Thursday, 26 January 2017

A Stole of Many Colours

I associate granny squares with the 1970s, when crochet was popular, and so were granny squares.  I'm not really a crocheter, but in 1972 or thereabouts I made a long waistcoat of granny squares in camel and cream - it was a favourite garment.  

 But making things out of crocheted squares evidently goes back further than the 1970s.   There is a very nice example in the Knitting & Crochet Guild collection - a stole with fringed ends.


We didn't have a date for it, but then just last week we identified it in Vogue Knitting No. 47, published in Autumn 1955.   The magazine give this description: "Tile motif in bright hues brings crochet up-to-date for a heavenly stole-of-many-colours."  Garments made from granny squares often have a folksy, hippy look, but this one is very elegant.


The pattern specifies 3-ply wool, so that it's quite delicate - the squares are only 1¾ inches wide (about 4.5  cm.)   You might expect a Vogue Knitting pattern to suggest the colours to use, but it just lists 8 oz. (225g.) of a background colour and about 9 oz. (255g.) of  'various colours for the medallions'.  As you can see from the detail,  our example is very well-made - the squares are joined together very neatly.  And it has a long plaited fringe, following the pattern instructions.  (The fringe takes 7 oz. (200g.) of wool by itself.)


 It's very satisfying when we can match up a piece in the collection and a pattern - even more so when the pattern is from Vogue Knitting, and gives us a slightly unexpected date for the piece.

One other question:  I'm sure that we didn't call them granny squares in the 1970s, at least not in this country.  When did we start using that name?  And where did it come from?

6 comments:

  1. My mother made a similar stole in the early 1950s - just like your picture and about the same time as she taught me to crochet!!!!

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    1. I'm sure she looked as elegant as the Vogue model in it, too. Did you start crocheting granny squares, I wonder?

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  2. I have one of those stoles too. Mine was made by my mother-in-law's mother-in-law and I traced it to the Vogue book that you mention. It's a lovely pattern.

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    1. How amazing to have such a lovely stole. I hope you wear it?

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    2. Actually it's attached (with stitch markers) to the back of the rocking chair in my bedroom where I can admire it every day. I did start crocheting a version of it using Appleton's Crewel wool but life got in the way ...

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    3. Good use of stitch markers! Yes, I can see that other things might get in the way. The patterns says casually "Make 250 medallions". Though I suppose you could make one every day, and it would only (only!) take a year - you could even have weekends off and a fortnight's holiday....

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