While in Ontario in October, 2013, Mugs was influential in refueling my interest again in knitting. I was drawn to the integral design in the Irish sweaters she made. While there, I also read an article in the Globe and Mail on the popularity of vintage Mary Maxim sweaters. I knew that I had one somewhere, possibly stored in the attic. It was made for me by someone as a gift, and had a lovely Aztec design. I am wearing it in this picture from 1978! I long sense outgrew it, but wore it in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I remembered you could buy the Mary Maxim wool separately from the patterns, or you could buy a kit. I bought one such kit myself and had that sweater currently in my closet, but hadn’t worn it in years. It was longer than the traditional sweaters and more in line of they type that Mugs was making. I don’t believe it was made of wool or at least was a blend. My sweater in red and off white and had more of a northern Canadian design and was very simple to make.
What struck me of interest in the article was that a boutique in Kensington Market or Cabbage Town was buying up vintage Mary Maxim sweaters for as little as $2.50 and re-selling them for around $45 and said they couldn’t keep up with the demand! Well, I was thrilled. I love Mary Maxim!
I later found the Mary Maxim website and was delighted to see tons of free (and some low cost) vintage patterns, other company patterns, yarn in both Mary Maxim and other companies, notions and tons of variety store materials. If you want to buy a paint by number set, go to Mary Maxim! Personally, I don’t think they need to versify so much in their merchandise, but I was so thrilled to see so many patterns. I am not sure just what type of percentage of patterns they now offer compared to their original inventory, but I couldn’t find the three patterns I knew of or the one I had in my files and never made. Consequently, you may not find your favourite Mary Maxim pattern on their site, but there are certainly a lot to chose from. It is interesting to note that Mary Maxim has been around since the year I was born. And yet another great reason to be proud of being a fellow Canadian! I feel the connection!
I first pinned patterns from Mary Maxim like crazy on my Pinterest profile. It wasn’t long before I decided to try an order. At least once a month I order something online, and I do have favorite vendors. I am willing to give someone new a try. I like online orders which I can track delivery, places which have reasonable (or no) shipping charges, and who have exceptional customer service! I also like a detailed enclosed receipt with my merchandise, as well as one emailed to me or an option to print or save directly from my orginal online order. I might just start a blog sometime on my online ordering experience. The first thing I do is to check to see, if ordering online is cost effective. If I can buy something locally, I will. I was experiencing a depleting selection of yarns at Walmart. I still plan to go to my favourite fabric store sometime to check out their stock, but since it is out of my way, I thought I would just give Mary Maxim online a try. I remembered having a favorable experience, when I used their mail order business years ago and I still had that same “homey” feeling from their website.
I do love bargains. So everything I ordered was in the clearance or on sale sections. I tend to make purchases first (yarn, fabric, etc), then try to decide later what to make with them. So purchasing 4 balls of a unique style of yarn in mulberry on sale, seemed to be a reasonable investment. I also ordered more needles for myself, a needle case and a needle gauge/ruler for my daughter, Chantal. I kicked myself several days later for not ordering a ball of green worsted yarn to complete the Creeper sweater, after going to two Walmarts and not being able to find any there!
I was pleased when I received my order. I recognized their printed invoice as the same type they used years ago for mail orders. I had two problems with items, circular needle broke and tie on the binding for the needle holder was sewn in the wrong place. I sent off two notes to them on their online form. A very nice woman called me back the next day. It was nice that she had made the connection from both my separate online customer service forms and said she had already put a new pair of needles in the mail earlier that day. With regards to the fabric needle holder, she explained to me how it was made, and that I could easily remove the stitching and re-sew it onto the correct position. Of course I could, and the item was less than 50% off, so why not, I thought? She took the time to explain how to do it, so I certainly wasn’t going to make it an issue. I really only wanted to “test” them on their customer service, anyway! They passed the test, and I will most certainly order more from Mary Maxim in the future. I have already added several items onto my “wish list.”