A Treasure Trove of Knitting Hints

A few nights ago, I was doing some family history research using the Papers Past newspaper archive for New Zealand. I was not getting anywhere with my family research and, on a whim, typed “knitting” into the search function. I was pleasantly surprised to discover a wonderful and seemingly endless assortment of advice, articles, patterns and advertisements relating to knitting. Needless to say, I stayed up far too late searching articles and seeing what was in the archive.  I particularly enjoyed the knitting hints provided in the papers in the 1930s and their relevance to my knitting life in 2015.

First, a hint that will be very helpful on my next project using DPNs.  If you remember, I struggled greatly with ladders forming in my Knitted Silk Cuffs from Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book.

When knitting with four needles be careful to put each new needle between the last one and the next one, and not on the right-hand outside, as many people are so apt to do. This ensures the work being even, otherwise an ugly rib forms, no matter how tight you pull your thread.  (A KNITTING HINT, Evening Post, Issue 30, 4 August 1936, Page 15)

Second, a frugal hint that would be very helpful for knit nights with friends where I always lose track of where I am.  I need to make myself a pin-cushion though!

When knitting a pattern it is often difficult to remember how many rows you have done, particularly when other people are in the room. To overcome this difficulty, place a pin-cushion on the table and stick into it as many pins as you have rows to do. At the end of each row press one pin right down into the cushion. When all the pins are down you know you have knitted the correct number of rows.  (A KNITTING HINT, New Zealand Herald, Volume LXX, Issue 21556, 29 July 1933, Page 6)

It is interesting that many of the knitting hints seem to have been published in the 1930s and I wonder why this is … was it because of an increase in the popularity of knitting at this time, or, a resurgence of knitting as a necessary activity during the Great Depression, or, maybe an increase in demand for women’s features in the newspapers?  What do you think?

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