Strange knitting is really useful

Vintage Crochet History: Crochet in the 1930s

I plan to gather as much information on crochet history as possible, decade after decade. My research began with a thorough study of the 1930s crochet work that I have collected year after year. I thought I'd wrap this information up in one post today to share everything I now know about crocheting in the 1930s!

You can visit the links below to find many people selling reproductions of vintage crochet patterns (usually on Etsy) and look through the individual posts (year after year, 1930-1939) to see the full information for each year.

30s cotton thread crochet in lace and fillet

Cotton and crochet decoration, around 1930, via Etsy’s

The general trend in crocheting at the time was to work in mercerized cotton thread with small crochet hooks. Lace crochet and fillet crochet were popular techniques in the 1930s. Textured stitches like popcorn and pimples began to appear occasionally from 1937 onwards. Some of the most popular things to crochet (although certainly not the only things) were:

  • edge
  • Home accessories such as doilies and table runners
  • Wearables for children
  • College-age women's clothing
  • Garments that combine knitting and crocheting
  • Accessory sets such as a matching hat and wallet
  • Religious crochet patterns (although these weren't made until 1939)

Decade by Decade: My favorite stitches from the 1930s

Here were my favorite things to discover in my research on crochet work in the 1930s:

In 1930 the British poet / author Ruth Manning-Sanders published , one of her first full-length novels. Bella Crochet explains that The Crochet Woman is an evil queen who uses her crochet to work spells! Crochet was mentioned in passing in a variety of fictional stories published in newspapers and magazines in the 1930s (see snippets in my various individual posts), and it was also mentioned in the Anais Nin dairies, but this was the only novel that I discovered.

1930 DIY idea

I was particularly interested in a passing reference that I found in a book called Dancing Gods (1931). Indian ceremonies from New Mexico and Arizona describing a man as saying, “The man's heavy shoulders were with crocheting Lace framed over red flannel, and his flat cap rested in line on his hair. "I have often wondered about crochet. In Native American cultures, I was unable to find so much information that this reference caught my attention." excited.

1933 Crochet Pattern for a String Market Bag - an item that has found new popularity in recent years!

, 1933. Little did I know there would be a book on crocheted rag rugs from that period. But then I did a little more research and found out that there are a lot of patterns for rags, crocheted and other, from that period, which I guess makes sense as the Depression period required upcycling material this way. By 1936 there were other patterns for different types of crochet carpets.

Speaking of upcycling, what about crocheting with cellophane? 1935

Needlewoman was a magazine that covered both crochet and the other conifers. Other magazines of the time included NeedleCraft, Workbasket and Knitting, and Home Crafts, all of which I featured in the 1937 Vintage Crochet Post. Mentions of crochet also found their way into other popular magazines of the 1930s, including LIFE and Popular Science.

In 1937, a woman used crossword puzzles to inspire crochet patterns!

Jeanne Tripier was a French saleswoman who in the 1930s, almost to the age of 60, “became fascinated by spiritualistic teachings and fortune-telling”, “so slowly that she stopped going to work”. In 1934 she was transferred to a psychiatric hospital where she spent her time doing artwork, including crochet. "She viewed all of her creations as media revelations."

The Cabin Countess tells the story of Martha Hiestand, who began crocheting and knitting for her family in 1939 and turned it into a thriving business with her husband. The business moved from their home to one with only a few employees, the decade ended with nearly a dozen employees, and by the 1950s they had 400 employees! Their core product was the "Mukluk", a sock with a shoe sole.

1930s crochet style and fashion

A 1930 news article said the best way to finish off a knee-length satin petticoat was to attach a knee-length panel using the single crochet stitch with mercerized cotton.

The crochet jabot was very popular in the 1930s. Crochet yokes were also common.

Cloche hats, although often associated with the 1920s, were popular in the 1930s as well. This is a 1935 crochet cloche hat pattern.

Crochet lace gloves were also popular throughout the decade. These were from 1936.

There was also a rare book titled 1937 . This book was obviously a fashion book, but I see from the table of contents that it mentions Crochet in Fashion in two different sections of the book. It would be fun to get a copy of this!

Crochet News from the 1930s

  • In 1930, a Senate tariff was approved to charge half a cent for every 100 yards of crochet, knitting, and embroidery thread.
  • In 1930 a news article mentioned that courtyards and courtyards were used to beautifully decorate rooms for those in need.
  • In 1931 crochet clubs or gatherings were mentioned. And we still have them today!
  • In 1932, a woman committed suicide after several unsuccessful attempts, including one in which she stabbed herself in the heart with a crochet hook. She was the mother of a child who killed someone and couldn't live with the guilt.
  • Also in 1932 an article stated that many women bought lots of yarn so that they could knit and crochet at the onset of the Depression. But over the years they don't tighten as tightly and this yarn (or "wool" as the article actually calls it) now just sits there and wastes itself. However, another article says college girls crochet their own wearables so it's hard to tell what the whole story was about.
  • Some 1933 newspapers, such as the Boston Globe, had a "Household Advice" section that often made crochet suggestions, such as using a crochet chain to sew the ends of a curtain.
  • In 1933, the Bonnaz Embroidery Workers Union, a subsidiary of the international garment workers' union, responded 100% to its call for a strike and 15,000 workers went on strike.
  • There was a news article in 1934 that mentioned that a woman wanted to learn from an inmate in a prison that I loved reading about because prison crochet can be so useful to inmates today.
  • Harry Haberman, described as "the ox bartender who lifts a keg of beer without lifting an eye," also appeared to be crocheting at work in 1935.
  • It was mentioned in 1937 that the then 11-year-old Princess Elizabeth usually knitted or crocheted with her sister every day after lunch.
  • Crochet competitions were held at various state fairs. The National Needlecraft Bureau launched its first crochet competition in either 1937 or 1938.
  • The 11/5/38 issue of The Montreal Gazette shared information about a crochet beader job that makes $ 15 a week.
  • One book says: "It is estimated that every third Swedish woman knitted, crocheted or sewn clothes for the Finnish troops" during the Russo-Finnish winter war of 1939-1940.
  • The World's Fair was in 1939 and had many crocheted doilies made to honor it.

Crochet books and brochures 1930s

Let's take a look at some of the most popular crochet books of the 1930s, many of which are available as reproductions today.

Crochet thread maker pattern books

One of the most popular types of crochet books over the decade was pattern books (often, but not always, combining both crochet and knitting patterns) that were published by manufacturers of cotton thread. This would be comparable to the free crochet patterns on the web shops of Garnstores.

published by Spool Cotton, 1932. Spool Cotton continued to publish crochet books over the decade. For example, in 1938 they published at least three crochet books: , and

This vintage filet crochet book with 19 patterns is believed to be around 1930.

1932 crochet duvet sample book

, 1933

2009 Reprint of a book from 1933, which is described as "a classic edition of knitted and crocheted drys from the era of the Depression" for women and children

Crochet pattern books for children

These crochet books were filled with patterns for children.

What Children Wear While Knitting and Crocheting by Ella Allan, 1930. She also published What For Baby To Make: 55 Designs in Knitting and Crochet.

Amy E. Smith and Dora E. Smith designed this 1931 baby crochet book. his couple also wrote several other knitting / crochet books around this time, including one on toddler wool and another on crochet edging.

: Cotton crochet patterns for bath mats, table doilies, luncheon sets, pot holders, chair sets, 1937

Blankets and other crochet pattern books for the home

One of the more unique niche crochet books from 1933 (an Iva Rose reproduction that I found on Amazon).

Lux was a brand for knitting and crochet pattern books that originated around this time and continued into the 1950s. This is a 1933 crochet book.

Reproduction of a book from 1932 called . It is featured on Amazon as: "A Depression era collection of vividly colored Afghans and litters worked in various Afghan stitches, including Tunisian stitch (Afghan stitch)."

Etsy’s 1934

Other crochet pattern books

Crochet Lingerie Swatch Book, 1931, reproduced by Iva Rose

Knitting and crochet fashion book from 1934

1935 named

Hats and Bags: 29 Vintage Crochet Patterns from 1936; Some of the patterns in this old book remind me of some of the patterns in the brand new book, Vintage Crochet Hats and Accessories!

Colorful accessories for crocheting and knitting, 1937

Crochet pot holder sample book vintage 1939

1939 Irish Crochet Lace pattern brochure sold at Craftsy by Vintage Pattern Collection

A little bit about thirties crochet designers

Some of the popular crochet designers of the time included Mary Card and Anna Valerie. They submitted designs to various locations such as Ladies Home Journal Magazine around this time. However, it is difficult to know if the names we see on old vintage crochet patterns are really names, as it seems that it was common practice to only use a few names for patterns that were actually produced by dozens of different anonymous crochet designers .

For example, I learned from Maggie’s Crochet: “Alice Brooks is a fictional name that was listed in the mail order newspapers in the 1930s. The mail order company felt that if the samples were to be sold, they needed to have a "pattern designer" listed with the sales information to add a personal touch. These listings appeared as a "reader service" and were not considered an advertisement or column in the newspaper. “You can still find 'Alice Brooks' patterns today, but whoever the original designers were is usually lost over time.

One crochet designer I was able to find was Anne Champe Orr, who started designing various handicrafts in 1915. She didn't limit herself to crocheted designs; She created designs in the fields of knitting, embroidery, cross stitch, lace making (including tatting), quilting and carpets. She originally started publishing these patterns and was eventually discontinued by various companies and publications. Do you want to know some strange funny fact about her? She wasn't a seamstress herself! Orr passed away in 1946, but there was a major revival of her work in the 1970s and 1980s when several reprint publications brought together and shared her designs.

I also learned that Anny Blatt was a knitwear designer of the time who also had some crochet designs. Her work was popular with some of the elite women of the decade.

Most popular 1930s crochet patterns

The vintage pattern for this crochet dressed doll came out in 1930

1930's vintage crochet hat pattern

Etsy’s 1931.

Etsy’s annalaia sells the vintage 1932 crochet pattern for this adorable hat and tie

Filet crochet pattern for a milk jug lid sold on Etsy by VintageKnitPatterns, 1932

In 1933, the San Jose News had a free crochet pattern for a matching bag and crochet belt.

Etsy’s crocheted scarf from 1933 which is really the classic type of item that I was actually expecting to see a lot from that era, even if it doesn't seem as widespread as I suspected. The same seller also has the 1934 swimsuit pattern shown below:

1934 crocheted scarf pattern

1934 crochet sweater pattern reproduced from Originals by Miss Julie on Etsy

Hot Dish Mitt Pattern in Crochet, PDF on Etsy via

Vintage Pattern, PDF on Etsy via; I love the open back on this one! 1935

Etsy’s 1936

I adore this unique crochet hat from 1937; Sample PDF on Etsy by

The PDF of this 1937 is on Etsy from. The same seller also has some crochet tea cozy patterns from the same year.

Patternsalacarte sells this 1938 crocheted hat pattern

1939 Irish crochet lace baby set pattern for sale by Annalaia on Etsy

1939 crochet wedding dress pattern via Cemetarian