On one of the last nice Sundays of November, I went to the Brighton Car Boot Sale at the Marina with my friend John. He always manages to find the most amazing things. He has developed an eye for glassware and often finds Georgian and Victorian decanters, wine glasses and whatnots for a few pounds, which he then sells on for good money. I, however, am not that lucky, and this is what I found at the “dead old ladies stall”, as John calls it:
It’s a strange collection of patterns. Some are printed, some are written down, some are for knitting, some are for sewing. I’ll take you through my new collection – I wish I had known the lady who owned these, because as you will see, there are some things that contain a story untold.
First up, what I would call the boring stuff. Printed leaflets:
A rather mundane collection of Aran knitting patterns, baby matinee jackets, baby booties and raglan twin sets. However, I like the Emu booklet: Ideas For Those Odd Ounces. It contains a total of 32 patterns, including cuddly toys (I particularly like the donkey – you can see it better if you click on the picture and zoom in), some tea and coffee pot covers, child’s garments, hats, scarves, cushion cover, and something you wouldn’t see nowadays for obvious reasons: golliwog mittens. I want to frame the magazine clipping of the ‘knitteds for a baby doll’, I like the graphic design of it.
Secondly, there are quite a few written down patterns:
Most of these are for dolls’ clothes, but one I mistook for a cooking recipe, as it is titled ‘lamb chop’, but I soon realised my mistake when I read the ingredients list; it starts with ‘ 2 x 50 gram balls DK, no. 9 needles”. You can see it at the top. I’m most curious to find out how that will knit up!
The original owner of this little collection used to be thrifty, as evidenced by what I originally thought were just ordinary Christmas and post cards:
However, on the backs you can find more patterns scribbled down, and a list of cable abbreviations. I think it is a nice way of using old cards, as it reminds you of the sender every time you use it. The kitten card actually has a ‘rabbit dress’ pattern on it. The Christmas cards in the middle have been sewn together with a few neat stitches.
Thirdly, we have a collection of sewing pattern pieces. There are teddy hand puppets, a donkey and a hat. Some of these are well used, as you can see by the many pin pricks. My favourite must be the turtle pattern, and it has a little rhyme on it: “Hi! / I’m just a little turtle / who knew not what to do / so I filled myself with scented soap / and swam right up to you. / Just rub me on your tummy / and your hands & feet / around your neck & ears / and don’t forget your seat! / when you are through / my work is done / you’ve had your bath / I’ve had my fun!”
I can just imagine how this lady made dolls’ clothes and hand puppets for her grandchildren. I wonder if she would stage a little puppet show with them?
The last item is an envelope. It contains a little clump of uniform lengths of white yarn, and some short pieces of ribbon. I wonder what this was going to be used for, and why she thought this was worth saving in a battered envelope. Perhaps if I read each pattern in detail, I will find out – in which case I will let you know!