Literary Pursuits

The Workbasket – November 1951

Is everybody ready for another vintage Workbasket installment? The next magazine in my small collection is from November 1951. It is Volume 17, Number 1. According to my calculations that means The Workbasket started in October 1934.


Recently an older lady friend of mine was letting me go through her crochet patterns… Be still my heart! The vintage patterns she has! And she was very kind to loan me as many as I wanted, so I’ll be scanning some of those later!! …but before I digress too far off on that bunny trail, I was going to tell you that she had an early 1940s issue of The Workbasket. And guess what? There were no ads! Nope. It was just printed back-and-front on one long sheet of paper folded into fourths to be the same size as it always was. It was what we used to call a leaflet. And it was strictly patterns. Beautiful patterns at that. But nothing of entertainment value!

For example, the housewife in 1951 had the opportunity to unscramble 5 state names to be in the running for one of 25 beautiful wrist watches. Such a complicated puzzle. Why, I’d be surprised if they even got as many as 25 women who got all 5 puzzles right. I mean, after all, could you get them right? You just study on it a minute and then let me know.workbasket2Oh. You could? Well, yeah. Maybe you’re just smarter than the average 1951 housewife. Or then again, it was probably just a gimmick.

Here’s a sweet pattern for Bitty Bears. The write-up assures us that our small friends will love to play with them, and older girls like to wear them as lapel pins.workbasket3I find the ad for Konturettes right there on the same page as the toy pattern just a little disconcerting… but even stranger is the kitchen hint, sandwiched between the pattern and the ad. Just so obviously filler!

Here’s something you don’t see every day. In fact, I’ve never seen such a thing. Have you? Seems to me if it really worked, “Magic Loop” Fish Bowls would sitll be around. In fact, I’m pretty sure the fish would suffocate in a contraption like that. Not enough surface area = not enough oxygen. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m just baffled.workbasket4This month’s Junior Workbasket project isn’t quite as hokey as the paper bag masks were last month. I mean, after all, practically anybody could use a handy-dandy string holder. And yes, I would be proud to have a set of tea towels embroidered by my little girl.workbasket5Oh, dear. I thought last month’s baby doll was scary looking… but this “doll sensation of the year” with her “blondie braids” growing right out of the sides of her otherwise bald head, does not seem the least bit “amazingly life-like” to me!workbasket6I’m positively grieving that I was not alive in 1951 to take advantage of this deal. I need a Complete Set of 16 Crochet Hooks for $1.00 to add to my collection!workbasket8This page of beautiful yard goods for sale really puzzles me. Mail order I understand. Descriptive text, yes, please. But please tell me… what earthly good are the pictures? As far as I can tell every last bolt of fabric is exactly alike… except for the few that are patterned, and how they are rolled or folded.workbasket9I wish I could get a relaxing, soothing gadget that would take off ugly fat where it shows most! I wonder what our happy model is going to do about the bow at her waist when the Spot Reducer jiggles it’s way just an inch or so to the right? Do you think that’s really what they recommended you wear when you use the silly contraption?workbasket10Don’t you just love the apron pattern this month? It even shows that it could be cut from a feed bag!workbasket7



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