Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PoodleFest 2010: After Hours

Poodle Cardigan or Slipover for Girls from KNIT O GRAF, 1954

Are you over 18 years old? Are any children in your household at school or safely tucked away in bed?

Good. Because no responsible parent would want a child exposed to the utter depravity of this poodle sweater. True, your sons and daughters will eventually learn from the internet that poodles attend fetish clubs. However, there’s no need to flaunt the scandalous night life of Mr. and Mrs. Fluffy-Poo in front of pre-adolescents.

But V.D., you protest, the pattern clearly states that this sweater is for young girls, not teens or adults!

Yes, this sleazy sweater was designed for girls sized 4 to 10, but children were expected to grow up fast back in the 1950s. After facing the horrors of the H-bomb, polio outbreaks, and the invention of the TV dinner, these kids were much more blasé about BDSM poodles. But our own coddled children can’t handle the titillating truth!

This design also wasn’t as shocking in the 1950s. The poodle patriarchy was firmly entrenched back then, and the male poodle was the unquestioned dominant partner in any kinky canine caper. Now, of course, all we care about is whether both poodles are consenting adults. But won’t someone think of the children!

There’s only one wholesome use I can foresee for this perverted poodle pattern. When you’ve decided it’s time to destroy the last of your little girl’s innocence, this poodle sweater is the perfect icebreaker before you have ‘The Talk’.

Oh, you know what ‘Talk’ I’m talking about. The “sometimes when two poodles get married, they get bored with each other, and begin experimenting with kinky S&M sex in a desperate attempt to keep their love alive” Talk.

For not quite the entire pattern (but definitely more snark):


Why are these poodles using all caps to encourage me to use whatever kind of 3 ply yarn I want? It would be like an Army Drill Sergeant shouting “Give me twenty, soldier! At your convenience, whenever you can fit push-ups into your busy schedule.”
NEEDLES …………. 1 Pair No. 1 (English No. 12)
1 Pair No. 2 (English No. 11)
GAUGE …………..... 8 stitches and 10 rows equal 1 inch


Size 4 – ¾ oz., Size 6 – 4 oz., Size 8 – 4 ¾ oz., Size 10 – 5 ¾ oz.

All Sizes
Poodles 80 yds, Collar Hat etc. 10 yds, Leash 2 yds, Eyes 1 yd.

Background Red, Poodles White, Collar Hat etc. Blue, Leash Navy, Eyes Navy
Colours shown, huh?

I grew up on black & white TV, so I’m willing to believe that’s a red sweater. But for those readers who had their youthful imaginations stifled by the invention of colour television, here’s proof.

I’m amused by how the etsy merchant above described the pattern as two poodles dancing. I’ve heard of the Bunny Hop and the Mashed Potato, but I had no idea another popular 50s dance was the Yanked Leash.
Background Navy, Poodles Gray, Collar Hat etc. Red, Leash Red, Eyes Navy
Background Med. Blue, Poodles White, Collar Hat etc. Red, Leash Red, Eyes Med. Blue
Background Green, Poodles Beige, Collar Hat etc. Green, Leash Green, Eyes Green
I don’t want to be critical… oh, who am I fooling. I’ve spotted two serious problems here.

First, the green sweater has the collar, hats and bows of the poodles the exact same colour as the background. It’ll look like someone crushed the poodles’ skulls and then decapitated their fluffy corpses. True, no one will mess with your little girl on the playground when she wears it, but you will be getting a call from the principal.

Second, all the “other colour combinations” sweaters match the poodles eyes with the background colour, but the “colors shown” poodles have navy eyes. I want a red sweater with poodles that have glowing red eyes!


I’ve changed my mind. Navy eyes are cool.

KNIT OF GRAF PATTERNS are life size. Lay work on graph occasionally to check your size. For ease in following, outline the size wanted with a colored pencil.
HANDMADE BY MOTHER is not life size. Feel free to hold your work up to the monitor to check your size. Do not use coloured pencils on your monitor. Remember, ease in following a perverted poodle graph is not an acceptable excuse for workplace vandalism.
EACH SQUARE in the graph represents a stitch. Every row is shown purled and knit rows. Follow graph from right to left on knit rows, from left to right on purled rows. Changes in color are shown on graph with difficult types of shading. Ribbing is not shown in most patterns but it is explained in the printed instructions.

GAUGE – Since no two people knit exactly alike it is necessary to test your knitting and yarn by making a sample before starting your work. There may be a difference of as much as four sizes in the finished work, using the wrong yarn and needles. Method for testing gauge is given at the beginning of the printed instructions for each pattern.
I feel like I’m being talked down to. After all, no beginner knitter is going to take on S&M poodles for their first project.

Other than the masochists, I suppose.

INCREASES AND DECREASES – When graph shows one extra square, increase one stitch. To increase, knit (or purl if on a purled row) first in front, then knit in back of stitch of left needle before slipping it off left needle. Increases of more than one stitch must be cast on at the end of row as shown on graph.

When graph shows a decrease of one square, knit or purl two stitches together. Decreases of more than one stitch must be bound off at the beginning of row.
Seriously, noobs, don’t let all these helpful stitch by stitch explanations lead you astray. If you want to make a poodle sweater, just buy a child’s sweater and use duct tape to attach two of the poodles below.

I’m beginning to suspect that the S&M poodles are going to keep SHOUTING at me until I agree to be their slave. I’m going to need a safeword to make them back off.

I’d use POODLE, but the safeword has to be something I don’t normally shout while knitting.
GAUGE—With No. 2 needles cast on 24 sts, knit 1 row, purl 1 row, for 20 rows. Bind off, press with damp cloth, measure. Piece should measure exactly 3 inches by 2 inches. If it is smaller, try again with a larger needle. If it is larger, try again with a smaller needle.
Now, there’s always the safeword used by Parisian poodles, but I doubt shouting BALLS calms poodles down.

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Changes in color of yarn are shown on graph with different types of shading. Wind large bobbins (holding at least 20 yards) with background color, smaller bobbins may be used for smaller designs. Keep bobbins wound up close to work to avoid tangling. NEVER CARRY YARN ACROSS BACK OF WORK but use a separate bobbin for every color change.
Don’t you dare CARRY YARN instead of using the dozens of bobbins called for in this pattern. Multinational Bobbin Manufacturers Inc., AKA Big Bobbin, monitors your monthly purchases, and if you dip below quota, watch out!

I heard from a friend of a friend that a knitter in Moosejaw died in a stampede … of bobbins. *shudder*
Small markings such as lines, eyes, etc., may be knit in or embroidered later in duplicate stitch after garment is finished.

Work to first row of design. Work across row to dark squares.
With all the shouting and bobbin threats, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something important. But what?
Ahhhh! I promise I’ll slip knot my needle close to the background yarn or whatever you want, just please stop shouting at me!
Tie yarn in this manner whenever graph indicates us of a new color. With design yarn, work the shaded squares, tie another bobbin of background yarn, work across blank squares (background sts) to end of row. Next row work to design. DROP BACKGROUND YARN ACROSS DESIGN YARN PICKING UP DESIGN YARN FROM UNDER BACKGROUND YARN.
I can’t take it anymore! I refuse to transcribe any more of this pattern. If you desperately want to make a fetish night poodle sweater, just use the KNIT O GRAF design graph…Whoops.

I knew I forgot to include something.

Now slap those poodles on the sweater pattern of your choice. Or onto any knitted clothing or house ware your heart desires. Personally, I think it’s the perfect design for a tablecloth and matching napkin set. After one S&M Poodle Thanksgiving, your family and in-laws will never darken your door again.

In 1981, Theresa Dacenzo of Cornwells Heights, Pennsylvania sent this photo to Crochet World of the knitted afghan she made for her niece.

And yes, Theresa made that afghan in 1981 not 1961. Her niece later wrote a scathing essay in her Woman Studies class about male-female poodle oppression in 1980s Pennsylvania.

Now, if you suspect that your 21st century niece wouldn’t appreciate a sexist poodle motif, feel free to make alterations to the original design. You could leave out the leash or replace it with something less offensive like a garrotte. Makes a lovely going away to prison gift! Or if you’d prefer a more GLBT-friendly design you could make both poodles the same gender.

Also, you don’t have to limit yourself to the formal top hat look. The most stylish poodles don’t.

Now if your heart is absolutely set on a genuine 100% vintage KNIT O GRAF poodle cardigan, you can still purchase the pattern. Not only can you find it on e-bay and etsy, there was evidence as recently as 2006 that the KNIT O GRAF PATTERN CO. was a going concern.

Unlike Big Bobbin, KNIT O GRAF was a cottage industry founded by a knitter, one Della Fitch of Minneapolis, Minnesota Smith. Alas, Della is no longer with us, but the company was taken over by her daughter Karen Fitch Mott. The last known contact information was 958 Redwood Drive, Apple Valley, MN, 55124 (952) 432-5630.

After all, if you’re going to spend money on this pattern, you might as well give it to the family who brought such an entertaining design into being.

Hopefully, Ms. Mott won’t want to sue Handmade by Mother for copyright violation. However, if she does, Theresa Dacenzo of Pennsylvania better watch out because I’ll squeal on her. At least I didn’t pretend to Crochet World that S&M poodles were the product of my twisted imagination.

Welsh zombies, yes. Dolphin lust demons (this year's novel!), yes. Perverted Poodles … well, maybe for the next 3-Day novel.

Click here for the printable pattern (such as it is).

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