Vintage Needlecrafts Pick of the Week: The Complete Book of Knitting by Barbara Abbey

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This week’s pick: The Complete Book of Knitting by Barbara Abbey

Source: My mom’s collection

Publication date: 1971

Status: Re-released as a Dover book in 2012

Condition: Missing dust jacket, but otherwise in very good condition

Craft: Knitting

I haven’t had the chance to explore this book as much as some of the others since it is a recent acquisition.  My mom gave it to me in December when she was packing up to move.  She thinks she bought it at the Brooklyn Museum‘s shop when she worked there back in the day.

Barbara Abbey seems to have anticipated the internet by providing pages of translations of terms (from British, French, German, Spanish, and Swedish to American).

I can’t wait to use this newfound knowledge to track down international stitch guides!

Barbara also seems to know that there was been a break in the knitting knowledge passed down from our foremothers, and she shares a lot of information on things like taking proper measurements for garments and blocking.

There’s also a substantial stitch guide.

Some of my favorite stitch patterns from The Complete Book of Knitting.

And for all you lefties out there, she even includes a tiny section on how to read patterns and explains how your decreases will slant.

But perhaps my favorite thing about this book is that my mom owned it.  And, like me, she has the tendency to fold up articles and hide them in books.  So I was able to discover this Daily News article reprinted by a (now closed) yarn shop.

Apparently, the New York Yarn Center opened the same month this article was published.

The 1982 article includes a pattern for a knock off Perry Ellis sweater, which cost $180 ($429.43 in 2012 dollars).  A sweater’s worth of cotton yarn cost $10 ($23.86 in 2012 dollars).  Apparently, yarn costs have risen at a rate that is faster than regular inflation, at least according to this Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator.

Today, it would definitely cost you more to knit your own sweater, but then again, you’d be having more fun knitting than you would shopping, so it would be worth it.

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