Monday, November 23, 2009

Pheasant Phantasy

Pheasant Fantasy pattern from Reynold’s Instant Fashion, Vol. I, c. 1965

“But Victoria!” you protest. “How can you claim this pattern is from the mid-1960s? Look how wild and weird it is. It must be from the disco and heroin fueled 1970s!”

And I say, “Silly Reader! The seventies don’t have a monopoly on bizarre fashions. Why just look at the very first post of this blog, featuring the Jumbo Jet Set of 1968! Clearly, this Pheasant Phantasmagoria was the result of too much pot and listening to the Beatles’ Rubber Soul album -- backwards.”

Still unconvinced? Then Gentle Reader, you may be interested to learn that the 1968 Jumbo Jet Set ad included fine print advertising Volume I: Sweaters for Women (from which this very pattern was gleaned!), Volumes II and III: Dresses for Women of all Ages, and Volume IV: Sweaters for Men and Little Men. Thus conclusively placing Volume I’s publication squarely in the mid-sixties, and confirming my shrink’s diagnosis of fragile self-esteem.

Case closed!

Oh wait, I still have to transcribe the pattern? Bummer.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!)

Pheasant Fantasy
Your Pheasant Phantasy may quickly become an Un-Pheasant Nightmare if you wear this outfit during the fall/winter hunting season.

I recommend wearing it to the beach in August. Sure, you’ll roast alive, and people will rightfully assume you’re cuckoo, but at least you won’t have to worry about getting your feathers shot off.
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; #681 Plumage 9 (10 – 11) balls; #568 Versailles 5 (6 – 7) balls; #560 Versailles 5 (6 – 7) balls.
Hat: #681 Plumage 1 (1 – 1) ball; #568 Versailles 1 (1 – 1) ball; #560 Versailles 1 (1 – 1) ball.
Sadly, both the Plumage and Versailles yarns have bleeding demised. But (beautiful) Plumage was apparently a bulky weight wool yarn, while Versailles was worsted weight. So, feel free to substitute Scandal and Saucy, or any other pair of wild and wooly yarns.
Gauge: 3 sts = 3’’; 3 rows = 2’’.
Note: Throughout this sweater, collar and hat – use 2 strands of each color of each yarn.
Back: With Jumbo Jets and 6 strands of yarn, cast on 10 (20 – 22) sts. Row 1: Knit. Row 2: Purl. Row 3: Knit. Row 4: Knit (1st ridge). Row 5: Knit. Row 6: Purl. Row 7: Purl (2nd ridge). Row 8: Purl. Row 9: Knit. Continue in stockinette for 17 (18 – 18)’’ from beginning or desired length to underarms.
Six strands? Bah! That’s nothing! Try knitting with 1,000 strands at once!

Armhole: Bind off 2 (2 – 2) sts at beg of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each end of needle every 3rd row until 6 (8 – 8) sts remain. Bind off.
Fun fact: Pheasants aren’t native to North America or Europe. They were originally imported from Asia back in the eighteenth century.
Front: Work same as back to underarm.
Armhole: Bind off 2 (2 – 2) sts at beg of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each end of needle every 3rd row until 8 (10 – 10) sts remain. Bind off.

Sleeves: With 6 strands of yarn, cast on 10 (12 – 12) sts. Work 8 rows of border pattern as on front and back pieces. (Large size only – Inc 1 st each end of needle next row). Work in stockinette, increasing 1 st each end of needle every 7 rows until 17 (17 1/2 – 17 1/2)’’ from beginning or desired length to underarm.
Armhole Shaping: Bind off 2 sts at beg of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each end of needle every 3rd row until 4 (6 – 8) sts remain. Bind off firmly.
The Ultimate Pheasant Hunting website advises hunters that, “Every effort should be made to get to a downed bird as soon as possible, as it only takes a few seconds for a cripple to cross the nearest county line.”

Yep, pheasants are that smart.

However, ultimate hunters need to acknowledge that “cripple” is a pejorative term. Most pheasants prefer the more politically correct “lead enhanced”.
Collar: With 6 strands of yarn, cast on 26 (28 – 28) sts. Row 1: Knit. Row 2: Knit (1st ridge). Row 3: Knit. Row 4: Purl. Row 5: Purl (2nd ridge). Row 6: Purl. Bind off.

See how this pheasant is eyeing us? He’s just waiting for his chance to carjack an unsuspecting motorist and make a break for the border.
Hat: Using 6 strands of yarn, cast on 2 sts. Row 1: Purl; Row 2: Inc 1 st each end of needle; Row 3: Purl; Row 4: Inc 1 st each end of needle; Row 5: Purl; Row 6: Inc 1 st each end of needle; Stockinette for 7 rows. 1st Dec row: Knit 2 tog each end of needle; Row 2: Purl; Row 3: K 2 tog each end of needle; Row 4: Purl; Row 5: Bind off 4 sts. Pick up 14 sts along side of crown: Row 1: Purl; Row 2: Knit; Row 3: Purl; 1st Dec row: K 2 tog, K 4, K 2 tog, k 4, k 2 tog: Row 2: Purl; Row 3: K 2 tog, K 2, K 2 tog, K 1. Row 4: Purl; Row 5: K 2 tog, K 1, K 2 tog, K 1, K 2 tog. Row 6: Purl; Row 7: K 2 tog, K 1, K 2 tog; Row 8: Purl; Row 9: K 2 tog, K 1, bind off 2 sts. Repeat to make other side correspond.
Yes, I typed this part correctly, and just about wore out the semi-colon on my keyboard in the process. I checked three times, and then, because it still didn’t make sense, I tried making the hat myself, using 4 mm needles and a single strand of bulky yarn. If it worked, I would donate it to one of my daughter’s dolls.

This is the pattern up to the part where it says to “Pick up 14 sts along side of crown.” But where is the side of the crown? I had no clue, so I just picked a side at random.

Yes, I was still optimistic that it would all magically make sense at any moment.

This is the last part of the hat pattern right after I’ve bound off two stitches. I’m now supposed to “Repeat to make other side correspond.” But I still have a stitch left over!

Even if I made two of these things, I still have no idea how I’m supposed to attach them together to turn them into a hat. Or a bonnet. Or even a hilarious jaw sling à la Marley’s Ghost.

So I gave up.

I can only hope that a masochistic brave knitter will take on this pattern and show us all how it’s done!
Sweater Finishing: With front and back pieces inside out, sew from “bump to bump” or “notch to notch” with one strand of Versailles. Sew sleeve seams in like manner. Sew in sleeves and ease raglan shaping. Turn sweater to right side and weave sts at each side of seam together. Pull yarn snugly making seam almost disappear. Do same at sleeve and raglan seams. With #J crochet hook and 6 strands of yarn, sc around neck edge.
I dare you!
Collar: Crochet one loop at top corner and bottom corner of collar end. Crochet over cork balls and sew to upper and lower corners at other end of scarf.
I double dog dare you!
Hat: Sc with #J crochet hook and 6 strands of yarn around entire edge of hat, pulling in snugly for “cupping” effect over ears. Chain 2 lengths for bow under chin – (approximately 14’’ long). Sew to corners of bonnet. If you prefer, you may cover button with crochet and make button loops.
Wait, that’s it? What about the feathers? This pattern isn’t complete without a plethora of pheasant feathers!

Although, I’m sure this fellow won’t mind in the slightest if you decide to leave them off.

Run for the border, birdie!

Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. LOL~ Well, you dared on the skull pattern and I took it...I now have 18 skull squares done and working on the plain to go with it LOL!! Not taking this dare though....sorry LOLOL I hope someone does!! With the hat off would you have like a pheasant collar hmmmm... too funny you are :-)

  2. Yay! I can't wait to see your Skull Afghan. It's going to be spectacular, I'm sure of it.

    I think I've figured out a wee bit more of the Pheasant hat. I suspect the first part is actually meant to be the crown, and when I pick up those 14 sts, they should be evenly spaced along the side. However, I'm still positive there's a typo (or two) in there somewhere, because no matter what you do, you can't account for all the stitches.

    Unless that's where I'm supposed to attach the feathers!