Friday, January 29, 2010

Sweater of the Living Dead

Jaunty Jonquil, from Reynold’s Instant Fashion, Vol. 1, c. 1965

“Sir?” asked the Photographer, tentatively.

“What is it?” snapped the Editor, chomping on his cigar. “Can’t you see I’m busy?”

“It’s Jenny, sir. Our Jaunty Jonquil model. She appears to be, well...”

“Spit it out, boy!”

“Dead, sir.”

The Editor yanked the cigar out of his mouth. “Dead! Have you lost your mind? She’s right over there... Hey! No making out on the set!”

“Actually, sir, Jenny’s trying to eat the lighting technician’s brain. I believe the scientific term for her current state is zombie.”

“Oh well,” the Editor waved his cigar dismissively. “Just tie a scarf around her head and continue with the shoot. Barbara!”

“Yes, sir?” replied his secretary, from under her desk where she’d barricaded herself.

“Remove Jenny from the payroll, immediately!”

For the complete pattern (and more snark!)


Jaunty Jonquil

Sizes: Directions are for small size (8-10) changes for medium size (12-14) and large size (16-18) are in parentheses.

Materials: 1 Pr. Reynolds Jumbo Jet Knitting Needles.
1 #J aluminum crochet hook
#1701 (White) Monique 7 (7-8) balls.
#1703 (Yellow) Monique 7 (7-8) balls.
#89 Super Cabri 5 (5-6) balls.
#4101 Malibu 2 (2-3) balls.
Jonquil is a particular shade of yellow, named after the Jonquil flower (AKA Narcissus AKA Daffodil).

This is Jonquil.

And these are Jonquils.

The distinctly un-jaunty colour of the model’s sweater could be more accurately described as Dead Jonquil.

Maybe a sudden frost killed the model and her sweater just before the photo shoot.
Gauge: 3 sts = 3’’, 3 rows = 2’’

Back: With Reynolds Jumbo Jet Knitting Needles, using 1 strand of each yarn (4) cast on 18 (20-22) sts. Starting with knit row, stockinette for 5 rows. Knit next purl row (you are now reversing stockinette pattern with purl side to front of work to form textured band). Purl next row and continue to stockinette for 4 more rows (6 purl rows. Purl next row. Resume stockinette by knitting next row (with knit side as right side), until back measures 17 (18-18)’’ from beginning or desired length to underarm.
Armhole: Bind off 2 (2-2) sts at beginning of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each end of needle every 3rd row until 8 (8-10) sts remain. Bind off.

Front: Same as back.
Jenny’s family eventually sued Reynolds for back pay and severance. This lawsuit ended up before the Supreme Court of Canada, resulting in the landmark “Zombies Were People Too” decision of 1975.

Sadly, Jenny’s career as a zombie model was not as successful. Her pasty, emaciated looks were too far ahead of her time, as heroin chic wouldn’t come into vogue until the mid-1990s. By then Jenny was well past her prime, having almost entirely decomposed.
Sleeves: Cast on 10 (12-12) sts. Starting with a knit row, stockinette for 5 rows. Knit next purl row (you are now reversing stockinette pattern as on back and front of sweater). Purl next row and continue to stockinette for 4 more rows. (6 purl rows). Purl next row. Resume stockinette by knitting next row and increasing 1 st each end of needle every 6 rows 3 times until sleeve measures 17 (17 1/2-18)’’ from beginning or desired length to armhole.
Armholes: Bind off 2 (2-2) sts at beg. of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each end of needle every 3rd row until 6 (6-6) sts remain. Bind off.

Collar: Cast on 58 (60-60) sts. Stockinette for 6 rows. Bind off.
Most people would call this a scarf.

Or they’d call it a hand-knit zombie restraint device. Do not use the pattern photo as a guide for correct use of this restraint.
Finishing: Using split length of Monique, with front and back pieces inside out, sew side seams together matching “bump to bump” or “notch to notch”. Sew sleeve seams in same manner. Match underarm seams and sew raglan armholes. Now turn sweater right side out and with split Monique weave sts at seam edge together, thus closing up seam. Weave raglan seams also.
Using #J crochet hook and 4 strands of yarn, sc around neck edge. Sc around sleeve edges and body if desired.
Furthermore, Handmade by Mother accepts no legal responsibility for any damages that may result as a consequence of using knit-wear to restrain zombies.


Click here for the printable pattern.


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Third Place Rocks!



Some of you might be aware that I entered the 3-Day Novel Contest over the 2009 Labour Day Weekend. And that I survived, which I consider an achievement all by itself.

Now I’ve won third place for “Alice’s Adventures with Welsh Zombies”! Hurray!

I am SO doing this contest again in September!

If you’re interested in knowing a little more about Welsh Zombies:

Alice’s Adventures with Welsh Zombies is a modern fantasy novel. Alice and her partner, Welly, are flying to Wales to stop a zombie outbreak and save the annual Bog Snorkeling Championships. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to them, one of their co-workers has smuggled his favourite zombie onto the plane. Now the zombie infection is spreading, and they’re 25,000 feet in the air.

I’m currently rewriting my novel, as sleep deprivation over that long weekend led to some interesting violations of time and space. Airplanes flip over and bullets vanish, which would have been great if that’s what I’d intended. But since it’s not, I need to get in there and start editing with a vengeance.

And start planning for the next 3-Day Novel Contest!

Read more!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Australia Day!

Kookaburra Tea Pot Holder/Needle case, Beehive Toys and Novelties, c. 1955

Today is Australia Day! In honor of this occasion, I present you with a crocheted Kookaburra. He’s pictured next to his real-life pal. Why they’re practically twins!

If one twin had an extremely bushy tail, and a penchant for swallowing needles.

Maybe they’re fraternal twins.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Kookaburra Tea Pot Holder
OR NEEDLE CASE

Sure, you can choose not to use Kooky as a Tea Pot Holder instead of a NEEDLE CASE, but not if you know WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU!

MATERIALS:
PATWIN 4 ply PATONIZED. Scraps of Brown, Fawn and Turquoise. One No. 2 Steel Crochet Hook (American Gauge). Two Small Pearl Buttons for eyes. Piece of flannel for Needle Case.

If used as Needle Case make flannel lining and sew inside.
Why even bother pretending I have a choice in the matter? I know if I don’t make the Needle Case, I’ll wake up in the middle of the Australian Outback in nothing but my Reg Grundies.
SIDE: Beginning at head with Fawn Ch. 3 sts. Join in ring with s.s.

1st round: Ch. 1. 11 d.c. in ring. Join with s.s. Ch. 1. Turn.

2nd round: *1.s.c. in each of the next 2 sts. 2 s.c. in next st.* Repeat from * to * once. Leave Fawn. Join Brown. Repeat from * to * twice. Join with s.s. Ch. 1. Turn.

3rd round: *1.s.c. in next st. 2 s.c. in next st.* Repeat from * to * 3 times. Break Brown and pick up Fawn. Repeat from * to * to end of round. Join with s.s. Ch. 1. Turn.

4th round: *1.s.c. in each of next 2 sts. 2 s.c. in next st.* Repeat from * to * to end of round. Join with s.s. Ch. 1. Turn. Working in rows, proceed:–
Leave Fawn, pick up Brown, break Brown and pick up Fawn... It all sounds like some terribly sordid Soap Opera!

Fun fact: Seventies era Australian soaps were incredibly risqué. Some of them even featured full-frontal nudity.

I’m sure Fawn is a lovely girl, despite the many times she breaks up with Brown. But just wait until Fawn finds out that she was switched at birth, and she’s actually Brown’s long lost sister!
1st row: 1.s.c. in each of 1st. 4 sts. 2 s.c. in next st. 1.s.c. in each of next 4 sts. 2 s.c. in next st. 1.s.c. in next st. Ch. 1. Turn. (13 s.c. in row).

2nd and 3rd rows: 1.s.c. in each s.c. of previous row.

4th row: 1.s.c. in each of 1st. 6 sts. Ch. 1. Turn. Working on these 6 sts. work 9 rows even.

14th row: 1.s.c. in 1st. st. Miss 1.st. 1.s.c. in each st. to end of row. Ch. 1. Turn.

15th row: 1.s.c. in each st. of previous row. Ch. 1. Turn. Repeat 14th and 15th rows to 3 s.c. in row. Work 1 row even. Fasten off. Proceed:–
Of course, Australia has had its share of real life drama too, going back to its very founding.

Australia Day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet and the planting of the British flag on Australian soil on the 26th of January, 1788. So, depending on who your ancestors were back then, you may also be calling this holiday Anniversary Day, Foundation Day, or Invasion Day.
Join Brown after the 6 Fawn s.c. in 4th row. Ch. 1.

1st row: 1.s.c. in each of next 7 s.c. Ch. 1. Turn. Working on these 7 sts. work 9 rows even.

11th row: Work in s.c. to last 3 s.c. Miss 1.s.c. 1.s.c. in each of remaining 2 s.c. Ch. 1. Turn.

12th row: 1.s.c. in each st. of previous row. Ch. 1. Turn. Repeat 11th and 12th rows to 3 s.c. in row. Work 1 row even. Fasten off. Sew this section to the Fawn Section. Make another side to correspond.
Australia Day also falls on the anniversary of the very exciting Rum Rebellion of 1808 AKA “I’m sure that whole Mutiny on the Bounty thing was a fluke, so let’s put William Bligh in charge again” Day.
WINGS: Take 2 strands of wool (1 each Turquoise and Brown). Ch. 8. Leave Turquoise. With Brown Ch. 9.

1st row: With Brown work 1.s.c. in 2nd Ch. from hook and 1.s.c. in each of next 7 Ch. With Turquoise and Brown work 1.s.c. in each of remaining 8 Ch. Ch. 1. Turn.

2nd row: With Turquoise and Brown *work 1.s.c. in next st. 2 s.c. in next st.* Repeat from * to * 4 times. Break Turquoise. With Brown repeat from * to * to end of row. Ch. 4. Turn.

3rd row: 1.s.c. in 2nd Ch. from hook and 1.s.c. in each Ch. and st. to end of row. Fasten off. Darn in all ends.
Hey, our Soap Opera has a new character! Poor Turquoise, she should know better than to carry a torch for Brown. He’s just going to dump her and go running back to Fawn.

Who I’ve just learned was actually switched twice as a baby, making Fawn not Brown’s sister after all, but rather Turquoise’s long lost twin.
BEAK: With Brown Ch. 8 sts. 1.d.c. in 4th Ch. from hook. 1.h.tr. in next Ch. 1.s.c. in next Ch. 1.s.s. in each of remaining 2 Ch. Working along other side of Ch. work 1.s.s. in each of next 2 Ch. 1.s.c. in next Ch. 1.h.tr. in next Ch. 1.d.c. in each of remaining 2 Ch. Fasten off. Fold beak in half and join.

TO MAKE UP: Sew up seam along back and around head. Pad the head with wool and sew buttons in position for eyes. Sew beak and wings in position. For the tail cut strands of Fawn and Brown 8 ins. long. Place cut ends of 2 strands together, thus forming a loop. Pass this loop down through the s.c. at end of body for about 1/2 inch, then pass the cut ends of the same strands through the loop and draw up. Repeat this in each s.c. along the end using corresponding colors.
But be careful about travelling to Australia to check out their famous Soap Operas or wildlife – you might accidentally get killed!



Click here for the printable pattern.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Daughter of Sno-Mask Man!

Girl’s Face Mask from McCall’s Needlework & Crafts, Fall-Winter, 1965-66

Remember our frostbitten bank robber, and his delinquent son, Junior? Well, little sister Susie wants to prove that wintertime crime sprees aren’t just a masculine pursuit. Girls can be bank robbers too!

That’s right, Susie is not only honoring her family tradition of hideous sno-masks, she’s also striking a blow for feminism. All the while retaining her inherent femininity with her pompon ponytails. You go girl!

At least, I hope that’s Susie inside that mask. It’s either her or Junior’s grandmother really, really wanted a granddaughter.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

GIRL’S FACE MASK is knitted around, has no seams. Warms neck as well as head. Fringed yarn bangs and pompon “hair” are amusing. Made of knitting worsted, 4-8
The question is who’s going to find the yarn bangs and pompom “hair” amusing? Probably not the child inside the mask, though I’m sure the neighbourhood bullies had a good laugh. Right before they stuffed the unfortunate child into a snowball and sent her rolling down the hill.

Even the snow monkeys showed her no mercy!

SIZE: Fits 4-8 yr. old.

MATERIALS: Girls’ Mask: Knitting worsted, 2 ozs. blue (B), 2 ozs. light pink (LP), 1 oz. yellow (Y). One yarn 1’’ satin or velvet ribbon to match. Set of 10’’ dp needles No. 6. (Or English size 7.) Steel crochet hook No. 00. Tapestry needle.

GAUGE: 9 sts = 2’’; 6 rnds = 1’’ (stockinette st). See page 22, “You Must Be Sure to Check Your Gauge.”

You MUST check your gauge. Otherwise your child’s mask will be too loose or too tight. And then you couldn’t force her to wear it, and where’s the fun in that?
MASK: With B, loosely cast on 98 sts; divide evenly on 3 needles. Join, being careful not to twist sts. Mark end of rnd. Work in k 1, p 1 ribbing for 2 1/2’’.

First Dec Rnd: K 1, p 1 for 9 sts, * p 2 tog, k 2 tog, work in ribbing for 10 sts, repeat from * around, end p 2 tog, k 2 tog, p 1 – 84 sts. Continue in ribbing as established for 2’’.

2nd Dec Rnd: * K 5, k 2 tog, repeat from * around – 72 sts. Break off B, join LP. Work even in stockinette st (k each rnd) for 4 rnds.

Back Inc Rnd: Inc 1 st (to inc 1 st, pick up horizontal strand between st just knitted and next st, place it on left-hand needle, k 1 st in back of this strand), k to last 2 sts of rnd, inc 1 st as before, k 2 – 74 sts. K 4 rnds even, repeat back inc rnd – 76 sts.

Shape Mouth: Rnd 1: K 33 sts, bind off 10 sts, k to end of rnd – 66 sts.

Rnd 2: K to bound-off sts, cast on 15 sts, mark 8th cast-on st for center st, k to end of rnd – 81 sts.

Rnd 3: K to 1 st before marked st, sl 1, k 2 tog, psso, mark last st on right-hand needle, k to end – 79 sts.

Rnd 4: Repeat back inc rnd – 81 sts.

Rnd 5: Repeat rnd 3 – 79 sts. K 1 rnd.

Rnd 7: K to marked st, sl marked st, k 1, psso, remove marker, k to end – 78 sts.

Rnd 8: Repeat back inc rnd – 80 sts.

Of course, as with any one-size-fits-4-8 years design, there’s a very good chance it won’t fit anyway.
Shape Eyes: Rnd 1: K 30 sts, bind off 20 sts, k to end – 60 sts.

Rnd 2: K to bound-off sts, cast on 20 sts, k to end – 80 sts. K 2 rnds even, repeat back inc rnd, k 4 rnds even, repeat back inc rnd – 84 sts.

Work even in LP until piece measures 5 1/2’’ above ribbing when mask is measured at side of face. Break off LP, join Y. K 29, p 26, k 29. Next Rnd: K around. Work even in Y until piece measures 6’’ above ribbing.

Shape Top: * Sl 1, k 1, pssp, k 10, repeat from * around. Continue to dec 7 sts every other rnd in same way having 1 st less between decs after each dec rnd 4 times more, then dec same way every rnd until 7 sts remain. Break yarn, leaving 12’’ end. Draw end through remaining sts, fasten securely on wrong side.
I recommend only tackling this pattern if you have multiple children in the four to eight age range. That way if the mask doesn’t fit Susie, it might still fit Junior.

Trust me, he won’t be at all traumatized by being a Boy Named Sue!
FINISHING: From right side, with B, work 1 row sc around edge of mouth and eyes. With B, make a 1’’ chain, sc in single strand at back of each ch; sew between eyes as shown. With B, using duplicate st, embroider line at center of nose strip, covering nose decs; embroider line each side of center.

Steam press mask.

POMPONS (make 2): Wind y around 1 1/2’’ piece of cardboard 70 times. Tie one end, cut other end; trim. Cut ribbon in half. Make 2 bows. Attach pompon securely to each bow. Sew bows to side of head, slightly below eyes.

FRINGE: Wind Y around a 3’’ piece of cardboard about 55 times. Cut one end. Fold 2 strands in half. With crochet hook, draw folded lp through first p st on forehead, pull strands through lp. Repeat in every p st on forehead. Trim.
The important thing isn’t which child wears this face mask, it’s that you ensure all of your children wear unique, easy-to-spot masks.

Otherwise their snowsuits may afford your little darlings a dangerous sense of anonymity, leading them to believe that they can get away with anything. Shoplifting Silly Putty, Beatrix Potter plagiarism, and even murdering Mr. Potato Head!

By God, they’re coming right for us!

Click here for the printable post.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

There must be fifty ways to net a lover...

Knit Cling Jumpsuit from Fashion News, 1970.

It’s a little known fact that Paul Simon’s 1976 hit 50 Ways to Leave your Lover was based on a much lesser known 1970 ballad on entrapping lovers with Knit Cling Jumpsuits. So without further ado, Handmade by Mother presents a musical interlude:

Music please!



There’s no problem trapping men, she said to me
Just knit this jumpsuit using the pattern logically
Then stroke his head as he struggles to get free
There must be fifty ways to net a lover

Fifty ways to net a lover

Hair trapped in a leg, Peg
Snag him in a sleeve, Eve
No need for rope, Hope
Just listen to me

Tangle your man, Jan
You don’t need to wear too much!
Just use static cling, Ling
He’ll never get free!

For the complete pattern (and I absolutely promise no more attempts at songwriting!):

KNIT CLING JUMPSUIT B-797

Fits Sizes 8 to 14.
Ah, nothing creates an atmosphere of dread quite like the guarantee that a single jumpsuit will fit seven different sizes.
COATS & CLARK’S RED HEART® KNITING WORSTED, 4 Ply (“Tangle-Proof” Pull-Out Skeins): 20 ounces of No. 758 Mid Rose.

Knitting Needles, 1 pair No. 13.

Crochet Hook, Size J.

GAUGE: 3 sts = 1 inch; 5 rows = 1 inch.

Be sure to check your gauge before starting garment. Use any size needles which will obtain the stitch gauge above.
In other words, Coats & Clark’s accepts no liability should your Knit Jumpsuit not cling.

Or cling a bit too much.
RIGHT LEG Starting at lower edge, cast on 72 sts. 1st row—right side: K 1, *k 2 tog, O. Repeat from * across, ending with k 1.
I want to make it very clear that O is simply an abbreviation for yarn over, and not the Story of O. Shame on you for thinking a see-through clingy jumpsuit is somehow kinky!

One day, every decent, upstanding citizen will embrace this fashion of the future.
2nd row: Purl. 3rd row: K 2, * O, sl 1, k 1, psso. Repeat from * across to within last 2 sts, k 2. 4th row: Purl. Repeat first through 4th rows for pattern. Work even in pattern until 16 rows in all have been completed. 17th row: K 2 tog, k 1, (k 2 tog, O) 15 times; k 2 tog, k 1—68 sts. 18th and all even rows: Purl. 19th row: K 1, * sl 1, k 1, psso, O. Repeat from * across, ending with k 1. 21st row: Repeat first row. 23rd row: Repeat 3rd row. 25th row: K 2 tog, k 1, k 2 tog, * O, k 2 tog. Repeat from * across to within last 3 sts, O, k 1, k 2 tog—one st decreased at each end of row. Repeat 18th through 25th rows twice more. There are 62 sts on last row. Now work even until total length is 23 inches or 2 inches less than desired length to crotch, ending with a p row. Two inches allowed for stretching. Last st worked is front edge.

Crotch Shaping: 1st row: Keeping in pattern, bind off 4 sts, complete row. 2nd row: Bind off 6 sts, complete row. Dec one st at both ends of every other row 6 times. Work even over remaining 40 sts until length from first row of crotch shaping is 10 inches, ending with 3rd pattern row. Slip these sts onto a stitch holder to be worked later.
Because there’s nothing more tragic than a shapeless crotch.

Did I say tragic? I meant hilarious.
LEFT LEG Work as for Right Leg, reversing crotch shapings, ending with same row as on Right Leg. Break off. Turn. Slip first 20 sts onto a stitch holder. Next row: Attach yarn to next st and p remaining 20 sts of Right Leg Stitch holder.

BACK Working over the 40 sts on needle only, continue in pattern, increasing one st at both ends of next row and every 8th row thereafter until there are 52 sts on needle. Work even until total length from first row of crotch shaping is 19½ inches.
That’s right, it doesn’t matter if you’re 4 foot nothing or 6 feet tall, a 19½ inches BACK is what you’re knitting. Which means your meticulously shaped crotch will either be sagging down to your knees or giving you an atomic wedgie.
Armhole Shaping: Keeping in pattern, bind off 2 sts at beg of next 2 rows. Dec one st at both ends of every other row 4 times. Work even over remaining 40 sts until length from first row of armhole shaping is 8 inches.

Shoulder Shaping: Bind off 4 sts at beg of next 2 rows. Bind off 6 sts at beg of next 2 rows. Bind off remaining 20 sts for back of neck.

RIGHT FRONT Slip the 20 sts from Right Leg holder onto a needle. With wrong side facing, attach yarn to first st—side edge; p the 20 sts. Last st worked is front edge. Keeping front edge straight, inc one st at side edge on next row and every 8th row thereafter 5 times more—26 sts. Work 1 row even after last inc row, thus ending at front edge.

Neck Shaping: Bind off 2 sts at beg of next row. Dec one st at neck edge every other row 8 times in all;

AT THE SAME TIME


when length from first row of crotch shaping is same as Back to armhole shaping, ending at side edge, shape armhole as follows:
Thank God for that Bolded, ALL CAPS warning. I was in imminent danger of my crotch not lining up with my armholes.

Wait, what?
Armhole Shaping: Bind off 2 sts at beg of next row. Dec one st at armhole edge every other row 4 times. Keeping armhole edge even, continue decs at neck edge as directed. Work even over remaining 10 sts until length from first row of armhole shaping is same as Back to shoulder shaping, ending at armhole edge.

Shoulder Shaping: 1st row: Bind off 4 sts, complete row. 2nd row: Work across. Bind off remaining sts.

LEFT FRONT Slip sts from holder onto a needle. With wrong side facing, attach yarn to first st at front edge and work to correspond with Right Front, reversing shapings.

SLEEVES Starting at lower edge, cast on 24 sts. Work in pattern as for Back, increasing one st at both ends of every 8th row 8 times in all. Work even over 40 sts until total length is 17½ inches, ending with a p row.
Make sure you only knit 17½ inches, because wanting a sleeve that matches your individual arm length is thoughtcrime, comrade.

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU knit this clingy jumpsuit.
Top Shaping: Bind off 2 sts at beg of next 2 rows. Dec one st at both ends of every other row until 14 sts remain, then dec one st at both ends of next 2 rows. Bind off remaining sts.

Press lightly through damp cloth. Sew leg seams to crotch.
Because sewing the legs to the sleeves would be doubleplusungood.
Starting at crotch, sew back seam. Starting at crotch, sew front seam to within 5 inches of neck shaping. Sew side, shoulder and sleeve seams. Sew in sleeves, holding top in to fit.

Edging: 1st rnd: With right side facing, being careful to keep work flat and making 3 sc in each corner, sc evenly along front opening and neck edges. Join with sl st to first sc. 2nd rnd: Sc in each sc around. Join. Break off and fasten.

Cord: Make a chain 2½ yards long. Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across. Break off and fasten. Lace cord through fronts as shown.
And make the cord bright red, comrade! This jumpsuit is the Junior Anti-Sex League’s casual wear.

Clingy jumpsuits for everyone!

*sigh* I love Big Brother.


Click here for the printable pattern.


Read more!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

How to Make Your Kids Mitten-Phobic

Maxie the Clown Fun Mitts, from Gifts & Novelties by Mary Maxim, c. 1960

Considering a first grader can be suspended for bringing a camping utensil to school, and an 11 year old’s electric motion detector merits the bomb squad, these Dead Clown Mittens will cause the principal’s head to explode.

Of course, those clowns are dead. Just look at their eyes! Everyone knows that when someone has x’s for eyes that means they’ve bought a one way ticket to Corpse City.


Otherwise, this Dead Tired Sleep Mask would make no sense at all.

But who, you ask, is the beloved clown whose death inspired these Memorial Fun Mitts?

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

AAAH!
MATERIALS:
Of Mary Maxim Knitting Worsted/Double Knitting or Sayelle*Nantuk allow 2 ozs. White, 2 ozs. Red, 20 yds. Black.
One Pair Mary Maxim Knitting Needles No. 8 (American No. 5).
Okay, just because a dead clown is back on his feet and leering at us, doesn’t mean he’s an Evil Clown. Right?

Hang on, is that a shadow on his drum or a blood stain?
TENSION: 5 1/2 stitches and 7 rows to one inch measured over the stocking stitch on No. 7 needles, or any size needles which will give the correct stitch tension.

ABBREVIATIONS: See page 23.
W., White; R., Red; B., Black.
What, you want to see the abbreviations? Can’t you hear the shrieks of Maxie’s victims as they are drummed to death?

Oh, all right, here you go, you heartless monster.
ABBREVIATIONS: K., knit; p., purl; st., stitch; sts., stitches; inc., increase or increasing; dec., decrease or decreasing; tog., together; sl., slip; p.s.s.o., pass slipped stitch over; ins., inches; rep., repeat; w. fwd., wool forward; st. st., stocking stitch; M.C., Main Color; C.C., Contrast Color; ch., chain; s.c., single crochet; d.c., double crochet; tr., treble crochet; rem., remain or remaining; w.r.n., wool round needle.
Don’t spend too much time memorizing all of these. There’s a killer clown on the loose!
NOTE: Always remember to cross the two yarns at the back of the work when changing from one color to another to avoid leaving a hole in the work.
Make sure you follow this NOTE to the letter. Otherwise, Maxie will slip through the holes made by your careless knitting. Next thing you know, you’ll be trapped inside his drum, your cries for help drowned out by the jaunty tune of a circus calliope.



TO MAKE:

BACK: Right Hand.

Using W. wool, cast on 20 sts. and work 4 rows in k. 1, p. 1 ribbing. Change to st. st. and follow graph, reading from A to B for k. rows, and from B to A for p. rows, dec. as indicated until 8 sts. rem. P. one row for foldline.

And don’t write to me claiming that clowns are harmless. I’ll have you know that it’s perfectly reasonable to be afraid of clowns!

Especially when you realize that these “fun mitts” have no thumb. Instead, the mitts are folded over like a sock puppet to form Maxie’s blood soaked grin.

Trust me, there’s nothing worse than wearing dead clown sock puppets when you’re trying to restart your dead car to get away from the Six Feet Under Fun Park.
**Continue in R. wool and st. st., inc. one st. at each end of next 4 rows. (16 sts.) Work 24 rows in st. st, finishing after a p. row. Cast off.**

Left Hand

Work as for right hand for 4 rows, then change to st. st. and work from graph, but reading from B to A for k. rows and from A to B for p. rows. Complete as for right hand when graph has been completed.
Good news! The police sketch artist managed to produce an excellent likeness of Maxie.

It’s so helpful for knowing exactly when to start panicking.
FRONT: Both alike.

Using W. wool, cast on 20 sts. and work 8 rows in k. 1, p. 1 ribbing. Change to st. st. and work 16 rows. Place markers at each end of the row to mark side seams. Then work 14 rows in st. st.

Now dec. one st. at each end of every alternate row until 8 sts. rem., finishing after a p. row. P. one row for foldline.

Change to R. wool and work from ** to ** as given for back.
While clowns are definitely evil, dead clown mitts might still be an appropriate fashion accessory for your toddler. For instance, they’re perfect if you happen to have an adorable goth baby.


TO COMPLETE:

Press lightly under warm iron and damp cloth. Sew side seams from cast-on edge to marker. Sew cast-off edges tog. Place this seam even with side markers, fold along foldline. Sew down each side. Embroider face as illustrated. Make small pompoms to decorate hat.
Or say, if you happen to have an Evil Clown’s love child.


Click here for the printable pattern.


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Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Purple Helmet from McCall’s Needlework & Crafts, Fall-Winter 1970-1

After over 140 posts, you may have noticed that white faces dominate the not-so-competitive world of crochet and knitwear modeling. And if this blog has proven anything, it is that white pink people are intensely tacky. No doubt one day scientific research will discover the tacky gene, and it will be predominantly found in the Mayonnaise tribe.

Unfortunately, long before people of colour got anything remotely resembling equality in North America, a few of them did get to wear the same tacky knits as the people of paleness. Which just goes to show that wanting a chance to be The Man doesn’t mean wanting to wear the Man’s sorry excuse for fashion.

After all, it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what young Pam above is thinking.

“Man, I finally get my big break, and do I get to show everyone that Black is Beautiful? No! McCall’s sticks a purple helmet on my head! Don’t these honkies realize that purple helmet is slang for... well, to put it politely, the only head that men really think with? My brothers are going to make my life a living hell! Forget modeling, I’m going to get into making movies instead!”

Or words to that effect.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

MATERIALS: 3 pull pouches (2 oz. ) of heliotrope.
Heliotrope! Oh no you don’t, McCall’s. It’s way too late to try pussy-footing your way out of the delightful double entendre of purple helmet!

However, if you do prefer your purple to be more puritanical, feel free to substitute virginal violet and not-until-we’re-married mauve.
Crochet hook size J. Large-eyed needle.

HELMET:

CHIN STRAP AND EARLAP (make 2): With 2 strands, ch 6, Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across—5 sc. Mark first row for right side. Ch 1, turn each row. Work back and forth in sc for 4”. Inc 1 sc (to inc 1 sc, work 2 sc in the same st) each side of next row, then every other row 4 times more, end wrong side—15 sc. Cut yarn.
Joining Rnd: Ch 6 for back; with right side facing you, sc in each sc across first piece, ch 24 for front, sc in each sc across 2nd piece, join with a sl st in first ch. Ch 1, turn.

Crown: Rnd 1: Sc in each sc and ch around—60 sc. Join with a sl st in first sc. Ch 1, turn.
First, they hit us with the la-dee-da lavender shade of heliotrope, and now their instructions are hip deep in hoity-toity italics! Please, this is the crown for a purple helmet, not for royalty!
Rnd 2: Sc in each sc around; join with a sl st in first sc. Ch 1, turn each rnd. Repeat last rnd until piece measures 4” above joining rnd.
First Dec Rnd: * Sc in each of 5 sc, sk next sc, repeat from * around—50 sc. Ch 1, turn each rnd. Work 2 rnds even.
2nd Dec Rnd: * Sc in each of 4 sc, sk next sc, repeat from * around—40 sc. Work 2 rnds even. Continue to dec 10 sc every 3rd rnd, having 1 sc less between decs until 20 sc remain.
Next Rnd: * Sk next sc, sc in next sc, repeat from * around—10 sc. Pull up a lp in each sc around. Cut yarn leaving 10” end. Threat end into tapestry needle, draw lps tog: fasten securely on wrong side.
Then again, purple helmets can give one a wee bit of megalomania.

Ah, Magneto. There’s a man who knows how to handle his purple helmet.

Oh dear, I think that came out wrong.
FINISHING: From right side, with double strand, work 1 rnd sc around entire helmet. Join with sl st in first sc: do not turn.
Next Rnd: Sl st in back lp of each sc around. End off.

BUTTONS (make 2): With double strand, ch 2.
Wait, those are buttons on her chin? I thought they were cute little chelicerae, and that she was the newest member of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants, Arachnophobia!

I just outed myself as a hopeless geek, didn’t I?
Rnd 1: 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook. Join with a sl st in first sc. Ch 1, turn.
Rnd 2: Sc in each sc around. Join with a sl st in first sc. End off leaving 10” end. Thread needle: draw sts tog. Sew buttons to right strap as pictured. Pull sts apart on left strap for buttonholes.
Just remember, even if you’re wearing the world’s dorkiest purple helmet, Black is still Beautiful!

Click here for the printable pattern.


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Friday, January 15, 2010

Sexapalooza is Coming to Your Town!

Knitted Hot Pants from “Hot Pants to Knit & Crochet”, 1971.

Assuming, that is, you’re lucky enough to live in the Canadian cities of Ottawa, Toronto, or Hamilton.

What, pray tell, is Sexapalooza?

Why it’s an “adult fun show”, which in Canada means it’s an upscale trade show aimed at entertaining and educating consumers about all aspects of human sexuality.

Zzzz... *snore*

I’m sure it’s no reflection on Sexapalooza’s naughtiness quotient that I haven’t been able to track down so much as a peep of protest. Just because a sex show rigidly adheres to community standards and municipal by-laws for its entire three year history doesn’t mean it’ll be Snoozeapalooza, right? In fact, I might have to check it out myself.

Solely for the educational aspects, of course!

In honor of PG-13-palooza, I give you Hot Pants; proving once and for all that today’s generation is no trashier than any other in the previous forty years. That’s right, kids, the world is not going to heck in a handbasket after all. Grandma liked to flash her belly button too.

Just be glad she’s not still doing it, because that really would be the end of the world as you know it.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

KNITTED HOT PANTS

Directions are given for Small Size. Changes for Medium and Large Sizes are in parentheses.

COATS & CLARK’S RED HEART “WINTUK” SPORT YARN, 2 Ply (2 oz. “Tangle-Proof” Pull-Out Skeins):
For Style F: 4 (5, 5) ounces of No. 795 Cerise, 2 ounces of No. 230 Yellow for each size and 4 (4, 5) ounces of No. 1 White.

Knitting Needles, 1 pair No. 4 and No. 6.

1 yard elastic, 3.4 inch wide, for each pair of pants.

GAUGE: With No. 6 needles:
Stockinette st – 6 sts = 1 inch;
8 rows = 1 inch.

Be sure to check your gauge before starting garments. Use any size needles which will obtain the stitch gauge above.

BLOCKING MEASUREMENTS
I’m beginning to wonder if we’re ever going to get to the actual pattern.
SIZES: Small, Medium, Large
Body Bust Size (In Inches): 30 1/2 – 31 1/2, 32 1/2 – 34, 36
Hip: 32 1/2 – 33 1/2, 34 1/2 – 36, 38
Apparently, any woman with a hip circumference larger than 38 inches shouldn’t be wearing Hot Pants.

*sob* My forty inches never felt so wide.
To Determine Size: Take your own bust and hip measurements. Make size of Top with Body Bust Size given, which is closest to your bust measurements; make size of Pants with Body Hip Size given, which is closest to your hip measurement.
Then burn your measuring tape, and buy a litre of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream. Chow down in front of the TV, but don’t be distracted by how adorable Nathan Fillion is. Remember, you’re supposed to be upset about the patriarchal oppression of the fashion industry.

Stop that, Nathan! I’m trying to be upset at men right now!
STYLE F – TOP
Hurray! It’s the actual pattern!
Stripe Pattern: 8 rows Cerise, 2 rows White, 4 rows Yellow and 2 rows White. Repeat these 16 rows for Stripe Pattern.

Starting at lower edge with White and No. 6 needles, cast on 78 (86, 92) sts. Work 32 rows in k 1, p 1 ribbing. Work Bodice same as for Style D in stockinette st and Stripe Pattern as given.

Neck and Armhole Edgings: With White, work as for Edgings of Style D. Sew side seams.
Turns out I was wrong. That wasn’t the actual pattern. The actual pattern is coyly hidden within an entirely different pattern.

I’m not sure the Mary Janes and knee socks really go with the rest of her outfit. And what’s she doing? Sure, Hot Pants don’t provide a lot of support, but I doubt she needs to hold up her tiny little belly with both hands. Or is she just performing the pee-pee dance?

Regardless of whether you suffer from adult incontinence or body dysmorphia, this pattern’s for you!

As long as your hip measurements aren’t wider than 38 inches.
STYLE D – TOP

For Style D: 5 (6, 6) ounces of No. 648 Apple Green and 5 (6, 6) ounces of No. 1 White.

BACK: Starting at lower edge with White and No. 6 needles, cast on 100 (108, 114) sts. Work in k 1, p 1 ribbing for 3 inches. Keeping continuity of ribbing as established, dec one st at both ends of next row and every 7th row thereafter 11 times in all. Work even in ribbing over remaining 78 (86, 92) sts until total length is 12 (12 1/2, 13) inches.

Bodice: 1st row: Increasing 5 sts evenly spaces, k across – 83 (91, 97) sts. Starting with a p row, work in stockinette st (k 1 row, p 1 row) and increasing one st at both ends of every 8th row 3 times in all. Work even over these 89 (97, 103) sts until length of Bodice is 4 inches, ending with a p row.

Armhole Shaping: Bind off 4 (5, 6) sts at bed of next 2 rows. Dec one st at both ends of next row and every other row thereafter 11 (12, 12) times in all. Work even over remaining 59 (63, 67) sts until length from first row of armhole shaping is 6 1/2 (7, 7 1/2) inches, ending with a p row.

Shoulder and Neck Shapings: 1st row: K 21 (22, 23), place remaining sts on a stitch holder. 2nd row: Bind off 6 sts – neck edge; p across. 3rd row: Bind off 3 sts – shoulder edge; k across. Repeat last 2 rows once. Bind off remaining sts.

Leaving the 17 (19, 21) center sts on stitch holder, slip remaining sts onto a needle, attach yarn to next st at neck edge and k across. Reversing shapings, work to correspond with other side.

FRONT: Work same as Back to within 2 rows before Armhole Shaping, ending with a p row.
That’s right, after hours and hours of sport-weight knitting fun, you’re not even half way done!

I bet you’re really glad now that you didn’t just take a pair of scissors and cut off the bottom of your t-shirt to make the crop-top.
Neck and Armhole Shapings: 1st row: K 36 (39, 41), place remaining sts on a stitch holder. 2nd row: Dec one st – neck edge; p across. 3rd row: Bind off 4 (5, 6) sts – armhole edge; k across. Now dec one st at neck edge on every other row 11 times more.

AT SAME TIME
You know, shouting and centering isn’t going to be enough to stop knitters who don’t read ahead.

You know who you are. Hang your head in shame as you pick out the last three rows.
Dec one st at armhole edge every other row 11 (12, 12) times in all. Work even over remaining 9 (10, 11) sts until length from first row of armhole shaping is 6 1/2 (7, 7 1/2) inches, ending at armhole edge.

Shoulder Shaping: Bind off 3 sts at beg of next row and every other row twice; at same edge bind off remaining sts.
Leaving the 17 (19, 21) center sts on stitch holder, slip remaining 36 (39, 41) sts onto a needle, attach yarn to first st at neck edge, and work to correspond with other side, reversing shapings. Sew right shoulder seam.

Neck edging: With right side facing, using No. 4 needles and Green, starting at ledt shoulder, pick up and k 152 (162, 172) sts around entire neck edge including sts on stitch holders. Work 3 rows in k 1, p 1 ribbing. Bind off in ribbing. Sew left shoulder seam.

Armhole edging: With right side facing, using No. 4. needles and Green, pick up and k 106 (114, 122) sts around entire armhole edge. Complete as for Neck edging. Sew side seams.
Still, even if you had cropped a t-shirt instead, you’ll never look as cool as this eighties gal.

She’s even got her own action figure!
STYLE F – PANTS
And we have now reached the end of our very lengthy detour, and have arrived back to the cool seventies pattern which this post is ostensibly about.

Remember this gal? She needs pants!

But not stockings! She’s already got some rocking polka dot pantyhose.

After all, if you wore Hot Pants with bare legs people might say you dress like a floozy.
Right Front Leg: Starting at lower edge with White and No. 6 needles, cast on 52 (56, 58) sts. Work in k 1, p 1 ribbing for 2 1/4 inches, for Medium Size Only dec one st on last row. For all sizes, break off White, attach Cerise. Starting at Crotch and Side Edge Shapings, work same as for Style D in Stockinette st and in Stripe Pattern given for Top.

Left Front Leg: Work as for Right Front Leg, reversing shapings.

Right Back Leg: Starting at lower edge with White and No. 6 needles, cast on 58 (62, 64) sts. Work in ribbing as for Front Legs, for Medium Size Only dec one st on last row. For all sizes, working in Stripe Pattern as before and starting at Crotch and Side Edge Shapings, work same as for Style D.

Left Back Leg: Work as for Right Back Leg, reversing shapings.

Finish as for Style D.
Not Again!

Okay, here’s the pattern for Style D.

I don’t think one container of Ben & Jerry’s is going to be enough by itself. All this pattern hopping also calls for chocolate sauce.
STYLE D – PANTS

Right Front Leg: Starting at lower edge with No. 4 needles and Green, cast on 52 (55, 58) sts. Work 7 rows in stockinette st (k 1 row, p 1 row) for hem facing, ending with a k row. Next row: K across for turning ridge. Change to No. 6 needles. Work even in stockinette st until length from turning ridge is 2 inches, ending with a p row.
That’s a very important p row. Make sure you don’t overlook it.
Crotch and Side Edge Shapings: 1st row: Bind off 6 sts – crotch; work across, increasing one st in last st – side edge. Continue in stockinette st, decreasing one st at crotch edge every other row 5 times.

AT THE SAME TIME
Eep!

I can’t take all this pressure! I’m adding whipping cream to my chocolate-sauced ice cream.
Inc one st at side edge every 7th row 6 times. Work even over remaining 48 (51, 54) sts until length from hemline is 10 (10 1/2, 11) inches, ending with a k row.

Next row: K across for turning ridge. Work 1 inch even for waist facing. Bind off.

Left Front Leg: Work as for Right Front Leg until length from turning ridge is 2 inches, ending with a k row. Starting with first row of Crotch and Side Edge Shapings, work as for Right Front Leg, reversing shapings.

Right Back Leg: Starting at lower edge with No. 4 needles, cast on 58 (61, 64) sts. Work as for Left Front Leg until the first row of Crotch and Side Edge Shapings has been completed. Now dec one st at crotch edge every other row 9 times.

AT THE SAME TIME
I hope by now we’ve all learned to read the entire pattern before we start knitting.

No?

Okay, where’s my chopped walnuts and brownies?
Inc one st at side edge every 7th row 6 times. Work even over remaining 50 (53, 56) sts until length from hemline is 10 (10 1/2, 11) inches, ending at crotch edge.

Waist Shaping: 1st row: Work across to within last 17 sts, turn. Do not work over these 17 sts. 2nd row: Work across. Repeat last 2 rows once. 5th row – Turning ridge: K across all 50 (53, 56) sts. Work 1 inch even for waist facing. Bind off.

Left Back Leg: Work as for Right Back Leg, reversing shapings.

Sew center front and back seams, inner leg seams and side seams. Turn all facings to wrong side on turning ridges and sew in place, leaving an opening at waist for elastic. Draw elastic through waistband, holding in to desired waist measurement. Sew ends together. Sew up opening.
And then dive into one of these. You deserve it!

So what if you’ll never be able to fit into your new Hot Pants afterwards. You weren’t going to hang onto that 38 inch hip circumference forever anyway.


Click here for the printable pattern, Style D.
Click here for the printable pattern, Style F.

Read more!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This is Not a Harlequin Afghan!

Harlequin Afghan from Woman’s Day Granny Squares, Number 5, 1977

According to wisegeek.com: “A harlequin pattern is a repeating pattern of contrasting diamonds or elongated squares standing on end. Traditional clown suits are made in a red and white harlequin pattern.”

And as everyone knows, geeks are both omniscient and infallible. Therefore, this afghan with its circles and striped squares is definitely not a harlequin.

Now, this is a harlequin.

 

Actually, this is Freddie Mercury rocking a harlequin bodystocking in 1977. So, the designer of this afghan can’t claim ignorance when it comes to knowing what a harlequin pattern looks like.

After all, who could possibly have overlooked that man?

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

HARLEQUIN AFGHAN

SIZE: About 45 1/2’’ by 66 1/2’’.
MATERIALS: Knitting worsted weight yarn, about 48 ozs. including white and as many colors as desired. Aluminum crochet hooks sizes G and J or K, or size required to crochet to gauge.

GAUGE: 7 sc and 7 rnds of sc = 2’’ with G hook; each round is about 10 1/2’’ in diameter.

NOTE: There are 17 colors in the afghan shown. To help allocate colors, each round requires about 1 1/2 ozs. in all, each stripe of a square takes about 3 yds., each triangle about 11 1/2 yds. of one color. Except for the white border, changes in dye lot will not be apparent, so yarn need not be purchased at one time.
Seventeen different colours! I suspect the designer of this afghan didn’t care about adherence to international harlequin standards. She was just looking for an excuse to clean out her yarn stash.
Just like the designer of these sequined harlequin knickers had an overabundance of Mardi Gras decorations she was desperate to use up!
ROUNDS: Make 24 in colors of your choice plus white. With color and G hook ch 4, join with a sl st to form a ring.
Rnd 1: Work 8 sc in ring, do not join but continue around, marking the beg of rnds throughout.
Rnd 2: 2 sc in each sc around.
Rnd 3: * 2 sc in next sc, sc in each of next 2 sc, repeat from * around.
Continue to inc about 8 sts at even intervals on every rnd, but only enough to keep the Round flat – if inc’s are not made directly over previous inc’s, a more round shape will result. Work in color for 10 rnds, with white for 2 rnds, with same color for 3 rnds, then last 2 rnds with white.
Sadly, back in the seventies, there were few creative outlets for women over-endowed with yarn. Nowadays, you don’t have to restrict yourself to a boring old afghan.

Even if you want to crochet a harlequin!
SQUARES: Make 15, working 2 rows of each of 6 colors for each Square. With G hook and first color ch 19.
Row 1: Hdc in 3rd ch from hook and in each remaining ch – 18 hdc counting ch-2 at beg of row; turn.
Row 2 (right side of square): Ch 1, sc in back lp of each hdc, sc in top of ch-2, working off last lps with next color.
Row 3: Ch 2 (for first hdc), hdc in both lps of each of next 17 sc; turn.
Repeat Rows 2 and 3 for 12 rows in all – 6 stripes. Fasten off yarns.

TRIANGLES: In one color for each only, make 16. Ch 20. In the same manner as for Squares, work in hdc and sc, but dec 1 st at each end of 2nd and remaining rows until all sts are worked off.
The world is your palette. Literally!


ASSEMBLING: At diametrically opposite points, mark north, south, east and west positions on the perimeter of each Round. Hold 2 Rounds right sides together, matching any of the marks. On wrong side overcast through the inside lps across 2 or 3 sts on each side of a mark. Join another Round to a joined one at a diametrically opposite point in the same way and continue until 4 Rounds are joined. Assemble 5 more rows of rounds. Then in the same manner join the 6 rows of Rounds together. Next, pin each Square into an opening between Rounds in diamond position, and overcast in place in the same way. Set the Triangles in the spaces around the outside of the afghan to even the edge.

BORDER: With white work 5 rnds of sc around the entire afghan, inc’ing as necessary to keep the “corners” flat. With double white yarn and J or K hook, work a rnd of reverse sc, skipping an occasional st if necessary so as not to stretch out the edge.
Okay, despite what I claimed above, not all harlequins are multi-coloured or diamond-patterned. For instance, the harlequin Great Dane is a big black-and-white spotted dog. But when it comes to my canine harlequins, I’m a traditionalist.


Click here for the printable pattern.

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Monday, January 11, 2010

I Fall to Pieces...

WINGY The Airplane from Crochet Puzzlements, 1979

Hey, Wingy! You’re looking a wee bit anxious. How come?

It’s Amelia Earhart Day? Gee, I’d think you would want to celebrate the famed aviatrix. Sure, she came to a bad end, but not before blazing a trail for women who wanted to go uppity, up, up!

Besides, it’s not like you fell to pieces in midflight causing her crash, right?


Oh dear.

C’mon Wingy, cheer up. Just think of all the budding pilots who’d love a toy plane that falls apart... er, all the kiddies who’d love to tear you into your component bits ... um, hey, compared to discussing divorce and death, playing with a crash-prone plane isn’t the worst way to celebrate Amelia Earhart Day!

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

WINGY The Airplane

Materials
140 yds (approx.) of main color rug yarn (sample used gold)
50 yds. (approx.) black rug yarn
15 yds. second color rug yarn (sample used yellow)
Size J crochet hook
Ample stuffing
Felt and glue, for face (if you prefer, face can be embroidered) – black, white, red

But can the face be embroidered so Wingy doesn’t look like the first plane to ever suffer from aviophobia?
Gauge: 3 sts to an inch.
This pattern is worked in continuous rounds. DO NOT CHAIN AND TURN.
Whoa, what’s going to happen if I don’t? The toy will fall apart?

After all, Wingy is supposed to fall apart under pressure. Sue Penrod designed him as one of many puzzle toys for small children to be an “aid in the natural development of his physical and mental coordination.”

So, there’s no need for anxiety, Wingy! It’s just a child’s fine motor skills that are on the line if you’re a lousy toy. No pressure!
Always use the top loop of every st throughout pattern, unless otherwise indicated.

Body
Using main color, ch 4, sl st to join. (4)
RND 1-2: 2 sc in each st around. (8) (16)
RND 3: I sc in each st around. (16)
RND 4: *1 sc in each of the next 2 sts, 2 sc in the third st, repeat from * around. (21)
RND 5-6: 1 sc in each st around. (21)
RND 7: 2 sc in each of the next 5 sts, continue 1 sc in each st around. (26) Stuff.
Start stuffing already? Won’t that give me a reputation as being stuffed up?
RND 8 -22: 1 sc in each st around. (26) Stuff.
RND 23: *1 sc in each of the next 2 sts, skip the third st, 1 sc in the fourth st, repeat from * around. (20) Stuff.
RND 24: 1 sc in each st around. (20) Stuff.
RND 25: *1 sc in each of the next 2 sts, skip the third st, 1 sc in the fourth st, repeat from * around. (15)
RND 26: 1 sc in each st around. (15) Stuff.
RND 27: *1 sc in each of the next 2 sts, skip the third st, 1 sc in the fourth st, repeat from * around. (12)
RND 28: 1 sc in each st around. (12) Stuff.
RND 29: *1 sc in each of the next 2 sts, skip the third st, 1 sc in the fourth st, repeat from * around. (9)
RND 30: 1 sc in each st around. (9) Stuff.
RND 31: sl st every other st around, until opening is closed. Break off and fasten, tucking ends.
Make sure you stuff after every row. After all, Sue guaranteed “hours of pleasure” making these toys.

If you’re a beginner, stick to standard stuffing like wool batting for the tamer fun of trying to keep it from constantly getting tangled in the yarn. More experienced crocheters can up the pleasure ante by stuffing with Styrofoam beads as they crochet.
Top Tail Fin
Using main color, sl st sc into top back end of body, 1 sc in each of the next 5 sts, ch 1 and turn, 1 sc in each of the bottom 6 sc loops, turn and continue 1 sc in each of the top 6 sc loops. (12)
RND 2-4: 1 sc in each st around. (12)
RND 5: *1 sc in each of the next 2 sts, skip the third st, 1 sc in the fourth st, repeat from * around. (9)
RND 6: sl st every other st around, until opening is closed. Break off and fasten, tucking ends. Flatten tail.
I’m beginning to seriously doubt Sue’s promise of pleasure. I mean, sure, I enjoy skipping the 3rd stitch as much as the next gal, but as the Beaver is a symbol of Canada, the thrill went out of flat tails years ago.
Side Tail Fins
Using main color, sl st sc into side back end of body, 1 sc in each of the next 5 sts, ch 1 and turn, 1 sc in each of the bottom 6 sc loops, turn and continue 1 sc in each of the top 6 sc loops. (12)
RND 2-3: 1 sc in each st around. (12)
RND 4: *1 sc in each of the next 2 sts, skip the third st, 1 sc in the fourth st, repeat from * around. (9)
RND 5: sl st every other st around, until opening is closed. Break off and fasten, tucking ends. Repeat, from start to finish, for other side tail fin. Flatten tail fins.

Wings

Using mail color, sl st sc into side of body, start at about rnd 9. 1 sc in each of the next 10 sts, turn and continue 1 sc in each of the next 10 sts, right below first row of 10, making a long oval circle, for a total of 20 sts.
RND 2-8: 1 sc in each st around. (20)
RND 9: *1 sc in each of the next 2 sts, skip third st, 1 sc in the fourth st, repeat from * around. (15)
RND 10: 1 sc in each st around. (15) Stuff lightly.
Ooo, stuff lightly. This could be fun. After all, according to the dictionary definitions of lightly this means you can stuff nimbly, indifferently, cheerfully, or frivolously.

Pace yourself. You can have too much fun crocheting, after all.


RND 11: *1 sc in each of the next 2 sts, skip third st, 1 sc in the fourth st, repeat from * around. (12)
RND 12: 1 sc in each st around. (12) Stuff lightly.
RND 13: *1 sc in each of the next 2 sts, skip the third st, 1 sc in the fourth st, repeat from * around. (9)
RND 14: sl st every other st around, until wing opening is closed. Break off and fasten, tucking ends. Repeat same, from start to finish, for other wing.

Small Wheel Axle
Using black, ch 4, sl st to join. (4)
RND 1-6: 1 sc in each st around. (4) Break off and fasten, tucking ends.

Small Wheel Axle Loops
Using main color, sl st sc into starting rnd of side tail fin, ch 4, sl st back into under side of fin; break off and fasten, tucking ends. Repeat the same for other loop under other fin, to complete holder-loops for axle of small wheel.

Small Wheel
Using black, sh 4, sl st to join. (4)
Me: Surely, you meant ch 4 instead of shushing me four times.

Sue: It’s a typo, and don’t call me Shirley.



RND 1-8: 1 sc in each st around. (4)
RND 9: sl st ends together, to make round; break off and fasten, tucking ends. Slip wheel onto axle and slip axle through loop, to put small wheel in place.

Front Axle
Using black, ch 4, sl st to join. (4)
RND 1: 2 sc in each st around. (8)
RND 2-17: 1 sc in each st around. (8) Stuff as you go along.
RND 18: sl st every other st around, until axle opening is closed. Break off and fasten, tucking ends.
You know, all this superfluous stuffing, endless tucking of ends, and shameless semi-colon abuse makes me wish I’d been a good Canadian and celebrated John A. MacDonald Day instead.

It's really too bad I've already missed out on yesterday's No Pants Day. I could have thrown pants to the wind, instead of airplane parts.
Front Axle Loops
Using main color, sl st sc into underside of wing, where wing begins, ch 8, skip 3 sts, sl st back into underside of wing; break off and fasten, tucking ends. Repeat same for other axle holder. Slip axle into loops.

Tires (Front Wheels)
Using black, ch 4, sl st to join. (4)
RND 1: 2 sc in each st around. (8)
RND 2-18: 1 sc in each st around. (8) Stuff as you go along.
RND 19: Shape piece into a donut, sl st the two ends together; break off and fasten, tucking ends. Repeat same, from start to finish, for other tire. Slip tires onto axle.

Propellers
Using second color, ch 6, sl st to join. (6) Working through center of chain ring, *1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 tc, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc, repeat from * 4 more times to complete; break off and fasten, tucking ends. Repeat same for other propeller.

Using second color, make 2 small pompoms to hold and fasten propellers on wings. Propellers are not designed to be removable, but by fastening pompom ends through chain ring of start of propeller and tying ends of pompom to wing, propeller can be turned.
Rotating pompom propellers! Not FCC approved, but Sue finally delivers the fun!
Finishing
Fasten and tuck all ends. Face may be cut out of felt and glued on or, if desired, face can be embroidered on.
You’re done, and ready to take off! But given Wingy’s fragile psyche, you may want to bring along a beagle as your wingman.


Click here for the printable pattern.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Your Tea Cosies are Loopy

Knitted Looped Tea Cosies from Bazaar Novelties and gifts by Beehive, c. 1960.

January is National Hot Tea Month!

I suspect that the nation officially celebrating hot tea is the United States, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t enjoy a hot cuppa as well. After all, the Chinese invented tea, Dutch traders brought it to Europe, and the British believe they’re the only ones who know how to properly serve it. Sure, American tea parties are getting all the news coverage, but I doubt they actually drink even a single cup of desiccated plant leaves in boiling water!

To ensure that your tea remains hot stuff, here’s a pattern which will enable you to drape your pots in dead tribbles -- I mean, loopy yarn loops.

Tea-drinking knitters with dust allergies should proceed with extreme caution.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Knitted Looped Tea Cosies

MATERIALS:
You will find a colourful tea cosy like this so easy to knit when you are sure to use Canadiana Superwash Wool or Canadiana Sayelle. You will need:– 1 (50g) ball for the two cup size or 2 balls for the four or six cup size. Two No. 9 (3 3/4 mm), (U.S. 5) knitting needles.

And if you don’t use Canadiana Superwash Wool or Canadiana Sayelle, you will find this colourful tea cosy dreadfully difficult to knit. Mainly because Patons will send pixies to tie all of your yarn into knots.
You must use the exact yarn specified in order to be sure of satisfactory results.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
The instructions are written for the Two Cup Size. Any changes necessary for the Four Cup Size (4) and the Six Cup Size (6) are written in brackets thus:–( ).
See that little screaming face at the end of the above sentence? That’s what you’re going to look like if you try to use any yarn other than Canadiana Superwash Wool or Canadiana Sayelle.
Cast on 31 sts. (4 - 39 sts) (6 - 47 sts)

1st row: K3. Purl to last 3 sts. K3.
2nd row: Knit.
3rd row: As 1st. row.
4th row: K3. *Insert point of right hand needle into next st. Place forefinger of left hand under point of right hand needle and wind wool loosely away from you, over top, twice around needle and finger and once around needle only. Draw these 3 loops on right hand needle through st. on left hand needle, dropping this st. from left hand needle in usual way. Remove finger.
No, don’t remove any of your fingers! You’ll need all of them if you’re going to drink tea properly, especially Mr. Pinkie.


Pass the 3 loops from right hand needle to left hand needle and knit them tog. to make 1.st. Tighten loops at back of work. Be sure to wind wool loosely enough so that finished loops will be at least 1 inch in length. K1.* Repeat from * to * to last 2 sts. K2.

Repeat these 4 rows for approx. 4 ins. ( 4–5 ins.) ( 6–6 ins.) in all, ending with 1st. pattern row.
Upon further investigation, I’ve discovered that Canadiana Superwash Wool and Canadiana Sayelle are no longer in production, but don’t despair! Patons still produces a Canadiana yarn, in a wide variety of fun colours. You can make your cosy using “Really Green”, “Super Purple”, “School Bus Yellow” or all of them together in “Crazy Shades”, without risking a passel of Patons patented pixies putting your project in peril.

Probably.

And don’t let the name Canadiana fool you. Unlike Red Rose Tea, it’s available outside Canada.
Next row: K5. *K2tog. K2. Repeat from * to last 2 sts. K2. Work 7 rows even in pattern.
Next row: K4. *K2tog. K1. Repeat from * to last 3 sts. K3. Work 7 rows even in pattern.
Next row: K3. *K2tog. Repeat from * to last 4 sts. K4. Break wool. Thread end through remaining sts. Draw up and fasten securely.

Make another piece to correspond. Sew side and top seams, leaving openings for handle and spout. Make and sew a pompon to top as given for Large Size Pompons on page 20.
Just so we don’t accidentally derail our peace negotiations with the Patons Pixies, here’s how to correctly make a Large Size Pompon.
LARGE POMPONS: Wind yarn over 4 fingers 75 times. Remove from fingers. Tie tightly in centre. Cut through each side of loops thus formed. Trim to smooth round shape. Sew in position.
As Mr. Snaffleburger says, “Conform, consume, obey!”

And look! It’s a mini Mr. Snaffleburger! I bet he’d make an adorable large pompom. As long as the Patons pixies don’t find out.

Click here for the printable pattern.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Merry Christmas, Again!

Knitted Crèche from McCall’s Design Ideas, Christmas Knit & Crochet, 1981

Guess what? Today is Twelfth Night AKA the Feast of the Ephiphany AKA the first day of Mardi Gras. And who doesn’t love a good party?

But if none of these celebrations are to your taste, today is also the day on which Armenians celebrate Jesus’s birth, except for those Armenians living in the Holy Land where it’s celebrated on the 18th. However be aware that, according to this article, the Armenian Theophany must never, ever be confused with Three Kings Day, even though Wikipedia says they’re, like, totally the same thing.

Darn you, Wikipedia! How dare you lead me astray!

Yes, today you can celebrate Jesus’s birth, the arrival of the Three Kings, or even his baptism as an adult. Or if you’re feeling really energetic, all three. And if that’s not enough, just guess what special day tomorrow is!

It’s Coptic Christmas in Egypt!

So in honor of all Christmases being celebrated today, tomorrow, and on any other days I may have missed, I give you this crèche.

Mary and Joseph are smiling bravely, but considering that this is the second time in less than a month that they’ve experienced the Holy Birth – and it’s going to happen all over again tomorrow! – it’s no surprise they’re also looking a little shell-shocked.

For the complete pattern (and more snark):

CRECHE

SIZE: 11’’ – 12’’ tall.
Surprise! These dolls are each almost a foot tall. Your visitors won’t be able to miss them when they drop by to celebrate your January 6th holiday of choice. Just be careful not to block any fire exits with your nativity scene.
MATERIALS: Knitting worsted weight yarn, 1 oz. each of white, brown, tan, dark blue, light blue, old gold; smaller amounts of yellow, pink, gray. Knitting needles No. 4. Crochet hook size G. Polyester stuffing. White felt, 9’’ x 12’’. Scraps of black and blue felt. Glue. Three gold tinsel sticks. Stick for Joseph’s staff.
And hamsters for sheep.

No, honest, hamsters love being used in Nativity scenes! And that hamster that jumped out the window when I was a kid? That totally had nothing to do with baby Jesus going for rides on his back.
GAUGE: 5 sts = 1’’; 7 rows = 1’’.

LARGE FIGURES: FRONT: Beg at top of head, with pink, cast on 7 sts. Work evne in stockinette st (k 1 row, p 1 row) for 2 rows.
Row 3: Inc 1 st each side.
Rows 4 - 10: Work even.
Row 11: Dec 1 st each side.
Rows 12 - 14: Work even.
Row 15: Dec 1 st at center.
Row 16: Work even.
Row 17: Change to robe color (white for angel, light blue for Mary, tan for Joseph). Knit across, cast on 3 sts.
Row 18: P across, cast on 3 sts.
Rows 19 - 25: Work even on 12 sts.
Row 26: Inc 1 each side.
Rows 27 - 31: Work even on 14 sts.
Row 32: Inc 1 each side.
Rows 33 - 43: Work even on 16 sts.
Row 44: Inc 1 each side.
Rows 45 - 49: Work even on 18 sts.
Row 50: Inc 1 each side.
Rows 51 - 58: Work even on 20 sts.
Row 59: Inc 1 each side.
Rows 60 - 67: Work even on 22 sts. Bind off.

BACK: Work as for front, changing to dark blue for Mary, brown for Joseph on row 17. Steam-press pieces lightly. Sew back to front, right sides out, leaving bottom open. Cut oval of white felt same size as bottom opening. Stuff figure, sew felt to bottom edge.
The fact that Mary, Joseph and the Angel all share the same basic body raises certain sticky theological issues. However, the anatomical correctness of a Holy Family should probably be left up to the conscience of the individual knitter.
MARY’S HOOD: With dark blue, cast on 15 sts. Work even in stockinette st for 44 rows. Bind off. Fold in half with cast-on and bound-off edges tog. Sew back seam, rounding off seam near fold to make hood round at top.

MARY’S ROBE (make 2 pieces for front): With dark blue, cast on 5 sts. Work even in stockinette st for 7 rows.
Row 8: Inc 1 st each side.
Rows 9 -18: Work even on 9 sts.
Row 19: Inc 1 st each side.
Rows 20 - 31: Work even on 11 sts.
Row 32: Inc 1 st each side.
Rows 33 - 43: Work even on 13 sts.
Row 44: Inc 1 st each side.
Rows 45 - 55: Work even on 15 sts.
Row 56: Inc 1 st each side.
Rows 57 - 60: Work even on 17 sts. Bind off. Steam press. Sew a piece to each side seam, leaving free at top, bottom and front edges. Sew hood to top of robe, gathering hood at back.
By the way, January 6 is also Befana Day in Italy.

I don’t care if she comes bearing gifts, I’d really rather La Befana doesn’t come flying through my window in the middle of the night. Let alone a whole horde of her!
SLEEVES: Cast on 16 sts (white for angel, dark blue for Mary, brown for Joseph). Work even in stockinette st for 10 rows.
Row 11: Dec 2 sts evenly across.
Rows 12 - 16: Work even on 14 sts.
Row 17: Repeat row 11.
Rows 18 - 22: Work even on 12 sts.
Row 23: Repeat row 11.
Rows 24 and 25: Work even on 10 sts. Bind off. Sew side seam; sew flat across top. Sew top to shoulder.

HANDS: With pink, cast on 6 sts. Work even for 10 rows.
Next Row: (K 2 tog) 3 times. Remove sts from needle, run yarn through sts, pull up and fasten. Sew side seam; tuck ends of yarn inside. Stuff sleeves at top, position hands and glue hands inside sleeves. Mary’s hands are glued tog in prayer. Joseph’s hands are glued to stick, Angel has one arm raised a bit.

Evidently Mary, realizing that God is lying in a cradle right in front of her, has chosen to point her praying hands down towards him. Joseph, on the other hand, is trying to start a fire with his wood... wooden staff!

Sheesh. Even when I'm trying not to be controversial, the theology just gets stickier... Oh, I give up. I'm so going to Hell.
ANGEL’S WINGS: With old gold, cast on 10 sts. Work in garter st (k each row) for 3 rows.
Row 4: Inc 1 st each side.
Rows 5 and 6: Work even on 12 sts.
Row 7: Bind off 4 sts, k across.
Rows 8 and 9: Work even on 8 sts.
Row 10: K across, cast on 6 sts.
Row 11: K across 14 sts.
Rows 12 - 16: Work even.
Row 17: Bind off 4 sts, k across.
Rows 18 and 19: Work even on 10 sts.
Row 20: K across, cast on 8 sts.
Row 21: K across 18 sts.
Rows 22 - 26: Work even. Bind off. Make another piece the same. Work 1 row sc around edge. Sew to angel’s back.

MANGER: With brown, cast on 16 sts. Work in garter st for 10 rows. Bind off. This is bottom piece. For short sides, cast on 16 sts. Work even for 10 rows. Bind off. For long sides, cast on 24 sts. Work even for 10 rows. Bind off. Sew 4 sides around bottom piece, join 4 sides at corner. Fill manger with pieces of yellow or gold yarn.

BABY: Back: With pink, cast on 4 sts. Work in stockinette st for 2 rows.
Row 3: Inc 1 st in row.
Rows 4 - 7: Work even on 5 sts.
Row 8: Dec 1 st in row. Cut pink.
Row 9: With white, cast on 6 sts, k across, cast on 6 sts.
Row 10: P across – 16 sts.
Rows 11 - 14: Work even.
Rows 15 and 16: Bind off 5 sts at beg of each row.
Rows 17 and 18: Work even on 6 sts.
Row 19: Inc 1 st each side.
Rows 20 - 28: Work even on 8 sts. Bind off.
Front: Work as for back through row 8.
Row 9: With white, cast on 2 sts, k across neck sts, cast on 2 sts. Work even on 8 sts until piece is same length as back. Bind off. Fold arms, sew edges tog for 4 sts from outer edge. Sew back and front tog, stuffing as you go. Sew over ends of arms with pink for hands.
Embroider hair with straight sts and a few French knots at front. See Contents for Stitch Details.

You could possibly figure out how to do a French Knot from this illustration, but the Kitchener Stitch diagram is beyond insane. Future archeologists will study this page, convinced we could bend space and time with nothing more than an embroidery needle.
FINISHING: Cut black felt circles for eyes, tiny blue circles for Baby’s eyes. Glue in place. Embroider mouths with red. For hair, place strands down back of head from top of head . Sew down at top of head. Place strands over these from side to side. Sew down center. Trim to desired length. Loop some front strands of angel’s hair into curls; tack in place. Loop some strands of yarn for Joseph’s beard; sew loops across chin.
Make halos from tinsel sticks. Sew to back of head. Make ties for Mary’s cape from strands of dark blue yarn. Run light blue yarn around angel’s neck; tie into bow at front. If desired, trim front edges of Mary’s cape with lace edging. Sew flower sequins to front of Mary’s robe. Sew gold leaves to bottom of Joseph’s robe. Sew gold flower sequins to front of Angel’s robe and wings. Sew gold rickrack around manger and tiny star sequins to front of Baby’s robe.
Gold rickrack and shiny gold star sequins? Wow, this Baby Jesus is quite the Diva. I guess we all know who he’ll grow up to be.


Click here for the printable pattern.


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