Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Purple Helmet from McCall’s Needlework & Crafts, Fall-Winter 1970-1

After over 140 posts, you may have noticed that white faces dominate the not-so-competitive world of crochet and knitwear modeling. And if this blog has proven anything, it is that white pink people are intensely tacky. No doubt one day scientific research will discover the tacky gene, and it will be predominantly found in the Mayonnaise tribe.

Unfortunately, long before people of colour got anything remotely resembling equality in North America, a few of them did get to wear the same tacky knits as the people of paleness. Which just goes to show that wanting a chance to be The Man doesn’t mean wanting to wear the Man’s sorry excuse for fashion.

After all, it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what young Pam above is thinking.

“Man, I finally get my big break, and do I get to show everyone that Black is Beautiful? No! McCall’s sticks a purple helmet on my head! Don’t these honkies realize that purple helmet is slang for... well, to put it politely, the only head that men really think with? My brothers are going to make my life a living hell! Forget modeling, I’m going to get into making movies instead!”

Or words to that effect.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

MATERIALS: 3 pull pouches (2 oz. ) of heliotrope.
Heliotrope! Oh no you don’t, McCall’s. It’s way too late to try pussy-footing your way out of the delightful double entendre of purple helmet!

However, if you do prefer your purple to be more puritanical, feel free to substitute virginal violet and not-until-we’re-married mauve.
Crochet hook size J. Large-eyed needle.


CHIN STRAP AND EARLAP (make 2): With 2 strands, ch 6, Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across—5 sc. Mark first row for right side. Ch 1, turn each row. Work back and forth in sc for 4”. Inc 1 sc (to inc 1 sc, work 2 sc in the same st) each side of next row, then every other row 4 times more, end wrong side—15 sc. Cut yarn.
Joining Rnd: Ch 6 for back; with right side facing you, sc in each sc across first piece, ch 24 for front, sc in each sc across 2nd piece, join with a sl st in first ch. Ch 1, turn.

Crown: Rnd 1: Sc in each sc and ch around—60 sc. Join with a sl st in first sc. Ch 1, turn.
First, they hit us with the la-dee-da lavender shade of heliotrope, and now their instructions are hip deep in hoity-toity italics! Please, this is the crown for a purple helmet, not for royalty!
Rnd 2: Sc in each sc around; join with a sl st in first sc. Ch 1, turn each rnd. Repeat last rnd until piece measures 4” above joining rnd.
First Dec Rnd: * Sc in each of 5 sc, sk next sc, repeat from * around—50 sc. Ch 1, turn each rnd. Work 2 rnds even.
2nd Dec Rnd: * Sc in each of 4 sc, sk next sc, repeat from * around—40 sc. Work 2 rnds even. Continue to dec 10 sc every 3rd rnd, having 1 sc less between decs until 20 sc remain.
Next Rnd: * Sk next sc, sc in next sc, repeat from * around—10 sc. Pull up a lp in each sc around. Cut yarn leaving 10” end. Threat end into tapestry needle, draw lps tog: fasten securely on wrong side.
Then again, purple helmets can give one a wee bit of megalomania.

Ah, Magneto. There’s a man who knows how to handle his purple helmet.

Oh dear, I think that came out wrong.
FINISHING: From right side, with double strand, work 1 rnd sc around entire helmet. Join with sl st in first sc: do not turn.
Next Rnd: Sl st in back lp of each sc around. End off.

BUTTONS (make 2): With double strand, ch 2.
Wait, those are buttons on her chin? I thought they were cute little chelicerae, and that she was the newest member of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants, Arachnophobia!

I just outed myself as a hopeless geek, didn’t I?
Rnd 1: 6 sc in 2nd ch from hook. Join with a sl st in first sc. Ch 1, turn.
Rnd 2: Sc in each sc around. Join with a sl st in first sc. End off leaving 10” end. Thread needle: draw sts tog. Sew buttons to right strap as pictured. Pull sts apart on left strap for buttonholes.
Just remember, even if you’re wearing the world’s dorkiest purple helmet, Black is still Beautiful!

Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. I am making this hat for the second time. Last time it was for me, this time it is for my friend who wanted to steal it from me...some friend...

    A) the Buttons DO NOT fit through the material...maybe I screwed them up? maybe my crocheting was very tight before...we shall see this time.

    B)I also picked purple...bright....purple.

    --jenny, Queen of Exclamation Points of the Highest Degree

  2. not that it matters now, I'm already starting, but was there a guage for this pattern?


  3. scratch that, forgot about the measurements within the patt...


  4. Jenny! (<--note the exclamation point, I am an acolyte. ;-))

    You made one of these hats and didn't send me a picture? Tsk, tsk.

    Send me a picture, and I will write up a DIY post, and you will have eternal fame. And worshippers! Or at least minions. Every Queen needs her minions.

  5. Believe it or not, I'm about to finish my 3rd one, exclamation point x 2. Made one for myself last Feb. when I was just re-teaching myself crochet, and it gives me a headache when I wear it since I was crocheting so tightly, plus I think I didn't do the last two rnds of 20 which also would explain the condom-tip aunt said it didn't look like a condom, but I'm pretty sure she was lying. :) so I'm making myself another now that I crochet better.

    All 3 so far are done in Caron SS in Iris with various colors for the trim and chelicerae. #4 will be for my dad in maroon with a button from what was his mother's collection-now his.

    Pics to come :)

    Welcome to my ! kingdom!!!!!!!!!!!!!¡!!¡!¡

  6. Happy New Year, Jenny!

    I wait upon your Majesty's Pleasure. ;-)