Sunday, May 8, 2011

Apple Pie Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

“Apple Pie Order” from Knick-Knacks to Crochet, 1939

Keep your linen closet neat as a pin with these crocheted bands that put pillow cases, single and double sheets in their places. Weighted tips.
My linen closet doesn’t look like this. My mother’s linen closet doesn’t look like this, and she grew up when Neatness was next to Godliness.

Please note, these sheets aren’t just labeled, they’ve also been starched. Not because starching makes sheets more comfortable – I’m getting itchy-twitchy just looking at the photo. However, sacrificing a good night’s sleep was considered a small price to pay so you could fold hospital corners sharp enough to cut yourself on.

Uh oh, my Mother just exclaimed, “Sweetie, these would be the perfect gift for Mother’s Day. You start crocheting, and I’ll get the starch!”

Excuse me while I go put a padlock on my linen closet.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

No. 9099

Materials: CLARK’S O.N.T. or J. & P. COATS PEARL COTTON, size 5, 4 balls of any color.
CLARK’S O.N.T. or J. & P. COATS SIX STRAND EMBROIDERY FLOSS, 2 skeins of a contrasting colour.
MILWARD’S steel crochet hook No. 7 or 8.

Starting at narrow end, ch 13. 1st row: Tr in 5th ch from hook and in each ch across. Ch 4, turn. 2nd row: Tr between 1st and 2nd tr, * tr between this and next tr. Repeat from * across. Ch 4, turn. Repeat 2nd row until piece measures 28 inches.
Or until you go insane.
Ch 1, turn. Next row: S c in each st across. Ch 1, turn. Repeat this row until piece measures 1 yd. in all. Fasten off. Make 2 more pieces like this.
Seriously, is the quest for perfect domestic order really worth your sanity?

My Mother just said, “Yes!”

But it was a rhetorical question!
Sew a lead weight to end of s c-sections, turning up corners.
That’s not a typo, it really says “c-sections”. And not just any “c-sections”, they’re S-shaped c-sections.

Because suffering through major abdominal surgery in order to bring a new precious life into the world is absolutely the same thing as suffering through hours and hours of tedious crocheting in order to bring a new useless craft into your home.

Of course, crocheting linen bands isn’t the only thing just like giving birth. So is successful blogging, felting a dozen scarves, and installing Fallout 3.
Embroidery . . . Embroider the s c-sections with Six Strand, using cross stitch for the words “PILLOWS,” “SINGLE” and “DOUBLE”.
Doctors call it “suturing”, but that’s just a fancy-schmancy medical name for plain ol’embroidery.

Be sure to boil your embroidery thread for fifteen minutes before embarking upon your c-section. Afterwards, promptly clean the blood up off your kitchen linoleum. If it gets under the baseboards, you’ll just end up attracting ants.

Don’t ask me how I know that.

Now you’re ready to iron the starch into your sheets. Although, considering it’s Mother’s Day, you should really ask the man about the house to do it for you.

Or not.

Click here for the printable pattern.


  1. This is not only a waste of time and effort,it is also a waste of fine pearl cotton thread which could be much better used for making a doily,or a collar,or a lace border.A few months after this was published WW2 forced housewives to become more practical and invest their time in doing more useful things. Hind

  2. My linen closet neither! Love this post!

  3. I don't even remember my mother's linen closet being that orderly. We didn't starch the sheets (we ironed them, yes, before permanent press was around), just folded and stacked them. (I don't remember Granny's linen closet being that way, either.)

  4. LOL - cut yourself on the hospital corners - yowsa! :) Love this! :)

  5. I can remember my grandmother starching and ironing her sheets (and grandad's shorts and jammies) when I was a kid! I can actally smell it as I read this. My mom used to pay me to iron my dad's work shirts, until perma press came out and she promptly got them! Ironing clothes in an Oklahoma summer is a truly miserable experience, especially before air conditioning!

  6. Hind - Now I'm trying to imagine practical uses for doilies on the battlefield... Then again, it's important to give your foxhole a homey feeling! ;-)

    Aafkey - Thank you!

    Anony - I think this is some kind of fantasy linen closet, to be honest. Like those perfect shiny homes all the interior decorating magazines feature, but which you know don't really exist in the real world.

    Mamafrog - I'm wincing for your poor grandad in his starched shorts! :-o My mother was also in Oklahoma (I don't suppose you're an army brat?) and got four dollars a month to starch and iron her mother's cotton shirtwaist dresses and her father's golf pants. She still has traumatic memories of it. ;-)

  7. I imagine that the most practical way to use doilies in such a case is to sell them on charity bazaars and use the money to buy more useful things for those who are on the battlefield. Hind

  8. Hind - you're absolutely right, of course! :-)

    But I do enjoy imagining machine gun versions of this...

  9. Thank you for the link.I could not stop laughing,this is too funny !.Hind

  10. No, I'm not an Army brat--Navy kid born at Tinker Field (now Tinker Air Base) while my dad was in the Korean war. Don't guess grandad ever complained about his shorts as grandma always ironed them until she became too ill to do it! My MIL took in ironing to make extra money though. I can remember seeing her in the heat with the swamp cooler going full blast and ironing away. When my husband and I were engaged I went to his house one day when she was ironing. I looked at her and then looked at him, and told him if he thought I was going to do that he had another think coming! He assured me he told her not to iron his shirts but she didn't like the way they looked otherwise. I think the most things I've ironed in my life were seams when I was sewing and the crease in my jeans in the 60's, besides my dad's shirts! I know the summers there were as hot when I was a kid and we didn't have air conditioning then, but they seem miserable now.

  11. Hi Victoria, I have been missing your posts. How have you been?

  12. Hey, Anony!

    Sorry for disappearing abruptly like this. It's been a very exciting month. I've got serious nibbles from a publisher with regards to the zombie novel, but it needs another 20,000 words, so I've been writing like mad.

    Also, I'm traveling again. (Fortunately my favorite small Northern town now has wi-fi in the town centre - woo hoo!)

    I'll be back with new patterns and more snark, I promise!

  13. Thanks for letting us know, Victoria. Besides craving more of your snark, I was just worried about you. I am glad everything is okay, and will keep checking back every day or so for your return. Pat.

  14. Pat - it's taken awhile, but I'm really, truly back now! I spent most of the summer and fall writing and rewriting the book and the nibbles have become very nibblish indeed. Almost bitey, even. More on that, very soon!