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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

EZ Duz It Crochet Frame

One of my bigger issues is staying on task.   I'll be working along on this or that and then .... hours simply disappear.  For Example.  I've been scanning many of the old magazine advertisements and listing in one of my Facebook albums.   I'm not sure why, but do think they will be useful to someone ... besides just being public domain art.
This was the clip I selected, it is from the 1949 issue of McCalls Needlework.  I updated the clip in Photoshop and, started thinking all those things that get me sidetracked.   Like ... 

Verla E was born November 27, 1904 somewhere in Minnesota.  
She grew up and married Carl Upstill,  they had a daughter, Dolores, and lived together in Hennepeg and Des Moines, IA. 

Verla loved crochet and, in 1946,  invented a device, which she called the EZ-Duz-It Crochet Frame.   

This is the official direction sheet.   It shows the location as Long Beach, which would lead me to think this is where she had it manufactured.
She arranged manufacturer of the device and took up marketing it herself in shops in her, and neighboring states.   Her device was sold for $1.00.
In 1948, Verla applied and received a patent for her device.  

1952 - Advertisements continue in newspapers, but Verla is no longer the demonstrator. 
Price is still $1.00 and instruction booklets are available for $0.25.   (Online I've only found reference to one volume)
1953 - sometimes advertised in conjunction with Fleisher's Yarn.  The price is now $2.00

There continue to be a few advertising clips online in old newspapers up until 1958.  After that, I am unable to find any reference until a death notice in August of 1980 in Long Beach, CA.

There's an online manual at Needlework Books, which will give directions as well as a few patterns, if you happen to come across one of these tools.  

And now, it's been three hours and I still haven't got the original advertisement I started with posted to Facebook!    But, I must say, I did learn a few things that I didn't know!

Thanks for dropping by, 

a) This blog post original published in shop talk blog in April 2013.
b)  Received the following (quite interesting) comment:  "Thank you for your research Lorrie, Verla was my aunt. Dolores is still alive, and I still have a bunch of these looms laying around. It is interesting to learn that people are still talking!
Much love, Robert III"  

Monday, June 26, 2017

Bishop's Mills Brand Yarn

As you know, some companies come and go .... thus is the case of Bishop's Mills, Inc.   They appeared for a short time in the 1951/1952 time frame, and then seemed to fade to extinction.    I've collected several of their magazine advertisements, and thus, decided to take a few minutes to check them out.   
And, what did I find?   Well, not much.   No copyright entries, no publications and not a single skein of yarn for sale (past or current), on EBAY.   
Bishop's Mills advertised in Modern Knitting and Smart Knitting Magazines.

Here we learn they are a supplier of 'kitten soft' yarns and have a pattern book - Bishop's Young Fashions, Size 2 to 12.    Oh ... and what a cute kitten.

Here, in this 1952 magazine advertisement, Bishop's Mills has a Color Styler where you can preview their patterns overlayed with their yarn colors.   A bit of an advanced idea for this time period.
This (also 1952) advertisement gives a visual display of the yarn color chart and indicates they have a second pattern book available. 
This is a picture of the actual building (230 Fifth Ave, NY) used by Bishop's Mills, which would have been a business suite, and definitely not woolen mills!  Perhaps the Dept. No on the pattern books would have been the suite address.  
There are several patterns in the shop that call for Bishop's Yarn.   These patterns were in the same magazines as the advertisements originated.  They call for typical yarns -- 3-ply Fingering, Sports Yarn, Nylon, Boucle and should not be difficult to substitute.  There's just one that's a mystery -- Bishop's Fansay Yarn.  
If I were to render a guess, I'd say that Bishop's Mills was a reseller who contracted with actual mills for their supply and simple added their Bishop's Mills label     But, then again, I might be wrong.   I have quite a few more magazines to make my through and should I learn more, I'll add it here.  
If you know anything about this company and would like to share, please comment.  
Thanks for dropping by,  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Knitting in a Big Way, An Elephant Story

I've been working my way through the Fall-Winter 1951-1952 issue of McCalls Needlecraft Magazine.  I always enjoy these magazines for their variety and periodic surprises.   Like this one, tucked nicely on Page 124.

Now, I'd don't usually copy paste an entire story here in the blog, but this one is just too delightful to mess with.   If you have the time, it is definitely a fun read.

" If, halfway through a sweater for a size 46 husband, you have ever said wearily, "I might as well be knitting for an elephant!" you may be interested to know that Mrs. Susan Jarvis, of 1716 North Edgemont Street, Los Angeles, California, the pleasant-faced, motherly woman in the photo, actually did knit a sweater for a Ringling Brothers circus elephant. Mrs. Jarvis made the sweater—probably the largest in history —as her "consequence" on CBS' freakish television show, "Truth or Consequences."

One night this past year, Ralph Edwards, Master of Ceremonies of "Truth or Consequences," asked for a lady who could knit. Mrs. Jarvis,, in the audience, volunteered and was selected as the lucky contestant. When she missed her question, Edwards asked if she would knit a sweater for a friend of his, and puckishly ushered out Herman (elephant photo), presented stunned Mrs. Jarvis with a wheel barrowful of wools and told her to go to work.

Naturally, the audience roared. Whereupon Mrs. Jarvis, her dander up, accepted the challenge to her prowess as a knitter and announced that she would not only knit a sweater but a complete outfit.

Her first step in the project was to determine Herman's measurements. They were, as follows: waist, 192 inches; length, -10- feet; trunk, 5 ½ feet long; tail, 4 ½ ft.; head surface for hat, 1 ½ yards across, each way; boots, 2 ½ feet high, 2 ½ feet around.

With this information in hand, Mrs. Jarvis was set to go. The question; 'Where do you start with an elephant? bothered her. She decided to make a waistband first. In a week she had completed a strip 8 inches wide to go around Herman's waist with 8 inches for button lap. It fitted. Knitting for an elephant took on a more reasonable aspect. From there on, the job went smoothly.

To keep the work from becoming monotonous, she varied her colors from week to week. The entire project took thirteen weeks. Mrs. Jarvis grew to love her mammoth knitting chore and felt really sorry when the last row was bound off and Herman ready to be decked out in his knitted finery as you see him above.  "

I hope you enjoy the story as much as I do.
Thanks for dropping by,