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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Hiawatha Belastraw, Article 35

I volunteer at a local Thrift Shop on Thursday.   Last week I was walking through, and on the top of an incoming box, I saw it ....
Hiawatha Belastraw.   I'm sure others may have heard the screeching sound as I made an immediate U-turn to claim this sole tube.   (There were a couple other goodies in there that I'll cover later).   I've a number of patterns in the shop that call for Hiawatha Belastraw and always like to give the details for these vintage threads. 

Hiawatha Belastraw, Article 35- 100 Viscose Process Rayon thread, 6 ply.    Now, just for conversation sake, Dritz and Bernat also marketed a Belastraw product with the only difference being they are 5 ply, versus the 6 ply.

Here's the close-up.   I've always seen it described as straw-like.   Now, it is heavier than a heavy thread, but it's not nearly as stiff as a 'straw'.   I happened to have a ball of thin soft twine in my studio, and felt they were very similar.   I'd suggest, if looking for a replacement, you give twine, or perhaps jute a try to match the gauges given.  

Hiawatha Belastraw entered the market in 1945.   This was the WWII era, when wool was dedicated to military production and yarn/thread suppliers had to develop substitute materials.   Thus, rayons and other synthetics became a mainstream.  The introductory price ... $0.59/tube.  

The product was heavily marketed in newspapers across the country.   Often the individual yarn shops offered free instruction as well. 

And, of course, a number of pattern books were published to not only drive up demand for the product, but to fill a need for those wanting to create accessories in the 'wool-less' time.

Hiawatha Belastraw remained strong in the market through 1953 and then started to fade, completing disappearing from 'advertisements' in 1957. 

Of course, rayon and synthetic blends, combined into cottons and wools were bounding and like all trends, the fiber artists were 'moving on' to other options.  But, from this era, there remain a large number of fabulous vintage patterns (from Hiawatha, Dritz and Bernat) that deserve going forward.   If you love vintage fashions, I'd suggest giving them a ry. 

OH ... and please, when you find a substitute that works well for you, please drop back by and let's us know.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for posting this, you have answered so many of my questions haha. I use cotton (3ply/10tkt, mercanised, 2.5mm hook) for patterns requiring this. You have to add stitches to make up for the ply difference, and compromise on shape yet nothing I've made so far is wildly different.