Thursday, November 2, 2017

Mary Maxim presents ... A New World of Knitting Fashions

Pictured above is the front cover of an old 48-page staplebound catalog for Mary Maxim, a mail-order company that still thrives today and specializes in crafts, yarn, sweaters and knitting/needlework supplies. There's no date anywhere on this catalog. My guess would be sometime in the 1960 to 1962 range, but slightly earlier is possible, too.

According to Wikipedia: "Mary Maxim was first recognized for their quality knitting yarns. In the late 1950s they became increasingly popular for their bulky, knit sweaters with designs influenced by North American Wildlife. The first sweater pattern was designed in 1951 by Stella Sawchyn."

A letter to customers on Page 2 of the catalog states:
"Dear Knitter,

"The contents of the next 46 pages represent only the most popular Mary Maxim designs for handknitting — designs which are sufficiently broad in their scope to please even the most discriminating knitter and style and easy knitting.

"Assembled in this catalogue are Canada's largest selection of knitting designs in leaflet form which, when knitted with Mary Maxim YARNS, GUARANTEE you the ultimate in knitting satisfaction."
So here's an awesome gallery from the catalog/catalogue of some that ultimate knitting satisfaction...

From left: (1) "Unforgettably Fashion Right" with Raglan sleeves, windbreaker collar and in Northland Donegal Heather; (2) "Full cut for freedom of action" in Northland Blue Heather; (3) "A Dashing Diamond Design" with a shawl collar in Northland Cranberry Heather; (4) "Rugged looking, in rich lustrous Northland," available in multiple colors.

The popular wild duck and reindeer outdoor designs. The reindeer design comes in "fawn" for kids ages 4-6. Not pictured is the pheasant hunting sweater, featuring a rifleman and dog and looking utterly like a screenshot from Nintendo's "Duck Hunt."

The Grizzly wildlife sweater in Northland wool. From a series that also includes beaver, buffalo, wolf, beagle hound, Holstein cow, sports car and — I'm not making this up — "hoedown" sweaters.

Make sure you have one of those bowling sweaters for everyone on your Tuesday night team!

"1845 — SLEEVELESS SHELLS. Sizes 32-38. Knitting Worsted/Double Knitting or Sayelle Nantuk." (hair-styling not included)

Left: "This is the sweater of the year. Easy-to-follow instructions. 3/4 push up sleeves. Attractive garter stitch yoke. Either plain or in three colors. Illustrated Mohair colors: Stone Green, or White with Scarlet and Stone Green." Right: "Comfortable Raglan sleeves, attractive with or without a collar. Mohair colors featured: Yellow or Medium Blue."

"Colorful Bulky Boat Neck Pullover. Thick 'n Thin colors featured: Crimson/Charcoal with Natural/Charcoal."


  1. Oh My, a whole new wardrobe awaits ... as soon as I learn how knit. LOL

    1. You know, I sort of realized that I was leafing through the catalog and writing the post. I think they sold *some* sweaters, but mostly they sold the yarn and the patterns. Good luck getting it to look like it does in the picture!