Vintage Needlecrafts Pick of the Week: Fashion Crochet by Caroline Horne

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This week’s pick: Fashion Crochet by Caroline Horne

Source: Inherited from my grandmother‘s collection

Publication date: 1970

Status: Out of print.  Available online with prices ranging from “reasonable” to “apply for a line of credit.”

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

Craft: Crochet

This is an awesome little gem that I found in my grandmother’s home after she passed away.  Although it was first published in 1969, and my version is from 1970, it has more of a ’60s vibe to it.  There’s a note in the beginning saying that the yarn was provided by Coats and Clark for the American edition.  (I’m assuming the previous edition was published in the U.K.)  Most of these yarns no longer exist, but I’m guessing that most were actually threads since steel hooks are used for most of the patterns.

The dust jacket informs potential readers that “Crochet is fun, fascinating and very in-fashion these days.  For it’s a versatile fabric — it can be soft, fragile, openwork weave or just a firm, close one.  Either way,it holds its shape, and lasts.”

In case that isn’t enough to draw you in, in the introduction, Caroline Horne, a self described “teacher of Fashion Crochet,” tells readers

…once you have mastered the art of holding the crochet hook and the few stitches that there are in Fashion Crochet, everything else begins to fall into place.  Soon you will find yourself making attractive chic clothes — a welcome addition to any wardrobe — at a fraction of the price that they would cost in the shops, with the added incentive of being able to have exactly the right color and shape that you want when you want it.  Anyone can do Fashion Crochet and there is no time like the present for embarking on this absorbing, creative and constructive craft which is currently enjoying such a vogue in the world of fashion.

Well said!

I love the fashion illustrations by Yvonne Jones, which give the book a whimsical feeling.

(By the way, the cross hatching on the pants and coat represents crochet.)

I love the pattern names, too.

I assume that in 1969, everyone knew what a “classic teenager’s dress” was.

Caroline provides fairly detailed instructions, and she also offers different color suggestions for most patterns.

I love that the book includes a pattern for stockings.

I can totally imagine someone (who isn’t me) crocheting up a pair of these today!

Like most books from this time period, many patterns are offered in only one size.  Some have maybe 3 sizes.  I think Caroline hopes you’ll be designing your own projects by the end of the book, though.

Blanket retrospective

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Barbara at Made in K-Town is hosting one of her awesome link parties, and this month the theme is crocheted blankets.  I was inspired to share some the blankets I made before I was blogging.

Way back in May, I posted about the project journal I used to use for my crochet projects before blogging.  Thanks to those lovely files, I have some great pictures of blankets from back in the day.  Be warned, these pictures were all taken indoors and I didn’t originally plan to share them with the world :).


… was the year of the throw (a.k.a. lapghan) for me.  I had finally learned how to make a granny square (courtesy of a this free pattern from the JPF Crochet Club by Julie A. Bolduc).

This was my first project made by joining granny squares together.

I made this for my dad’s birthday.  I had never joined granny squares before so I hadn’t really thought about all of the ends that would need to be woven in.  I finished it on time, but was totally overwhelmed by the ends (48 squares, each with two yarn tails, plus I whipstitched the squares together with yet more yarn tails).  I actually took it back from him (yep, I did wrap it, ends and all, so I would have something to give!) and then let it sit in my closet for two more years until I was brave enough to attack the ends.  Since then, I’ve learned to weave in my ends as I go :).

I found the Lapghans pattern by Marilyn Coleman on the Coats and Clark website shortly thereafter, and took to making one-piece granny blankets.

A lapghan for my god daughter. My cat Yang, a.k.a. Mr. Cranky (rest in peace), had a way of working himself into the picture.
This one ended up as a Christmas present.

My first bedspread sized blanket was Garden Stripes by Aline Suplinskas in the Afghan Collectors Series from The Needlecraft Shop.

This was an engagement present. (Now that they are no longer together, I wonder what happened to it?)

I also made my sister a lapghan when she went away to college.  I used the Campus Colors pattern by Carole Rutter Tippett from Quick and Cozy Afghans.

Go Lords!

Believe it or not, these are just a few of the crocheted blankets I made in 2005.

Monet Pineapple

This is one of the patterns I fell in love with after 2005.

Monet Pineapple, circa 2006.

Monet Pineapple by Janie Herrin is one of my favorite designs in my beloved copy of 100 Afghans to Knit & Crochet by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss. I made several versions, but the one in this picture was a wedding gift.  It’s unfortunate that you can’t see the detail of the beautiful pineapples in my picture.

And, for good measure…

I’ve thrown in a picture of my favorite quilt.  I call it Log Cabin by the Sea.  This is the first first quilt I started (in November 2005), which I finally finished quilting in February, 2008.  I love it!  We sleep under it every night and it is super cozy.

What are your handmade favorite blankets?

Vintage crochet finds

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Since getting an amazing deal on Modular Crochet: A Revolutionary New Method for Creating Custom-Design Pullovers, I have started amassing vintage crochet books at a rapid pace.  My favorite sources are (free books!),, and Etsy. I was inspired to share my recent finds with you by this post by Andi at Untangling Knots.  Following Andi’s lead, I am limiting your exposure to the scary projects.

Vintage crochet fashion books.

I’ve already posted my favorite pictures from Modular Crochet (1978)  here. Here are some of my favorites from The Woman’s Day Book of Designer Crochet (1980).

I really liked Jacqueline Henderson’s take on various projects including home decor and clothing.

I found it harder to find projects I loved in Design Crochet (1978).  This book features many designers and is edited by Mark Dittrick.  Most of the projects were way over the top, late seventies style, and I couldn’t imagine making them today.  In general, even when the projects looked amazing in black and white, the color pics didn’t quite hold up.

The models in Design Crochet are all quite sassy.
Vintage home decor books.

The Great Granny Crochet Book (1979) is a retro version of Sarah London‘s Granny Square Love: A New Twist on a Crochet Classic for Your Home.  But without the awesome colors Sarah is known for :). Weekend Afghans (1987), by Jean Leinhauser and Rita Weiss, is the newest book in my batch, and it includes many classic afghan styles.  Decorating with Crochet (1975) by Anne Halliday is actually my favorite of the home decor bunch.

Anne definitely has a color sense to match up with Sarah London!
Vintage technique books.

Apparently, Stitch By Stitch Volume 1 (1984) was part of a multi-volume series.  Although most of the projects are pretty dated, it does have some great “how-to” photos for knitting, crochet, and other needlecrafts.  It also includes a “Shoestring” section of inexpensive projects which often feature upcycled materials.

The first page in Stitch By Stitch’s crochet tutorial.

The Coats and Clark’s Book No. 208 (1971) is something I picked up for the day when I become a hairpin lace master, while Exciting Crochet: A Course in Broomstick and Tunisian Crochet (1987) by Muriel Kent, was to add to my Tunisian crochet collection.

My copy of The Best of Woman’s Day Crochet: A Treasury of Classic and Contemporary Crochet Patterns (1976) is missing a dust jacket so I didn’t take a cover picture.  But there are some awesome projects inside.

As with Design Crochet, these fashions are best viewed in black and white.

What’s in your vintage collection?

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