Sunday, May 31, 2009

What your kitchen needs is more pompoms!

Poodle Tea Cosy Pattern from "Gifts and Novelties by Mary Maxim" Vol. 1, c. 1960.

These days it’s all rage to breed poodles with other dogs, resulting in adorable Labradoodles, Cockapoos, Schnoodles and Doodleman Pinschers. Less known are the highly controversial crossbreeding experiments conducted in the late 1950s involving poodles and common housewares. While we’re all familiar with the Toastoodle tragedy, thanks to the recent 60 Minutes expose, you may not be aware of the marginally more successful Teapoo AKA the Poopot.

If, of course, you define success as an eviscerated blue Orlon Poodle.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Poodle Tea Cosy


Of Mary Maxim Knitting Worsted/Double Knitting or Sayelle* Nantuk
Any typos in the above sentence are not the responsibility of the transcriber. However, investigation reveals “Sayelle*Nantuk to be 100% Orlon, 4ply. Rest assured, this bad boy will survive the Apocalypse.
One steel crochet hook size 00.

Abbreviations: See page 23.
Note: Instructions are given for 6-cup size, and for larger size in brackets following.
Good God. Now I’m looking at that poodle and all I see are D-cups instead of paws.

Using steel crochet hook, make a chain of 30 (35) sts.

1st row: D.c. into back 2nd ch. from hook, d.c. into back of each ch. to end. Ch. 2, turn.

2nd row: **D.c. into back of each st. Ch. 2, turn**

Rep. from ** to ** 16 times more

19th row: D.c. into 14 (16) sts., ch. 10 (12), skip 10 (12) sts. of previous row, d.c. 4 (5). Ch. 2, turn.

Now work from ** to ** 17 times.

Join side seam by work s.c. through one st. from each side 10 (12) times, s.c. 14 in front side only, s.c. 4 (7) through both sides—lower edge. Fasten off.


Ch. 6, join in circle with sl. st. into first st. Ch. 1.

1st round: 2 s.c. in each stitch. Join with sl. st. to first st. Ch. 1.

2nd round: *2 s.c. in first st., s.c. in next st.; rep. from * to end, join with sl. st.

3rd round: Same as 2nd round.

4th round: S.c. into each st., join with sl. st.

Rep. 4th round until work measures 4 ins. from the beg. Fasten off. Place a piece of cardboard tubing 4 ins. long inside head to keep it firm.
Notice how the cardboard tubing was not mentioned in the Materials list above? No need to panic! It’s just a 4 inch length of toilet paper tube. (Fun Trivia: Real ladies never say “toilet paper”, they say “cardboard tube paper” instead.)
Sew body to head, gathering in body to fit head.

Ears (Make Two):

Ch. 12, work one d.c. in 11 ch., 3 d.c. in next 2 sts., d.c. to end. Fasten off. Sew ear to each side of head.


Ch. 6, join with sl. st. Ch. 1, turn.

Next round: S.c. into each st. Join with sl. st. Ch. 1, turn.

Rep. this round for one inch. Fasten off.

Sew to face, about 10 rows from neck seam.

To Complete:

Make 8 large pompons as follows:
Pay attention! Pompon (or pompom) making is a critical skill in vintage knitting. Without the pompons all you have is a naked tea cosy with a yarn-encased toilet paper tube perched on top.
Wind wool around 4 fingers, 50 times, slide off hand, tie securely in the middle.

Clip ends and strike against hand to form into shape. Clip to desired size.

Make 2 small pompons by winding around 2 fingers 25 times. Complete as for the large ones.

Sew small pompons at each side of the nose. Sew one large pompon on top of head, one on each ear about ½ inch from bottom, 4 on front for feet, 4 rows from side openings, and 10 sts. from top and bottom. Sew on button eyes; and a piece of red felt for tongue.
Buttons and felt weren’t mentioned in the Materials list either, were they? Oh well, surely you have two spare buttons and a bit of red felt. And if not, you can always cut them off a family member’s clothes. They’ll never notice.
A collar around the neck of felt or ribbon may be added if desired.
It’s like a scavenger hunt!
Sew 8th pompon to back for tail.
And finally, place your completed poodle in the center of the living room coffee table so it’s the first thing your husband sees when he comes home. It’s proof that – contrary to malicious rumour – you don’t actually spend your entire day eating bonbons and watching soaps. Instead you’ve been industriously making pompons and cutting up his clothes.

Click here for the printable pattern.

ETA: To see this charming fellow in real life, visit here, and here.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

How to Marry a Forest Ranger

Ad for Monsanto from McCall''s Needlework & Crafts, Spring-Summer 1972.

Last fall, she saw How to Marry a Millionaire on TV, and she’s worked hard all winter creating her very own Forest Ranger Seduction Kit. Because if a Forest Ranger was good enough for Betty Grable, he’s good enough for her. Especially if they all look like Rory Calhoun.

From her saucy hand knit skort (with built-in diaper in case there’s no indoor plumbing) to her matching scarf (long enough to hog tie her man), Donna is a fashion Wow!

For even more snark:

To brightly feather her Wilderness Love Nest, Donna also used Monsanto’s indestructible Polyester yarn with “Wear-Dated” guarantee to make a shawl (yes, that’s a shawl, not a huge, honking blanket) and two pillows. They’re washable, durable, waterproof, and fire resistant (especially important in our flammable National Parks).

The pillows will also be useful as a visual cue during love-making. Let’s hope Rory the Forest Ranger can find Donna's “Happy Face” spot! He may need to bring his compass.

Woolco. For all your Seduction needs.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Because even bank robbers have mothers...

Sno-Mask Pattern from "Gifts and Novelties by Mary Maxim" Vol. 1, c. 1960.

The woman who designed this monstrosity apparently believed this was the cutting edge in Alpine fashion. Sadly, instead of competing in the Olympics, her son became the first slalom bank robber.

Here he is, making his getaway...

Tragically, his mother's efforts to protect his nose were in vain. The last thing he was heard to cry as he was hauled off in the paddy wagon was, "By node is code!" Frostbit, actually. Complete with humiliating snot-sicles.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):


A special gift for your budding bank robber, who loves Switzerland for more than the untraceable bank accounts. Or perhaps he's an aspiring serial killer, eager to cut a swathe through the snow bunnies. This is a pattern with legs.
Materials: Of Mary Maxim Knitting Worsted/Double Knitting Sayelle* Nantuk allow for Main Color 4 ozs.; Contrast Color A 2 ozs.; Contrast Color B 35 yds.
So, is it Worsted, or DK? Or something in between? Presumably it’s whatever works for you and your homicidal offspring.
Tension: 6 stitches and 8 rows to one inch measured over stocking stitch on No.9 needles, or any size needle which will give the correct stitch tension.

Measurements: To fit average head size.
As opposed to your pinheaded perp.
Abbreviations: See page 23.
You’re on your own, Jelly Bean.
To Make:

Using set of No. 9 needles and Main Color wool...
If your bank robber son is the kind of masochist who enjoys real wool, consider knitting him a matching hair shirt.
Cast on 128 sts. Arrange these sts. On three needles (44-44-40) and with the fourth needle work in rounds of k. 1, p. 1 ribbing for 3 ins. Join on Contrast A and beg. to shape chin by working back and forth in rows.

1st row: K. 44, turn; p. 38.
2nd row: K 32, turn; p. 30.
3rd row: K. 28, turn; p. 26.
4th row: K. 24, turn; p. 22.
5th row: K. 20, turn; p. 18.
6th row: K. 16, turn; p. 14.
7th row: K. 12, turn; p. to end of needle
8th row: K. to end of needle. (44 sts)
9th row: P.
10th row: K. 1, inc. one st. in next st., k. to last 2 sts., inc. one st. in next st., k. 1.
11th row: P.
12th row: K.
At which point the author suddenly decided they couldn't be bothered to type the letter P. “I know, I’ll write a whole damn sentence! That’ll be such a lovely time saver!”
13th row: Same as the 11th row.
14th row: K. 12, cast off 22sts. (mouth), k. to end.
15th row: P. 12, cast on 22sts., p. to end.
16th row: Same as the 10th row.
17th row: P.
18th row: K. 16, cast off 16 sts. (nose), k. to end.
19th row: P. 16, cast on 32 sts., p. to end. (64 sts.)
It’s important to leave lots of room for your son’s giant honker.
20th row: K.
21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th, and 29th rows: P.
22nd row: K. 1, inc. one st., k. 28, k. 2 tog., sl. 1, k. 1, p.s.s.o., k. 28, inc. one st., k. 1. (64 sts.)
24th row: K. 30, k. 2 tog., sl. 1, k. 1, p.s.s.o., k. 30. (62 sts.)
26th row: K. 29, k. 2 tog., sl. 1, k. 1, p.s.s.o., k. 29. (60 sts.)
28th row: K. 1. inc. one st., k. 26, k. 2 tog., sl. 1, k. 1, p.s.s.o., k. 26, inc. one st., k.1. (60 sts.)
30th row: K. 5, cast off 22 sts. (eye), k. 1, k. 2 tog., sl. 1, k. 1, p.s.s.o., k. 1, cast off 22 sts. (eye), k. to end. (58 sts.)
31st row: P. cast on 22 sts over those cast off on previous row. (58 sts.)
32nd row: K. 27, k. 2 tog., sl. 1, k. 1, p.s.s.o., , k. 27. (56 sts.)
33rd, 35th, 37th, 39th, 41st, 43rd and 45th rows: P.
34th row: K. 1, inc. one st., k. 24, k. 2 tog., sl. 1, k. 1, p.s.s.o., k. 24, inc. one st., k.1.
36th row: K. 26, k. 2 tog., sl. 1, k. 1, p.s.s.o., k. to end. (54 sts.)
38th row: K. 25, k. 2 tog. sl. 1, k. 1, p.s.s.o., k. to end. (52 sts.)
40th row: K. 1, inc. one st., k. 48., inc. one st., k. 1. (54 sts.)
42nd and 44th rows: K.

Leave this work for the present,...
And go do something fun. Like this!
...return to Main Color wool, and work back and forth in rib on 84 sts. for 4 rows.

Keep continuity of rib, dec. one st. at each end of the needle on the next row, and every 6th row following, until there are 72 sts. on the needle. Then continue without further shaping until ribbing measures same as face. Now beg. working in rounds again on these 126 sts.

K. 5 rounds with contrast A. With Main Color only, k. one round, p. 2 rounds.

Next round: * W.r.n. (wool round needle) p. 2 tog.; rep. from * to end. (120 sts.)
P. 2 rounds.

To shape top:

Next dec. round: * K. 19, k. 2 tog.; rep. from * to end. (120 sts.)
Next and every alternate rounds: K.
Next dec. round: * K. 18, k. 2 tog.; rep from * to end. (114 sts.)
Next dec. round: * K. 17, k. 2 tog.; rep from * to end. (108 sts.)
Continue in this manner, dec. 6 sts. every alternate round, until there are 78 sts. on the needle. Now dec. in the same manner every round until 18 sts. rem.
Next round: K. 2 tog. across entire round. (9 sts.)
Break wool, thread through rem. sts. Fasten off securely.
Very securely. Because God knows we can’t have his mask unraveling at an inopportune moment.
To complete:

Sew side seams. With Contrast B work one row of s.c. (single crochet) around mouth, nose and eyes, working one s.c. into each cast-off and cast-on sts. With Main Color, make a chain about 20 inches long. Fasten off and sew around eye openings to simulate goggles.
Right. Goggles. Not the crazed eyes of a killer at all.
Make a small pompon with Contrast B and attach to top.
The “pompon” says he’s still your adorable little scamp, even when he’s serving 20 to life.

Click here for the printable pattern.

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Join the revolution!

Ad for Reynolds Yarns from McCall's Needlework & Crafts, Spring-Summer 1968.

Back then you could purchase the instructions for all three ensembles for a mere 25 cents. Clearly during the Sixties knitting was far more than a hobby. It was a lifestyle! A depraved lifestyle, involving avian cosplay and disturbingly sharp - and phallic - needles.

Reynolds has since disavowed their wild jet setting ways, and the patterns for these alternative flight suits are sadly no longer available. Instead, you can find pastel sweater patterns in an assortment of inoffensive designs here:

However, as they currently have yarns named "Frisky", "Saucy", and "Olé Olé", there may still be life in the old girl yet.

For even more snark:

Baby, baby, make it hurt so good!

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