July 1918 issue of Needlecraft Magazine

Here we have the July 1918 issue of Needlecraft Magazine, which is an American publication (location of publication given in the magazine is Augusta Maine & New York, New York). This is an authentic original Edwardian era magazine. If you like crochet, I think you will agree that this is one of the most spectacular issues of Needlecraft EVER! Of course this magazine is devoted to all the needle arts and it covers lots more than just crochet, but there is quite a bit of crochet in this issue and it is all lovely work.

Some of the highlights of this issue:

This issue contains an article by Mary Card, who, in my opinion, was the greatest crochet designer of all time. She was from Australia and had published several books, some in Australia and some in the USA (perhaps other countries too I am not certain). Many of her designs also appeared in Needlecraft Magazine in the 1910’s & 1920’s. Mary Card’s designs are consistently imaginative, beautiful, creative, well-thought-out, well-designed, and SPECTACULAR! It was her work that really got me interested in these old issues of Needlecraft magazine to start with. I cannot rave enough about the quality of her work!

Her article in this issue is called ”Artistic and Unusual Designs in Crochet”. The first pattern is called “Arabesque Design For Many Purposes”. The photo in the article shows this made into a tablecloth, but Mary explains that the motif can be used for a variety of purposes- bedspread, piano cover, cushion cover, etc. (this design is much prettier than a granny square but just as versatile.) The best part is that this article includes both the written instructions AND the working chart for this design, so it is a relatively easy project in spite of the fact that it looks so elaborate. There is also a pattern for the border of the tea cloth that is shown in the article; this edging stands alone as a design and you could use it wherever you need a good edging.

Mary’s Next pattern is called “Luncheon Set in Linen and Crochet”, which consists of a 26 inch centerpiece with doilies of 8 inches and 6 inches in diameter. This project is remarkable because Mary actually gives you the instructions for doing the linen centers, which are unusually shaped. Then she explains how to do the crochet work around the edges. This set is a real showstopper!

If you’re going to invest your time and energy crocheting, I feel strongly that you should work from only the best patterns. These designs are classics that have stood the test of time; they are definitely worthy of your time and energy, and would make heirloom quality projects for you and your loved ones!

Another outstanding crochet pattern in this issue is called “Crocheted Shawl for the Destitute Women of France”. Some background information: This magazine was published in 1918, which was World War I era. Quoting a bit from the article: “It is a pitiful fact which admits of no question that only the very old and the very young are left in the devastated portions of France. The grandmothers and great-grandmothers return to cling, whenever it is possible, to the ruined homes, caring to the best of their ability for the little children. Wrinkled, haggard and worn, they find shelter, perhaps in a cellar the walls of which, by great good fortune, are left standing, perhaps in an out-of-the-way hovel which escaped the general sacrifice of all that could possibly give comfort, and there they gather their small, terrified charges about them and strive to “make home” for them. We cannot even imagine the horrors of it all; we can only hold up the hands of those who are trying in any and all ways to make the lot of these refuges- these sisters of ours somewhere in France- a little more endurable by means of warmer clothing and other necessities. The American Committee for Devastated France, recognized and approved by the French government and cooperating with the American Red Cross, realizing that most relief work is confined to knitters, but knowing also that there are good crocheters who are anxious to do all they can, have issued an appeal for crocheted shawls to be sent to the destitute women of France. These shawls are simple, quickly made, and involve little outlay; but they are warm, and bring a good big touch of joy to the hearts of those who receive them…” (End quote from article).

There are actually 2 shawl patterns given in the book but only one is pictured. The one that is shown in the photo is really gorgeous- lovely and lacy, and very feminine. Shawls are so stylish right now- everyone in LA is wearing them! If you want to make your own shawl, here is one that will really stand out- the history behind these designs is just amazing- what a wonderful conversation piece your “new” shawl would be!

There are other tidbits in this issue of historical interest as well. The editor’s page is a treasure trove of cultural history- there is a column called “Help The Red Cross” and another called “What Can I Do?” that gives some advice to the women who were left at home, what they could do to help the war effort.

More crochet: Yokes For Nightgowns or Corset Covers- 3 different patterns for crocheting these lovely old fashioned lingerie pieces. If Victoria’s Secret had existed in 1918, this is the type of thing you might have found there. Crazy to think about how times have changed, isn’t it?

Order of Elks Pillow Cover in filet crochet

Some of the other Crafts & Articles in this issue:

In the “Answered by the Editor” section in front there are instructions for how to make “portieres made of long beads, which were rolled of wall-paper and varnished”. Doesn’t that sound like an intriguing project?

A Dainty Two-Piece Dress

Some Smart Dress Accessories in Simple Designs- collars

Needlecrafters’ Own Page- Tatted Yoke and Collar

Mrs. Anderson- fiction (antique “chick Lit!”)

A Trio of Embroidered Waists

Knitting-Bags and Pockets

The Young Girl’s Room

Receipts That Save Sugar- (That’s what the title of the article says, but I wonder if they didn’t mean “Recipes That Save Sugar”- because this is a cooking article.) I read this and found it very interesting, so I’m going to quote a bit from the beginning of the article: “We have all been asked by the food administration to save as much sugar as possible during the war so that our boys at the front may be plentifully supplied and also that we may in this way be able to add to the sugar supply of our allies which has become greatly depleted…” (End quote)…there are recipes included for Peach Pudding, Sugarless Pie, Maple Fruits, Lemon and Raisin Pie, Oatmeals and Raisins, Raisin Pudding, Rice Dumplings, and more.

Needlecraft’s Gift Box- Includes patterns for child’s bonnet in filet crochet; camisole yoke in Venetian crochet; and tatted edges & insets for guest towels. Lovely items!

Some Dainty Things For Babies To Wear

4 pages in this issue have fashion illustrations in black & white.

Ads & Advertising- one of the most striking ads in this issue is the full-page ad for war savings stamps. The text at the top of the ad reads “These Mothers’ Sons Are Fighting For You”. It goes on to say “25 cents lent to the government will help save a soldier’s life”. There are other, smaller, patriotic & wartime ads in this issue as well- one for a “handsome soldier’s testament” with “beautiful service pin”. Another ad shows a picture of a little boy, dressed up in a paper military hat, with his toy soldiers and toy drum, holding a bowl of cereal. The ad reads “War-Time Bread and Milk, Use Puffed Rice Bubbles”. Undoubtedly, old magazines are a fascinating way to get a history lesson in, along with reading about your favorite hobbies!

By Amy Solovay.

About the Author — Amy Solovay is a freelance writer with a background in textile design. She learned to crochet as a small child. After earning two degrees, one of which is in textile design, she launched a career in the textile industry. She has worked as a textile print colorist, knit designer and director of design for various Los Angeles based fabric manufacturers. Later she transitioned to writing about crochet, knitting, crafts and other topics for major media outlets. She enjoys designing crochet and other craft patterns, and she invites you to make use of them.

This page was last updated on 5-19-2021.