Wednesday, December 29, 2010

By Popular Demand!

At-Home Gown from McCall’s Needlework, Spring-Summer, 1972

Thanks to the response to the above photo in the Americana Jumper post, I now know I am not alone in my belief that granny squares are the sexiest form of crochet!

True, most of my fellow granny lovers wish to remain anonymous, but who can blame them considering the vitriol often aimed at granny fashion. But I’m unafraid of exposing myself… er, I mean exposing my desire for sexed-up grannies…ah, let’s just say I’m willing to be your spokesperson. And as the newly minted mouthpiece of the Granny Anti-Defamation Society Braving Antagonistic Granny Slander (or G.A.S.B.A.G.S.), I will now defend this granny gown’s honour.

You see, some conscienceless crocheters claim that the worried look on the above model’s face is caused by her fear of being seen in public in her granny garb. It’s true that there is a wary watchfulness about her, but only because, as McCall’s clearly warns, this is a strictly At-Home Gown.

Normally, a dress with granny squares simultaneously outlining and obscuring your every womanly curve would be just the thing to wear to a New Year’s Eve Party. However, combining these seductively smothering grannies with peek-a-boo shells has transformed this sexy shift into an outfit that causes spontaneous orgies.

So, naturally, this model from 1972 is nervous, as the Supreme Court of Canada did not make sexy parties legal until 2005. However, modern Canucks should still proceed with caution before heading out in this merrymaking muumuu. Yes, orgies aren't against the law here, but exercising that right in public could lead to fines, prison time, and severe frostbite.

For the complete pattern (and more Granny Advocacy!):


granny squares in bold flag colors accent yoke, straps, sides of white gown done in easy triple crochet pattern stitch. Of Malina Polyester Blend Yarn for 6-16.
Red, white and blue is a popular colour combination for flags! So, you won’t just be the belle of the ball at the American Embassy, the British High Commission, or the French Labour Union. You can also strike a chilly pose in Russia, Norway and Iceland.

Now, the North Korean flag is also red, white and blue, but I wouldn’t recommend wearing this granny gown on their red carpet walkway. For while the North Koreans love their polyester fashion plates, they prefer their sartorial splendor to do a better job of hiding bullet proof vests.

Walk, walk, fashion baby. Work it, move that thing, crazy!
SIZES: Directions for small size (6-8). Changes for medium size (10-12) and large size (14-16) are in parentheses. Note: Crochet hook and gauge determine size.
Body Bust Size: 30 ½’’-31 ½’’ (32 ½’’-34’’; 36’’-38’’).
Blocked Bust Size: 32 ½’’ (35’’-38’’).
For body measurements, see page 28.

Yes, boys wearing shoes can wear this gown with panache.

What? You don’t believe that granny squares on men are sexy? Why just check out Clint Eastwood, circa 1971, in none other than Playboy Magazine:

That’s right, granny square doubters, where’s your God now?
MATERIALS: Malina Polyester Blend Yarn (knitting worsted weight), 5 (6-6) 4-oz. skeins White, main color (MC); 2 skeins Sapphine (S) and 1 skein Carnation (C). For sizes 6-8, crochet hook size F; for sizes 10-12, crochet hook size G; for sizes 14-16, crochet hook size H. (Or English sizes 8, 7 or 6.) Large-eyed needle.

GAUGE: Each square = 3 ¼’’ (3 ½’’-3 ¾’’). See page 24.

YOU MUST BE SURE TO CHECK YOUR GAUGE! You MUST ALSO BE SURE TO DISCIPLINE YOUR GAUGE SWATCH by pinning it down and then spanking it with a ruler.

Spare the swatch, spoil the gown.
Note: Gown is worked from top to lower edge. Squares are sewn on later.
Yes, definitely postpone sewing the squares to later. Why tackle the squares at a relaxed pace as you go along, when procrastinating until finishing means you’ll feel delightfully overwhelmed by the over sixty squares scattered around you.

Without that rush of adrenaline from your last-minute panic, crocheting wouldn’t qualify as an extreme sport, now would it?
GOWN: BACK: Beg at upper edge, with MC and size F (G-H) crochet hook, ch 38 to measure 9 ¾’’ (10 ½’’-11 ½’’).
Row 1: Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across – 37 sc. Turn each row.
Row 2: Ch 3, 3 tr in first sc, * sk next 3 sc, shell of 4 tr in next sc, repeat from * across – 10 shells.
Row 3: Ch 4, shell of 4 tr in sp between first 2 shells, * shell of 4 tr in sp between next 2 shells, repeat from * across, end tr in top of ch 3 – 9 shells.
Row 4: Ch 3, 3 tr in sp between first tr and first shell, * shell of 4 tr in sp between next 2 shells, repeat from * across, end shell of 4 tr in ch-4 sp – 10 shells. Repeat rows 3 and 4 until piece measures 12’’ from start, end pat row 4.
Inc Rows: Row 1: Ch 3, tr in first tr (1/2 shell made), shell of 4 tr in space between first 2 shells, * shell of 4 tr in sp between next 2 shells, repeat from * across, end ½ shell of 2 tr in top of ch 3.
Row 2: Ch 4, shell in sp between ½ shell and first shell, work in pat across, end shell in sp between last shell and ½ shell, tr in top of ch 3 – 10 shells.
Row 3: Repeat row 4 – 11 shells. Work even until piece measures 20’’ from start, end pat row 4. Repeat inc rows 1-3 – 12 shells. Work even until piece measures 28’’ from start, end pat row 4. Repeat inc rows 1-3 5 times – 17 shells. Work even until piece measures 43 inches from start or about 3 ¼’’ (3 ½’’-3 ¾’’) (top border allowance) less than desired length.

FRONT: Work same as for back.
After all, these granny squares will ensure that no matter how well-endowed you are, your front will appear as flat as your back.

But don’t despair; all the sexiest fashions are completely reversible.

SQUARES: Center front Square: With S, ch 4, join with a sl st to form ring.
Rnd 1: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), make 2 dc in ring, ch 1, * 3 dc in ring, ch 1, repeat from * twice, join last ch 1 to top of ch 3 with a sl st (4 groups of 3 dc in round). End off.
Rnd 2: Join MC in a ch-1 sp, ch 3, 2 sc in same sp, ch 1, * 3 dc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1, 3 dc in same sp, ch 1, repeat from * twice, 3 dc in same space with first 3 dc, ch 1, join with a sl st to top of ch 3. End off.
Rnd 3: Join C in corner ch-1 sp, ch 3, 2 dc in same sp, ch 1, * 3 dc in next ch-1 sp, ch 1, (3 dc, ch 1, 3 dc) in corner ch-1 sp, ch 1, repeat from * around, end 3 dc in same space with first 3 dc, ch 1, join with a sl st to top of ch 3. End off.
A Square: Make 36 (34-32) squares same as center front square, working rnd 1 with C, rnd 2 with MC, rnd 3 with S.
B Square: Make 37 (35-33) squares same as center front square, working rnd 1 with MC, rnd 2 with C, rnd 3 with S.
Despite my allegiance to G.A.S.B.A.G.S., I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that there’s still time to turn your red, white and blue at-home gown into a far-away flag for the Faroe Islands.

Although, as the Faroe Sheep is on their coat of arms, making their flag out of polyester wool is tacky, at best. And considering a dinner party snub there caused an international incident, your granny flag could lead to all out war.
FINISHING: Front: With center front square at center, arrange 5 squares across top, 14 (13, 12) squares down each side, alternating A and B squares. With S, sew squares tog. Pin top and side edges of front to inner edges of squares; sew tog.
Back: Work same as front, using a B square for center top square.
Block pieces to measurements. Weave side seams 20’’ down, leaving lower edges open for slips.
That’s right, you’re going to want to show a little leg, you granny square hussy!
Sew 4 squares tog for each strap. Sew front end of straps to 2nd square in from side seams. Cross straps and sew to back.
And now you’re ready to crash sexy parties and cause international mayhem with your new granny garment. Or you could stay at home, and ring in the New Year curled up with a special someone in granny square bliss.

Either way, Handmade by Mother wishes you a Happy New Year filled with kooky knits and crazy crochet!

Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. OK, now where do we get the pattern for Clint's sweater?

  2. yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!

    --guess who...

    p.s. I love it! i wanna make iiiitaaaaaaaahhh!!!!!

  3. I love that they illustrate "check your gauge" for a granny square pattern with a knitted swatch. How useful!

  4. Girl you are to funny. Thank you for the laughter.

  5. Wow,this is a true classic! You are the best.

  6. Anony 1 and/or 2... are you perhaps David Caruso from CSI Miami? I mean, I certainly had a sudden urge to take off MY sunglasses when I read your "yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!"

    Clint's pattern is more of a challenge to find, because even if you bought whichever 1971 Playboy he was in, I'm sure it wouldn't have the pattern. Playboy was never big into the knitting and crochet scene.

  7. KF - You're right! I can't believe I let that one slip past without snarking on it...

    Connie - So glad we made you laugh!

    Startare - thank you! It's some kind of classic, I'm sure. ;)

  8. nope, it's me jenny. just anon2
    i mean jenny!

    there's actually a "y" on the end of that yaaaa...y

    i don't know why it got cut off. too many a's.

    anyway--watch out spring projects, here I come!! way beautiful piece on a gorgeous girl!

  9. Back in the early 1970s I worked with a girl who decided that she wanted a crocheted wedding dress. She had never crocheted before so learnt how to crochet a granny square.

    Immediately she started on her wedding dress - and very lovely it looked too!

    We were not easily daunted in those days - made of stern stuff!


  10. Maureen - it's so true! Every time I open a pattern book I'm in awe of the generations who came before me, crocheting their wedding dresses and handsewing their undergarments and decking out the entire house in fluffy ruffles. I have a hard time just finishing a pair of socks! (Or keeping up with a blog. ;-))