Saturday, February 2, 2008

American Home Crafts

It is with great and selfish reluctance that I share with you one of my favorite sources of gorgeous vintage patterns -- American Home Craft Magazine. I have about 8 issues of it in my groaning stash of old crafty magazines and I routinely pore over each and every one. They are an endless source of inspiration to me. I don't know what the lifespan was for this pub, but I don't think it was very long at all -- mine are from the mid-70s. My selfish reluctance is due to the fact that these puppies are WAY hard to find. I think I got lucky as my mom was a crafty type herself and had a clutch of these stashed away as part of my inheritance.

AHC covered the range of crafts -- from sewing to crochet and soapmaking to rattan bed-making. It is head and shoulders above the rest of the mags published during those heady days of renewed interest in all things crafty. It was intelligent and had a keen eye toward investigating the sources of the designs presented. And what designs! Despite the cheesy cover logo, they consistently featured interesting, fashionable, and beautiful designs with a sense of integrity that I find rare in the popular press.

Oh, I know what you're thinking! You're thinking that Subway Hooker's gone all hoity toity on you, flaunting her oh-so-valuable BFA in front of everyone. And yeah, maybe I am. But I think it's important to constantly raise the bar on crafts and continue to challenge ourselves to make better stuff by learning from the past and thinking more about what we produce with our hands.




I mean, look at this page of granny squares! These are beautiful! And not in any stupid, ironic, and kitschy way - they are really gorgeous. I think they look like exotic tiles, not something protecting the couch on Roseanne.











Here's that rattan bed they teach you how to make. Sweet Mother of Crap! This thing is astonishing! And I'm not saying you can't pretty much smell the patchouli emanating from the quilt here, but I think this is spectacular.




And finally, since you all expect to see wearables on this here blog, I give you this lovely crocheted confection:


20 comments:

Dargie said...

I loved this magazine! I wish I still had my copies. I do still have one pattern for a huge striped shawl and I cherish it.

Thanks for the memories.

Scarlett said...

Hey, let us not take the holy name of Roseanne in vain. That was a really good show... if you pretend the time you spent watching the final season was just a dream...

Amy said...

I totally agree about these wonderful magazines from the 70's. My teenage daughters used my old copies to fashion unique garments and accessories for several years. They are both grown now, and we are downsizing, so I'm posting my old issues of American Home Crafts and Ladies Home Journal Needlecrafts on eBay this month. Time to pass them on to another generation! Everything comes around again and again and again! (If you are interested in looking - my ebay name is Robertson02025)

vanessa said...

my stepson threw away my original set. slowly i've been buying them on ebay...

Hope said...

I loved them. Made several items, sandals, sweaters that I remember. Love to have them now. another good magazine I have copies of Mon tricot

Maggie said...

My mom (Charleen Kinser) was the crafts editor for this magazine, I believe. She did that reed bed, and I remember her making it. I'm so glad to see that people are still enjoying their copies. Anyone have something to say about why crafts were big then and are getting big again now?

Maggie Kinser Hohle

Theresa said...

Maggie, I would love to have a copy of the magazine that your grandmother, Cecilia Petersen, had the most beautiful crocheted bed canopy in. I visited her often and she enjoyed helping me with my crochet projects. Why is it none of your postings or blogs ever mention your very elegant and talented grandmother?

Laurie A Hunt said...

I just learned this morning that Charleen Kinser, designer of that bed, passed away in April. I still have three copies of that magazine, that I've held onto just because of her designs. I'm trying to find the instructions for her baby cradle in the fall of 1996 issue. I started reading the magazine when I was 20 years old, now I'm going to be a grandmother!

The magazines are treasures. I will say though, that there are no quick and easy projects there, just gorgeous things that take some time and skill.

I have been making Charleen's stuffed sheep for over 30 years for my children, nieces, and nephews. I'm glad to know there are other AHC lovers out there.

lilypad said...

I've added a blogger address. If anyone knows how I can get the cradle pattern please let me know.
Thanks, Laurie Hunt

Lynne Stevens said...

Do you still have Vol. 6-No.2? I think I loaned it to may mother and I know I'll never see it again. There's a sweater pattern in it that I would like again.
Lynne Stevens

Lynne Stevens said...

Do you still have Vol. 6-No.2? I think I loaned it to may mother and I know I'll never see it again. There's a sweater pattern in it that I would like again.
Lynne Stevens

Dehbi said...

I have complete back runs of both AHC and its sister publication, Ladies Home Journal Needle & Crafts. If you go to my blog and leave me a message with some way to contact you, I might be able to help you out if there is something you want.

My blog is here: http://dehbi.wordpress.com

If you are on Ravelry, my id there is dehbiknits

I screen the messages to my blog before they get posted so if you send an e-mail address, I'll get it but I won't post it (to help you avoid the horrors of putting your e-mail on the web).

Interesting that you posted that pic of those ultra cool granny squares. The picture is in the magazine, but you had to mail order the patterns. I never did and now just look longingly at the squares.

I could figure some of them out, but who has the time?!

These were utterly awesome magazines. Timeless!

Marleene said...

Oh...That was such a super magazine! I was devastated went they closed their doors.

I would LOVE to get a copy of that sheep pattern. I had carefully put it away for when I would get time make them for my children- and no longer have it - for my grandchildren! (Gosh time passes quickly when you are busy, doesn't it?)
Marleene

Dana Stabenow said...

Very, very late to this conversation, which I join only to brag that I believe I have all of the issues to this magazine (Fall/Winter 1972 to Fall 1978, and if someone here sees that I don't have them all, please tell me which ones I'm missing). Not only are there great knitting patterns with excellent instructions but there are so many drool-worthy projects in other crafts. Hands down my favorite is still the patchwork dresser with all the different shaped and sized drawers.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how to get a copy of the patterns for the small granny squares in the Fall/Winter1975 issue - not the larger pillows that are included in the magazine, but the patterns that you needed to mail away for?? Thanks. JS

JS said...

I'm looking for the patterns for the small granny squares that you need to mail away for, from the Fall/Winter 1975 issue - not the larger pillows that the patterns were included in the back of the magazine. Thanks. JS

Dazey said...

I have the fall/winter 1975 issue. Unfortunately I can't find it and I want to make a sweater that is in it. It's the Cardigan with Seed Stitch and Cable Panels plus Middy Collar. Any way I could get a copy of that pattern from you?

Dottie Melcher said...

This was the best craft magazine ever! It assumed you wanted to make good stuff,that you were interested in all sorts of crafts, and that you could follow directions. My copies are lost, but I have just bought one on ebay. Was there ever a "best of" book?

cocobunny said...

Ok, 2015 today, and I stumbled on 3 of these magazines in thrift stores. I had them in my (sigh) young and strong early 20's, when my then new husband tossed them. I burst into tears, and he had to retrieve them from the trash can. Lost them over the years of military moving. But I have the 3 I just found. Love just looking at them and imagining making the projects. They lift my spirits. Young and strong.

Monica said...

Truly one of the great craft magazines...I have two sets of them if anyone is looking for specific projects that are not for send away for instructions.

Why did this magazine die???