Friday, January 15, 2010

I'm Going Vintage!

Wednesday night I came home from a guild meeting feeling inspired. Carolyn Webb of Tucson, Arizona gave a wonderful talk on the history of fiber arts in America from the late 19th to the mid 20th century. She had, as part of her presentation, an incredible collection of antique pieces dating back 100 years or more. It was fascinating!

I sat in my metal folding chair surrounded by history. When I thought of all of the hours that the work represented and the love and care that went into each piece, I was moved. It was all so fine, made with lace weight yarn and tiny needles and hooks. There was also an impressive store of vintage pattern books. Just looking at the artwork that went into some of the covers was awesome. Many of the books were becoming fragile with time.

I felt an overwhelming longing to preserve these treasures. When things like these are lost, they are gone forever and a piece of our collective history goes with them. Fortunately, I'm not the only one who feels this way. One of the things I learned from the meeting is that there is a special website, no woman really, who has dedicated herself to preserving and restoring vintage pattern books. She spends painstaking hours bringing old images back to life and then reproducing them so that they can be cherished still today. I spent over an hour at Iva Rose Vintage Reproductions yesterday and I highly recommend a visit.

So let me tell you how inspired I am. I love some of the old patterns and styles so much that I want to make modern versions of the patterns. What I mean is that I plan to transcribe the patterns using materials that are readily available for today's crafter. I want to maintain the integrity of the fabulous designs, but write them up using gauges to which we have become more accustomed. This will mean deciphering the shorthand of patterns from as far back as 1895 and working through them to make sure they are accurate.

The picture up top is my first go at an Automobile Bonnet and Veil. I haven't had a chance to make the veil yet, so for fun I'm using a very modern scarf just to show off the design of the hat. I don't have this quite right yet, but I only have a little tweaking left and I think it will be a really nice pattern. I love the versatility of this design. Women today are hardly going to drive down the road with a veil over their face, but imagine having a hat that you adorn with a different scarf every time you wear it. From novelties like this fun and funky pink scarf, to elegant painted silk or handwoven masterpieces. This hat promises endless new looks and can be a fabulous way to showcase your own creations.

2010 was going to be the year I stopped setting too many goals for myself. It's only January 15th and I'm doing it anyway! I'm going to try to keep it reasonable though. My intention is to transcribe one pattern every two months. These will all be crochet patterns as that is my personal area of proficiency. I'm sorry I can't do the same for knitting. Part of the reason I don't have the veil made yet is because it's a knitted pattern and that's a major stumbling block for me.

So about every two months, be on the lookout for a crocheted reproduction of a vintage pattern. The vintage patterns are no longer under copyright so I can make my own version available to you. I'll probably list them in one or both of my stores for a small price; just a little something for my efforts. I think so many of these styles are timeless and can still have a place in our fashion today. Once you have a good basic pattern to work with, it will be easy to add those modern day updates .....if you want to.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very nice! I love your interpretation and I'm looking forward to more. :D