I’ve been exploring vintage crochet books from the local library lately and because of that have come across the Crocheter’s Historical Pattern Series, a four-volume series of books by Melissa Johnson that I thought I’d tell you a little bit about.
There are four books in this series, each covering a specific niche in historic crochet. The books are fairly new crochet books (about ten years old) but they consist entirely of vintage crochet patterns. The books take other vintage crochet books and combine and condense them into a four-book series. For example, the first book in the series, on filet crochet, consists of two books by Priscilla Publishing Company that came out in 1911 and 1914.
As I said, there are four books in the series. I’ve taken a hands-on look at the first two myself but have only looked at the other two online. The four books are:
- Filet Crochet from Yesterday (Crocheter’s Historical Pattern Series, Vol. 1) This book has crochet patterns, graphs and designs for filet crochet items ranging from doilies to pillows. Some of the designs incorporate other crafts like sewing and cross-stitch.
- Irish Crochet: Crocheter’s Historical Pattern Series Volume Two. This book shows patterns for a vast array of motifs often used in Irish Crochet. I was surprised to find that they weren’t all as lacy as I had in mind when thinking of this niche craft and enjoyed some of the surprising finds here. There are more motifs than finished object patterns, though.
- Crocheted Edgings, Insertions and Fancywork : Crocheter’s Historical Pattern Series Volume Three. I personally love books on crochet edgings (my favorite modern one is Around the Border by Edie Eckman).
- Essential Crochet Treasures : Crocheter’s Historical Pattern Series Volume Four. Whereas the first three books in the series are on specific crochet niches, this one is more for a general crocheter interested in vintage patterns.
Details, Pros and Cons
Each book continues a short intro about the craft with an explanations of terms. The explanation is better in some books (such as Irish Crochet) than in other books (such as Filet Crochet). The patterns themselves are written in vintage language so they can be tough to follow if you aren’t an experienced crocheter. I can’t speak to the patterns in these books specifically but in general I personally find it tough to follow many vintage patterns because of the slight differences in how the designs were presented then and now. However, these books are rich in charts, drawings and black and white photos so if you’re a visual crocheter then you’ll find a lot of helpful images here.
Ultimately, these books aren’t right for me because I’m not a visual learner, can’t really read charts/ graphs and don’t particularly prefer vintage designs. That said, I think they provide a great resource to people who do enjoy vintage designs, either to work directly from the instructions or to use as inspiration. Personally I’d even be able to use the Irish Crochet book for inspiration because of the multitude of great motifs shown there.
How many vintage crochet books do you own?