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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Minerva Milady Knitting Yarn

When writing a post for one of the vintage yarns, I always like to start with a picture of the yarn itself, which I can usually locate from one of the Ebay or Etsy sellers.  But, in this case - Minerva Milady Knitting Yarn, not a single picture of the actual yarn has been found.   (I have set up a Google Alert, should one appear).

What I have learned .... 
Lees Minerva introduced the brand early 1933 

This yarn was 100% wool, sold in 4-oz skeins in 40 beautiful colors -- quite a variety of colors for first introduction. 

The yarn apparently proves itself successful, gaining a full 30 cents from the introductory price of 19 cents.    The yarn was touted for suits, coats, dresses, sweaters and afghans.  Lees Minerva published a number of misses clothing / accessory patterns through the 30's, so I'd assume several included patterns calling for this yarn.  

In 1943, Lees Minerva published pattern book - Minerva Afghans - Vol 66 which featured the Milady Yarn in each pattern.  These patterns are in the shop, should you be interested in looking.  

During World War II, sale advertisements dwindled in newspapers, which leads me to assume manufacturing may have been discontinued early 1940's as wool supply to common market became scarce.   

There was a brief marketing sprint at the end of the 1940's, ending in 1951,  which I assume, was final sell-off of the product line.    The pattern featured in this advertisement is Charleston Block - a colorful classic Granny.  

And ... that's all I know.   But, should I come across other books or information about this yarn, I'll update this post.  If you should happen to know more, I'd appreciate your sharing!  


Saturday, February 8, 2020

Crochet Star Medallion Pattern, Mail Order Design

Some time back I created spreadsheets to keep track of my mail order collection.  This step, although a bit time consuming, has been quite an eye opener.   I'll start posting some of these tidbits ... just in case anyone 'out there' should be interested. 

When a Mail Order pattern proved popular, it was published multiple years and/or under multiple numbers.  At each release, the pattern description would change. Lets take the example of the popular Crochet Star Medallion. 

It's an attractive hexagon medallion in star motif that will measure 3-1/2 or 5-1/2" depending upon thread. 

This Design was first released in October of 1940.  "Can't you picture a spread of this lovely crocheted medallion enhancing your bedroom. It's a beginner choice indeed for it's so easy and works up so effectively".  

And then again in March of 1941,  "Beginner's, here's crochet that will win you laurels. The easy medallion repeated makes a variety of accessories large and small, as you wish.Use string, it works up quickly.  

Design 2675, although billed as a Medallion, as portrayed as a bedspread in this picture.  Here, the same design is shown as a tablecloth. 
The pattern was released in July, 1947 - description:  "Star of all medallions! Easy to crochet, quick to memorize.  You'll love it's cobwebby beauty in a spread or cloth. Good pick-up work. The sky is the limit to the lovely accessories you can make".
Again in July, 1948, September 1948 and July 1949 - description:  "Don't wish on a star - just crochet this one instead! The accessories you long for are yours in no time with this easy medallion.  You can win prizes with this crochet at your fair".
And, one more time in 1950 - description: Star this medallion in your home. It rates applause any way you use it.  "You'll memorize it quickly, then it's pure fun to do. This is a wonderfully easy was to grace your home with heirloom luxuries"

Here, the pattern has switched over to be marketed as Alice Brooks versus Laura Wheeler.  Also billed as a tablecloth, the table setting itself changed. 
This Design version was released in June 1956, March 1957 - description: "You'll win prizes with this quick crochet medallion.  It lends itself to both fine cotton and string.  Make small articles or plan a bedspread or tablecloth".
Again in December 1958, February 1959, February 1960 and May 1961 - Description: This prize medallion is especially good for large and small articles: scarves, mats, pillows, bedspreads.  A quick, thrift way to acquire lovely accessories",

Now, I've found one other occurrence of this exact pattern under the name of American Weekly.

Patterns branded American Weekly appeared only in the Sunday weekly circular of the same name.  I do not (currently) know the relationship between The American Weekly and Needlecraft Services, but assume advertising space was purchased and the pattern was simply branded.    I (currently) have no way to date the publications of these patterns.  

Are their more occurrences where this pattern was marketed under different numbers and descriptions?  Possible.   These are simple the patterns that I've purchased, processed and am aware of.   Should I discover more, I'll update this post.  

It's obvious this was a popular, and well selling design.  And, for very apparent reasons - it's a quite lovely medallion.    Should you be interested in the pattern, it is available in my shop - links under pattern pictures.  I've been asked, if a pattern is the same, why do I list it multiple times.   That's a very easy answer.   Sometimes one might be searching for a pattern of a specific number.

Well, I imagine, if you've made it to here, you've read enough about this particular pattern and I'll move on to something else!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Crochet Hot Plate Mats, Asbestos Replacement

I'm processing a Free Download for the shop this afternoon for a crocheted hot plate mat from 1949.

Of course, I've seen the material requirement before, but had never put much thought into it .... 8-1/2 inch Asbestos Mat.   Now, I have a few of these mat patterns in the shop, which have never sold, which made we wonder if these have lost their vintage interest because of these Asbestos Mats.

Asbestos Mats made their appearance back in the 1890's.

These mats were made in two parts - the mat itself being a sturdy cardboard with the top layer being an asbestos layer called Millboard.  Asbestos was fireproof and absorbed heat, making it an asset for cooking.  Remember, cooking in the late 1800's was a quite rustic affair.  

As we moved into the 1920/30's, many homes now had kitchen stoves with burners which allowed these mats to become more decorative.  What woman didn't want a more decorative kitchen!  Initially, decorative covers were made using macrame cords, but then moved towards the influx of colorful crochet cottons.

Patterns for these mats began appearing in newspapers in 1935; first offerings being from the Women's Service Bureau, quickly followed by the Mail Order companies and, of course, the promotional pattern books and leaflets of the thread manufacturers.

Asbestos mats soon evolved to meet many household - heat conducive - needs.  The product was found, not only in mats and table pads, but our appliances, insulation and so much more. 

Asbestos use continued into the 1970's, when it was determined to be a carcinogen and removed from the marketplace. 

Well, let's get me back on focus here .... these vintage hot plate cover patterns that call for the asbestos mats.   You can use the covers without the mat insert; many mats pattern do not call for it.

 Or, if you need a heat buffer to put hot pots on your tables, there's a great substitute in the form of Pellon.  This particular interfacing - Pellon 975 - will function well, as will a number of others interfacing you'll find in your sewing shops.    Just cut the interfacing to your desired size.  The primary different between interfacing substitutes and the obsolete asbestos mats is the sturdy factor.

So, should you be partial to the particular design of a hot plate mat cover, don't discount your creativity over the asbestos mat. 

Okay, I've now killed an hour .... time to get back to work!

Thanks for dropping by.