutely everywhere and to investigate any scrunched-up bits of paper.  And sometimes, your patience rewards you with an armful of amazingness, thanks to your generous family and friends.

I hope it happens to all of you, too.

8 thoughts on “Look at the Things!

    • Katie Writes Stuff says:

      They are, indeed, spectacular! I have knitted an item in fair isle recently, which was what inspired the search on Etsy. It was a lot of fun and I should totally share the project here soon. It’s the perfect project for the weather we’re having lately down here.


  1. Dianne says:

    How wonderful and amazing! I wonder if there is a collective noun for a pile of knitting books?
    The boy with the reindeer jumper is so ahead of his time – thinking of Colin Firth’s jumper in “Bridget Jones”. But my only complaint is the dog – they went with the giant wattle branch, but a wolf houndish cross shaggy german shepherd kind of mutt??? Did it not occur to the stylist to go find a kelpie or heeler? Or at a pinch a cute little Australian terrier? Then again maybe it was just a random dog who happened to be walking by and wandered over to admire the hand knitted jumper!


    • Katie Writes Stuff says:

      The dog bugs me, too! It was the first thing I noticed after the giant bunch of wattle and I had much the same thought as you: Why couldn’t they have used an Australian dog? Surely that would have fitted much better with the theme.

      You’ve made me think that I need to make someone a Christmas jumper based on that reindeer pattern.


    • Katie Writes Stuff says:

      Be careful because when I started collecting vintage patterns, I didn’t knit either… and now look at me! They are gorgeous, though. I particularly love the men’s ones because they’re forever posing by gorgeous old cars or on interesting piers or holding cameras that people would probably pay a fortune for now. Brilliant.


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