Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You Bet He Is!


The Favourite pattern from Handknits for Men by Beehive for All Occasions, c. 1944.

Of course, he’s our favourite! Why just look at his manly shoulders, his manly chin, and his manly Adam’s apple. Moreover, his hat and tie indicate that he’s gainfully employed, his pipe lets us know that he reads Ernest Hemingway, and his tucked hanky assures us that he doesn’t pick his nose. He’s perfect!

Edward -- that’s what I’ve been calling him, because clearly KMB stands for his employer the Kempen & Co Merchant Bank -- Edward’s golden eyes are looking toward a bright, sparkly future, in which some lucky gal named Bella will get to snuggle in close to his Adonis-like body. She’ll run her fingertips along his perfect, blemish free cheekbones and whisper in his perfect, marble-like ears, “I can’t wait to get you out of this tacky, monogrammed vest.”

And that’s when she’ll learn the terrible truth. His name isn’t Edward Cullen, it’s Kenneth Melvin Herringbone (the Third). This monogrammed vest, with initials large enough even someone with 20/200 eyesight can read them, is the one known as “The Favourite”. Worse still, KMB also stands for kiss my butt. Doubtless, this is what Kenneth will invite Bella to do after she insults the vest handmade by his doting mother.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

The Favourite in Eight Sizes
Because favourites only come in eight sizes.
4 ply BEEHIVE FINGERING, PATONISED.

or

PATWIN 4 ply PATONIZED KNITTING WOOL WITH NYLON.

Bolding and capitalization. In 1940s, yarn choice was a serious business.
For Quantity required, see below. Two No. 11 and two No. 10 Queen Bee Knitting Needles. One Stitch Holder.

FOR THE EMBROIDERY. See desired Chart for colours and design, pages 19, 20 and 32.

Tension: 7 ½ sts. and 10 rows = 1 inch with No. 10 needles.

Check tension–see page 33.

For Washing Instructions– see page 33.
As was embroidering, checking tension and washing.

Normally, I’d give the pattern editor a hard time about all of this gratuitous bolding. But this unnamed soul had just lived through the Depression and World War II, and trauma often results in bizarre and annoying nervous tics.

Fortunately, I’m noble enough to forgive the editor his or her psychological deficiencies.

MEASUREMENTS AND QUANTITY OF WOOL REQUIRED


(A) SIZES 38, 40, 42, 44
Don’t despair, if your favourite is more plus-sized! Part (B) with the other four larger sizes will follow.
The instructions are written for size 38.
Sizes 40, 42, and 44 are written in brackets thus:—( )
Hang on, is the editor implying I have a big mouth? :-p
THE SLEEVELESS PULLOVER WITH “V” NECK
V is for Victory!
FRONT: With No. 11 needles cast on 128 sts. (40—136 sts.) (42—142 sts.) (44—148 sts.).

Work exactly as given for Back of Sleeveless Pullover, see page 13, until work measures 13 ins. from beginning, or desired length ending with purl row.
Jeez, why would they want to hide the instructions on lucky page 13? Oh well, might as well check it out – Jumping Jehosaphat!

Okay, this pattern editor was clearly off his rocker. Look at all the places the numbers barely change or don’t change at all! What was he thinking creating a chart this huge? I mean, sure, you now have the option of adding sleeves to The Favourite, but why would you want to mess with perfection?

Although. . . spies in World War II had all sorts of clever ways of hiding top secret data in ordinary looking documents. Maybe if you read the chart backwards, you’ll uncover the D-Day invasion plans.

To shape armholes: Cast off 4 sts. beginning next 6 rows. (40—Cast off 5 sts. beginning next 4 rows, 4 sts. beginning following 2 rows)
(42—Cast off 5 sts. beginning next 6 rows)
(44—Cast off 6 sts. beginning next 4 rows, 5 sts. beginning following 2 rows)

Dec. 1. st. each end of needle on next and every alternate row to 108 sts. on needle. (40—112 sts.) (42—116 sts.) (44—120 sts.) ending with purl row.
You know, as annoying as it is to insert html codes to ensure that each individual bracket is bolded while the inside content is italicized, at least I have cut and paste technology. I’m pretty sure the unlucky typesetter back in the 1940s arranged for an “unfortunate accident” to befall the pattern editor.
To shape neck: K2tog. K50. K2tog. (40—K2tog. K52. K2tog.) (42—K2tog. K54. K2tog.) (44—K2tog. K56. K2tog.) Turn. Leave remaing 54 sts. (40—56 sts.) (42—58 sts.) (44—60 sts.) on stitch holder.

Continue in Stocking st. dec. 1. st. at armhole edge every alternate row and at same time dec. 1. st. at neck edge every 4th row to 43 sts. on needle. (40—45 sts.) (42—47 sts.) (44—49 sts.)

Keeping armhole edge even, continue dec. 1. st. at neck edge every 4th row as before to 29 sts. on needle. (40—30 sts.) (42—32 sts.) (44—33 sts.)

Continue even until armhole from first shaping measures 9 ins. (40—9 ½ ins.) (42—9 ½ ins.) (44—10 ins.)

To shape shoulder: At armhole cast off 10 sts. every alternate row twice, 9 sts. once. (40—Cast off 10 sts. every alternate row 3 times) (42—Cast off 11 sts. every alternate row twice, 10 sts. once)
(40—Cast off 11 sts. every alternate row 3 times)

With right side of work facing, join wool to sts. left on st. holder and work other side to correspond.
Right now, I’m wishing I could arrange for a baseball bat to have an “unfortunate accident” with the pattern editor’s kneecaps.
BACK: See page 13.

NECKBAND: Work exactly as given for Neckband of (A) Pullover with Sleeves and “V” Neck, see left column. Sew right shoulder seam.
See left column? But that smacks of communism!

Oh, right, Uncle Joe was one of the good guys in WWII. Silly me. Here’s what the lovely lefties had to say:

Sew left shoulder seam. Slip sts. from st. holder at back of neck onto No. 11 needle. With right side of work facing join wool and with No. 11 needles knit these sts. Pick up and knit 56 sts. (40—58 sts.) (42—60 sts.) (44—62 sts.) along left side of neck. Pick up and knit 1. st. at centre front of neck. Pick up and knit 56 sts. (40—58 sts.) (42—60 sts.) (44—62 sts.) along right side of neck.

★ ★1st row: K2. ★P1. K1. Repeat from ★ to last st. K1.
2nd row: ★K1, P1. Repeat from ★ to 5 sts. at centre front of neck. P2tog. K1. P2tog. Rib to end of row.
3rd row:K1. ★K1. P1. Repeat from ★ to 5 sts. at centre front of neck. K2tog. P1. K2tog. Rib to end of row.
Repeat 2nd and 3rd row 3 times. Cast off loosely in ribbing.★ ★
Now, before I return to the annoying pattern already in progress, I need to contemplate these five pointed communist stars. Specifically the double ★ ★’s which have no explanation as yet.

For now, I’m just going to chalk it up to Stalin’s overenthusiastic cult of personality.

ARMBANDS: See page 13.

For Make Up and Embroidery, see page 13.
Then page 13 sends you off to page 32 to do the embroidery. Because why would you want simple and straightforward at this point?

You know what, I don’t care what this vest is called. It is so not my favourite anymore.

I usually encourage stick-to-it-ness, but I don’t blame whoever gave up on the duplicate stitching above. It looks awful.

Oh, and the chart that’s referenced above was hiding out on page 20:

Honestly, when I first saw The Favourite I thought whoever did the monogramming decided to just wing it. I’m disturbed that someone actually planned ahead and wanted the initials to look the way they do.

I’m also reminded of the old WWII joke about Allied soldiers writing home to their moms and aunties, suggesting that if they really want to support the troops, they should knit socks for the other side.

Still, we’re finally done! Right?
(B) Sizes 46, 48, 50 and 52
AUUUUUGGGGGHHHH!
The instructions are written for size 46. Sizes 48, 50 and 52 are written in brackets thus:—( )
In the 1940s, emoticons, like women, applied lipstick with a heavy hand. :-*
FRONT: With No. 11 needles cast on 154 sts. (48—160 sts.) (50—166 sts.) (52—172 sts.).

Work exactly as given for Back of Sleeveless Pullover, see page 13, until work measures 13 ins. from beginning, or desired length ending with purl row.
See scanned picture of page 13 provided above. Or take my word for it and bail out of this pattern now!
To shape armholes: Cast off 4 sts. beginning next 6 rows. (48—Cast off 6 sts. beginning next 2 rows, 5 sts. beginning following 4 rows)
(50—Cast off 6 sts. beginning next 4 rows, 5 sts. beginning following 2 rows)
(52—Cast off 6 sts. beginning next 6 rows)

Dec. 1. st. each end of needle on next and every alternate row to 124 sts. on needle. (48—128 sts.) (50—132 sts.) (52—136 sts.) ending with purl row.
I’m pretty sure the Geneva Conventions forbade forcing prisoners of war to knit this pattern. So, why oh why, did the pattern designer and editor inflict it upon their own people?
To shape neck: K2tog. K58. K2tog. (48—K2tog. K60. K2tog.) (50—K2tog. K62. K2tog.) (52—K2tog. K64. K2tog.) Turn. Leave remaing 62 sts. (48—64 sts.) (50—66 sts.) (52—68 sts.) on stitch holder.

Continue in Stocking st. dec. 1. st. at armhole edge every alternate row and at same time dec. 1. st. at neck edge every 4th row to 50 sts. on needle. (48—50 sts.) (50—51 sts.) (52—51 sts.)

Keeping armhole edge even, continue dec. 1. st. at neck edge every 4th row as before to 33 sts. on needle. (48—34 sts.) (50—34 sts.) (52—35 sts.)

Continue even until armhole from first shaping measures 10 ins. (48—10 ½ ins.) (50—10 ½ ins.) (52—11 ins.)

To shape shoulder: At armhole cast off 11 sts. every alternate row 3 times. (48—Cast off 12 sts. every alternate row once, 11 sts. twice) (50—as 48)
(52—Cast off 12 sts. every alternate row twice, 11 sts. once)

With right side of work facing, join wool to sts. left on st. holder and work other side to correspond.
Unless . . . the designer and pattern editor were Jerry spies! Ah ha, it makes perfect sense!
BACK: See page 13.

NECKBAND: Work exactly as given for Neckband of (B) Pullover with Sleeves and “V” Neck, see left column. Sew right shoulder seam.
Sew left shoulder seam. Slip sts. from st. holder at back of neck onto No. 11 needle. With right side of work facing join wool and with No. 11 needles knit these sts. Pick up and knit 64 sts. (48—66 sts.) (50—66 sts.) (52—68 sts.) along left side of neck. Pick up and knit 1. st. at centre front of neck. Pick up and knit 64 sts. (48—66 sts.) (50—66 sts.) (52—68 sts.) along right side of neck.

Work from ★ ★ to ★ ★ as given for Neckband of (A) Pullover with Sleeves and “V” Neck, see page 3.
Hey, the mystery of the double stars is now solved! Boy, that sounds like the title of a Nancy Drew book.
★ ★1st row: K2. ★P1. K1. Repeat from ★ to last st. K1.
2nd row: ★K1, P1. Repeat from ★ to 5 sts. at centre front of neck. P2tog. K1. P2tog. Rib to end of row.
3rd row:K1. ★K1. P1. Repeat from ★ to 5 sts. at centre front of neck. K2tog. P1. K2tog. Rib to end of row.
Repeat 2nd and 3rd row 3 times. Cast off loosely in ribbing.★ ★
But I’m not going to be distracted from my theory that this knitting pattern was an enemy plot to destroy morale on the home front!
ARMBANDS: See page 13.

For Make up and Embroidery, see page 13.
Actually, see the (A) section above and follow the diabolical path from page 13 to 32 to 20, until you’re too confused to notice that The Favourite is a Nazi spy! I mean, look at him. No red-blooded Brit, Canuck or American would have such clean, manicured nails!

*dragged off hysterically accusing Beehive of being a front for the Axis powers.*

Handmade by Mother sincerely apologizes to the Germans, Russians, British, Americans and Canadians, and anyone else who might have been offended by this blog mentioning the war.

Click here for the printable pattern.

2 comments:

  1. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right. ;-)

    ReplyDelete