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January 10, 2012

This IS Your Granny’s Crafting! 50s Housewife Edition

By Betty Crafter

I have been furiously knitting away on my cowichan sweater (almost done!) which means I have not been able to find time for any other crafty endeavors of any kind.  I’m determined to finish that thing before my getaway next week with Mr. Crafter!  But I do have something to show you.  I recently have run into a huge stash of 50s craft magazines called The Workbasket.

This one is from December, 1953.  “Ideas for the Bazaar, the Home, Gifts, Spare time Money Makers, with Many Articles, Easily Made and Inexpensive, that find a Ready Sale.”  It’s chock full of practical patterns and craft ideas:

A gardening forum:

Ideas and opportunities for housewives to make some extra cash:

There are also plenty of ads for products:

There’s even a feature for craft ideas for kids!

Although I don’t think I’ll make anything out of these magazines, I love the peek into daily life 60 years ago they provide.  It’s nice to imagine my grandmother as a young housewife, pouring over a magazine like this, picking out a pattern to make for my young mother, or clipping out a recipe to take to the church potluck.  It zeros in on a big reason why I love old things.  It provides a feeling of continuity with the past, with my mother and grandmother, and their mothers and grandmothers.

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6 Responses to This IS Your Granny’s Crafting! 50s Housewife Edition

  1. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    January 10, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    LOVE these! And your last sentence – amen, mama!

  2. KirkW Reply

    January 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    This type of thing brings back such memories. I have that dust mitt made by my grandmother who passed away just under a year ago (at a strong 97 years old, mind you). When our older relatives begin to pass it is things, and the memories generated by those things, that keep us connected to them. That is also why I love old things. I love the things that I can remember my grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. actually making or using. Things like an old dust mitt, my grandfather’s 1940s floor stand ashtray (even though I don’t smoke), my mother’s embroidered dresser scarves, etc. keep them close to my heart because they remind me of their love and care for me.

  3. Annie B. Reply

    January 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Betty C.,

    I LOVE these little booklets and have a number of them squirreled away somewhere at home. They’re so terrifically dear and sweet.

    As I would not know a knit from a purl (and don’t crochet past the single chain stitch), I use them in vintage collage. I truly envy anyone crafty, though.

  4. Andrea Reply

    January 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Oooh, what a nice stash of Workbaskets! Whenever I run across them, I only seem to come across the ones from the late 70s.

  5. Vickie Reply

    January 15, 2012 at 11:08 am

    You know, some of THE most gorgeous crochet, embroidery and tatting was done in the 1950’s and some still survive in linens and beautiful crochet table cloths. And I know from remembering that it was such a source of pride to so many women. But I would also add that this was such a period of transition for so many women who had actually had jobs that had been traditionally men’s work during the war. Working in factories, driving “staff cars” at military bases, growing victory gardens to feed families. And it was sometimes hard for them to go back to being traditional “housewives” with no paycheck & losing that new independence & meaningful role they’d played. I guess each era is a transition in some way but I know from mom that it was a confusing time & a time she missed after the war ended. She was SO glad our men (like my dad) were home, but it was a mixed bag of emotions too. Sorry for rambling on….

  6. Whitzilla Reply

    January 7, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Just wondering… does your collection include January 1950 (V15#4)? I’m trying to help a friend find the pattern for a corn on the cob panholder that she remembers her mother making. Searches pull plenty of pictures, but the only links to the pattern lead to a ravelry page with a free pattern link that is no longer active.

    I’d love to be able to help my friend bring this memory of her mother back to life. If you do have this issue, would you be willing to scan/take a photo of the page(s) related to the “Popular Panholder” pattern and email me a copy?

    Thank you!

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