This week’s pick: Quilts and Afghans From McCall’s Needlework & Crafts
Publication date: 1984
Status: Out of print, but widely available online
Craft(s): Crochet, knitting, and quilting
This is a collection of patterns that originally appeared in McCall’s Needlework & Crafts magazine.
The book includes 14 quilt patterns, 11 crochet patterns, and 5 knitting patterns. The last chapter includes general instructions for patchwork, applique, quilting, tufting, embroidery, crochet, and knitting.
I was amused to see that the introduction talks about the “modern interpretations of old-fashioned patterns.” I guess that phrase never gets old. (Naturally, the book now appears dated.)
It opens with the quilting patterns. Some of my favorites are the Fan Quilt and the Broken Star Quilt.
The patterns are pretty detailed, but mostly use templates. I’m guessing that many of today’s quilters might prefer strip quilting (or is that just me because I’m lazy?). Of course, you can always convert the projects or just use the quilts for inspiration.
One major difference from many modern quilting books is that there are actual instructions for how to quilt the tops, including templates for the stitch outlines. There are even tips for enlarging the templates (without a scanner or copy machine).
The next section is the crochet patterns. Most are also quilting inspired. Some of my favorites are (clockwise, from top left) Color Wheels Afghan, Star Quilt Bedspread, Florentine Afghan, and Autumn Windows Afghan.
Another sign of the times: The Florentine Afghan is made with Tunisian crochet and then there is a chart to work needlepoint over it. Today, it would probably be charted as a crocheted (or Tunisian crocheted) colorwork pattern.
The Star Quilt looks like an awesome scrap buster, but I don’t think I could handle making all 114 blocks (each of which is made up of 12 pieces!).
Most of the knitting patterns are not really to my taste, but I did like the Argyle Afghan. The chart could also be used for Tunisian crochet or single crochet.
Overall, this book has some nice patterns and some good tips. I like the fact that it is multi-craftual and that doesn’t seem to be a problem as it might be today. It has great inspiration inside, but I think many of today’s crafters would probably take some shortcuts and make adjustments to the patterns.