Saturday, January 1, 2011

First Steps to a Happy New Year!

Helpful Hints from The Children’s Book’ Vol. 86, 1935

Baby Deserves the Best in Yarns Too!

And that means...

Bear Brand and Bucilla!
“Call 911!” you scream. Those babies have yarn wrapped around their necks, and now they’re EATING it!

Have no fear, gentle (and easily alarmed) reader. Bear Brand and Bucilla yarns are totally digestible and guaranteed not to plug a baby’s tender intestines.

Besides, these babies are not your coddled, over-protected, modern-day parasites on the body familial. These are 1930s Depression-era babies. They were made of sterner stuff and far more self-reliant than today’s layabout babies.
Yes, all those stories your Grandparents told you were true!

First Steps to Good Knitting and Crocheting

In 1935, baby toys were not designed by experts in child development. No sirree, babies developed their fine motor skills by playing with boxes of barbed wire.
Buy Sufficient Yarn – At the time the initial purchase of yarn for an article is made, it is important to buy the complete amount of each color necessary to finish the article.
After all, in 1935, there was a very good chance your yarn shop might go out of business before you finished your garment, and then where would you be?
Make sure the yarn is all of one dye lot number, as the next lot number of any color may differ slightly in shade from the original lot purchased, making it impossible to complete the garment satisfactorily.
That’s right, slight differences in shade will make it IMPOSSIBLE to complete your garment. Mixing of colours was not tolerated in the 1930s, and that included yarn.

Depression Baby is now knitting with her barbed wire!

Depression babies knew how to make do.
Bucilla Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks - To insure the correctness of the work it is advisable to use only Bucilla Crochet Hooks or Knitting Needles, as recommended in directions. Other makes of hooks or needles may be marked according to a different gauge and their use in connection with Bear Brand-Bucilla directions involves a risk of incorrect size when the article is finished.
You’re no doubt wondering why the original users of this book couldn’t just look up a needle sizing chart on the internet, but have you seen the steam powered computers they used in 1935?

And you thought your old dial-up was slow!
Bucilla Knitting Needles and Crochet Hooks are made of the finest materials, they are smooth to the touch, and will not catch or split the thread.
Or the barbed wire!

And you thought the obsession about looking thin was a recent phenomenon.
To Determine the Gauge – Every knitter or crocheter works in her own way; some work tightly and some work loosely.
Uptight people work tightly. And you don’t want to know what they say about loose hookers!
With the same materials and the same number of stitches, one person produces a wide and short piece of work, while another runs all to length. It is wise to ascertain just how one’s own work measures, before commencing a garment. Cast on (or chain) about 20 stitches, using the yarn and needles (or hook) recommended in directions, knit (or crochet) 20 rows in the pattern stitch to be used. At beginning of the directions, the number of stitches to 1 inch and the number of rows to 1 inch, are given; this is called the gauge.
And incidentally, this completely negates the whole argument behind using Bucilla needles. Clearly, just using the right needles isn’t enough.
Compare gauge on sample just made with the gauge given in the directions. If the sample is worked tighter than the given gauge, loosen the tension of yarn when working; if the sample is worked looser, tighten the tension of yarn.
It’s easy! All you have to do is knit tighter, or looser, and keep the same tension throughout the entire garment, even if it’s not your natural tension.

Let’s face it, babies in 1935 could do it all without breaking a sweat. Or wearing clothes.
When the difference in gauge is great, it is advisable to change the size of needles, or hook.

Oh, look! Baby can read! She doesn’t need Mommy to read her patterns for her.

Come to think of it, where are Baby’s parents? Oh right, this is 1935. Baby’s parents have probably left for the Big City, in order to earn enough money to keep the family afloat. Baby has stayed behind to run the family farm.
Some Helpful Hints – Do not slip first stitch after turning; the edge will be stronger and better if all stitches are knitted.

When picking up stitches on an edge (for border or sleeve), use a finer needle to pick up with, and change to regular needle in second row. If the edge stitches prove too loose, pick up stitches next to edge.

Cast on and bind off loosely. Seams must be made as elastic as the knitted fabric.
No, we won’t tell you how to do any of this. If a 1930s BABY can figure out how to do all this, what’s wrong with YOU?

Why weren’t my children ever this useful?

They’re teenagers now, and they still don’t do laundry! Clearly, I’ve spoiled them.
To Wash Knitted Garments – Take complete measurements of the garment. Use a neutral soap, make thick suds with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water which shrinks wool. Immerse garment and gently work suds through the fabric – do not rub, or twist, or allow the weight of the garment to pull it out of shape.
Babies are actually better at this job than adults. They can’t rub or twist very hard with their cute little baby muscles.

Yes, back in the Depression, baby labour was all the rage in the fiber industry sweatshops.
Rinse thoroughly in three lukewarm waters after washing, squeezing the garment gently between the hands to remove soap, but do not twist or wring. Roll garment between two turkish towels to knead out excess moisture – unroll at once and shape garment according to original measurements, leaving it on a turkish towel.
Only turkish towels will suffice. No other towel will do!

Although the two earthquakes Turkey experienced in 1935 might have put a slight dent in the towel trade that year.
Let it dry thoroughly, not forgetting to stretch it frequently into its natural shape.
The garment’s “natural” shape is not the one it naturally shrinks into – it’s whatever shape you’ve unnaturally stretched it into.

To Press Woolen Articles –
Or your baby’s genitals!

Always remember, safety first! Remind your infant to carry the plugged in, hot iron with both hands, and walk, don’t run.
Lay a padding on a table; lay a wet cotton cloth over the padding, place the article right side up over the wet cloth and pin it into the desired shape, then cover it with a dry cloth and allow it to dry slowly.
Babies have been known to object to over-enthusiastic pinning. Slow drying, on the other hand, is character building.
The slow evaporation of the wet cloth under the article will be sufficient to set the shape; do not remove until thoroughly dry.

If pressing with an iron is preferred, place the article wrong side up on a padded table.
There’s some debate over which is the wrong side of the baby. Personally, I believe the side that makes the most noise is the wrong side.
Cover with a damp cloth and pass a hot iron over it, so that the steam goes through, but the weight of the iron does not rest upon it; leave on pad until dry.

Further Important Notes – When garments are not in use do not hang them on a hanger or hook. Always place them in a drawer or chest so that they lay flat and smooth.
This goes for freshly pressed babies, too!
A smaller size may be obtained without changing the directions by using needles (or hook) next size smaller, and a larger size by using the next size larger needles.

Uh oh. Now might be a good time to teach Baby first aid!


  1. Hi, I am passing on the "Stylish Blogger Award" to you. You can pick it up at my blog on this page:
    Sharon Marie

  2. Aw, thank you so much!

    Unfortunately, I'm sure I'll never get around to passing it on, but I'm still highly flattered that you thought of me.

  3. That was so, so funny. I wish I hadn't read it while trying to eat my lunch!

  4. Sarah - One should never try to eat while reading about babies and barbed wire. Didn't your mother teach you that?