Vintage knitting and getting all inspired by some charity shop finds…..

charity shop knitting bag

I’ve mentioned before my love of second hand shops and bricety brac markets, while I normally regard general shopping with a deep sigh, I can always be persuaded to stick my head around the door of a charity shop and will happily spend several hours if I’ve got the time to spare.  I’m really lucky because Norwich has umpteen charity shops and while they aren’t as good as when I first moved here they can still turn up gold……  a case in point, I bought this gorgeous knitting bag for the princely sum of £2 a month or so ago….. it’s made really beautifully, fully lined inside with a very Autumnal gold fabric.  I thought the little star stitch detail worked over where the granny squares join up was particularly eye catching….and while I’ve got various fabric project bags which are home to needles and wips, I’m always particualry fond of this style of bag.

vintage knitting books

Lately one of the Oxfams (Norwich has at least 3 to my knowledge) has had a fantastic selection of knitting and sewing books….I bought some vintage sewing books at the start of the Summer and then last week when I went in I found these gems…..the cover of the Modern Knitting is a bit worse for wear but inside it’s in top condition (with the prettiest end papers) and there is a whole section on knitted underwear, including the best photshoot of three gorgeous and glamourous young ladies all kitted out in knitted drawers and camisole tops…the weather was really hot and scorchy so the thought of knitted knickers made me laugh out loud (I’ve noticed that this year’s Shetland Wool Week Annual will have a pattern for a beautiful Shetland spencer so while I’d be happy to knit one of those I’m not so sure about the lower undies)

The other book is a great little pamphlet full of rather cheesy knits but you know what, there’s more than a couple that I’d like to cast on, and the instructions all seem reasonably easy so perhaps I’ll try out a couple and share on here for fun.

Montse Stanley book

I’m currently taking part in Joeli Creates Designer’s Bootcamp, it’s a free on-line workshop and runs for 12 weeks…it’s now about 2/3 of the way through but you’ll get the previous emails that she’s already sent out so you can soon catch up.  There’s also a weekly question and answers session which is live.  While it’s probably really geared towards people who want to create patterns to publish and sell, the advice she gives has been really helpful and she’s so full of little tips and thoughts for making your knitting even better….I’m really enjoying it and think she’s been very generous to offer it free.

While I’m not particularly interested in creating something to publish however, so often now when I’m going for a walk over the marshes or meadows, having a poke about the hedgerows to see how the Autumn berries are ripening, I’m being inspired and would love to know how to incorporate some of that into my knitting or to work out what I need to do to cast on some of the things that are in my head, sort of “where on earth do I begin” and so Joeli’s Workshop has been particularly helpful in helping me make sense of some right tatty old scribbles and sketches.

And then in Oxfam, I saw this book on one of the bottom shelves of the charity shop…it felt more than a little heaven sent… I love Montse Stanley, she’s very thorough in her descriptions and I’ve got one of her other books which I find helpful for explaining particular techniques.   While some of the photos inside are rather dated with scary children, the information is great and I enjoy reading how she writes (she doesn’t waffle on and is straight to the point).

What’s so nice about the book is how it explains really clearly about putting a design together, from considering stitches and yarns to the shape of what you’re knitting…there’s a nice section on different buttonholes. She then shows a range of different styles of garment details including body, neckline,sleeve, collar and then along side them is a clearer diagram explaining what you need to consider to knit that shape. There is also a guide on where you need to take measurements for a garment  and whether you need to add an allowance for ease…’s very well written and was mine for £2.50.





9 thoughts on “Vintage knitting and getting all inspired by some charity shop finds…..

  1. If I was to write a post about my summer charity shop finds it would look almost the same as yours! A granny square bag (and another crochet one) and lots of vintage patterns too. We just got back from another night camping and I was like a crazy woman, snapping pictures of bark, leaves, fungi, you name it, I want to knit it!!

    1. Hoorah for granny square knititng bags!!! I’m using mine to keep my Ishbel shawl safe incase the cat from next door sneaks in again. I’m currently reading The Knitter’s Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman, becasue she lived in America you might come across her books in second hand stores, her writting is very chatty, and when I’m reading what she is describing, light bulbs are constantly lighting in my head.
      Your camping trips sound amazing….the crazy woman photo taking made me laugh…the “knitsonik” effect ? xx

  2. Hi Ericka, greetings from Tasmania. Not sure what happened but I left a comment and it didn’t show up (operator error I think!). Anyhow just wanted to say I had read your previous blogpost about Bernard and his lady friend – made me smile and hasn’t he got such a wonderful tail. Lovely Bernard. Also I really love your new knitting bag – will have to look out for one in our op shops (as they are called here in the land of down under). Never seem to see anything so delightful as this though. I am trying to learn to crochet… maybe I will be able to make one myself (ha-ha).

    1. Good Morning Tasmania!!
      He’lll be all happy and purry when I tell him you’ve dropped by to say hello to him, I’m sure he understands as he seems to really rev up his purr box!! ooh yes, I’m sure you’re find something like this in one of your op shops (I think your charity shops/op shops are still full of the treasures that the ones here used to be before so many got all spruced up)… and hoorah on learning to crochet, I’m really pleased and proud for you, learning how to do something new is always an achievement to be proud of. The bag would be great made from little skeins of tapestry wool and it would feel nicer than acryllic. xx

  3. Our Hobart CWA (country women’s assoc) is running lessons including scones for morning tea. I hope they are very patient. It could be a while before I tackle anything like the granny square. Tapestry wool sounds good – I have an aversion to acrylic! Give Bernard a hug from me. Hope your weekend is a good one.

    1. It sound slike you’re in great hands…and home baked scones…yum yum. Nah, I think yo’ll be granny squaring before you know it….. Tapestry yarn is great for crochet, the colours all blend together so much nicer than acryllic and the result will be much nicer to touch…first a knititng bag and then a big blanket?

      Bernard is outside at the moment, he woke me up at 5 o’clock demanding tummy rubs before sauntering off outside… so have been up since then knitting on the sofa with a pot of tea, but I’ll give him a good squeeze and throw in a kiss too xx

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