Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wow - Army Strong knits!

If anyone is still under the illusion that knitting is only for little old ladies, Staff Sergeant John Sorich is here to prove that they’re sadly mistaken.

Just look at all these rough and tough American soldiers knitting in Baghdad, Iraq!

Sergeant Sorich is on the far right, closest to the camera. Last February 18th, he wrote to me: “There ended up being ten of us that knit in our group. Our group was also given a very masculine and Army name... ‘Knit Shit.’ Sorry for the language but the name stuck. Ha ha.”

Who cares about the language? I think it’s awesome! Especially as these knitters not only kick butt, they’re doing it with vintage patterns!

To find out how all this coolness came about (plus WWII patterns!):

According to Sergeant Sorich, “It all began with me throwing some knitting supplies in a footlocker before heading to Iraq in January 2009. I had also thrown my favorite knit hat in with it (the Knit for Defense Cap). For months and months, I had no time (or desire) to knit. The regular 120+ degree heat and daily work were enough to drive a person insane.”

“Around last October, a fellow Sergeant in my Platoon saw my knit watch cap and asked about it. "I made it." was my response. He couldn't believe it (seeing how the pattern of the hat is such a tight knit). "Could you teach me?" is where it started. As word spread and my cap was shown around, I didn't expect the kind of enthusiasm it would bring.”

“Among the most interested were the Platoon's male Sergeants and Staff Sergeants (key leaders). So we were able to get knitting supplies sent to us and we began to knit together outside as the weather improved. Around November, our group was in full scale production making scarves and hats. Many made items for their kids or their spouse in time for Christmas.”
I think that’s the perfect way to show your family that they’re still in your thoughts, even though you’re far away.
“At first, our Platoon Sergeant (our boss), and many Soldiers in our Company thought it was a little strange.”

Here’s a picture of their Platoon Sergeant looking very bemused, indeed.
“However, after seeing the items that were being knit, everyone was supportive and wanted to see our completed items. Knitting wasn't just a productive thing for us to do, it gave everyone involved a totally different skill to be proud of. As people finished their project, they proudly brought it around to other knitters and non-knitters and showed off their work. It has done more than you think, it has been a great stress reliever!”

“Today is our last day in Iraq! So I am writing this while packing my last bit of stuff. My most precious items I am bringing home are my knit caps I made for my friends (ten of them). Total stitches of all ten hats is about 62,000 sts.”
Sergeant Sorich is a member of the 401st Bridge Engineer Company, US Army Reserve. Not that I’m implying Engineers are obsessed with numbers.

Hey, let’s look at some more pictures!

“Though frustrated, Sergeant Voigt is able to laugh at himself getting tangled in his own yarn while he is still learning to knit the cap.”

“Another practical reason for learning to knit. I knit together parachute cord (550 cord) to make a M4 magazine pouch. (This I got many compliments on and people wanting me to make them one).”

“A closer look at the pouch. It was difficult to knit with the paracord because it was so thick...I ended up using pencils to get the stitches to looks and feel right. I knitted a flat square, then stretched it around a 30 round magazine and sewed up the sides. I attached a button on a single loop release to hold in the mag.”
This very practical magazine cozy can also be unraveled into a single long rope, which is useful if you get lost in the desert.

As opposed to this whole-rifle cozy, which I stumbled over while randomly clicking around on the Internet:

At least, I think there’s a rifle under there somewhere.

Let’s return to the Sergeant Sorich’s far more pragmatic and well made knits:

“As you can see I have knit from the same color of yarn for all the WWII items. I am also a part of the Historical Reenactment Society in Minnesota at historic Fort Snelling. I picked up knitting as a way to make period correct garments. I now have a great deal of respect and pride in the mothers, grandmothers, children, and men that knit during the wars for the fighting military men. It is amazing to think of an entire nation of knitters all striving to outfit the millions of troops in the US armed forces during such dire times.”

“I matched this color of yarn off an original US WWII glove that was knit by the Red Cross. The yarn is great to work with; it's Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers color #9459. It is the best and closest color I have found to work with and I think it is about the same size and weight of what was used in the 40s. The pictures don't give the exact color correctly, it's a mix of greenish, olive, brown, something??”

“Like I said, the cap is what has been the most popular thing to make, wear and give away here. It is not Army regulations anymore but it is nice to wear in your civilian life...or if you are a WWII re-enactor ;) I didn't see that pattern up on your site, I'm sure your readers would find that to be a fun and sharp looking item to make.”

Staff Sergeant John Sorich IV
401st Bridge Engineer Company
US Army Reserve
He’s right! But these patterns are much too cool to mock, so I’ll just include a link to printable patterns for the hat and socks at the end of this post.

Go! Knit!

But before you do, there’s one quick request from Sergeant Sorich:
“I am also looking for help! I am currently trying to find WWII British Military patterns and pictures of knit items. I know very little about the ‘Knit for Britain’ program that was launched during WWII to outfit British troops. I'd like to find some patterns and info on that....if you know of any it would be very appreciated!”
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to help him. But if anyone here knows anything, please e-mail me and I’ll forward your letter to Sergeant Sorich.

After all, soldiers love getting mail from knitters!

Most of the time!

Click here for the printable Cap pattern.

Click here for the printable Spiral Sock pattern.

Read more!

Friday, February 26, 2010

DIY – Happy Mawlid!

In celebration of Mawlid, the Prophet’s Birthday, Faithful Reader (and Master Crocheter!) Hind of Alexandria Egypt has sent us a charming little tale.

It all starts with a suave, blue Jinni, sitting among the branches of a tree, enjoying the warm afternoon sun.

Read on to discover which vintage pattern inspired this Jinni!

Believe it or not, our blue Jinni began with this hideous, Halloween Curtain Pull!
Hind writes, “As I always like to use patterns from the blog – or parts of them – I used the pattern of the little demon curtain pull. I added legs wearing wide trousers instead of the tail, and a more handsome face...”
Extraordinarily handsome! I’m in awe of Hind’s embroidery skills.
“...with his ears in their right place. As he has no hands in the pattern, I made him look as if he is putting them in his pockets. His complexion is blue, because there is a common Egyptian expression, which is said when some task is very difficult: "Not even the blue Jinn can do this!" That gave me the idea of making him blue, but I had not the heart to make him ridiculous or ugly. Jinn have their pride; in fact they are very proud and are easily offended. That is how the folk tales, like 1001 Nights, represent them.”

But what’s this? It seems our Jinni has just spotted a bewildered gingerbread tourist holding the map of Egypt.

Oh my goodness, just look at this Gingy’s sweet smile! And his wee pink camera! And his tiny little thumbs! He’s so adorable I’m going to run out of exclamation points soon!

If you squint, you can see a vague family resemblance to the original Gingerbread Man:

Hind’s Gingerbread Man is clearly the handsome one in his family.
“The gingerbread tourist is asking if anybody can tell him where to find one of his far relatives. She’s called the sugar doll, and while he’s never met her in person, he has seen her once on an Egyptian post stamp. (He is sure that they are relatives because they both have sugar among their ingredients).”

“The jinni tells him that he is lucky, because he came at the right time to find a sugar doll, as today is "Mawlid al Nabii".”
Sugar dolls are a traditional treat at Mawlid, along with sugar horses for little boys. Here’s a picture of an Egyptian Mawlid celebration. Looks like lots of fun!

“The Jinni offers to take Gingerbread Man to meet her, and brings him a horse to ride. On their way they get a basket full of flowers for her.”

Clearly, Gingerbread Man is a perfect gentleman, who wouldn’t dream of going to meet his hostess, the sugar doll, with empty hands. Hind crocheted this little basket full of flowers using the towel basket pattern as inspiration.

And if you think all three of these DIYs are amazing, just wait until you see the next one!

“The Sugar Doll welcomes her guest and offers him hummus and sweets, made of coconuts, peanuts, chick peas and sesame seeds, all mixed with sugar caramel.”
But, of course, Gingy couldn’t eat them right away, because he was so stunned by her beauty he fell off his horse and had to be revived with coffee. And who can blame him?

Hind used part of a breastplate pattern for the two small fans, and last year’s Kwanzaa motif for the bigger fan behind her head. Apparently real sugar dolls always have a bright coloured piece of crepe-paper tied to their backs to hide the fan's handle. So Hind made something like this with red yarn, using the net stitch from “Fifty ways to net a lover”.

“Before leaving, Gingerbread Man gets a sack full of hummus, and a silver "Khamsa we Khmeesa" to protect him from any envious person who may look at him with an evil eye. (The jinni is wearing a golden Khamsa brooch.)”
I think the Sugar Doll looks a little sad to see Gingerbread Man leaving so soon. He’ll have to visit Egypt again, some time soon!

“And finally, here’s the jinni sitting in the midst of hummus, with a cup of coffee on his lap.”
I think Hind deserves a cup of coffee and a plate of sweets, as well! She’s created a gorgeous set of characters, out of a very sketchy collection of patterns.

Kudos as well to Mona, Wa’ad and Heba for the beautiful photography and set design, and a happy Mawlid to all!

Read more!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Daisies to You!

African Daisy Purse from Crochet Purse Appeal, 1977

Finally, I’ve found a Black History Month pattern that isn’t racist! See? It’s just a purse! A nice, inoffensive purse. Sure, it’s not so much “almost casual to quite dressy” as it is almost depressing and quite ugly, but hey! The point is that there’s absolutely, positively no way this pattern could be rac...

Hang on, what’s that in the background?

Is that a plantation house?

Oh, dear God. I give up!

For the complete pattern (and some botanical information!):

African Daisy
Approx. size 12’’ x 10’’ (plus handles)

100 yds. 3 ply #72 dk. brn. polypropylene (Satin Sheen Cord by Weaveasy color Sable was used.)
65 yds. 3 ply #72 gold polypropylene (Satin Sheen by Weaveasy, color Inca Gold was used.)
8’’ long wooden Rods and Knobs purse handles (sample used Demis #1108)
#13 Wooden Crochet Hook

Real African Daisies come in a variety of attractive colours, none of which are “Inca Gold” (AKA Dismal Blonde) or “Sable” (AKA “Pretentious Greenish-Black”).
Chain 28 sts. (sable)
Rows 1, 3 & 5: With sable dc 1 st., * with gold dc 2 sts., with sable dc 2 sts., repeat from *. End row by changing to gold, chain 3. Turn. (Row 5 – do not change color at end of row, end with chain 3.)
Rows 2 & 4: With gold dc 1 st., * with sable dc 2 st, with gold dc 2 st. Repeat from *. End row by changing to sable. Chain 3. Turn.
Row 6: Skipping first 2 sts, dc 2 (sable), * with gold dc 2, with sable dc 2, repeat from *, ending with chain 3 (do not change color). Turn. (24 sts)
Row 7: Skipping first 2 sts, dc 2 (gold), * with sable dc 2, with gold dc 2, repeat from *, ending with chain 3 (Do not change color). Turn. (22 sts)
Row 8: Skipping first 2 sts, dc 2 (gold), * with sable dc 2, with gold dc 2, repeat from *, ending with chain 3 (do not change color). Turn. (20 sts)
Note: The pattern thus far leads me to believe that Row 8 should be a repeat of row 6, not row 7. Proceed at your own risk.

Handmade by Mother accepts no liability for any handbag havoc that may result from a slavish adherence to the pattern as written.
Row 9: Skipping first 2 sts, dc 2 (gold), * with sable dc 2, with gold dc 2, repeat from *, ending with chain 3 (do not change color). Turn. (18 sts)
Row 10: Skipping first and last st, sc 16 sts (gold) going through and attaching handle at same time. Two loops are on the handle for every one st. (32 total)
What? Why shouldn’t I use the word “slavish”?

Oh, right.


Wait, haven’t I seen that house before?
Make back same as front.

Sc front to back (wrong sides together) from row 7 down, across the bottom, and up the other side to row 7. Weave in loose ends.

Well, what do you know? Way in 1977, the editor of Crochet Purse Appeal knew that the first African-American President of the US would be living in the White House.

This pattern isn’t racist after all. It’s just incredibly prescient!
With sable, chain 66 sts. Row 1: Sc 65 sts. Make 2 straps. Lap approximately 1 1/2’’ of each end over purse rod and hand sew.
Okay, so that wasn’t the same house. But, I’m hopeful that this pattern’s choice of backdrop for the purse wasn’t meant to be racist. I believe that it was meant to convey the positive message that any American child, regardless of race, can grow up to be President!

Even if your sense of style is questionable.

Click here for the printable pattern.

Read more!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DIY - Will the real Victoria Dunn please stand up?

Is this Victoria Dunn? In her Little Girl party mask?

The Faux Book Launch was a roaring success, and Victoria Dunn’s actual identity was finally revealed!

Or... was it?


This is clearly not Victoria Dunn. It’s just her brain, before the party.

See? Here’s Victoria’s brain at the party. Along with Victoria’s zombie eyeballs (AKA tomato aspic a la 1950’s cookbook), Sputnik Surprise, and just a glimpse of Rampaging Pear Mice laying siege to a molded green Jell-o salad. It’s molded, not moldy.

Mmm! Fifties food!

It’s Jell-o-rific!

Please take special note of the cake in corner – it’s actually made of alternating layers of tuna salad, egg salad and white bread, frosted all over with cream cheese. It was yummy!

No, really! I’m very grateful to Faithful Reader Adrienne for the Sandwich Cake. Also not-so-Faithful Reader Lisa provided the punch, which was also delicious, and not the least bit spiked. So far as I could tell.

So... was that really Victoria Dunn above? Or is this Victoria Dunn?

May... be. But there’s also this strong contender:

I think the hat is quite dashing!

Wait, there’s MORE Victoria Dunns?

My, my, Victoria Dunn’s looking a wee bit masculine.

Maybe she’s just forgotten to shave her wrists?

Okay, that’s definitely NOT Victoria Dunn!

Although, I wouldn’t say that to his face. At least, not while he’s wearing that scary mask.

However, I’m happy to say that masked maniacs were not the only guests at this party.

It looks like every one of Ooky’s friends crashed the party! Stay tuned for a sexy photo shoot, when they get their own DIY.

Also, note the beady fringes on the left and the mysterious afghan on the right – bet you a shiny nickel you can’t guess which patterns these came from! The answers will be revealed soon.

Also coming soon...


Because a party’s not rocking until the spats come out.

So, thank you again to Collected Works, and to all the wonderful folks who came to my party, friends both old and new.

Read more!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Watch out for falling clothes!

Knee socks from Spinnerin Knit & Crochet, c. 1975

You might be wondering what could possibly be wrong with these socks. Other than the fact that they’re “designed to be worn with knickers”, and they’re long enough to swallow a small child. Your confusion is understandable because you don’t yet realize that the man in this photo is perched on the side of a mountain, pulling on said socks.

Yes, the sock model is getting dressed, and that means at some point he was undressed. In short, I believe he’s an enthusiast of naked mountain climbing, just like famed British explorer George Mallory (1886 – 1924)!

By the way, if you happen to be an admirer of Mr. Mallory’s considerable (and well rounded!) accomplishments, a print of this picture can be purchased from the Royal Geographical Society in London.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):



Knitting Worsted Weight yarn in natural color. Double pointed needles no. 5.

pattern stitch

Olives worked on 1 st. Row 1: Work 5 times into 1 st (K once, P once, K once, P once, K once). Rows 2, 4, 6 and 8: Purl. Rows 3, 5, 7 and 9: Knit. Row 10: P these 5 sts, yo, then pass the 5 sts over the yo.

Bobbles: Worked on 1 st. * Insert the right hand needle knitwise in 1 st, draw a loop, slip this loop on the left hand needle and K 1 st in this loop. Repeat from * (twice), always inserting needle in the same stitch, you thus have 3 sts on right hand needle, then drop the initial stitch from left hand needle. On next row: P these 3 sts, yo and pass the 3 sts over yo.

I know what you’re thinking. Surely, Mallory was just getting naked in order to cross a river without soaking his clothes. But then, how do you explain this photo?

Face it, Mallory was a mountain climbing nudist. And he’s not the only one!
With no. 5 double pointed needles, cast on 48 (52) sts evenly distributed, and work on 2/2 ribbing for 3’’. Continue in reverse stockinette st. On the 5th row, begin the motifs on each side of leg. At both sides of back of leg 27 (29) sts, work on 1 st alternating pattern as follows: * 1 olive, 4 rounds in reverse stockinette st, 1 bobble, 4 rounds in reverse stockinette st * (3 times).
All over the world, from New Zealand to Germany, men are joyfully flinging off their clothes and scaling boundless heights!

The Dangerous Book For Middle-Aged Men recommends naked mountain climbing as “dangerous fun at its best”. The author, David Quantick adds, “If the Yeti can do it, and Sherpas can almost do it, then surely you can, leaping from ledge to ledge and enjoying your freedom.”

Sadly, some people are determined to ruin everyone’s fun by outlawing this healthy, manly activity. Which is why the owner of these socks had to quickly pull on his knickers and socks. The fashion police were on their way!
At same time, on the 25th row, on center 5 sts at back of leg, work decreases as follows: P 2 together, P 1, P 2 together. Repeat these decreases, one above the other, every 10 rounds (3 more times). Continue in pattern as established on remaining 40 (44) sts and after the last 4 rounds in reverse stockinette st.
And after the last 4 rounds, what? I don’t think that last sentence is finished. Hmm, I must give this some deep thought.

After careful contemplation on the slopes of Mount Yarn Stash, I’ve decided that the period was just the end of “st.” and we’re meant to keep reading.
Shape heel:
I believe we’re also meant to ignore that capital “S”. In other words, “...after the last 4 rounds in reverse stockinette st, shape heel.”
Leave 20 (22) instep sts on two needles and work on remaining 20 (22) sts as follows: work in stockinette st (K 1 row, P 1 row) for 2 1/2 (2 3/4)’’, ending on a P row, then K 11 (12), K 2 sts together, turn: next row: slip 1 st, P 2, P 2 together, turn; next row: slip 1 st, K 3, K 2 tog, turn; slip 1 st, P 4, P 2 together, turn; continue in this way until all sts are worked on both sides, ending on a purl row. (12 sts remain) 20 (22) sts left on needles for instep, pick up and K 9 (11) sts along right side of heel, distribute these 50 (56) sts evenly on 3 needles and work in rounds, keeping instep 20 (22) sts in reverse stockinette st and sole sts in stockinette st and decreasing as follows: K 2 sts together, P 20 (22) sts for instep, SKPO (slip 1 st, K next st, pass slip st over), K 26 (30) sts. Repeat these decreases in same positions on every other round 5 more times 38 (44) sts remain. When foot measures 3 1/2 (4)’’ from heel, continue in stockinette st on all sts until foot measures 4 3/4 (5)’’ from heel or longer if desired.
And pay no attention to the inconsistent punctuation and run on sentences.

Conventional rules of grammar are nothing but chains to be thrown off. We will not be bound by convention! Or clothes! Or common sense!

Here’s our knicker-clad mountaineer making his getaway – on a pair of giant knitting needles! Just think, when he gets to the bottom of the slope he can quickly knit himself up a disguise.
Shape toe: Work decreases as follows: K 9 (12), K 2 together, K 6, SKPO. Continue to decrease thus, on every other round at both sides of the 6 sts at each side of foot 7 (8) times more. 6 (8) sts remain. Join together by weaving, the 3 (4) sts of top of foot with the 3 (4) sts of bottom of foot.
I’m still undecided on the relative merits of wearing knickers versus nudity while mountain climbing. And the situation gets more complicated when you consider that in the U.K. “knickers” doesn’t mean short pants, it’s actually another word for underwear.

Which means this mountainy man is also wearing knickers!

As well as socks, boots, some climbing equipment, and one very unhappy small dog.

Okay, I’ve made up my mind. Partial or whole nudity while mountaineering is wrong – for dogs. Someone get this poor puppy a coat!

Click here for the printable pattern.

Read more!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Forgettable Betty

Name Pullover from CM Sweaters for Kids, 1976

Is your daughter instantly forgettable?

Does her teacher still not know her name, six months into the school year?

Do people constantly refer to her as your son? (Darn those unisex 1970s hair styles!)

Don’t despair, Handmade by Mother has the solution!

Simply knit up a quick and easy Name Pullover, and your daughter will become the centre of attention wherever she goes.

Guaranteed results, or your money back!*

*Handmade by Mother only guarantees that this sweater will garner attention, not whether the aforementioned attention will be positive or negative. Handmade by Mother accepts no liability for cases of unfortunate nicknames (Sweaty Betty) or childhood psychosis (Draco Malfoy Mania) that may result from the use of this sweater.

For the complete pattern (and more snark):

Betty’s placid smile worries me. She’s thinking to herself, one day I’ll make them pay for ignoring me. They never suspect the quiet ones! One day, I’ll found a discount store multinational that will bankrupt all their local businesses and bust all their unions! Ha Ha!
Name Pullover

Instructions are for size 6. Changes for sizes 8, 10, 12 and 14 are in parentheses.
You Need: Columbia-Minerva PERFORMER (3 oz ball), 3 balls Pine (P), 1 each Winter White (W), Orange (O) and Red (R), “Boye” Knitting needles No. 6 and No. 8 or size to give gauge.
Columbia-Minerva PERFORMER is just the yarn you need to propel your introverted little darling to the head of the class. Before she starts rolling around in radioactive waste in a misguided quest to become Atomic Betty.
Gauge (No. 8 Needles): 9 sts = 2’’; 7 rows = 1’’.
Finished Measurements
Bust or Chest: 27 (29-31-33-35)’’
Back at Shoulders: 11(11 1/2-12-13-13 1/2)’’
Sleeve at Underarm: 10 1/2 (11-11 1/2-12-12 1/2)’’

BACK: With No. 6 needles and P, cast on 61 (65-71-75-79) sts.
Rib Border – Row 1: K 1, * P 1, K 1; rep from * to end. Row 2: P 1, * K 1, P 1; rep from * to end. Cut P. Row 3: With O, knit. Rows 4-6: With O work in rib. Cut O. Row 7: With R, knit. Row 8: With R work in rib. Cut R. Rows 9-12: With W rep Rows 3-6. Cut W. Rows 13 & 14: With R rep Rows 7 & 8. Cut R. With P and No. 8 needle, work in St st to 11 (12-13-14-15)’’ from beg or desired length to underarm.
Don’t settle for lesser yarns in your quest to make your little girl popular!

And you must ensure your daughter becomes popular. Everyone knows that popular kids are good kids who never get into any trouble.
Armholes: Bind off 4 (4-5-5-6) sts at beg of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each side every 2nd row 2 (3-3-3-3) times. work on 49 (51-55-59-61) sts until armholes measure 5 (5 1/2-6-6 1/2-7)’’.
Shoulders and Neck: Bind off 6 (6-7-7-8) sts, K until 7 (8-8-9-9) sts from bind-off, turn. Dec 1 st at beg of next row, work to end. Bind off 6 (7-7-8-8) st. Place center 23 (23-25-27-27) sts on holder, join yarn, work shoulder and neck to correspond to other side.

FRONT: Work same as back to 7 (8-9-10-11)’’ from beg, end with a P row. Continue in St st, working 2 rows O, 2 rows R, 12 rows W, 2 rows R, 2 (4-6-8-10) rows P. Remainder of front is worked with P.
Neck: Work 30 (32-35-37-39) sts, join 2nd skein, bind off center st, work to end. Work on each side with separate yarn. Dec 1 st at each neck edge on next row, then every 4th row 5 (7-8-8-11) times, every 2nd row 6 (4-4-5-2) times AND AT SAME TIME when same length as back to armholes shape armholes as on back. Work 12 (13-14-15-16) sts, to same length as back to shoulders.
Shoulders: Bind off 6 (6-7-7-8) sts from each armhole edge once, 6 (7-7-8-8) sts once.
And don’t be tempted to save a little money and make this sweater out of Red Heart Supersaver.

Teachers can spot a cheap yarn from the other side of the playground. And you know what that means!
SLEEVES: With No. 6 needles and P, cast on 37 (37-41-41-41) sts. Work first 12 rows stripe pat as on back. With No. 8 needles and P, work in St st, ince 1 st each side every 8th row 5 (6-5-6-7) times. Worn on 47 (49-51-53-55) sts to 11 (12-13 1/2-15-16)’’ from beg, or desired length to underarm.
Sleeve Cap: bind off 4 (4-5-5-6) sts at beg of next 2 rows. Dec 1 st each side every 2nd row 11 (11-10-10-10) times, every 4th row 0 (1-2-3-3) times. Bind off 2 sts at beg of next 2 rows. Bind off 13 sts.
How can you not know what that means?

Sigh... All right, here’s the sequence of events.
1. Teacher sees child wearing sweater made out of cheap yarn.
2. Teacher unconsciously assumes child is just as careless about quality as the cheap yarn buying mother.
3. Teacher assigns child low marks.
4. Child fails to graduate high school.
5. Child ends up unemployed and living in your basement, writing bad Klingon poetry.

And all because you chose to save a few dollars by not buying Columbia-Minerva’s PERFORMER yarn.

FilthyPetaQ!! You are without honour!
Finishing: Sew right shoulder seam. With No. 6 needle and P, beg at left front shoulder, pick up 1 st in each row on left front edge to center front, 1 st at center front and mark, pick up same number sts on right front edge as on left front edge, 1 st in each row and st at back of neck. Cut P. Row 2 (wrong side): With W purl all sts. Row 3: Rib to 1 st before center st, sl next st as to P, sl center st to cable needle, hold at front, sl st from right needle back to left needle, insert left needle from left to right in center st and sl it to left needle, K 3 tog thru back lps, beg with K or P st (as st before the K 3 tog), rib to end. Cut W. Row 4: With O, rep Row 2. Row 5: Rep row 3. Row 6: Rib to center st, P center st, rib to end. Cut O. Row 7: With R, knit. Row 8: Rep Row 3. Bind off in rib, dec at center front.
Wait, Columbia Minerva yarn is no longer in production?

Oh well, then you better just pick the most expensive yarn you can find. Who cares if it’s not machine washable. They’re going to call her Sweaty Betty anyway.
To Place Name on Front:
Using graph paper, chart name to be used. Place center st of chart at center st on 3rd row of wide W stripe. Using duplicate st embroider letters following diagram.

Or, following chart, embroider other designs as desired.

Hearts to say “I love you, sweetheart” and boats to say “But I wish I could ship you off to a foreign country... To expand your horizons, of course!”

Click here for the printable pattern.

Read more!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Don’t forget, you’re invited to a party this Saturday!

Actually, Mom’s not “on the Warpath” at all! She just wants to remind you about the Faux Book Launch this upcoming Saturday.

For more nagging (and the location of Collected Works!):

Come celebrate my 3rd place win in the 32nd Annual International 3-Day Novel Contest. It’s a book launch without a book!

There will be retro snacks, vintage crafts from Handmade by Mother, and I’ll be reading from “Alice’s Adventures with Welsh Zombies”.


Saturday, February 20th
7:00 to 9:00 PM

Collected Works Bookstore & Coffee Bar
1242 Wellington Street West (at Holland)
Ottawa, Ontario
(613) 722-1265



Mmm, brrrains...

Read more!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Ash Wednesday!

Cigarette Case pattern from Ideas for Gifts, 1949

True, Ash Wednesday is more of a time of repentance than a happy occasion. And yes, it’s probably a bad idea to smudge cigarette ash on your forehead this Wednesday – especially if the ciggy’s still lit. Nonetheless, today is the beginning of Lent, a traditional time for giving up bad habits. And if quitting smoking for the next 40 days seems like too daunting a task, just imagine trying to give up an even more addictive vice of the modern age.

To help you or someone you know quit the non-wacky tabacky, I present this crocheted Anti-Smoking cigarette case. Okay, it doesn’t lock shut, so it won’t actually stop anyone from helping themselves to another cigarette. However, every time Demon Nicotine tempts you to reach for another cancer stick, you’ll be reminded of the true meaning of Lent.

No Fun.

See? It’s monogrammed right on the case!

Click here for the complete pattern (and more snark):


MATERIALS: J & P COATS OR CLARKS O.N.T. PEARL COTTON, Size 5, 2 balls of Yellow and scraps of brown . . . Steel Crochet Hook No. 7 . . . 1 snap fastener.

GAUGE: 10 sts make 1 inch; 10 rows make 1 inch.
The suggestion to use yellow and brown yarn scraps is no accident. It’s a sneaky strategy to combat advertising suggesting that smoking will keep you slim and sexy.

“Stop!” Your N.F. cigarette case will silently shout. “Your teeth and fingers are being stained the same unsexy shade of yellow and brown you used to crochet me!”
FRONT . . . Starting at bottom with Yellow, ch 21. 1st row: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across to within last ch, ch 1, sc in last ch. Ch 1, turn. 2nd row: Sc in each sc across to within last sc, ch 1, sc in last sc. Ch 1, turn. Repeat 2nd row until piece measures 3 inches. Break off.

BACK . . . Work as for Front until piece measures 5 inches. Break off.
Now, I’m not denying that quitting cigarettes is hard. The peer pressure to smoke can be overwhelming.

Mom and Dad would’ve quit smoking – if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids!
GUSSET . . . Starting at short side, ch 10. Work as for Front until 76 rows in all have been made.

CORD . . . Cut 2 strands of Brown, 5 yards long. Twist these strands tightly. Now double these strands and give them a twist in the opposite direction. Knot free end (for lacing). Make a shorter Cord for initials and sew on Front piece. Leaving 2 inches free at back for flap, lace Front and Back pieces to Gusset through ch-1 spaces. Lace around top opening and flap edges. Fasten ends securely. Sew snap fastener in place.
There, you’re now ready to banish your smokes to crocheted limbo for 40 days and nights. As a bonus, you’ll also be prepared to stop saucy sailors from importuning you with salacious slang!

“Not during Lent, I don’t!”
Click here for the printable pattern.

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