Thursday, October 7, 2010

Time for Some Good Old Fashioned Cultural Misappropriation!

Boy’s Ski Mask from McCall’s Needlework & Crafts, Fall-Winter 1965-66

BOYS’ SKI MASK: Warm little Indian wears his feathers knitted over pipe cleaners, his war paint of duplicate stitch. Knitted nosepiece sewn on. Knitting worsted. 4-8.

Believe it or not, this ski mask is NOT a Halloween costume. And little Ronnie’s soul is NOT being crushed by the humiliation of having to wear it in public.

This was the swinging sixties, when grotesque zany ski masks were worn by every member of the family. Well, except Mom. She was too busy knitting ski masks to ever step outside. So, Ronnie’s NOT crying on the inside because he’ll be a warm little Indian on Halloween night. No, it’s because he’ll be wearing this feathered, freaky mask all winter long!

Alas, in our politically correct times, parading around as a “Red Indian” in “War Paint” is no longer acceptable. Modern historians have the pesky habit of pointing out that Native Americans are not – and have never been – red complexioned. Now, the Beothuk of Newfoundland did paint themselves with Sacred Red Ochre. However, they were a peaceful people whom European settlers massacred into extinction over fishing rights. So, dressing up pale-faced children as a cartoon version of these aboriginals would be in poor taste.

Except at Halloween, of course! Halloween is the one time of the year when whiteys can dress up as offensively as they like without fear of being sent to the dog house.

Who’s the cutest little racist? You are. Yes, you are!

For the horrifyingly complete pattern:
You may be concerned that if your little boy wears this ski mask on Halloween Night, he’ll get beat up and have all his candy stolen. Of course, he will!

But just remember, protecting your children will only turn them into wimps. Back in the 60s, Ronnie’s parents knew that a bit of physical abuse from his peers was how their little boy would grow up to become a real man.

And that’s why I’m going to buy this costume for my son.

Yep, my boy won’t be coming home with a full bag of candy this Halloween. In fact, he might not come home at all. I’ll probably find him the next morning stranded in a ditch, his legs waving helplessly in the air.
SIZE: Fits 4-8 yr. old.

MATERIALS: Boys’ Mask: Knitting worsted, 2 ozs. yellow (Y), 2 ozs. red (R), small amount black (BL). Yellow and red pipe cleaners/ Set of 10’’ dp needles No. 6. (Or English size 7.) Steel crochet hook No. 00. Tapestry needle.

GAUGE: 9 sts = 2’’; 6 rnds = 1’’ (stockinette st). See page 22, “You Must Be Sure to Check Your Gauge.”

Six pins for a 3” by 3” gauge swatch may seem like overkill, but McCall’s is actually teaching you how to use a swatch as a voodoo doll.

That’s the real reason why little Ronnie was tearing up. Every time his Mom stuck a pin into the swatch, his fake feathers stabbed his head.
MASK: With Y, loosely cast on 98 sts; divide evenly on 3 needles. Join, being careful not to twist sts. Mark end of rnd. Work in k 1, p 1 ribbing for 2 1/2’’.

First Dec Rnd: K 1, p 1 for 9 sts, * p 2 tog, k 2 tog, work in ribbing for 10 sts, repeat from * around, end p 2 tog, k 2 tog, p 1 – 84 sts. Continue in ribbing as established for 2’’.

2nd Dec Rnd: * K 5, k 2 tog, repeat from * around – 72 sts. Break off Y, join R. Work even in stockinette st (k each rnd) for 4 rnds.

Back Inc Rnd: Inc 1 st (to inc 1 st, pick up horizontal strand between st just knitted and next st, place it on left-hand needle, k 1 st in back of this strand), k to last 2 sts of rnd, inc 1 st as before, k 2 – 74 sts. K 4 rnds even, repeat back inc rnd – 76 sts.
I know what you’re thinking. “I don’t have time to knit this mask up before Halloween, I’ll just wait to next year.”

Don’t delay! The older your kids get, the harder it is to squeeze them into humiliating outfits.

Treasure these precious years when they’re still small enough that you can get away with all sorts of hilariously inappropriate and potentially unsafe costumes.

But whatever you do, don’t actually sit on the baby!
Shape Mouth: Rnd 1: K 33 sts, bind off 10 sts, k to end of rnd – 66 sts.

Rnd 2: K to bound-off sts, cast on 15 sts, mark 8th cast-on st for center st, k to end of rnd – 81 sts.

Rnd 3: K to 1 st before marked st, sl 1, k 2 tog, psso, mark last st on right-hand needle, k to end – 79 sts.

Rnd 4: Repeat back inc rnd – 81 sts.

Rnd 5: Repeat rnd 3 – 79 sts. K 1 rnd.

Rnd 7: K to marked st, sl marked st, k 1, psso, remove marker, k to end – 78 sts.

Rnd 8: Repeat back inc rnd – 80 sts.

Shape Eyes: Rnd 1: K 30 sts, bind off 20 sts, k to end – 60 sts.

Rnd 2: K to bound-off sts, cast on 20 sts, k to end – 80 sts. K 2 rnds even, repeat back inc rnd, k 4 rnds even, repeat back inc rnd – 84 sts.

Work even in R until piece measures 4 3/4’’ above ribbing when mask is measured at side of face. Break off R, join Y. Work 4 rows. Break off Y, join R. Work even in R until piece measures 6’’ above ribbing.
And if you’re the single, unemployed mother of octuplets...

At least she didn’t dress up the babies in Red Indian ski masks. That would have been offensive.
Shape Top: * Sl 1, k 1, pssp, k 10, repeat from * around. Continue to dec 7 sts every other rnd in same way having 1 st less between decs after each dec rnd 4 times more, then dec same way every rnd until 7 sts remain. Break yarn, leaving 12’’ end. Draw end through remaining sts, fasten securely on wrong side.

FINISHING: From right side, with BL, work 1 row sc around edge of mouth and eyes.

NOSE PIECE: Starting at bottom edge, cast on 6 sts. K 1 row, p 1 row. Dec 1 st each side of next row – 4 sts. P 1 row. Dec 1 st each side of next row – 2 sts. P 1 row. K 6 rows (garter st). K next row, inc 1 st each end – 4 sts. P 1 row, k 1 row. P next row, inc 1 st each side of next row – 6 sts. K 1 row, p 1 row. Bind off. Sew between eyes as pictured.

EMBROIDERY: Note: All embroidery is done in BL using duplicate st (see page 22).

Embroider a line of 8 sts 4 rows under mouth; embroider a line of 9 sts 2 rows above yellow band, centered over nose piece. Embroider “eyebrows” over eyes as pictured. Embroider “war paint” under eyes following chart.

This chart will also come in handy for the nurse stitching up your son after he goes trick-or-treating in Oka, Québec.
Steam press lightly.

FEATHERS: With R cast on 5 sts, leaving strand for sewing. K 1 row.

Pattern: Row 1: K 2 tog, yo, k 1, yo, k 2 tog.

Row 2: Purl. Repeat these 2 rows 4 times more.

Next Row: K 2 tog, k 1, k 2 tog – 3 sts. P 1 row, k 1 row, p 1 row. Next Row: K 1, yo, k 1, yo, k 1. P 1 row. Repeat rows 1 and 2 of pattern 4 times. K tog the 5 sts, end off. Run in yarn end. Thread needle with strand from cast-on edge. Run thread through cast-on sts, pull tog, fasten securely. Weave red pipe cleaner through center p st on wrong side. Make another feather same way using Y. Fold feathers in U shape. Sew on above BL line as shown.
If after all your knitting, sewing, steam pressing and feathering, your ungrateful spawn refuses to wear the ski mask, you can always pull out the big guns.

“Wear the mask, Junior, or your Dad and I will accompany you door-to-door dressed like this!”

Click here for the printable pattern.

1 comment:

  1. Hi. I seem to be coming up with Tahki's cotton yarn pointing to your page but can't find it anywhere! I just needed to get a weight so i can make a baby backpack that uses it!
    Hope you can help. Thanks. you can email