Thursday, 5 December 2013

I wish I was a girl guide..... I could wear these:
Fantabulous pocketed apron 1943 - 1944, and a headscarf to "set off your charms" 1944

Brownies red gingham pyjamas 1943 - 45, and "Sunny yellow" cotton knit pyjamas with polka dotted peter pan collar and peek-a-boo neckline

 ....and these:
I'm coveting the uniform and necktie as well as those shoes.

Raincoat and umbrella, 1957. All above images from: Vintage Girl Scout Online Museum
  ....and especially so I could knit these:
Jacquard design cotton knit jumpers 1955, and 1952 respectively. Images from: Vintage Girl Scout Online Museum

Trefoil sweater pattern published January 1963 in the 'Cadette Girl Scout Handbook' from Sentimental Baby

Cute hat. Image from: Vintage Girl Scout Online Museum
Founded in 1909, The British Girl Scouts were the counterpart to the British Boy Scouts.
After some criticism from the public, Baden-Powell created a separate organisation in 1910 called 'The Girl Guides Association".

Girl guide groups began appearing in Australia in 1909, and in 1926 a national organisation was formed.

I've decided I'll recreate some of this beautifulness and wear it anyway (girl guide or no!)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

pencil knitting

A while ago before a sensitivity to light condition made it impossible to gaze at a computer screen all day long I was a graphic designer/illustrator. Now that I've stopped feeling quite so sorry for myself, I've started to draw again the old fashioned way, with pencil and paper.

Here is the result of an illustration that draws it's inspiration from my love of knitting. I took a vintage knitting pattern, re-interpreted the photo of the 50's model, and then made a grid design of little coloured squares on knitters graph paper using the knitting pattern as a guide...if you follow the key you can actually knit the stitch pattern. The faceless model illustrates a few things: the fact that knitting is (to a large degree) a disappearing
art, that all the lovely young models are now a lot older, or are no more, and also that most of these beautiful vintage patterns were created by an army of talented, clever but sadly uncredited women who consequently remain anonomous, and uncelebrated.

All illustrations are the property of fancyland, please do not reproduce.
k1 - knit 1, p1 - purl 1, m1 - make 1, k 2 tog. - knit 2 together, sl. 1 - slip 1, p.s.s.o - pass slipped stitch over

Monday, 24 June 2013

super ladies

Did you know that once upon a time girls read more comic books than boys? Perhaps that was why female superheroes were first created. Or maybe a world that had gone through one world war, with the threat of another one brewing, found it needed the comforting idea that someone could sweep in and make
everything safe.

I love female superheroes, they inspire me to be brave and courageous when life goes pear-shaped. Debuting in the late 1930's, and flourishing in the 40's during the "Golden Age' of comic books, I like to think they were created in response to the liberated, gutsy non-stereotypical women of that period.

In "The Great Women Superheroes" author Trina Robbins wrote "Most of [Fiction House's] pulp-style action stories either starred or featured strong, beautiful, competent heroines. They were war nurses, aviatrixes, girl detectives, counterspies, and animal skin-clad jungle queens, and they were in command. Guns blazing, daggers unsheathed, sword in hand, they leaped across the pages, ready to take on any villian. And they did not need rescuing." (Portrayal of women in comics)

In that vein, I like to focus on these characters as a reflection of women's strength, rather than on their tendency to become objectified (this became pretty bad in later decades)

Apparently the first known lady superhero was Sheena, Queen of the Jungle (1937). Created by Jerry Iger and Will Eisner, she was orphaned in the jungle, and could communicate with animals (though they must have been saying stuff that really pissed her off because she spent a lot of her time killing them).

image right: comicbookplus  image left: theHollowayPages

Following her in 1940 was Fantoma - Mystery Woman of the Jungle, by Fletcher Hanks. She was an ageless (wouldn't that be nice) ancient Egyptian princess who turned all skull-faced when she used her powers (although, most importantly her hair remained unchanged!)

image: stupidcomics

Other Superb Super-Ladies that debuted in the 40's were:

Miss Fury: Who was created, written and drawn by a woman called June Tarpe Mills. Her complete anger fueled amazing-ness combined with her glamour makes her one of my favourites. She was originally called the Black Fury, and while she had no superpowers, she wore an absolutely cracking catsuit. Her alter ego was wealthy socialite Marla Drake.

image: sleepycomics

image: themouthandtheknife

Invisible Scarlet O'Neil was created by Russell Stamm in 1940. She was a 'plainclothes' superhero, who had gotten the power of invisibility from a ray her scientist father created. As a nice change, she led a calmer crime-fighting life than many others. Less clobbering of evil master villians, and more helping of children in need.

image: ebay

......and finally, I couldn't leave out Wonder Woman (developed by psychologist William Marston, and his wife Elizabeth). She debuted in 1942, and was an Amazonian Princess with cool magic bracelets who fought for sexual equality, love, and justice. While to me she will always be embodied by Lynda Carter from the 1970's TV series, here are some earlier examples:

image right: hoodedutilitarian image left: wikia

Aren't they all terrific? Fighting baddies galore, as well as maintaining perfect hair-do's. (Wherever did they find the time to do their pin-curl sets?)

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

party frocks

Aren’t these beautiful? And doesn’t everyone look so very sophisticated….People seem more grown-up to me in this time period than they do now.

I was so taken with these images I had to share the joy. They are featured in an editorial from Mademoiselle Magazine, November 1956. Martini anyone?

 images from:

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

the sweetest, cutest thing in the whole of the world (and some of his friends)

Although I am normally drawn to knitted clothing patterns, I couldn’t resist buying this pattern for a knitted toy (awwwww, so so cute). How could I pass up a pattern with a caption mentioning the "dandy of the glade"?

Considering that a dandy is someone who "places particular importance upon physical appearance, refined language, and leisurely hobbies, pursued with the appearance of nonchalance in a cult of Self" (according to wikipedia) this cute fawn has a lot on his plate. That red bow certainly spiffs him up a treat. I bought it from this lovely lady:

Here are some more from the same place that I’m not sure I can resist for long:

And lastly another cutie-pie from:

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Sunday, 26 May 2013

come in spinner

Normally I’d feel a smidge uncomfy loitering in the middle of a circle of roaring, rowdy, drunkpots (unless I’m one of them) but here I am, looking quite happy and serene. Gathering all my courage I had a go at being the spinner in an Anzac day game of two-up. Never having played it before I was a touch overwhelmed at first, but it ended up being SO much fun. I’m a bit of a hermit usually but, I don’t know, there was some kind of gambling and alcohol fueled ancient tribal connection thingy going on here (all mixed up with a certain depth of feeling due to it being Anzac day, and the nostalgia of re-enacting an Old Thing)

For those from far-away lands who don’t have the foggiest notion of what I’m on about here is a wikipedia explanation of the game:’Two-up is a traditional Australian gambling game, involving a designated ‘Spinner’ throwing two or three coins into the air. Players gamble on whether the coins will fall with both (obverse) heads up, both (reverse) tails up, or with one coin a head, and one a tail (known as ‘Odds’). It is traditionally played on Anzac Day in pubs and clubs throughout Australia, in part to mark a shared experience with Diggers through the ages’