A week or two ago I had an email from a great online friend, Michele, asking me whether I would be interested in giving two of her husband’s aunt’s 1940s and ’50s knitting books a good home. Would I ever?!

The Knitter's Craft by James Norbury and Knitted Garments for All by Koster and Murray

In the post they came, and look what wonderful treasures they are too. One is ‘The Knitters Craft’ by James Norbury, with a personal inscription dated 1951.

Colour plate showing children's jumper patterns from Norbury

There are some wonderful colour plates included, and also my favourite ‘outsize’ knitwear model, often seen modelling garments for ‘matrons’.

Outsize model from Norbury

The second is ‘Knitted Garments for All’ Jane Koster & Margaret Murray. It is not dated on the back pages as my other Odhams editions are, but Michele and I both think from the text & style that they are probably from just after the War. There is still the stress on ‘using up every scrap of wool’ with recycling old jumpers & clothes getting its own chapter, which is described as ‘showing you how to give a new lease of life to all those knitteds you resigned yourselves to giving up as hopeless.’ The instructions for the fair isle mittens below encourage the knitter to use as many colours as they need in order not to waste any wool at all.

Fair Isle mittens from Odhams book

Thank you, Michele and Barbara for such a lovely gift. They will be given a good home and will be used as they were meant when first published.


The Gift of Knitting History

2 thoughts on “The Gift of Knitting History

  • 8th December 2011 at 13:09

    I love old craft books. Sometimes I come across very good if battered ones in the library and try to find copies online. They must be good if they are still being borrowed. The wartime publications are even more useful now that times are a bit hard for some. Think of the Mary Thomas knitting and embroidery books that were in print for years because they were so clear. Wonderful books, great post.

  • 8th December 2011 at 17:26

    OOOOH! What a treasure!


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