Thanks to the wonderful people who choose to support Crochet Concupiscence through Patreon, I’ve reached my next milestone and am able to bring back the monthly posts in my exploration of 50 Years of Vintage Crochet History. Here is our look at 1944 crochet!
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As we saw in the last couple of posts, World War II brought its own unique type of crochet. Women were crocheting for the war effort, for the soldiers overseas, and for mending things at home where they were trying to hold down the fort. This, of course, continued in 1944.
Suzann’s TextileFusion shares an old 1944 newspaper ad for women to come get “interesting” and “essential” work. The job is to assemble radio tubes, which “may save the life of some boy you know who has gone to war”? What skills are needed for the work? “If you can sew, crochet or knit, you can learn to assemble radio tubes.”
Newspaper Crochet Patterns
The newspaper archives for 1944 are rich in articles featuring crochet patterns. In some cases, the full pattern was printed in the newspaper. In other instances, there was information about the design and you had to send away to get the full pattern. Here are three examples, all sourced from the archives of Australian magazines through Elephind.
And here is one more, unique because it is actually shown in color in the archives. It comes from the 5/20/44 issue of Australian Women’s Weekly. The pattern says in part, ” In order to achieve the desired effect, the pastel colors were arranged in groups, with darker colors between the groupings. For example, mauve, pink, blue, and green were used, then navy; mauve, pink, blue, green were repeated, then maroon; and so on. In this way all the small scraps of every color were utilized.” Here it is:
Crochet was considered stylish in this time period according to an article by Cherie Nichols in the 5/10/44 issue of Farmer’s Weekly Review. She writes,
“It’s clothes that keep you warm and comfy and cheerful that’s the wanted kind these days. Which accounts for the unprecedented style acclaim given to things knitted or hand crocheted. The big hand-crochet craze now sweeping throughout the fashion realm is staging nothing less than a riot of color and intriguing design, most of it carried out in the picturesque mood that tunes in so gaily with the winter landscape . Whether it be a sweate , a scarf, hood, snood, mittens or a fireside shawl or flower motif trimming the pocket on your dirndl skirt or a handbag or muff, if it be hand-crocheted it has high-fashion rank.”
How to Crochet a Vintage 1944 Hat
Smart Bags: 1944 Crochet Book
The thread companies continued to produce their own crochet pattern books in 1944, and I happen to have one of these in my collection. It’s the Smart Bags: Crochet Your Own Hats-Bags by Spool Cotton Co. The introduction confirms what Nichols wrote above:
“Smart hats and bags with that new look, the crocheted look, that’s so fashion-right in the new fashion picture. The country’s going crochet-crazy, and no wonder … it’s easy and it looks so made-to-order smart.”
This crochet book explains the right way (for the times) to properly line a crochet purse. And I learned about a type of hat I didn’t know about before: the calot (it’s the one at the bottom right in the photo of hats above).
Other 1944 Crochet Books
Throughout the newspaper archives for 1944, there are countless articles about various local handicrafts exhibits that always mention crochet among the winning pieces.
Age 100 and Still Crocheting
An Australian newspaper article from 4/22/44 shares the story of Mrs. W. Blakney from Hobart who had just turned 100 years old. The woman, who had 23 grandchildren and two dozen great grandchildren, read her bible every day and still enjoyed a little bit of crochet.
What to Charge for Crochet Work?
Many people today who want to do crochet work for an income ask the question, “how much should I charge?” This is not a new question. One 1944 newspaper responding to a reader who asked this wrote:
Bone Crochet Hooks Wanted
As we see from this ad, The Red Cross was seeking vintage crochet hooks made of bone, something already becoming difficult to find in 1944.
Crochet Hook Injury
1944 Vintage Crochet Patterns
Vintage 1944 Balalaika Bandeau Hat crochet pattern sold by MissJuliasPatterns
Vintage 1944 crochet pattern for 3 pairs of shoes sold by ickythecat
1944 elephant crochet toy vintage pattern sold by annalaia
1944 pattern for crocheting your own fabric-lined handbag sold by Winkorama
Vintage 1944 lace crochet gloves pattern sold by patternsalacarte