Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Belle Tolls for Thee

Sweet and Low Sweater from Gay Teen Ideas, 1944

Sweet and Low Perfectly dee-vine dancing partner. Rings the Belle every time and keeps ‘em coming back for more.
Rings the BELLE?

My goodness, is that code for naughty1940s nookie? It sure was by 1979!

Glamour-minded rugcutters please note the definitely P.M. neck-line, low and square; the come hitherish black velvet ribbons here, there and everywhere.
Come hither to my waist, collar and sleeves, but no higher and most definitely no lower! A proper young lady reserves all belle and bell ringing to the third date.
Make it in cherry and whee, what a flutter you raise at your next party.
“Golly gee whiz, Dick. I don’t know why no one else showed up. I guess you’re my only guest. Let’s put a record on!”

“Donna, I really want to go home.”

“Don’t be silly! I’ve dead bolted all the doors, cut the phone lines and dynamited the only bridge off this property. So, do you like my sweater? I knitted it myself!”

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Hey, it looks like some other young ladies have launched a rescue mission to save poor Dick! Unfortunately, instead of arming themselves with the traditional torches and pitchforks, they’ve chosen bulrushes. Donna will make short work of them with just one Benny Goodman record.

Incidently, ringing your bell is also British slang for bashing someone’s brains in.
No. 2054

Materials: CHADWICK’S RED HEART WOOL FLOSS (2 ply), 5 balls (1 oz. balls) for Size 12; 6 balls for Size 14; 7 balls for Size 16.
Bone Knitting Pins, 1 pair No. 3.
Because nothing knits the crazy into a garment like real BONE needles.

Donna hand-carved them herself after a night of particularly unsatisfying bell ringing.
8 yards of narrow velvet ribbon for each size.
Buttons – see Directions of Right Back.
Wait, why can’t you just tell us now? Why all the suspense? It’s a knitting pattern, for heaven’s sake, not a murder mystery.

Not yet, anyway.
Snap fasteners.


SIZES: 12 (14, 16)

Bust: 31 (33, 35)’’
Width across front at armholes: 16 (17, 18)’’
Width across front between armholes: 12 (12 ½, 13)’’
Pay attention! The AT armholes measurement is four to five inches wider than the BETWEEN armholes measurement.

An extra four to five inches is essential to successful bell ringing.
Length from top of shoulder: 18 (18 ½, 19)’’
Length of side seam: 10 (10 ½, 10 ½)’’
Width across each back at armhole: 7 ¾ (8 ¼, 8 ¾)’’
Width across each back above armhole shaping: 6 ½ (6 ¾, 7)’’
Width of sleeve at upper arm: 12 (12, 13)’’
I have no idea why we’re doing all this measuring. After all, this sweater hangs off Donna like a potato sack giving her all the sex appeal of a mashed potato.

If only she’d used a different pattern, Donna wouldn’t have needed to lock Dick up in her LP love den.
GAUGE: 7 sts make 1 inch; 10 rows make 1 inch.

SIZES: 12 (14, 16)

FRONT . . . Starting at waistband, cast on 95 (100, 105) sts.
1st and 2nd rows: P across. 3rd row: *K 3, k 2 tog, 0. Repeat from * across, ending with K 5. 4th row: P across. Repeat these 4 rows 2 more times (3 rows of eyelets made). Now work in stockinette st (k 1 row, p 1 row), increasing 1 st at both ends of next row and on 1 row every inch thereafter until there are on needle 111 (118, 125) sts. Work straight until piece measures in all 10 (10 ½, 10 ½)’’.
To Shape Armholes: Bind off 4 sts at beginning of each of the next 2 rows and 2 sts at beginning of following 6 rows. Dec 1 st at end of each row until there remain on needle 85 (90, 95) sts. With right side facing, repeat 1st to 4th rows incl of waistband 3 times (3 rows of eyelets made). Work in stockinette st and continue. Next row: Work across 28 (30, 32) sts. Bind off (purling the sts) for front of neck, the next 29 (30, 31) sts. Work across remaining 28 (30, 32) sts. Work straight over this last set of sts only until piece measures from 1st row of armhole shaping 7 (7, 7 ½)’’.
To Shape Shoulder: Starting at armhole edge, bind off 6 sts on every other row until there remain 4 (6, 8) sts. Starting at same edge, bind off. Attach arm at opposite side of neck edge and work other side to correspond.
Now for the pièce de résistance... this sweater buttons down the back. How fantastically “come-hitherish”! After all, Donna can’t get out of her own sweater by herself.

Come to think of it, she can’t put it on by her lonesome either. She must have a man-servant chained in the basement for such troublesome tasks.
LEFT BACK . . . Starting at waistband, cast on 45 (50, 55) sts. Work same as Front until the 12 rows of waistband are complete. Next row: K across. Following row: P across to last 6 sts, k 6 (center back band). Continue in stockinette st, keeping the 6 sts of back band in garter st (k each row), increasing 1 st at side edge on next row and every 9th row thereafter until there are on needle 54 (58, 62) sts. Work straight until piece measures in all 10 (10 ½, 10 ½)’’.
To Shape Armholes: Starting at side edge, bind off 5 sts once. Then dec 1 st at armhole edge on every other row until there remain 45 (47, 49) sts. Work straight until piece measures from 1st row of armhole shaping 7 (7, 7 ½)’’.
To Shape Shoulder: Starting at armhole edge bind off 6 sts on every other row 4 times. Starting at same edge, bind off 4 (6, 8) sts. Starting at same edge, bind off remaining 17 sts for back of neck.
Hurray! We’ve finally arrived at the Right Back, and the top secret number of buttons we need will be revealed...
RIGHT BACK . . . Work to correspond with Left Back, making a buttonhole 2 sts in from back edge when piece measures from last row of waistband 1 ( ½, 1)’’ and, measuring from 1st buttonhole, every inch thereafter until there are 16 (17, 17) buttonholes in all – to make a buttonhole, on one row bind off 2 sts and on next row cast on 2 sts to replace those bound off.
Well, that was a let down. Why on earth couldn’t they have just said in the materials list: 16 to 17 buttons? Why make us search through the pattern to learn that?

Although... buttons have also been used as slang for, ahem, a lady’s bell. Perhaps, this was a successful attempt to thwart the knitting pattern censors.
SLEEVES . . . Starting at lower edge, cast on 85 (85, 90) sts. Work first 4 rows same as Front (1 row of eyelets made). Now work in stockinette st until piece measures in all 2 ½ (2 ½, 3)’’.
To Shape Top: Bind off 4 sts at beginning of each of the next 2 rows. Dec 1 st at both ends of every 3rd row until 69 sts remain.
Heh. They said 69!
Dec 1 st at end of each row until 55 sts remain. Bind off 3 sts at beginning of each row until 19 sts remain. Bind off.

Press pieces through damp cloth. Sew underarm and shoulder seams. Sew sleeve seams and sew sleeves in. Cut two 23-inch pieces of ribbon and run through eyelets of sleeve. Tie ends in bows. Cut three 27-inch pieces of ribbon. Tack one end of each piece to wrong side of Right Back at beginning of each row of eyelets at waist. Run these pieces of ribbon in and out of eyelets to desired position on left side of Front. Cut three 20-inch pieces of ribbon. Tack one end of each piece to wrong side of Left Back at beginning of each row of eyelets at waist. Run ribbon through eyelets to meet previous ribbons. Tie ends in bows. Cut three 20-inch pieces of ribbon. Tack ends at armhole edge on wrong side of Right Front eyelets. Run ribbon through eyelets to position above waist bows. Cut three 12-inch pieces of ribbon. Tack on wrong side of Left Front eyelets. Run ribbon through eyelets to meet previous ribbons. Tie ends in bows. Sew on buttons to correspond with buttonholes. Sew snap fasteners to close waistband at back. Work a row of sc along entire neck edge.
If you’re wondering how Donna intends this evening to draw to a close, just take a look at the page facing the Sweet and Low Sweater pattern.

By the way, S is the first initial of Dick’s last name, not Donna’s.

“See, Dick? We absolutely, positively must get married! I’ve already monogrammed everything in the house!”

In desperation, Dick threw himself out the window and made a run for it. He might have made it too, if it hadn’t been for the monogrammed land mines.

Not the Happy Ending Donna had in mind for her Dick. But on the bright side, she did get enough material for a brand new set of bone needles.

Click here for the printable pattern.

Read more!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

You Never Forget your First Time…

Knitted Place Mats from Aunt Lydia’s Heavy Rug Yarn, c. 1965

Yes, the first time a new bride welcomes her husband into her most private sanctum is a nerve-racking affair. It’s that magical moment when, with trembling hands … dare I say it … she sets the table for breakfast.

That’s right, what happens in your breakfast nook is far more important to your marital bliss than all that neurotic nudity in the bridal boudoir. So, there’s no such thing as too much attention to detail here. Note how perfectly the place mats have been aligned, and how the spoons have been arranged with precision behind the cups, each of them filled exactly three quarters of an inch from the rim. A ruler is a newlywed’s best friend – so long it’s kept out of the bedroom!

See how everything on the table has been carefully labeled? Heaven knows, otherwise a silly girl might end up stuffing the napkins into the jam jar, storing the jelly in her bra, and the bridal brunch would descend into chaos, pure CHAOS!

Ahem. Of course, it’s anyone’s guess how the newly-minted housewife was supposed to get the jelly out of that impractically shaped jelly-jar, much less clean it afterwards. But then again, tears and recriminations are naturally a part of a girl’s first time.

For the complete pattern (if you can even call it a “pattern”):

Knitted Place Mats
Simple and Quick to Make

For once, there’s absolutely nothing misleading about this description. These placemats are incredibly simple to make.

In fact, they’re so simple, that if you skip the “bind off” part of the instructions and just keep going, you’ll end up with a Dr. Who Scarf!

I’m a bit obsessed with Time Lord accessories right now, because I’m actually working on one for my son. Which he WILL wear! Because after thirteen years he’s learned to respect (and fear) the phrase “Handmade by Mother”.

No, that’s not my son.
10 ½ x 18 Inches

Materials Required:

If you’re determined to break Aunt Lydia’s heart by using an inferior product, I strongly recommend Red Heart Supersaver. Not only is it inexpensive and hypoallergenic, Red Heart will give your placemats a nice scratchy texture guaranteed to keep your kids’ elbows off the table!
7 – 70 yd. skeins Bongo
2 – 70 yd. skeins Lt. Yellow will make 4 mats
Wait – what the heck is a “Bongo”?

Yes, but an African antelope seems like an unlikely inspiration for a 1960s, whitebread place setting.

Ah ha! Bongo was also the name of a Disney circus bear who wore a red jacket with yellow stripes.

I assume that after the designer turned Bongo’s jacket into a place mat, she used the rest of him as a kitschy living room decoration.

GAUGE: 4 sts = 1 inch

No pressure.
NOTE: Entire mat is worked in garter st (K each row).
With Bongo cast on 42 sts. NEXT 10 ROWS: K across each row, drop Bongo. Then work as follows: 10 rows Lt. Yellow, 76 rows Bongo, 10 rows Lt. Yellow, 10 rows Bongo. Bind off.
Block to measurements.
Work 3 more mats in same manner.
Of course, even if you get THE ALL IMPORTANT GAUGE right, you’re still condemned to the mind-numbingly, tedious hell of making these place mats. And staring at them every morning over your cup of coffee will cause many of your brain cells die of sheer boredom.

Still, there’s worse ways to cause brain damage over breakfast!

Click here for the printable pattern. (Hah!)

Read more!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pompon Therapy

Pompon Chick from Bazaar Time, c. 1965

Pompon chick design supplied by the County Borough of Brighton Occupational Therapy Dept.

Yes, this unique pompon chick design was actually donated to Bazaar Time by the Brighton Occupational Therapy Department of the Brighton County Borough Asylum! There’s no indication whether they also provided the yummy lollipops.

Clearly, the OT Dept. of the Brighton Asylum felt that non-institutionalized crafters, like the institutionalized mentally ill, could benefit from pompon Art Therapy.

Doesn’t this look like a fun place to live? Why I can just imagine all the inmates happily making pompon chicks.

My mentally ill friend enthusiastically agrees that group therapy in her hospital would have been much more entertaining if she’d been able to pelt her fellow inmates with pompon animals.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Pompon Chick

3 (50 g) balls in Beau Blue 0350 and 2 (50 g) balls Snow White 504 Patons Double Knitting.

Pieces of felt as follows:–
Red 6 x 4 in. (15 x 10 cm); Yellow 3 x 2 in. (7 x 5 cm); Black and White 2 in. (5 cm) square.


Height 7 in. (18 cm)

Chicken is made from two woolly balls.
You might suppose the instructions end right here. After all, there isn’t much more to say. Slap two pompons together, stick felt feet and eyes on it, and you’re done!

Not so fast!

Professional therapists know that the mentally ill cannot be trusted with free form crafting.

Damn their uncrushed spirits!

Of course, one might question the wisdom of giving the mentally ill sharp objects and encouraging them to stick them into what appears to be an eyeball.

But no matter what TV shows like Criminal Minds tell you, remember, the vast majority of mentally ill people are NOT violent.

Don’t make my mentally ill friend smack you.
Cut two circles of card 5 in. (13 cm) diameter for body with centre hole 2 ¼ in. (6 cm) diameter, diagram 1 A. Place circles together and thread a blunt-ended needle with a long length each of Blue and White yarn. Thread yarns round circles until centre hole if filled, diagram 1 B. Cut round outer edge of circles between cards, diagram 1 C. Tie a double length of yarn tightly round centre, knotting securely, diagram 1 D. Do not cut off the ends. Remove cards and clip away any uneven ends of pom pon.
Word keeps autocorrecting my typing, so if any of the pom pons in this pattern have been replaced with pomp on, don’t blame me.

Evidently Word likes to get its pomp on.

Just like this fellow!

Click the link, you won’t regret it.
For Head, cut two circles of card 4 in. (10 cm) diameter with centre hole 1 ¾ in. (4 cm) diameter and, using Blue yarn only, make pom pon as described for Body.

Finish – Tie the two pom pons firmly together, then tie remaining ends of yarn for hanging.
Goodness, the chick’s not even assembled yet, and we’re already being told to hang it? I’m no occupational art therapist, but I don’t think it’s healthy to have the mentally ill make cute suicidal animals.

Trace outlines of Feet, Beak and Eyes from diagrams and cut out and draw round each shape on appropriate pieces of felt as follows:

Feet (2) and Tongue (5) on Red; Beak (4) on Yellow; Eye (1) twice on White and Iris (3) twice on Black. Using rubber solution, stick the features and feet in position, see photograph. Fold Beak in half and insert tongue, sticking straight edge of tongue to fold of beak.
I also thought occupational therapists weren’t supposed to encourage OCD behaviour in their patients, but clearly I’m not a professional.

After all, I wouldn’t think it would be a good idea to give the mentally ill this kind of equipment to play with, either.

Oh wait, my mentally ill friend says she thinks this kind of Art Therapy is a great idea. She suggests leaving her alone with the writers of Criminal Minds for an hour or two, and she’ll make them some crafts they’ll never forget!

Or did she say make them INTO some crafts?

Uh oh.

Click here for the printable pattern.

Read more!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The World is Going to Hell in a Handbag!

Initial Knitting Bag from Star Variety Show, 1942

And this is the only purse that’s Hellspawn approved for carrying damned souls into the fiery pit.

Yes, you’d think demons would have more attractive accessories for the Apocalypse. But even the most ignorant imp knows that one glimpse of that big fuzzy H will cause the hardiest housewife to abandon all hope.

Now, I’m no theologian, so I don’t know why Satan’s spawn would want a handbag that doubles as a dust mop. I suppose paving the road to Hell with good intentions can be dusty work. However, everyone knows that Swiffers are the preferred cleaning tool of the dark side.

April Fools! It’s actually a prank knitting bag not a demonic purse!

Of course, this pattern’s a prank. No one would seriously want to dust their home with a knitting bag.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):



6 Skeins Light Henna or any Color desired.
As long as that colour is bland. Attractive knitting bags are just asking to be stolen. And personalizing it with your initial will not protect you from every Helen, Hazel and Harriet with a police record.
Bone Crochet Hook Number 4 or 5.

Front. Ch 45 and work 44 s c on ch, ch 1, turn and work 23 more rows of s c.
The irony of a crocheted knitting bag is not lost on me. However, it all makes perfect sense as long as you remember this rubric:

Rock smashes scissors
Scissors cut paper
Paper disproves Spock
Spock sells Crochet
Crochet smothers Knitting
Knitting yarn bombs Rock
25th Row. Decrease 1 st at both ends and work 1 row even. Repeat the last 2 rows 7 times, break yarn and work a second section.

Gusset. Ch 4 and work 3 s c on ch, ch 1, turn. Work 8 more rows of s c even.

Next Row. * Increase 1 st and work 8 rows even. Repeat from * twice.

Next Row. Increase 1 st and work 30 rows even. Next row. Decrease 1 st, then decrease 1 st every 9th row 3 times.
In 1942, the bigger the knitting bag the better. No undersized knitting bag/dust mop was going to defeat Hitler.
Tufting. Cut strands 2 inches long, take 24 strands for each tuft and tie about 1 inch apart around edges of both sides of bag.

Initial. Outline with a basting thread the letter desired. Cut strands 1½ inches long, take 24 strands for each tuft and place about ½ inch apart.
Tufting is natural. Tufting is good. Not everybody tufts, but everybody should.
Shoulder Cord. Ch 5, 1 s c in each ch. Next row, 1 s c in each s c. Without joining rows, repeat this row until cord measures 35 inches or is length desired.
Is length desired? Probably, but don’t crochet a long enough rope to hang yourself.

Sew gusset in position. Sew shoulder cord to each side at gusset. Make ten 5 ch loops leaving an end to sew to bag for drawstring. Sew loops starting in second row about 3 inches apart.

Drawstring. Make a ch about 26 inches long, lace through loops and finish with a knot at each end.
That’s right, no zippers. All metal was needed for the war effort. And no lining either, because our brave boys at the front need silky underwear.

Yes, that meant the knitting needles stuck out the sides of the bag. Which made it an excellent weapon for beating up Nazis.

In wartime, every little bit helps!

Click here for the printable pattern.

Read more!