Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Take a Break: Celebrating Christmas 1930s-Yarn Ornaments

The 1930s were the height of the “Great Depression.” Yet families managed to have a Christmas if for no other reason they needed the day to put the hard times aside. While this was the era that Woolworth's began selling German Glass ornaments, living in rural Vermont, five-and-dime stores were an unknown. Even with access to a store selling such ornaments, many people just used what they had on hand to decorate their tree

With the abundance of pines, swags, wreaths and garlands were popular. Stringing popcorn and paper chains were something children made in the week leading up to Christmas. Popular women’s magazines would have printed patterns to make tree toppers and ornaments. Scraps of tin could be turned into “tinsel” and even tinplate, used in pie pans, could be cut up to make stars, hearts and other shapes.  Another favorite was “tin can keys.”

A number of products (Prince Albert Tobacco and sardines) came with little keys. The key would stick in a tab and turned to pull of a strip of metal and open the can. At the end of this process, the key looked like it was wound up in a watch spring. By pulling the "spring" downward a spiral was created and could be hung on a tree.

Yarn scraps were plentiful since many women knitted. Consequently there were bits and pieces of yarn in Mom’s scrap pile. Try some of the following ways to make yarn ornaments.

Cookie Cutter as Mold
• Take a “cutout” cookie cutter (hearts and stars are easy to use) and place it on a piece of parchment paper. These cookie cutters are made out of copper, tin, stainless steel or even plastic. Any type is fine. Just be sure to wash when finished.
• Cut up yarn into 6-12 inch pieces, it’s easier to use shorter pieces than one long strand.
• Pour Modge Podge glue (can make using equal parts white glue and water) into a container. Can also make cornstarch glue, which is what they would have done in the 1930s.
• Dunk the yarn strands in the liquid.
• Take out the glue soaked yarn and start placing inside the cookie cutter.
• Once you have sufficient glue soaked yarn in place, carefully remove the cookie cutter so it retains its shape.
• Let air dry. I made my own Modge Podge but didn’t measure so it was a bit watery. It took a full day for it to dry but the results were fine.

Yarn star
  Christmas Star: Uses toothpicks to wrap the glue soaked thread. 

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