Literary Pursuits

The Workbasket – April 1952

Here we are in 1952 with plenty of handy “Ideas for the Bazaar, the Home, Gifts, Sparetime Money Makers, with Many Articles, Easily Made and Inexpensive, that find a Ready Sale.” How’s that for a tag line? And with plenty of capital letters, too!















The first ad that caught my eye was this “glorious, inspiring gift” for Mother, because, of course, Mother’s Day is coming up… and what could show your appreciation for all the sacrifices your mother ever made for you better than a plastic tablecloth? It has a “big, special Love to Mother design and poem in the very center. In color, this work of art is surrounded by a graceful border of roses.” They don’t quote the poem. Maybe we don’t really want to know what it says.

I’ve recently taken up tatting, and so far I haven’t progressed beyond making dainty little circles marching down a thread. This pattern assures me that is simple enough for a beginner, but I’m thinking it needs to be a more experienced beginner than I am.
I’m tempted to make up this little cutie just to see if my “young lady” would exclaim, “Oh! Mother!! Such a darling bag for my new spring outfit!! Thank you.” Nah. I think she’s probably about 50 years too young to “so exclaim.”
Here’s a “new style craze” that must not have caught on. Have you ever even heard of such a thing? Can’t you just imagine how noisy the “flexiclogs” must have been? Not to speak of uncomfortable. The selling point was, “It actually flexes with your foot!” Uh-huh.
Once I master tatting, I think I’ll take up bobbin lace. I’m serious. I have seen this demonstrated and it looks like something I would enjoy. The thing is, in my current needlework catalog the price is $40 for a starter kit, rather than $10. Sigh!
Since I don’t really need another hobby I guess I’ll pass on this one. I dunno, though. It would be an inexpensive hobby! “What’s new in newspapers? Why, using them to make such useful articles as trays, bowls, vases, wall plaques and any number of interesting things. It is surprisingly easy to do, and at such a low cost anybody can afford the equipment.” Yup. I’m gonna get right on that.
Such pretty dress patterns… from back in the day when women had teeny-tiny waists. If you don’t believe me, just scroll back up and look at the cover model. Oh, well. I comfort myself that they probably wore corsets, or very restrictive girdles to achieve that girlish figure! If that’s not the case, don’t tell me. I don’t know want to know.
What was so shameful about being hearing impaired? These old magazines are full of cleverly-disguised hearing aides. Makes me think of secret spy equipment!
Here’s a fun ad! Talk about time travel… way back before MP3s… before CDs… before cassette tapes… before 8-tracks… before LP records… there were 78 rpm records. They played “up to 10 full minutes”! If I remember correctly that’s about 5 minutes a side. “These amazing records are 6-IN-1 records–6 songs to a record!” You had a choice of “Newest Hit Tunes,” “Hill Billy Hits,” or “Most Loved Hymns”– 3 records for “only $2.98”!


  • Susan

    Cute ads and I wonder how many of those shoes were sold?! Tatting and bobbin lace are almost a dying art. More artists are always welcome. Nice post, it was a good read.

  • Bea

    Karla, what a funny post. I could kick myself for not learning to tat from my grandma. BTW, I have an entire LARGE Rubbernmaid tub of Workbasket mags. I love them.

  • CC

    How wonderful that you’re tatting. It’s the only needle art that I’ve forgotten, and it’s one of the most beautiful. Loved the old Workbasket magazine..I still have some I’ve kept through the years. Happy VTT..have a great day.

  • 2L3Bs World

    Thanks a lot for sharing. You had given us a lot of ideas especially the 1960’s clothes design.. Thanks a lot and Happy Valentines to you and your family..
    Best regards,
    Loida of the 2L3B’s

  • Miri

    Your Workbasket post has me smiling! I love the dresses-especially the shoulder designs. About hiding your hearing aid-seems it’s still being done-heard about a hearing aid that looks like a Bluetooth phone!

  • Emily

    I love the earrings that help you hear! lol That’s great! I know what you mean about the little waists. They *had* to wear some kind of corset or girdle to pull everything in. Woman were so curvy back then! Anyway, have a glorious day!

  • TattingChic

    Thank you for sharing your lovely vintage workbasket! Hmmm…I wonder if I have this one, LOL! I have a bunch of vintage Workbasket magazines that I inherited from my grandmother from the 40’s to the 60’s. That tatted edging is darling. We just need to teach you how to make a tatted chain with the ball thread! I guess it’s time to hop on the Youtube train to find a video on making the chain!!! Keep me posted! This is so exciting! I’m so proud of you for making the rings!!! 🙂

  • Sit-N-Chat

    My mother used to to tatting. I don’t remember bobbin lace. I enjoy the magazine and ads. I am going to Google the newspaper thing. Can’t quite picture how to turn them into useful utensils…

    Hope you have a great week full of opportunities to craft and to glorify the original crafter.

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