My Neighborhood · Treasures

Antique crochet pattern booklets; WIP update

I’ve been officially on break from my teaching duties for the last couple of weeks. Apart from my trip to Seoul, I’ve stayed relatively close to home, since the pandemic keeps me grounded, but not idle. While going through old papers in my home yesterday, I came across two vintage American crochet booklets from 1916 and 1937. The sight of them made me think of my trip back to California exactly one year ago, and my mom excitedly sharing with me a bag of old crochet hooks and patterns booklets she picked up for me at a garage sale. A lot of thoughts came to mind at finding these old booklets now, not the least of which is my wish to be back in California this summer.

I went through the bag of old booklets last year, and took just two with me back to Korea, thinking I’d have another look the next time I flew back to my family in California. These two I believe are the oldest of the bunch. The one from 1916 was published by Valley Supply Co., St. Louis. Missouri. It is all black and white photographs with 15 pages jam-packed with 60 patterns for edgings – doilies, napkins, table runners, bedspreads, rick-rack, and tasseled and fringed ideas are included. It is fun to see how the instructions read differently than today’s wording. I tested out one of the patterns, though, and was able to understand it.

The 1937 booklet was published by The Spool Cotton Company. It has twice as many pages as the older one, and more ideas for the American hostess: edgings for tray cloths, tablecloths, towels, collars, cuffs, and curtains. Hairpin lace is featured. It is a look at what might have decorated a tidy and well-appointed middle class home in that era. Check out the short video below, where I page through both booklets.

As a point of reference – my maternal grandmother, who is still with us at 101, was born in 1919, three years after the publication of the earlier booklet.

VIDEO: A quick page through the booklets.

My projects are coming along slowly but surely. I love how the Fedde stole is developing, even though I find the repetitive stitches a bit tedious. I know the result is worth the effort, though. The other shawl I’m making has more dynamic stitches and seems to move more quickly.

I had the simplest of lunches today, a bowl of cold buckwheat noodles on ice, vegetables, and egg with chili sauce. It’s called bibim naengmyeon (비빔냉면), and typically includes additions such as julienned cucumber, Asian pear, or pickled daikon radish. It’s essential to eat with chili sauce (gochujang –  고추장). If you like to cook and are adventurous, you should check out Maangchi’s recipe for it here. Maangchi herself is a delight and I recommend her YouTube cooking videos. Meanwhile, I’ve included a tiny video sample of me pouring in the iced broth, with bonus ambient sounds typical of a neighborhood joint like this.

VIDEO: Bibim naengmyeon and iced broth

Stay safe! See you soon with more news about my Andong trip.

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