Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Spiderwoman, Spiderwoman...

Sweater Pattern from "Newlands' - Original Designs by Kerry Kane" Vol 7, Book 12, 1948

...does whatever a spider can. Which in 1948 meant knitting! But not any old kind of knitting. Spiderwoman, AKA mild-mannered Jessica Drew, was all about the newfangled “graph knitting”. This sweater girl’s web won’t just catch thieves, it’ll catch all the young men’s hearts.

Despite Marvel’s attempts to cover up the real story, Jessica did not spend decades in a stasis chamber after her fortuitous uranium poisoning. Instead she spent several years crashing college socials, netting vulnerable lettermen in her seductive sweater web.

After an unfortunate incident involving a telephone booth cram, seventy-five nubile young men, and her super strength, Jessica was arrested by then CIA agent Nick Fury and imprisoned in a secret maximum security facility for super-hussies.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

As this recent photo by Frank Cho proves, she spent the next several decades honing her knitting abilities, before finally escaping. Sadly, the pattern for this sexy costume is still classified by S.H.I.E.L.D. But thanks to the Freedom of Information Act, the Retro Spiderwoman outfit is now available to everyone.

“It’s Five O’Clock” Dressy Wool Sweater

Five o’clock AKA the cocktail hour. You can’t just get sloshed in any old frumpy sweater. So, release your inner spider woman, get out to the lounge and snag yourself a piano man!
Size 34
Apparently uranium poisoning makes you rail thin. Who knew?
Materials Required

6 oz Newlands Adalusian *Kroy Baby Yarn or 3 ply Dawn Glo Yarn
No. 10 needles
2 packages gold sequins
The asterisk above takes us to a note on the bottom of the next page. “Buy *KROY and be SURE” That next asterisk takes us to even tinier letters, which inform us that Kroy is a registered trademark. I was disappointed that there were no more asterisks to be found, explaining just how SURE we need to be.
Tension: 8 sts – 1 inch. 10 rows – 1 inch.
Yep, you’d better possess superspeed if you want to finish this one before you go insane.
Using Seed Stitch and basic graph outline work to underarm making sweater 4’’ longer than stated on graph.
Because for God’s sakes they couldn’t give you an accurate graph. This is still new technology, people!
At underarm decrease 6 sts in 2 rows (4-2).
If anyone understands what 4-2 means in this context, please post! Inquiring minds want to know.
From underarm to shoulder continue in seed st without increasings.
Good grammar! Clear instructions! A Jedi craves not these things!”
Sleeves: Cast on 90sts (32-34 size) 98 sts (36-38 size). Work in seed st for 1 3/4”. Decrease 1 st each side every other row 24 times then decrease 1 st each side every row 13 times. Bind off remaining sts.

Sew sequins directly on sweater in SPIDER design as illustrated.
And that’s it.

What? You were expecting more? C’mon, superheroines don’t need their hands held.

And besides, they’ve got years to kill while they’re serving their time in the big house.

Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. Aha -- apparently there were two sizes (clue in sleeve instructions--32-34 and 36-38). Now the underarm dec becomes clear(?), being 6 st in 2 rows for 32-34 and 4 in 2 for 36-38. Yes, it would take years to knit this nevermind applying the design in sequins (and the spiderweb still in style 60 yrs later).

  2. Thank you so much for your detective work. That makes perfect sense!

    And while it would have been helpful to have the multiple size options listed somewhere near the beginning of the pattern, it's not surprising they left it out. Right along with any kind of instruction for sewing the garment together, and how to attach the sequins securely under your arm, so they don't fall off in the middle of cocktails... ;-)

  3. Your comments on these various patterns/ads just make me laugh right out loud. I look forward to MORE.

  4. Your wish is my command. Happy Father's Day!

  5. By chance I just bought this booklet at a thrift store this weekend. I love the spider sweater! But maybe not on size 3 needles.
    Great blog!

  6. To be honest, I think the Spider Sweater could be made using any old sweater pattern (or new!). All you have to do is sew a sequined web on the shoulder and you're good to go.

    After all, it's not like the pattern gives you much guidance.

    I'm glad you're enjoying my blog!

  7. Okay... you had me at 8 sts/in, was it REALLY NECESSARY to make it SEED STITCH TOO???

    1. Yes, yes it was. If it doesn't take a year to make, it's clearly not worth the effort.

  8. Thanks for sharing this pattern AND your snarky comments. yu saved me the energy of making up my own :)

    1. You're very welcome, Tracey!

      With your leftover energy, you can now make the sweater. ;)