Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pick your Poison!

Cookie Basket and Cigarette Basket, Card Table Accessories from Wrought Iron Crochet, 1954

Now that your home is decorated with wall to wall yaks, it’s time to set your supper table with these macabre masterpieces. For no Halloween party would be complete without grandma’s memento mori card table accessories. Back in the 1950s, weekly bridge games were played to the death – or at the very least, to the pain.

Now, other sites will tell you to decorate your table with fake spiders and a cauldron filled with dry ice. C’mon, such humdrum horrors won’t strike fear into the heart of anyone over three-years-old. However, even your most macho party guest will pee their pants at the sight of a crocheted black basket filled with unfiltered cancer sticks! If the Nicotine Nazis have banned unfiltered cigarettes from your corner store, just use a cigar cutter to chop off the filters. Or create a fun Halloween party game by sending French cigarettes to the guillotine – the first person who loses a finger, wins!

But don’t forget the matching crocheted cookie basket for maximum chills. What’s so scary about miniature lawn furniture for sugary treats, you ask? These ain’t your 21st century, namby-pamby cookies made with unsaturated oils, splenda and gluten free flour. Every single one of these 1950s cookies were made with sugar, white flour and artery hardening lard! And love, of course.

So, throw out your rubber bats and fake cobwebs. These cholesterol-laden, cancer-causing party favours will guarantee that your neighbors will crown you the undisputed Hostess of the Damned. Or they’ll run you out of the neighborhood with torches and pitchforks. Either way, you’re party will be legendary!

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Soon the world’s reserves of wrought iron will run out! But for just 10 cents (15 cents in Canada), you can crochet all the wrought iron patio furniture you’ll need for the apocalypse.
in Black: 2 skeins.
No. 3 Steel Crochet Hook. Black covered millinery wire or other stiff wire.
If you forgot to hoard Steel Crochet Hooks before the collapse of civilization, don’t despair! You can always smelt iron ore in your microwave.

COOKIE BASKET (Size—5 x 10 x 2½ inches):

1st MOTIF: Ch 8, join with sl st to form ring.
RND 1: Ch 1, 12 sc in ring, join with sl st in 1st sc.
RND 2: * Ch 4, sl st in same sc, sl st in next 2 sc, ch 4, sl st in same sc with last sl st. Mark this 2d p with pin. ** Sl st in next sc; repeat from * twice and from * to **. Cut 6 inches long, draw thru lp on hook, pull tight, thread to a needle and fasten off on back.
2d here stands for 2nd, not for 2 dimensional. But I won’t stop you if you want to try two-dimensional crocheting.

As for p, it’s short for picot, not party guest. The tradition of poking your second party guest with a pin died with two other 1950s fads: hula hoop hunting and sudden death bridge games.
2d MOTIF: Repeat thru Rnd 1.
RND 2: Ch 2, sl st in marked 2d p on 1st Motif, ch 2, sl st back in same sc on 2d Motif, sl st in next 2 sc, ch 2, sl st in next (1st) p on 1st Motif, ch 2sl st back in same sc with last sl st on 2d Motif, sl st in next sc; complete a for first Motif.

Join a 3d Motif to 2 side ps on 2d Motif. Join a 4th Motif to 2 ps each on 3d & 1st Motifs.

Make 45 Motifs and join 5 x 9.
Holy Hannah, you’ll be making 45 of these tiny, wrought iron motifs in crochet thread!

Clearly, Wrought Iron Crochet is not for sissies who smoke filtered cigarettes.
EDGE: Attach to 1st free p on one corner Motif, * ch 2, sc in next p, ch 4, sc in next p, (ch 2, sc in next p, ch 5, sc in 1st p on next Motif) repeated across to next corner Motif; repeat from * around; join. Cut 2 wires to reach around Basket, plus 1 inch for lap.
RND 2: Ch 1 and working over 2 wires, make sc in same place, work sc around: * 2 sc in each ch-2 sp, 5 sc in each ch-4 and ch-5 sp, * sc in each sc; before completing rnd, lap ends of wire and wrap with gummed tape. Finish rnd and join.
You may be asking yourself, what is this gummed tape and why wasn’t it included in the materials list?

I totally didn’t have to look up it up on Wikipedia to find out that gummed tape is made of paper and a starch or gelatin-based adhesive. And I didn’t have to use Google to further discover that gummed paper tape will instantly let you know if anyone has tampered with your wrought iron crochet. Mostly because a single drop of water or a resentful gaze will cause the tape to completely fall apart. But hey, it’s 100% recyclable!

And gummed tape wasn’t on the materials list because any self-respecting 1950s housewife had a stockpile in her bomb shelter. Hopefully in water-tight containers or her wrought iron crochet would not be safe from Communists.
RND 3: Ch 1, sc at base of same sc, working over last rnd, repeat Rnd 2 from * to *; sc at base of each sc; join and fasten off.

LEG: Cut 3 wires 7 inches long, hold tog. and wrap both ends with gummed tape. Cover wire with crochet rope.

CROCHETED ROPE: Ch 2, 7 sc in 2d ch from hook. Cup 7 sc with right side inside and working in back lp only, sc in 1st sc, sc in each sc around and around for ½ inch, push one end of wires into it and continue working around outside of wire until it is covered, always having 7 sc in a rnd at all times. Close with sl sts. Fasten off. Bend into a half circle. Make two.
But why just make two CROCHETED ROPES? Just think of all the fun uses you could have for Crocheted Rope around the house. For example, you could play classic 1950s games like Capture the Communist Who Tampered with Your Gummed Tape and Give Him Crocheted Rope Burns Until He Confesses.

Good times.
CIGARETTE BASKET (Size—4¼ x 6 x 2 inches): Make and join 20 Motifs 4 x 5. Repeat Edge.

LEGS: Cut 2 wires 5½ inches long. Repeat as for Cookie Basket Legs but with only 6 sc in a rnd.

Starch Baskets and Legs (See Instructions on Page 15).
Of course, you have to Starch both the Baskets and the Legs. Otherwise, you’ve just made an unfiltered cigarette doily. With legs.

In other words, a long-awaited girlfriend for last year’s Halloween Craft.

For Doilies, dissolve 2 heaping tablespoons (3 for other pieces), of Argo Gloss Starch in ½ cup cold water, add to 1 quart warm water, heat and boil briskly for several minutes, stirring constantly.
Don’t you dare use any of that fancy, pre-mixed, liquid starch for this pattern! You won’t be prepared for the apocalypse unless you know how to party like it’s 1892.
Add 1 cup cold water and cool until comfortable to handle. Add enough liquid Bluing to make starch a deep blue.
When civilization collapses and modern detergents are no longer available, you’re going to have use grandma’s liquid Bluing to keep your whites their whitest.

Otherwise, the other survivors of the zombie outbreak, nuclear war or worldwide flooding will mock you for your yellowing shirts.
Dip crochet in starch, squeezing the starch thru it thoroughly.
Don’t stop until your hands turn blue!
Remove, squeeze out excess starch, roll in paper towels and leave for an hour or two. Then rub off any excess starch with paper towel, stretch on waxed paper and block as given in individual instructions.
We now return you to your regularly-scheduled wrought ironing, already in progress.
Pin Baskets right-side-up in true shape. Press flat thru a cloth. When dry, bend ends of Baskets in a quarter circle, pass a Leg thru open sp between 1st 2 Motifs on each side at one end of Basket (next to Edge) and sew securely. Repeat at other end. Measure ends of legs exactly so Baskets stand true and even.
Now, all you need to do is stockpile cookies and cigarettes for your Halloween party. No one will be able to resist your larded-up cookies lounging in their wrought iron chair. If anyone tries, just crumble the cookies into their vodka and tell them it’s a 1950s Crunchy Martini.

As for any unsmoked, unfiltered ciggies, don’t worry about leftovers. They make excellent Christmas gifts – just ask Ronald Reagan!

Click here for the printable pattern.

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