Jess Hutch.

Friday, August 19, 2005

craft books

Thrift stores are great... or, at least in California, they used to be great. I can't find beautiful 50s and 60s dresses like I used to, and even the knick knack sections, usually good for a weird 70s ashtray or two, seem to be picked clean. Is it ebay? What is it? But even with this drought of great finds, I often end up snagging an old craft book or two, which always makes me do the thrifter dance of joy and acquisition.

Vintage craft books please me on so many levels - the color combinations, the (sometimes) goofy poses of the models, even the design and layout of the books, and their many illustrations, make me happy. They are a window into the lifestyle and aspirations of a time and place.

I got this one recently, it's the Sunset Craft Manual, published in 1946. For those of you not familiar with Sunset Magazine, it promotes the artsy, laid-back lifestyle of the American West - idealized, of course. Big, open, modern ranch-style houses with lots of natural materials and big windows, big gardens and good food cooked on a grill, that sort of thing. I love the simple, elegant design of the cover, with the abstract leaf motif - it sums up the whole Sunset aesthetic, past & present.

1946 Sunset Craft Manual

Compare that to these images from the Creative Hands series from the 1970s - a really fantastic set of books (I have five, I have no idea how many volumes were released) featuring articles on sewing, knitting, quilting, embroidery, dressmaking, lacemaking, and crochet. I've seen books from the series for sale online. I doesn't get much more 70s than this.

Trivet from Creative Hands

Sun Applique by Creative Hands

Doll Sweaters by Creative Hands

Yowza. How about those creepy dolls?


At 9:45 PM , kt said...

Those boyz are UBER-CREEPY. But the embroidered napkin rings on burlap really got to me. (hee-hee)

At 8:56 AM , laura r. said...

i always think of sf as having the best thrift stores. like you, i have noticed the change also. i wonder if the east coast has more good old stuff, they are older states.
it does make the hunt more rewarding.
keep having fun.

At 8:31 PM , carrie said...

i also adore ancient craft books, and you really stumbled upon a gem! seems like in older books, the models have such sincere and earnest expressions, even if they are wearing a brown and orange knee-length poncho with pom-poms the size of grapefruit. thanks for sharing the spooky dolls!

At 6:27 AM , jessica said...

I wonder if "creative hands" is alike to "golden hands" ? I'm in the au so I suppose this could be so. In any case, my mother in her wonderful wisdom has that set of 21 books and I am entirely greatful for this. Sewing to knitting to macrame to basic enamel to string craft. They're brilliant I agree.


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