Literary Pursuits

The Workbasket – October 1950

This week’s Workbasket magazine is from October 1950. The cover features a “Hairpin Lace Vanity Set.”


Interestingly enough, I have recently learned to make hairpin lace. A friend of mine gave me a hairpin loom and showed me how to do it, after I admired an afghan she had made. I won’t be able to make the vanity set, though, because my loom is the size for yarn, not size 30 crochet thread! The article says that “a heavy wire hairpin” will do, but I’m not even sure where to get that these days! (Wait a minute! I know! I had a conversation last summer at a homeschool convention with a head-covering lady about hairpins. She had “heavy wire” ones holding her bun under her veiling and she told me where she got them. But I can’t remember now where she said. *If I see her again in June, I’m going to ask her!) Anyway, here’s a diagram of how hairpin lace is made:workbasket2

[Update: I later found a lace-making “hairpin” at a garage sale so I tried my hand at it here.]

On the next page is a pattern for “huck weaving.” This is a type of needlework that I am not familiar with (and I’ve tried many different ones). I don’t even know what huck toweling is, but the article tells me it can be purchased by the yard. “The designs shown are quite suitable for luncheon mats, scarfs, peasant skirts, purses, chair or vanity sets as well as towels.”workbasket3On this page we also have an ad for hearing aids. “What A Blessing To Hear Again…” Apparently the man pictured is thanking the Lord for his hearing aids.

Oh! And here’s an apron! The Apron Queen has got me hooked on vintage aprons, and this issue of the Workbasket doesn’t disappoint. “Here is a new use for those gay, loosely, woven dish cloths–an apron and pan holder.”workbasket4Now here’s the answer to all our “appearance” problems. A “truly sensational” girdle– the Figure Adjuster! “Make this test with your own hands! Clasp your hands over your ABDOMEN, press upwards and in gently but FIRMLY. You feel better, don’t you!”workbasket5“New scientific construction whittles away rolls and bulges… slimming, easy-to-adjust rayon satin tummy panel laces right up to your bra. In powerful elastic.” Whew, boy!

Here’s another apron craft, this one of waffle pique embroidery which appears to be related to huck weaving. These dainty vintage pictures just make me want to start wearing aprons every day!workbasket6Now here is a practical project. If you decide to make yourself some “protective mitts” for pulling up your hose, be sure to “pretty these up… with feather stitching at the top or a dainty ribbon bow.” Hey, why not go all out and do both!workbasket7Don’t you just love these vintage patterns? I’d wear styles like this! Especially the apron! Let’s see… “twenty-five cents (in coins) for each pattern”… reckon they’d send me the pattern if I mailed a quarter to the address listed?workbasket8More coming soon!

*October 2015 update:¬†I remembered that I did find out where the head-covering lady got her hairpins. It was at a Mennonite general store in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. A couple summers ago when we were camping in that area, a friend and I visited the store, and I bought two packages of the “heavy wire”¬†hairpins. I had never seen any that large for sale anywhere else. And yes, I use them in my hair. I haven’t tried making hairpin lace with them yet, though. I kinda forgot about that idea. Maybe I’ll do that soon.


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