Monday, January 25, 2010

Daughter of Sno-Mask Man!

Girl’s Face Mask from McCall’s Needlework & Crafts, Fall-Winter, 1965-66

Remember our frostbitten bank robber, and his delinquent son, Junior? Well, little sister Susie wants to prove that wintertime crime sprees aren’t just a masculine pursuit. Girls can be bank robbers too!

That’s right, Susie is not only honoring her family tradition of hideous sno-masks, she’s also striking a blow for feminism. All the while retaining her inherent femininity with her pompon ponytails. You go girl!

At least, I hope that’s Susie inside that mask. It’s either her or Junior’s grandmother really, really wanted a granddaughter.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

GIRL’S FACE MASK is knitted around, has no seams. Warms neck as well as head. Fringed yarn bangs and pompon “hair” are amusing. Made of knitting worsted, 4-8
The question is who’s going to find the yarn bangs and pompom “hair” amusing? Probably not the child inside the mask, though I’m sure the neighbourhood bullies had a good laugh. Right before they stuffed the unfortunate child into a snowball and sent her rolling down the hill.

Even the snow monkeys showed her no mercy!

SIZE: Fits 4-8 yr. old.

MATERIALS: Girls’ Mask: Knitting worsted, 2 ozs. blue (B), 2 ozs. light pink (LP), 1 oz. yellow (Y). One yarn 1’’ satin or velvet ribbon to match. Set of 10’’ dp needles No. 6. (Or English size 7.) Steel crochet hook No. 00. Tapestry needle.

GAUGE: 9 sts = 2’’; 6 rnds = 1’’ (stockinette st). See page 22, “You Must Be Sure to Check Your Gauge.”

You MUST check your gauge. Otherwise your child’s mask will be too loose or too tight. And then you couldn’t force her to wear it, and where’s the fun in that?
MASK: With B, loosely cast on 98 sts; divide evenly on 3 needles. Join, being careful not to twist sts. Mark end of rnd. Work in k 1, p 1 ribbing for 2 1/2’’.

First Dec Rnd: K 1, p 1 for 9 sts, * p 2 tog, k 2 tog, work in ribbing for 10 sts, repeat from * around, end p 2 tog, k 2 tog, p 1 – 84 sts. Continue in ribbing as established for 2’’.

2nd Dec Rnd: * K 5, k 2 tog, repeat from * around – 72 sts. Break off B, join LP. Work even in stockinette st (k each rnd) for 4 rnds.

Back Inc Rnd: Inc 1 st (to inc 1 st, pick up horizontal strand between st just knitted and next st, place it on left-hand needle, k 1 st in back of this strand), k to last 2 sts of rnd, inc 1 st as before, k 2 – 74 sts. K 4 rnds even, repeat back inc rnd – 76 sts.

Shape Mouth: Rnd 1: K 33 sts, bind off 10 sts, k to end of rnd – 66 sts.

Rnd 2: K to bound-off sts, cast on 15 sts, mark 8th cast-on st for center st, k to end of rnd – 81 sts.

Rnd 3: K to 1 st before marked st, sl 1, k 2 tog, psso, mark last st on right-hand needle, k to end – 79 sts.

Rnd 4: Repeat back inc rnd – 81 sts.

Rnd 5: Repeat rnd 3 – 79 sts. K 1 rnd.

Rnd 7: K to marked st, sl marked st, k 1, psso, remove marker, k to end – 78 sts.

Rnd 8: Repeat back inc rnd – 80 sts.

Of course, as with any one-size-fits-4-8 years design, there’s a very good chance it won’t fit anyway.
Shape Eyes: Rnd 1: K 30 sts, bind off 20 sts, k to end – 60 sts.

Rnd 2: K to bound-off sts, cast on 20 sts, k to end – 80 sts. K 2 rnds even, repeat back inc rnd, k 4 rnds even, repeat back inc rnd – 84 sts.

Work even in LP until piece measures 5 1/2’’ above ribbing when mask is measured at side of face. Break off LP, join Y. K 29, p 26, k 29. Next Rnd: K around. Work even in Y until piece measures 6’’ above ribbing.

Shape Top: * Sl 1, k 1, pssp, k 10, repeat from * around. Continue to dec 7 sts every other rnd in same way having 1 st less between decs after each dec rnd 4 times more, then dec same way every rnd until 7 sts remain. Break yarn, leaving 12’’ end. Draw end through remaining sts, fasten securely on wrong side.
I recommend only tackling this pattern if you have multiple children in the four to eight age range. That way if the mask doesn’t fit Susie, it might still fit Junior.

Trust me, he won’t be at all traumatized by being a Boy Named Sue!
FINISHING: From right side, with B, work 1 row sc around edge of mouth and eyes. With B, make a 1’’ chain, sc in single strand at back of each ch; sew between eyes as shown. With B, using duplicate st, embroider line at center of nose strip, covering nose decs; embroider line each side of center.

Steam press mask.

POMPONS (make 2): Wind y around 1 1/2’’ piece of cardboard 70 times. Tie one end, cut other end; trim. Cut ribbon in half. Make 2 bows. Attach pompon securely to each bow. Sew bows to side of head, slightly below eyes.

FRINGE: Wind Y around a 3’’ piece of cardboard about 55 times. Cut one end. Fold 2 strands in half. With crochet hook, draw folded lp through first p st on forehead, pull strands through lp. Repeat in every p st on forehead. Trim.
The important thing isn’t which child wears this face mask, it’s that you ensure all of your children wear unique, easy-to-spot masks.

Otherwise their snowsuits may afford your little darlings a dangerous sense of anonymity, leading them to believe that they can get away with anything. Shoplifting Silly Putty, Beatrix Potter plagiarism, and even murdering Mr. Potato Head!

By God, they’re coming right for us!

Click here for the printable post.


  1. Totally hideous! And a bald pink noggin at the back.

    I hope little Susie asked for big money before posing for this.

  2. Well, I am not sure what to say to that! I live in Colorado (ski land) and I can't imagine anyone or anyone making their child wear that.... now or back then!...OK I forgot you know about my "unique" son LOL~ Maybe one or two would LOL~

  3. Given the sheer number of awful face mask patterns I've found - and in a wide variety of publications, too! - I have to assume that people actually thought these things were cool back in the sixties.

    It boggles the mind. But I'm holding out hope that someday I will run into someone who will say, "Oh, I remember wearing those!" and then they will be able to explain what on earth people were thinking.

  4. oh my......that is truly the most hideous thing i have ever seen....
    I just showed my 8 yr old and with a straight face told her I was gonna make her one....the look of terror on her face! Poor girl she started to cry so I had to tell her I was joking.

  5. Gosh, I'm making little girls cry! Oh well, it's not the first time.

    I think it's the prerogative of all mothers to torture their children with threats of hideous handknits. ;-)

  6. I do remember having to wear masks...for snowmobiling. I grew up in Michigan, and its flat and windy! Bitter cold face was to be avoided at all costs. That being said...::shudder:: no, I did *not* have these kinds of masks!!

  7. Nilliem - I think only the most extremely bored moms ever made them. Either that or they hated their children.

    That's so cool, though! You were riding snowmobiles in rural Michigan while I was trying not to get run over by snowmobiles in rural Petawawa.

  8. Hehe....dodging sleds, what a fun pastime!! :)

  9. I can't wait to make this. It's incredible. I really like your blog. Magdalena,

  10. Magdelena: Did you make the mask? Did you? Did you? I'd LOVE to write up a DIY for you, if you send me pictures at victoriadunnwrites at hotmail.