Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!

Tiger Tunic Pattern from McCall’s Needlework & Crafts, Fall-Winter 1963-64

Now, that’s a tiger! Not at all like a certain counterfeit kitty we’ve seen recently.

It’s the winter of 1963 and Canadian women are taking the Birth Control Pill, while Title VII is just around the corner for American women. Women’s Liberation hasn’t quite arrived yet, but there are definitely stealthy movements in the underbrush.


For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Fantastic tiger tunic, in three subtle shades of mohair; see it in color on the cover. Knit facings retain shape of neck, armholes, hems. Sizes 10-16.
I’m not sure “subtle” is the right word to use for this garment.

SIZES: Directions for size 10-12. Changes for sizes 14-16 are in parentheses.
Body Bust Size: 31’’-32’’ (34’’-36’’)
Blocked Bust Size: 37’’ (40’’).

MATERIALS: Mohair, 5 (7) 40-gram balls gold (G), 4 (5) balls each rust (R) and brown (B). Knitting needles No. 9. (Or English size 4.) 1 1/2 grosgrain ribbon, 1 1/4 yards gold. Gold and rust sewing threads. Stitch holder.

GAUGE: 4 sts = 1’’; 9 rows = 2’’ (stockinette st, pieces stretched slightly to length).

Length note: Tunic is planned for 36’’ (37’’) length from socket bone at back of neck to hemline. For longer or shorter tunic, add or subtract required number of inches before armhole shapings.
Go shorter! Go shorter! Who wants to be subtle when you’re wearing a gold, rust and brown Tiger Tunic? Besides, you can always wear shorts underneath it like Supergirl.
Pattern Notes: Always change colors on wrong side, picking up new strand from under dropped strand. Carry unused color loosely across back of work. When carrying color for more than 5 sts, twist colors every 3 or 4 sts.

BACK: With G, cast on 25 (28) sts; with R, cast on 34 sts; with another ball of G, cast on 25 (28) sts – 84 (90) sts. P these sts as follows: With G, p 25 (28) sts; pick up R from under G strand; with R, p 34 sts; Pick up G from under R strand; with G, p to end of row.

Doesn’t that look like a fun chart? I’m sure you won’t have any trouble counting stitches in mohair. And your yarn’s so not going to get tangled into Gordian knots either.

Why? Because you are Tiger Woman, and you refuse to be intimidated by a fuzzy little goat.

Row 1 (right side): Following row 1 of chart from right to left, join B, k 2 (5) B, k 15 G (twist B strand around G strand every 3 or 4 sts); k 6 B, k 2 G; drop G, pick up R from under G strand, k 3 R; k 10 B (twist R strand around B strand every 3 or 4 sts); k 6 R, k 2 B, k 3 R, k 5 B, k 5 R; drop R, pick up G from under R strand, k 7 G (twist B strand around G strand every 3 or 4 sts); k 8 B, k 6 G, k 1 B, k 3 (6) G.
I’m feeling completely patronized right now. Why couldn’t the editor have just written: “Follow chart from right to left, changing background color as indicated, and twisting unused strands around working color every 3 or 4 sts”?

Grrr... I bet that pattern editor was a man.
Row 2 (wrong side): Following row 2 of chart from left to right, p all sts, work in pattern, keeping background sts each side of dark lines in separate balls of G, center background sts inside dark lines in R. Carry B across complete width of work.

Continue to work in stockinette st (k 1 row, p 1 row) to top of chart, dec 1 st each side on rows 33, 41, 49, 57 and 65, as shown on chart – 74 (80) sts. Work even, repeating chart from bottom (cross off 5 sts each side of chart) until work measures 26’’ or desired length to underarm.
Need another reason to go shorter?

You won’t trip over your skirt when you pummel the boys into submission for thinking that you couldn’t interpret a chart!
Shape armholes: Bind off 3 (4) sts at beg of next 2 rows, dec 1 st each side every other row 3 times – 62 (66) sts. Work even, repeating chart from bottom until armholes measure 3’’ (3 1/2’’) above first bound-off sts: Inc 1 st each side on next row, then every 2’’ twice more – 68 (72) sts. Work even until armholes measure 8’’ (8 1/2’’).

Shape shoulders: Bind off 6 sts each arm side twice, 6 (7) sts once – 32 (34) sts for back of neck. Break off G each side.

Next Row (right side): P across for turning ridge, working sts in same color as row below. Break off B.

Back Neck Facing: With R, beg with p row, inc 1 st each side on next row, then every other row twice, work in stockinette st. Bind off 38 (40) sts loosely.
Well, okay. It’s only 1963 and that Superheroine Team won’t come into existence until 1969. Oh well, in the meantime, a Tiger Woman can always focus on her other career opportunities

Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me! I’m moving to South America. My career prospects are better in the jungle!
FRONT: Work as for back to armhole shaping.

Shape Armholes: Bind off 4 sts at beg of next 2 rows, dec 1 st each side every other row 3 (4) times – 60 (64) sts. Work even until armholes measure 4’’ above first bound-off sts, inc 1 st each side on next row. Work even for 2’’, end p side.

Shape Neck and Shoulders: Inc 1 st at arm side, work across next 20 (22) sts; place these 22 (24) sts on a holder. Bind off center 20 sts, work across next 20 (22) sts, inc 1 st in last st – 22 (24) sts each side. Working on right front sts only, work in pattern, dec 1 st at neck edge every other row 4 (5) times; at same time, when armhole measures 8’’ (8 1/2’’) above first bound-off sts, bind off 6 sts at beg of arm side twice, 6 (7) sts once.

Place sts from holder on needle; join R and B at neck edge, complete left front neck and shoulder to correspond.

Bias Front Neck Facing: With R, cast on 6 sts. Row 1 (wrong side): Purl. Row 2 (right side): K 2 tog, k 3, inc 1 st in last st. Repeat these two rows until inc edge is long enough (stretched) to fit around front neck edge, end k row.
Bias? Did someone say bias? Oh, they mean a line going diagonally across the grain of the fabric, not the sexism inherent in the repressive patriarchal system!

Ahem. Pardon me while I go knit something feminist. Like say, a tank cozy.
Next Row: Bind off 1 st at beg of row, p across. Next Row: K all sts. Repeat these 2 rows until all sts are bound off.

Bias Armhole Facings (make 2): With G, cast on 6 sts. Work as for front neck facing until inc edge is long enough (stretched) to fit around armhole, end k row. Complete as for front neck facing.

Hems (make 2): With G cast on 82 (88) sts. Work in stockinette st for 1 1/4’’. Bind off.
So, you’ve got no career and you’re stuck in the suburbs with a pack of wild animals... er, adorable children. At least you’ll have an awesome outfit to wear to the 1968 Miss America Protest AKA the Big Ol’ Bra Not-Actually-Burning Bash.
FINISHING: Block front and back, stretching pieces slightly in length. Steam-press hems. Steam-press bias facings, stretching in length. Using sewing threads for all finishing, sew shoulder seams with backstitch; sew side seams with backstitch leaving sides open for 9’’ from lower edge. Face open edges at sides with grosgrain ribbon, turning back 1 or 2 sts (seam allowance) over ribbon facings. Place cast-on edge of hems flat against cast-on edge of back and front, wrong sides tog; whip hems to lower edge. Sew top edge of hems in place. Weave side edges of hems to side edges of tunic. Turn back neck facing to inside, hem in place. Turn under 1/4’’ around front neckline. Pin inc edge of facing to neck edge, wrong sides tog, sew in place around neck edge. Sew lower edge of facing in place. Sew front and back neck facings tog at shoulder seams. Sew armhole facings to armholes in same way, joining ends at underarms.
And while you wait for liberation, you can passive-aggressively use old TV dinner trays to make “Handmade by Mother” Halloween costumes for the entire family.

Click here for the printable pattern.

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