Wednesday 14 June 2017

Behind the scenes...

Regular readers may remember in February I mentioned my visit to the Knitting and Crochet Guild (KCG) Collection in West Yorkshire - two blog posts, you can find them in the links here Part 1 and Part 2. There was so much to see during the few hours of the visit and so much more I didn't have time to see. 

Since then, I've been back to the archive on a number of occassions as a volunteer. This has given me the opportunity to see close up some of the work going on behind the scenes. Hopefully, in this post there's a snap shot of what I've been involved in helping with during the last few months - but it is just that only a snap shot. 

I've been helping to sort and record a small fragment of over 50,000 items of printed material going back to around 1900. These include amongst others, knitting patterns from the early 1980's to the 1930's.

The pattern "brands" or "spinners" range from Emu, Jaeger, Hayfield, Patons, Rowan. Names I'd heard of but there are many more from the past such as Golden Eagle which I'd never heard of.

In 2014 the Guild was delighted to receive the archive of the Patons pattern collection, it is the largest collection of Patons leaflets anywhere. 

Here's a sample of the thousands of Patons knitting patterns from the 70's and 80's. It's been fascinating working on this era and taking a trip back to my childhood knitted memories. 

Fairisle is so popular just now, it's interesting to see from these '80's patterns that it has probably never gone out of fashion. Here's a selection of patterns I was sorting through which caught my eye because of the yoke colourwork.

Just this week I was making a list (for the digital record) of the pattern numbers held in the collection for Golden Eagle, a popular spinner in the 30's and 40's. 

Here's a few of the styles that caught my eye...

Note the feather and fan stitch here on this 1930's era design, a stitch so popular currently.

Members of the Knitting and Crochet Guild can have access to a large number of patterns from the collection. See the KCG publications page for information about what's available - here.

Barbara Smith is the Publications Curator with a wealth of knowledge about the collection and history of knitting. She regularly writes articles about the collection on her blog Knitting Now and Then

There's so much more at the archive including actual knit and crochet samples, shade cards, a library with over 2000 books, tools and accessories. 

Hopefully, I'll be able to tell you more soon about volunteering at the archive.

In the meantime, there's lots of information on the Knitting and Crochet Guild Collection website.


  1. Those old knitting patterns bring back memories!
    Cheers, Gail.

  2. A great blog highlighting some of the work done by KCG volunteers at Lee Mills where the archive is kept.


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