The Workbasket Magazine
Then and Now

Authentic first issue Volume 1 Number 1. THANK YOU KAY! "Ideas for the Bazaar, the Home, Gifts and Sparetime Money-makers ~ with Many Inexpensive, Easily Made Articles that find a Ready Sale." Last issue Volume 61 Number 3

Master of my own Domain!

On February 12, 2012 I acquired the Domain name! Visit it for other links to other pages I have besides this one about Workbasket Magazine!

If you are new to my site, please feel free to let people know of my site and the pattern search service I provide. Need a pattern that was published in Workbasket Magazine? If you are looking for a long lost pattern chances are I have it but it would help greatly if you knew the approximate year your project was published, a detailed description and if it was crocheted, knitted, tatted, etc. I'll do my best to find it! Most of the time I will send a PDF file of the pattern to your email. Send your requests to me, Marian Anderson, at If you would like to make a donation for my time in helping you to find a pattern once you have received it,
click here to use my Pattern Copy Service button at my SquareUp Market Place.

Online Web Store!

I have joined SquareUp for processing credit cards. This means that anyone can now purchase items through SquareUp's secure server and I accept all major credit cards!

Workbasket Magazines for Sale!
New inventory 4/2/16! Over 380 issues to pick from! Free shipping on Workbasket Magazine order. Pick as little or as many as you'd like! They are now grouped in sets, spanning 10 years each for easy shopping!

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Workbasket History

"The first issue of Workbasket Magazine was published October 1935. A husband and wife team; John and Clara Tillotson dreamed up a small 8-page needlework service bulletin in their home on the kitchen table. Each issue described step-by-step directions for making lovely needlework. When the Tillotson first began looking for subscribers, they turned to a list of 5,000 names they had used for another selling idea. Each woman was sent a postcard invitation to join "Aunt Ellen's Needlework Club." This was the beginning of a direct mail business for magazine subscriptions that grew into the largest operation of its kind at that time. From 1935 to 1947 the Workbasket paid its own way and made a profit too, charging $1.00 for 12 issues per year before it's pages were opened to advertisers. Naturally the 8-page Workbasket soon outgrew the house where it originated. The young company, Modern Handcraft, moved into larger business quarters. Several more moves were made. In 1966 the publication moved to 4251 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Missouri. This new, more modern building encompassed the editorial, circulation and fulfillment departments that served the over 2,000,000 readers of the three publications Modern Handcraft published: The Workbasket, Workbench and Flower and Garden. In order to serve the 1 million Workbasket readers quicker service, IBM computers were installed."*
* Editorial. "New Home for The Workbasket." Workbasket January 1966: 2
The magazine spanned 61 years. The last issue was published in May or July of 1996. Unfortunately The Workbasket Magazine as we had come to love ended publication. The magazine was sold to KC Publishing, Inc. and the name changed to Flower & Garden Crafts Edition! Between pages covering gardening were a few pages dedicated to crafts. The magazine published under that name from December 1996 until August 1998. In October 1998 the rights to the publication were sold to Krause Publications. They changed the name to Great American Crafts. This publication, in my opinion, wasn't too bad. It wasn't the Workbasket but it still had some good patterns and projects. Starting with the April 2001 issue Great American Crafts changed it's name to Michaels Create! craft magazine. This magazine is nothing like it's predecessor! It is a magazine solely to promote products sold at Michael's chain of Arts & Craft stores.
The magazine formally called Michael's Create change to Decorative Artist's Workbook. This magazine was strictly for tole painters. In 2002 Krause Publication was acquired by F+W Media, Inc. and Decorative Artist's Workbook stopped being published in 2006. F+W Media, Inc. also acquired Interweave in 2012. F+W Media, Inc. is a community-focused, content creator and marketer of products and services for enthusiasts offering a diversified portfolio of books, ebooks, magazines, events, competitions, ecommerce, education, video, and more. The Company is considered the authoritative by providing helpful information and connecting crafters to the products and services they need. F+W Media strives to offer the most complete online and offline customer experience for enthusiasts in all its communities. You can their web site at


About Me

I am a native Oregonian and currently reside in Beaverton which is 10 miles west of Portland. When I was a little girl I use to watch my mother crochet and knit. She would occasionally pull out her Workbasket magazines to inspire her. I remember looking through them and I even traced some of the embroidery patterns to color in. When I was around 8 I asked my mother to teach me how to knit. She thought I was too young and said that I should wait till I was older. I decided I would teach myself and went out to my dad's workshop and found a pair of 'knitting needles' which were actually large galvanized gutter nails and some string. My mother walked in on me one day while I was attempting to knit. She asked me what I was doing and I told her that since she didn't want to teach me I was going to teach myself. She knew at that point I was serious. We went to Sprouse-Reitz and she bought me a pair of size 8 needles (which I still have) and some yarn. Thus began my love of hand crafts. Trial and error, my mother telling me to loosen up or I would bend the knitting needles, and practice developed me into an accomplished knitter. My first project which I completed and also still have is a knitted afghan. There were 4 blocks, each with a different pattern and five colors of yarn. When I finished the afghan I had honed my skills of following a pattern and developed an even tension.

The next hand craft my mother taught me was embroidery. At Christmas when I was around 12 my mother presented me with a dresser scarf, an embroidery hoop, needles and embroidery thread. It was wonderful surprise. I finished that scarf and many more.

When I was about 16 my mother mentioned that she thought I might like to try crochet. I asked her if it was harder than knitting and she said it was easier as it was one continuous loop. I took to crochet in an instant making a shoulder shawl as my first project. I loved all the delicate doilies my mother had made but I didn't decide to try my hand at making one until after my mother died. I struggled with the instructions, trying to understand what they were trying to tell me. Finally I got it and I have made many doilies. A couple have won ribbons at our county fair.

My mother also owned many 10 books and one of them was the Learn How To Book by Coats and Clarks. I had learned knitting, embroidery and crochet. The final thing in that book was tatting. My mother had not learned how to tat and her advice was to find someone who did. When I was 30 I found out my step-mom's mother, Agnes, knew how. I sat down with Agnes one day and she showed me how to tat. If I could give any want-to-be Tatter out there advice it would be to practice. Once you have practiced, practice some more. Agnes showed me the basics but because she wasn't near enough to ask questions I basically learned from trial and lots of error. Finally after about 10 years of making tons of rings I decided to try making a doily. I entered the doily in our county fair and I won first place! I now teach tatting at a local JoAnn Fabrics.

I started my own subscription to Workbasket Magazine in 1976. When my mother died in 1977, I combined her collection with mine. Around 1988 I noticed my collection had grown substantially. I began to make note of ones I was missing and started to look for them at garage sales and flea markets. Would I ever be able to find all of them? What did the first issue look like? Were there ladies out there who had collections too?

With the coming of the Internet my dreams came true. I began to buy issues from eBay. Buying groups at a time just to get one issue left me with multiple duplicates. By selling them on eBay I made a few cents but eBay made the majority of the profit. Thus the concept and creation of my web page in 1997. I posted the issues I was looking for and ones that I wanted to sell. Occasionally I would get an email for someone asking for a pattern. This was not something I had even considered and as the requests came in, if I knew the year and could find the pattern, I was happy to oblige and send them a copy. I only charged for the cost of the copy and postage. When the pattern is only one page, I scanned the pattern in and sent it as a pdf file in an email.

In 2001 my email pattern requests picked up substantially but I didn't know why. One email mentioned that she had seen my web site address in a newspaper. She was nice enough to send me the article. I was so surprised to see my little web site mentioned! (See article below)

In 2004 I received an email from a lady by the name of Kay. She said she had a few issues she wanted to sell. She only wanted 75 for each of them. I had to read her email about five times to make sure I understood her right. One of the issues was Volume 1 Number 1! I wrote her back to ask her if she had made a mistake on the price. She said no and because she was going to be taking a trip to Seattle would be going through my town. When she brought the issues to me, my hands trembled as I opened the bag. There, on top, in almost pristine condition was the very first issue of Workbasket Magazine. The cover in color no less! I asked her again if she was sure on the price and she said yes as she knew the issue was in good hands. Thank you again Kay for making a dream come true!


My Workbasket Collection

Currently I have 623 of 672 issues in my collection. The ones I am looking for are:

1935 Nov, Dec
1936 Jan, Feb, Apr, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
1937 All issues
1938 Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr
1939 Jan, May, Jun
1940 Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Nov, Dec
1941 Jan
1942 Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, July, Aug, Sep, Oct
1943 May
1996 May, Jul, Sep, Nov (These are actually under the title of Flower & Garden Crafts Edition)

Email me, Marian Anderson, at if you are interested in buying or selling.


Article in The Star Democrat October 23, 2001 My very first web site through AOL was published in several newspapers across the country in October 2001 thanks to Linda Cobb the "Queen of Clean" And in response to the lady that wrote in wanting the crocheted Sailor suit. I did find that pattern! It is in the June/July 1980 issue. E-mail me if you are interested in obtaining the pattern.

If you are looking for a long lost pattern chances are I have it but it would help greatly if you knew the approximate year your project was published, a detailed description and if it was crocheted, knitted, tatted, etc. I'll do my best to find it! Most of the time I will send a PDF file of the pattern to your email.


I have been getting requests for the special Safety Pin Flag pattern
that was published in the July 1994 issue of Workbasket.
Click here or on the picture to view the pattern.

Click here for link to pattern


Have questions?
e-mail me, Marian Anderson, at

Thank you and happy crafting!

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home page for links to my other web sites and Stampin' Up Blog! This page was last updated March 18, 2016