Monday, March 05, 2007

Super Sunday

There won’t be another day like that for awhile.

I bought four VKB’s yesterday, and a copy of “Vogue Service Woolies”. Strictly speaking, I bought two VKB’s, and my friend and agent Helen secured the other two, while we were at Mass.

I am very much poorer this morning, and rather bemused. Two of the VKB’s went for solid but not unreasonable prices; for the other two we were bidding as if they were black tulips. The Service Woolies was rather cheap, perhaps because “Vogue” had been misspelled in its listing and it failed to turn up on collectors’ search lists. It’s easily done. My sister recently gave me an equivalent American WW2 publication: it will be interesting to compare them.

The ones I bought yesterday were nos. 2, 5, 9 and 22. I have been at this VKB-eBay caper for nine months now. Only once before has a single-digit VKB been offered for sale – no. 6 came up last June; I was outbid in the last-minute scramble.

It’s not hard to figure out that people who were knitting during the war are of an age to be dropping off the perch right now, and thanks to eBay, their knitting magazines are no longer shovelled straight into the skip. It is pleasant to think how many VKB’s eBay must have saved from extinction. When I began buying on eBay, my highest ambition was to own a wartime VKB. I’ve now got eight of the twelve.

But people who were knitting in the 30’s are rather rarer. Their attics have already been swept out. That’s why yesterday was so extraordinary, and probably won’t happen again.

I would have been glad of an email from the seller last night, thanking me for prompt payment and promising to send my purchases today. That sometimes happens. It didn’t, this time. Instead, she spent the evening -- in a state of astonishment and delight, I am sure -- listing some more of her mother’s old knitting magazines. I don’t want any of them, fortunately for my bank balance. She is tia18ch, if you want to have a look.

There were a couple of Stitchcraft magazines from the ‘30’s in yesterday’s lot. They made solid but not Vogue-like prices.

A full report will follow, needless to say, when I’ve actually got my hands on my treasures.

Meanwhile, knitting

Sure enough, I didn’t need any of the new yarn for the Calcutta Cup ’06 sweater last night. I certainly will today. It should be about right for another picture tomorrow.

Janet, to double back, I don’t know the book "Norwegian Knitting Designs" by Annichen Sibbern Bohn which you mention in your comment for Saturday. I’ll have a go at Abebooks. Thank you.

And the eclipse

Lene, it must have been especially wonderful to see it from the countryside. My husband kept saying all day yesterday how wonderful it would have been in Kirkmichael. I’m sorry to hear you missed it in Baltimore, rosesmama. If it’s any comfort, James couldn’t see it in Peking, either. He’s keen on astronomy these days, and had even thought of checking into a high-rise hotel for a good view, but in the end it rained.


  1. Anonymous12:19 PM

    Congratulations on the VKBs! I am looking forward, as I am sure others are as well, to more social commentary based on the text in these.

  2. Anonymous1:31 PM

    I rushed out during the hour of the eclipse and looked up to the twilight sky but was unable to see anything except thick, dark swift-moving clouds. I'm a few miles from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. I had read the view from North America would be minimal, but had hoped for a glimpse. Sigh. Jayne

  3. Anonymous2:44 PM

    Congratulations on getting those knitting books. Won't you have a wonderful read. I am eager to see more of the Fair Isle. I, too, order from Jamieson and Smith and it arrives in Mexico without a hitch. Do you follow the EZ percentage system exactly?? For example, is the top of the sleeve 33 per cent?

  4. Anonymous4:44 PM

    Jean, I was browsing on eBay just now and the Scandinavian knitting book is currently for sale on eBay (UK seller, too):
    I do have the book myself and I like it, but it is quite brief.

  5. Anonymous4:45 PM

    No, I was confused. It's a US seller.

  6. Anonymous4:58 PM

    Around here the eclipse was less than spectacular, no red moon, and periodically interrupted by dense clouds. Several years ago I watched an eclipse with friends in a Pictish stone circle in some farmer's cow pasture near Dunkeld. It was marvelous.

  7. Anonymous6:15 PM

    Congratulations on the VKBs!

    Norwegian Knitting Designs is a sweet little book first published in 1947. It was translated into English in 1965 and, because of the time lapse, some patterns were removed. It was the introduction to Scandinavian knitting for many Americans. I know of one minor error in it, a mistake in graphing the background pattern of a mitten from 1895.

  8. Anonymous8:13 PM

    I have the library editions of the Monarch knitting books - a Canadian yarn company who
    published their patterns from 1916 through 1954. My dilemma is to find an appropriate home for them, before I fall of the perch. Museums still don't seem to value knitting memorabilia.

  9. the annichen sibbern bøhn book is a very sweet little book with charted knitting patterns for norwegian sweaters and mittens. i don't think it is all that impossible to get hold of. it was given to me by my grandmother when i was around 17 or something and i still keep it as a treasured gem in my knitting book collection.
    and even mrs. zimmermann mentions it in knitting without tears or was it in the almanac (in the literature list).

  10. Anonymous12:47 AM

    It was amazing to read about the eclipse on your blog and then hear my daughter talk about seeing it as she was driving down the street at sundown. In North Carolina.

  11. Anonymous10:18 AM

    ABout the Monarch Books. I think that some museums - the V and A , one of the Brighton Museums (a Google will probably find it )and The Winchester School of Art ( where they have the Montse Stanley Collection) immediately come to mind - are very interested in donations of a knitting / textile history basis.
    From another Judith who is having similiar thoughts about her books.