Vintage Needlecrafts Pick of the Week: Magic Motif Crochet

VintageNPotW 400

This post contains affiliate links.

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: Crochet Workshop by James Walters

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This post contains affiliate links.

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?

NatCroMo13 in Review!

If you’re like me, you have been following along with many special National Crochet Month features and may be behind on your blog reading.

Here’s a quick roundup of my NatCroMo13 posts.

Free Wednesday posts!

blog Rectangular Sampler angle view

Crochet Book Reviews

NatCroMo13 Book Collage

Crochet Hook Reviews

Favorite Online Crochet Resources

Interviews

Pineapples for Everyone Shawl CAL

Pineapples with Underground Crafter CAL

Vintage Needlecrafts Pick of the Week

 

Now, I’m off to recover from posting daily for a month!

Favorite Online Crochet Resources: Project Inspiration at Crochetbug

Every Saturday during National Crochet Month 2013, I’ll be highlighting one of my favorite online crochet resources. Today’s featured site is Crochetbug.

This post contains affiliate links.

There are many great blogs that I follow.  Crochetbug, written by Leslie Stahlhut, is unique among them.  Crochetbug is Leslie’s personal crochet odyssey.  Her posts read like a personal journey or diary of her crochet life.  At the same time, crocheters everywhere can relate to the experiences she shares through her compelling writing and photos: the challenges of managing stash, finishing projects for deadlines, dealing with creative blocks, and the joys of finding new patterns and projects.

I always find inspiration in her posts, even when she is using patterns or colors that I’m not necessarily attracted to.  If you’re looking for some political inspiration, check out her Crochet Manifesto.  And, if you like suspense, following the progress of Leslie’s annual crochet entry into the county fair is a guaranteed nail biter.  (Spoiler alert: She’ll finish on time, and her project will be awesome.  But you’ll still be on the edge of your seat!)

Leslie also loves vintage books, and introduced me to three that I now own: Magic Motif Crochet (her posts about the textured square), Crochet Workshop (her post), and Better Homes and Gardens Crocheting & Knitting (her posts on the sampler blanket).

You can also find Leslie on Ravelry as crochetbug13.  I hope you’ll check out Crochetbug if you haven’t already!

New Series: Vintage Needlecrafts Pick of the Week

 

Regular readers may know that I have a sizeable collection of vintage needlecrafts books.  (I’m using the Etsy definition of vintage, which includes anything at least 20 years old.)  I currently have over 50 vintage books, e-books, and magazines in my collection.

I love looking through older needlecrafts books.  While the very old pattern books can be hard to follow because the authors assume a high level of familiarity with construction techniques, shaping, etc., for those of us who like to modify patterns or design our own projects, these books can be an endless source of inspiration.  And my inner sociologist is often amazed (or amused) by the cultural snapshot vintage needlecrafts books can provide.

I would love to share my passion for vintage books with my readers, but if I’ve learned one thing since I started blogging, it’s not to over commit.  So I make no promises that I’ll review a vintage needlecrafts book each week in 2013, but I certainly will highlight no more than one a week ;).

To kick off this series, I’d like to share my favorite sources for vintage needlecrafts books and e-books on the cheap.  (I’ve yet to come across a steady source of vintage magazines, but would love to hear your suggestions in the comments.)

Free e-books and patterns

 

Low cost options

  • Amazon is a great source for vintage books, but the price range is very broad.  Sometimes you will find out-of-print books selling for hundreds of dollars and other times you will find a treasure for $0.01 plus the cost of shipping.  I generally search for specific titles, often discovered through Crochet Concupiscence (especially her series on 1970s crochet designers) or Crochetbug.  I’ve also found a lot of free vintage e-books for my Kindle.
  • I periodically search Etsy for vintage pattern books.  I find it too difficult to investigate whether or not the seller has the right to sell vintage PDF patterns, so I only buy physical copies.
  • Half.com is another interesting source for vintage needlecrafts books.  You can sort your search by publication date in both directions, so the oldest books will appear first.  It is now owned by eBay, so you can easily search there, too.  Like Amazon, there can be a wide spread in prices.
  • Library sales and thrift shops sometimes have great vintage finds for low prices.
  • PaperBackSwap is a website where you swap books.  You earn points for each book you mail to another user and can use those points to “buy” books from other members.  Essentially, you pay the cost of shipping a book media mail.  I’ve gotten a lot of vintage books here, and even if a book isn’t listed, you can add it to your wishlist so you’re contacted as soon as a member offers it for sale.

What’s your favorite source for vintage needlecrafts books and magazines?