Web Page No 2256
Top Picture: Knitting pattern for boys swimming suit
Second Picture: Knitting pattern for girls swimming suit and cardigan.
Third Picture: Advertisement for Aero Knitting Needles
Forth Picture: Baldwin & Walker wool advert
Two of the major interests of my mother and grandmother in our household when I was a child were Whist Drives and knitting. My mother would attend at least two afternoon Whist Drives a week in either the Scout Hut or the Drayton Institute whereas my grandmother would find at least two other Whist Drives in the evenings, maybe in the Carlton Club or some other venue. I have indelibly printed on my brain a vision of groups of elderly ladies (there were very few men, if any) all sat round card tables studying their cards. They all seemed to have removed their outdoor coats but every lady still wore her hat, that never came off and plus they all seemed to carry enormous clip topped handbags!
But the major female interest in our house was knitting and there always seemed to be a ball of wool, a pattern and a pair of knitting needles in every room I went into, not that my mother ever used a pattern very often she could just look at something and work out how to knit it in her head. My grandmother was also an avid knitter and at one time undertook some crochet work, dressing table sets etc but luckily this did not last, I did not want a pair of pink crocheted gloves!
Our house seemed to be filled with knitted hot water bottle covers, scarves and gloves, tea cosies and balaclavas, jumpers and cardigans, hats and socks, it was almost like a production line and when an item had outlived its usefulness it was carefully unpicked, the wool washed and dried and then made into skeins which were then rolled up ready to be used again. I expect that most of us, especially during our infant years, can remember being made to wear a multi-coloured jumper or sweater made up from the recovered wool from many different items and being told that, ‘it is good enough for you to play in!’
The real problem came when mother decided to knit you a bathing costume. Mine was in maroon and looked very smart when dry but as I expect you all found out once they got wet it was disaster time. The wool became sodden and wet and retained vast amounts of water and it was a relatively common sight to see a child stand up in the sea or swimming pool and the knitted bathing costume ending up embarrassingly around their ankles.
My mothers and grandmothers supply of wool came from a tiny wool shop in Drayton situated in a private house on the south side of the Havant Road near to Nappers the ironmongers and next door to Mr Levy the tailor. The shop was really just the front room and hallway of a lady called Mrs Moffatt. The counter was in a small conservatory attached to the front of the house and to a child’s eyes the whole of the shop was always stacked from floor to ceiling with wool of all sorts, knitting needles in various colours and sizes, patterns, the little row counters which were slipped onto the top of the needles and other such knitting apparatus most of which I never figured out what they were. A visit to this shop was always amazing. My mother would go in and reserve a number of balls of wool from one particular dye batch, these balls were then put into a paper bag and labelled so when my mother came to collect each ball she paid for it as she took it. Mrs Moffatt always seemed to know exactly what wool my mother had reserved and she always knew exactly where to find the right bag in the myriad of bags of wool stored all over the shop, how she did it never ceased to amaze.
One other thing that puzzled me was how my mother managed to control all those knitting needles when she was knitting socks. It all seemed impossible to me. I did learn to knit as a child but very badly, all I really mastered was French Knitting.
Needlework in our house was not very common nor was embroidery, in fact the only time the sewing box came out was to repair something, sew on a button, put patches on dads elbows or to trim the worn cuffs with leather. I have known my mother ‘turn’ a collar or put a sheet ‘sides to middle’ but this was unusual. The busiest demand on the sewing box was for the mushroom and darning wool to repair a hole in dad’s socks.
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News and Views:
On this day 22nd April 1960-1965
On 22/04/1960 the number one single was My Old Man's a Dustman - Lonnie Donegan and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Armchair Theatre (ABC) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 22/04/1961 the number one single was Wooden Heart - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 22/04/1962 the number one single was Wonderful Land - The Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 22/04/1963 the number one single was How Do You Do It? - Gerry & the Pacemakers and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 22/04/1965 the number one single was Ticket to Ride - The Beatles and the number one album was Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.