Tag Archives: vintage crochet

Vintage Needlecrafts Pick of the Week: Magic Motif Crochet

VintageNPotW 400

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This week’s pick: Magic Motif Crochet by Maggy Ramsay.

Source:  Amazon.com

Publication date: 1987.

Status: Out of print but available at reasonable prices online.

Condition: Very Good.

Craft: Crochet.

Magic Motif Crochet cover

I discovered this week’s pick via this post on one of my favorite blogs, Crochetbug.  Like Leslie, I was very intrigued by the Textured Squares Afghan.

Magic Motif Crochet textured squares

As you can guess, this book is primarily about motif projects.  Though the Textured Squares Afghan is an exercise in pure texture, there are many colorful projects in the book.

Magic Motif Crochet rainbowsThis picture features the Giant Rainbow Ball, a kid’s karate outfit (how awesome is that!), and a fun Rainbow Afghan.

The author, Maggy Ramsay, was apparently based in New York when the book was published.

Magic Motif Crochet Maggie Ramsay

I wonder if she still lives in the area?  I couldn’t find any recent information for her online (although admittedly, I only glanced through the first few pages of the Google search).

I was also intrigued by the different geometric patterns, especially since someone recently asked me to make a Necker cube baby blanket.

Magic Motif Crochet climbing blocks

The Climbing Blocks Afghan is made with 123 diamonds (in three colors) and 6 triangles (for the edges).

Magic Motif Crochet tumbling blocks

The Tumbling Blocks Afghan is made with 23 squares (in two colors), 12 half squares (in two colors), 4 quarter squares (in two colors), and 60 diamonds (in three colors).

(By the way, I didn’t make up baby blanket.  That’s a whole lot of pieces for a project that I don’t get to keep!)

Not all of the projects are solid fabrics.  There are some lacy designs, too.


Magic Motif Crochet lace

I especially like this Antique Medallion Placemats and Centerpiece design.

What’s your favorite source of vintage crochet motif patterns?

Vintage Needlecrafts Pick of the Week: Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework (1984)

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This week’s pick: Complete Guide to Needlework (Reader’s Digest) by Reader’s Digest.

Source:  MC’s mother’s collection.*

Publication date: Eighth printing (1984) of 1979 edition.

Status: Out of print but available at reasonable prices online.

Condition: Very Good.

Crafts: Applique, Crochet, Embroidery, Knitting, Lacework, Macrame, Needlepoint, Patchwork, Quilting, and Rug-making.

Complete Guide to Needlework cover

You know a book is a classic when you find it in the collections of two amazing women.  I came across this book in my grandmother’s collection after she died, and I took it home with me when we cleaned up her apartment.  Two years later, when I moved in with MC, I found another copy in the books he kept to the side after his mother died.  (I ended up giving my grandmother’s copy to one of my best friends.)

This book is a great resource because it includes information on so many different needlecrafts, but also because it goes beyond the basics in a way that most contemporary books don’t.  There is definitely an assumption that the readers of this book will need these crafts to make garments and home decor items for their families, and as a result, the writers attempt to share the skills needed for designing and finishing great custom items.

From the section on crochet necklines.

From the section on shaping crochet necklines.

From the section on knitting necklines.

From the section on shaping knitting necklines.

The book starts off with a section on embroidery, a craft I love the look of but lack the patience for actually doing.


Complete Guide to Needlework 21 embroidery sampler

There are quite a few great embroidery samplers shown, followed by detailed illustrations for making loads of stitches.

Complete Guide to Needlework 46 running sts

I haven’t spent much time looking through the next two sections, Needlepoint and Applique.

The Patchwork section has a lot of beautiful and inspiring pictures, but I’ve mostly avoided it.  (As a fairly lazy quilter, I’m partial to newer books with detailed strip piecing instructions.)

Grandmother's Flower Garden pattern.

Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern.

The Quilting chapter mostly focuses on hand quilting, but there are some tips for machine quilters, too.

The Knitting chapter is one of my favorites.  Some of the highlights include tips for getting neat selvages…

Complete Guide to Needlework 284 Selvages

illustrated and written instructions for different types of double increases and decreases…

Complete Guide to Needlework 291 decreases

Complete Guide to Needlework 293 decreases

and the above-mentioned tips for neckline shaping.

Complete Guide to Needlework knitting necklines 2

There are also some great patterns, like this one for a classic Aran sweater…

Complete Guide to Needlework 315 aran pullover

and this one for a lovely evening set.

Complete Guide to Needlework 354 evening set

And, naturally, I love the crochet section, too.  Like the knitting chapter, it includes a stitch guide…

Complete Guide to Needlework 377 motifs

and sections on quite a few specialized techniques including woven crochet…

Complete Guide to Needlework 383 woven crochet

Tunisian crochet…

Complete Guide to Needlework 387 Tunisian crochet

and broomstick lace.

Complete Guide to Needlework 389 broomstick lace

And also like the knitting section, there is plenty of information about shaping crochet garments.

Complete Guide to Needlework crochet sleeves

After the crochet section, I tend to lose interest since I don’t do any lacework, macrame, or rug-making.  But I do like that there are sections on all of these crafts, because you never know when I might pick one of them up!

Vintage Needlecrafts Pick of the Week: Crochet Workshop by James Walters

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This week’s pick: Crochet Workshop by James Walters.

Source:  Amazon.com

Publication date: 1983 reprint of a 1979 publication.

Status: Out of print, but available online (sometimes, for exorbitant prices)  Update: Thanks to PlanetJune for letting me know that Crochet Workshop will be republished by Dover next year.  You can order it on Amazon here.

Condition: Good.

Craft: Crochet.

Crochet Workshop cover

I first learned about this delightful book from Crochetbug.  (You can learn more about James Walters in this post on Crochet Concupiscence.)  Unfortunately, the book’s condition is such that it is difficult to enjoy.  You see, it reeks of smoke.  One day, I hope to air it out enough for me to actually want to read through it, but until then, I am limited to brief moments of picking it up until the smell is unbearable, and then washing my hands profusely.

I did take some time to photograph it so I could share some of it with you.

Crochet Workshop 8 suit

A freeform crochet body suit.

You can almost immediately feel the sense of whimsy, creativity, and joy that Walters has to offer.

Crochet Workshop 67 shaping

The book includes all kinds of information that you would rarely see in a crochet book today.  As a freeform pioneer, Walters shows you how to create your own projects, rather than rely solely on patterns.

Crochet Workshop 105 swirls

There are many great illustrations, and I can’t tell if these are by Walters or someone else.  Here is one showing the progression of various spiral crochet pieces

Crochet Workshop 156 motif2Crochet Workshop 157 motif1

These are part of a section that explains how to construct motifs of different kinds.

Crochet Workshop 207 freeform

There are examples of several freeform garments included in the book…

Crochet Workshop 214 hairpin

as well as explorations of specialized techniques, like hairpin lace.

Crochet Workshop 215 hairpin lace risque

Most of the projects are displayed artfully, rather than functionally.

Crochet Workshop 248 thigh highs

I really wish I could bear to read through this book, because I am sure I would learn a lot and be completely inspired.

Crochet Workshop 225 gown

Hopefully, one day it will come back into print (or be available as an ebook) and I will have the chance to read it cover to cover.  Until then, does anyone have any tips for removing foul odors from books?