Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Apron from Coats & Clark’s Edgings Book No. 305, 1954

At last the truth is revealed! Halloween isn’t about eating candy until you puke, or watching scary movies involving an excessive amount of projectile vomiting. Halloween is all about preserving your femininity.

So, there’s no better way to celebrate Halloween than to don a ladylike apron you made with your very own little ladylike hands. However, don’t confess your plans ahead of time to your husband, or he may try to persuade you to make a sexy French Maid apron instead! Men just don’t understand that only fallen women oppressed by the Patriarchy wear French Maid costumes.

Unlike the poor, downtrodden woman pictured above, you are no victim of depraved male fantasies. Your Halloween apron will celebrate radical feminism! It will proclaim a liberated woman’s inalienable right to choose … to spend Halloween in the kitchen!

Besides your new apron will come in real handy once the inevitable Halloween barfing begins.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

How to Make Aprons

Each apron requires 1 yard of organdy, 36 inches wide, and 1 spool of Coats and Clark’s Mercerized Sewing Thread, Art. C. 3, in a matching color. Aprons are made identically: Cut a piece of organdy 12 ½ x 36 inches and roll a ¼ inch hem around three sides. Slip stitch hem. Cut a piece of organdy 6 ½ x 15 ½ inches for waistband. Cut two pieces of organdy 6 x 36 inches for ties, roll and sew a ¼ inch hem around three sides. Gather top of apron to measure 15 inches. Fold waistband in half lengthwise, turn in ¼ inch hem on raw edges and sew across top of apron.

Gather raw ends of ties to measure 3 inches, insert in ends of waistband and sew in place.
I’m actually hopeless at sewing, so I won’t tell if you sneak off to Wall-Mart and buy a pre-made apron. Or if you’re low on cash, just mug a Wall-Mart greeter for their vest.

Wall-Mart vests make great Halloween costumes.

Just don't try this right after a snowstorm!
Halloween Apron: Appliqué hats and 1 strip of felt ¼ x 4 ¼ inches for handle of broom. Use bugle beads for bristles and decorate hats with sequins.
Sadly, bugle beads are long tube-shaped beads, not Mardi Gras beads you get from flashing boogie woogie bugle boys.

This picture is provided just in case you don't know what a witch's hat looks like. You wouldn't want to accidentally applique top hats all over your apron instead.

I'm not sure what this apron means ("I cook with style"? "I killed Fred Astaire and served him for dinner"?), but I do know it definitely doesn't say, "Happy Halloween"!

Halloween Apron Edging . . . S-532

COATS & CLARK’S O>N>T> TATTING-CROCHET, Art. C. 21, Size 70: 3 balls of No. 12 Black.

Milwards Steel Crochet Hook No. 14.

Orange organdy apron.

Make a chain 6 inches longer than outer edge of apron. 1st row: Sc in 2nd ch from hook, * ch 5, skip next 2 ch, sc in next ch. Repeat from * across until piece measures 4 inches longer than outer edge of apron, having number of loops divisible by 8 and 7 more at end of row.
Show your kids this pattern to prove they will have to use math in every day life.

Better yet, have them make the apron for you. It's educational! And then no one will ever have to know that you can't divide correctly by eight.
Ch 3, turn. 2nd row: * Draw loop on hook out to measure ¼ inch, thread over and draw loop through, insert hook between single and double loops and draw a loop through, thread over and draw through two loops on hook, (knot st made), sc in next loop. Repeat from * across, ending with sc in last loop, dc in last sc. Ch 3, turn. 3rd row: * (Make a knot st, sc under double loop of next knot st) 7 times; ch 3, make 9 dc under double loop of next knot st (shell made), ch 3, sc under double loop of next knot st. Repeat from * across, ending with sc in last knot st, dc in top of turning chain. Ch 3, turn. 4th row: * Make a knot st, ** sc in next knot st. Repeat from * across, ending with sc in knot st preceeding next shell; make a knot st, sc in center dc of shell, make a knot st, sc in next ch-3 loop, make a knot st. Repeat from ** across, ending with sc in last knot st, dc in top of turning chain. Ch 3, turn.
The insistence on repeating from * or ** across leads me to believe there will be dire consequences if you attempt to repeat up-and-down.

Of course, if you read this Halloween pattern backwards, you will discover the hidden satanic messages.
5th row: (Make a knot st, sc in next knot st) 3 times; * ch 3, make a shell in next knot st, ch 3, sc in next knot st, (make a knot st, sc in next knot st) 7 times. Repeat from * across, ending with sc in last knot st, dc in top of turning chain. Ch 3, turn. 6th row: Work as for 4th row. 7th row: Work as for 3rd row. 8th row: Work as for 4th row, ch 5 at end of row. 9th row: * Sc in next knot st, ch 5. Repeat from * across. Ch 1, turn. 10th row: Sl st in first loop, sc in same loop, * make 2 knot sts, sc in next loop. Repeat from * across. Ch 5, turn. 11th row: Sc in center of first knot st loop, * ch 5, sc in center of next knot st loop. Repeat from * across. Break off. Sew edging neatly in place, gathering 2 inches at each corner.
And naturally, there are also dire consequences to NOT sewing edging neatly!

Like… um… social stigma? That’s right! Just think of the horrible shame you will feel if you’re seen in public wearing a slovenly Halloween apron. Nothing could be more humiliating!

Oh dear.

Click here for the printable pattern.

Read more!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Don’t You Dare Use Your New Potholders in Your Old Kitchen!

Planning & Remodeling Kitchens, c. 1975

Now that you’ve crocheted up some new anthropomorphic, tea-partying potholders, you need a new kitchen to show them off. Besides, you probably burned down your old kitchen attempting to simultaneously crochet and deep fry parsley.

But you don’t need just any old kitchen. You need a seventies kitchen. Bright, modern, spacious... Wait, what’s that ominous figure in the corner of the room?

Aaaugh, aliens!

Your new seventies kitchen will also help you welcome our new alien overlords.

For more seventies scullery snark:

Despite the cheery cover on this home remodeling book, the seventies were not really about modernity or spaciousness. They were about Authenticity. Rip off that drywall! Expose those beams and brickwork! And if you can’t, then at least cover everything in sight with wood paneling. Lies will not be tolerated. It’s about Keeping it Real.

It was also about keeping Mom in her place.

Seventies kitchen designers loved “pass-throughs”. These handy-dandy holes in the wall allowed Mom to stay in the kitchen and pass food out to her family on the other side, like a short-order cook or a prison cafeteria.

The one above is particularly well designed as the family can use the sliding door to seal Mom off from sight, when they get tired of her showing off her prison tats.

Whereas in this kitchen, dinner orders can be conveniently shouted at Mom from above. If Mom attempts to ignore him, Dad can always tip a fern over on her head.

Yes, the war of the sexes was alive and well in the seventies. And really, keeping Mom segregated from the rest of the family was probably for the best.

Any moment now this woman is going to turn around and bury a butcher knife in her husband’s chest. “Don’t tell ME how to cook, you micro-managing S.O.B.!”

One the plus side, no one will mess with her in the prison cafeteria.

Only in the seventies could hanging your antique kitchen tools from a row of flimsy screw-in hooks seem like a terrific idea.

Many an unfortunate seventies-era housewife was brained by falling mallets and skewered by BBQ forks as she cooked up hot dog casseroles for the family. But concussions and kitchen lobotomies were a small price to pay for the convenience (and authenticity!) of having all her kitchen implements ready at hand.

I advise that you invest in kitchen hard-hats before installing your very own kitchen utensils of Damocles.

Of course, some kitchen implements are just a little too pointy to dangle directly overhead. A Mom needs to be able to reach out, grab a knife and stab it into... dinner, of course. And that’s what the handy-dandy magnetic strip is for!

These days, not only can you use that magnetic strip to hold your assorted implements of culinary death, you can also use it to wipe your credit cards. Unfortunately, demagnetizing the stripe on your Visa card will not erase the debt on it.

In the seventies, however, a kitchen knife was not as dangerous as a tin of Campbell’s Soup.

Yes, Junior is about to learn a valuable lesson that gravity is a heartless kitchen witch.

Seventies Do It Yourself Furniture! The perfect way for a seventies guy to demonstrate his commitment to recycling. After all, getting back to the Earth is far more important than any petty concerns about his wife wasting hours of her life cleaning encrusted food and grime off chicken wire.

Rumour has it that the above photo was Exhibit A in the infamous Seventies divorce case Kramer vs. Kramer.

How convenient, you have to stand on the table to water your plants! And if your guests complain about baby spider plants landing in their food, just assure them they’re extra roughage. After all, spider plants are non-toxic, not like that English Ivy... Yeah, you might not want to put your chair right under that one.

Still, despite the risk of poisonous plants in my food, knives dangling overhead and the sheer impossibility of ever adequately cleaning exposed brickwork and stucco, I can’t help but want a seventies kitchen of my very own.

My breakfast nook needs a fireman’s pole!

Read more!