Thursday, October 14, 2010

Phentex Has Broken Your Heart

Houndstooth Tunic from Phentex, 1967

First, Phentex went after your son and husband. Then your little girl was next on the chopping block. Still, you thought you were safe. Foolishly, you thought that Phentex wouldn’t bite the hand that knit it.

That’s what Jeanie thought too. Lured in by Phentex’s promises not to stretch or shrink, she slapped down her twenty cents thinking that was the only price she’d have to pay.

Okay, obviously Jeanie knew she’d have to buy the yarn too. I’m trying to create a dramatic mood here. Sheesh.

But little did Jeanie know that her decision to knit up a 100% Polypropylene Pumpkin Tunic would haunt her for many Halloweens to come. For her sister-in-law took one look at Jeanie’s attempt at Phentex panache and dubbed her Pumpkin Hips.

Jeanie tossed the tunic in the dryer, but it refused to shrink. She borrowed the Spanish Inquisition’s rack (I bet you weren’t expecting the Spanish Inquisition!), but the tunic refused to stretch. It was then that Jeanie realized with horror that Phentex’s promise to keep “the shape you knit in” was actually a threat. And that 20¢ had bought her a lifetime of regret.


Oh sweetie, please don’t cry. I was exaggerating the tragedy that is your life for comedic effect! Yes, it’s true that moths hate the taste of Phentex (and who can blame them), the colours of your pumpkiny Phentex will never fade, and long wearing does mean you’re your Phentex tunic will last a couple of centuries, but... please stop wailing, I’m trying to cheer you up!

Oh, for goodness sake, suck it up, Pumpkin Hips!

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Look closely at this photo, keeping in mind that professional take multiple shots to guarantee at least one high quality photo for their client. That’s right, this photo of Jeanie about to burst into tears was the best of the lot. I can only assume that all the other photos showed her prostrate on the floor, weeping uncontrollably.
Houndstooth Tunic Style No. 6722
Houndstooth is a two-tone check pattern developed by the Scots as a weapon of war. No, really. Do you think it’s an accident that staring at houndstooth clothing will make your eyesight go wonky?


SIZES: Directions are for size 14. Changes for sizes 16 & 18 are in parentheses.
Apparently, women under size 14 won’t wear a Phentex Houndstooth Tunic. Which begs the question, why would women size 14 and over wear one?

C’mon, you Big, Beautiful Women! You deserve so much better than this pattern.
GAUGE: 7 sts. to 2 ins. and 4 rows to one inch measured over the pattern on No. 13 needles, or any size that will give the correct gauge.

MEASUREMENTS: Tunic will fit a bust size of 34 (36-38) ins.; width all round lower edge, 43 (45½-47½) ins.; length from shoulder at armhole edge, 28 (28¾-29½) ins.
In other words, this tunic will make you look like a Phentex pear. I know women size 14 and above often have self esteem issues, but honestly a hair shirt would be more stylish, and far less itchy.
MATERIALS: Phentex Yarn, 3 ply, 2 (3-3) 4-oz. skeins of Orange (MC), and 2 (2-2) 4-oz. skeins of White (CC); one pair of No. 10½, No. 11 & No. 13; 7 inch MC neck zipper; 2 st-holders.

PATTERN STITCH: Multiple of 4 plus 2.

1st row: With CC * k.3, with right hand needle as if to p. lift the 2nd st. on left hand needle over onto right hand needle, the first st., will be passed thro’ the 2nd st. as it is lifted over – this will be reffered to as “cross one”. Rep. from * to last 2 sts., k.2.
Whereas this overabundance of periods and commas will be reffered to as “poor editing”.
2nd row: With CC, p.

3rd row: With MC, * cross one, k.3. Rep. from * to last st., k.1.

4th row: With MC, p. Rep. these 4 rows for pattern.

B A C K:
First, you abuse a couple of periods and commas. Next, you’ll be unable to resist the temptation of throwing in some extra spaces.
Begin at the lower edge. Using No. 10½ needles and MC cast on 74 (78-82) sts. P. one row, k. one row, p. one row, k. one row, p. one row, k. one row.
Then you’ll lose your ability to write simple instructions like: P one row, k one row 3 times.

And no, sloppy editing is not a victimless crime! You’ll break your English Teacher’s heart!

Again.
Change to No. 13 needles and p. the following row. Join on CC, and continue in pattern-st., dec. one st. both sides of work every 2 ins. until 62 (66-70) sts. remain. Place a marker at side edge.

Change to No. 11 needles and work a further 4 ins. from marker. Change back to No. 13 needles and continue until work measures 20 (20½-21) ins. from beginning, finishing after a wrong side row.
These measurements didn’t sound quite right for a size 14 or 18, and it turns out that’s because a 1960s size 14 isn’t the same as a size 14 in 2010. For decades, clothing manufacturers have been lowering the numbers and monkeying with the measurements to appeal to our vanity. And they’re not just lying to the ladies anymore!
To shape the armholes, bind off 3 (4-4) sts. at the beginning of the next 2 rows, then dec. one st. at both ends of every other row until 50 (54-56) sts. remain, finishing after a wrong side row.

Now divide for the zipper opening. Next row: Pattern across 25 (27-28) sts., join on another skein of yarn and continue over the remaining 25 (27-28) sts. Working both sides at the same time, continue until the armholes measures 8 (8¼-8½) ins. on the straight, finishing at side, armhole edge.

To shape shoulders, bind off 6 (7-7) sts. at beginning of next 2 rows, then 7 (7-8) sts. at the beginning, armhole edge, of the following alternate row. Place the remaining 12 (13-13) sts. of each side onto st-holders.

These measurements are accurate, but this diagram is still a lie. Air brushing was used to erase all of the bumpy, lumpiness caused by the houndstooth pattern stitch.
F R O N T:
Begin at the lower edge. Using No. 13 needles and MC yarn, cast on 78 (82-86) sts. and work exactly as for the back, except that you will have 4 more sts. on the needles, until the work measures 20 (20½-21) ins. from the beginning, finishing after a wrong side row.

To shape the armholes, bind off 4 (5-5) sts. at the beginning of the next 2 rows, then dec. one st. both each end of every other row until 50 (52-54) sts. remain.
Both each end? I think it’s time someone went back to school!

Never mind.
Continue on these sts. until the armholes measure 5½ (5¾-5¾) ins. on the straight, finishing after a wrong side row.

To shape the neck – Next row: Pattern across 16 (17-18) sts., place the centre 18 sts. on a st-holder, join on another skein of yarn and work the remaining 16 (17-18) sts. Working both sides at the same time, dec. one st. at neck edge on every other row 3 times, 13 (14-15) sts. Continue on these sts. until armholes measure 8½ (8¼-8½) ins. on the straight, finishing at side, armhole, edge.

To shape shoulders, bind off 6 (7-7) sts. at beginning of next row, work one more row and bind off remaining 7 (7-8) sts.

Warning: This diagram omits the impact of erosion caused by years of crying whenever you wear this tunic.
FINISHING:
Not F I N I S H I N G?
Pin pieces out to measurements and cover with a damp cloth. Holding a steam iron about 2 ins. above pieces, pass lightly over allowing only the steam to pass thro’ the damp cloth. Leave pinned out to dry. Join shoulder seams.
And absolutely no extreme ironing!
Neck Trim: With the wrong side of work facing you and using No. 10½ needles and MC, k. across 12 (13-13) sts. of one side of back neck; pick up and k. 9 sts. from side of neck; then k. across the 18 sts. left for front neck; then pick up 9 sts. along other side of neck; then the remaining 12 (13-13) sts. of the other side of back neck. 60 (62-62) sts. on needle.

** K. one row, p. one row, k. one row, p. one row, k. one row. Bind off purlwise.

Armhole Trim: With the wrong side of work facing you and using No. 10½ needles and MC, pick up and k. 60 (63-66) along each armhole edge. Work as neck trim from ** to **.
Except there is no 2nd **. So obviously you should keep doing the armhole trim until you have sleeves.
Pocket Trim: Using No. 10½ needles and MC, cast on 21 (21-22) sts. and work in stockinnette-st. for 1½ ins. Bind off. Make another piece the same.
I’m sure stockinnette isn’t a typo. It must have been some cool 1960s L.S.D. inspired stitch.

Turn on, tune in, drop stitches!
Join the side seams, roll trim at neck, armholes and lower edge forward and slip st. in place. Roll pocket trim in the same way, and sew in position as illustrated in the photograph.
Boring ol’ natural fibers will roll naturally if you knit them with a stockinette stitch. Whereas, you’ll have to forcibly roll and sew down your Phentex Phake Pockets. Otherwise, your Phentex may become sentient and mess up your home.


“COPYRIGHT © 1967 by PHENIX TEXTILES LTD.”
The quotation marks here clearly indicate that there never was a real copyright. The spelling of Phenix is to ensure they didn’t incur the wrath of Phoenix by violating her copyright.

Funny how Phoenix shares the same first name as Jeanie Pumpkin Hips, has the same hair colour, and is wearing an orangey fabric that even the fires of hell can’t destroy.

Uh oh.

Well, at least she stopped crying!

Click here for the printable pattern.

2 comments:

  1. you are so funny thanks for the laugh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You're welcome! Thank you for dropping by. :-)

    ReplyDelete