Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

The Workbasket, December, 1983

Elegance for Evening

Perfect for the holidays! The black sport weight yarn creates skyscrapers against a sparkling sky of metallic yarn.
Ah, the eighties! When the smoggy sky literally sparkled with volatile organic compounds. Every New Year was greeted with the festive sound of Grandpa’s emphysema acting up as he tried to sing Auld Lang Syne with the family. After Grandpa’s oxygen treatment, everyone would run outside to dance gaily in the acid rain until the hairspray in Mom’s hair caught fire.

Yes, hearken back to that halcyon yesteryear with an elegant sweater depicting a pollution-blackened cityscape.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Directions are given for small (finished bust measurement: 36 inches) with changes for medium (38 inches) and large (40 inches) in parentheses. You will need 3 (4,5) ounces sport yarn, 3 ounces metallic yarn and a size G crochet hook (or size required for gauge). Use double strand of metallic throughout.
Shoulder pads are highly recommended, unless you’re into having your shoulders rubbed raw by metallic thread. Yes, looking like a linebacker really did have a practical purpose in that synthetic era.
Gauge: 9 sts equal 2 inches
5 rows equal 2 inches
Five rows of sport weight yarn every two inches? If you want to complete this project before the December 2012 apocalypse, you’d best start now. Don’t you want a sweater that will match the burning ruins of your hometown?
Ooh… catchy phrasing! So much better than the usual all-caps gauge warnings. This needs to be part of a poster campaign.

Note: Sweater is worked sideways. Rows are worked back and forth from waist to neckline.

FRONT: With black, ch 81 (87, 93).
Row 1: Dc in 4th ch from hook and in each of next 35 (41, 47) ch, join metallic, dc in next 42 ch, ch 3, turn – 78 (84, 90) sts.
Sweater is worked entirely in dc, with no shaping. Directions will be for number of sts and color only. Diagram will further clarify. Ch 3 and turn at end of each row. Ch 3 at end of row always counts as first dc of next row.
A fetish for counting stitches helps!

Count von Count makes all his own clothes.
Row 2: 42 Metallic, 36 (42, 48) black.
Row 3: 46 (52, 58) Black, 32 metallic.

Note: All even rows are worked with same number of stitches in same color as preceding row.
Row 5: 42 (48, 54) Black, 36 metallic.
Row 7: 32 (38, 44) Black, 46 metallic.
Row 9: 55 (61, 67) Black, 23 metallic.
Row 11: 37 (43, 49) Black, 41 metallic.
Row 13: 52 (58, 64) Black, 26 metallic.
Row 15: 35 (41, 47) Black, 43 metallic.
Row 17: 29 (35, 41) Black, 49 metallic.
Row 19: 43 (49, 55) Black, 35 metallic.
Row 21: 62 (68, 74) Black, 16 metallic.
Row 23: 37 (43, 49) Black, 41 metallic.
Row 25: 48 (54, 60) Black, 30 metallic.
Row 27: 36 (42, 48) Black, 42 metallic.
Row 29: 54 (60, 66) Black, 24 metallic.
Row 31: 32 (38, 44) Black, 46 metallic.
Row 33: 27 (33, 39) Black, 51 metallic.
Row 35: 43 (49, 55) Black, 35 metallic.
Row 37: 50 (56, 62) Black, 28 metallic.
Row 39: 39 (45, 51) Black, 39 metallic.
Row 41: 33 (39, 45) Black, 45 metallic.
Row 43: 59 (65, 71) Black, 19 metallic.
Row 45: 44 (60, 66) Black, 34 metallic.
Hopefully you haven’t sunk too far into a haze of “Vun, two, tree, ha-ha-ha!” because there’s a mistake in the forty-fifth row. Do you see it? Here’s a hint… all the other rows add up to 78 (84, 90) sts across. You’ll be fine if you’re crocheting a small size sweater, but you’re going to run into trouble if you’re trying to make a medium or large size.

I suspect it’s not a mistake, but instead a diabolical plot to make us all regret overindulging this holiday season. Only small sized people and muppets get a pass as they can’t hold their eggnog anyway.

Fasten off for small size. For medium, repeat rows 1 through 4. For large, repeat rows 1 through 8. Back is worked exactly the same as front. Sew 3 ½ inch shoulder seams. Sew side seams leaving 7 (7 ½, 8) inch opening for arms. Work 2 rnds dc around sleeve openings, join, fasten off. At waist, beginning at side seams, work 4 rnds dc, join, fasten off.
And tah-dah! You are now the proud owner of an authentic Eighties sweater. Add a bottle of hairspray and some legwarmers, and you’ll be all set to party hardy until the Police show up.

Click here for the Printable Pattern.

Read more!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Silent Night, Deadly Night

The Workbasket, December 1983

Create a chorus of pine cone carolers for “singing” around your Christmas tree.
“Singing” is in quotes because clearly this caroller is “screaming”. Because nothing says Winter Solstice like terrifying crafts.

This merry masterpiece was inspired by the ancient pagan tradition of sacrificing frozen carollers to ensure the return of the sun. Revellers would then impale the decapitated heads on pine cones, and hang them on their Solstice tree!

No, it’s true, I read all about it on the interwebs.
For the complete pattern (and more horror!):

For each caroler you will need scraps of red and green felt, a medium sized cotton ball, a pipe cleaner, a pine cone of any size, 2 blue sequins for eyes and 1 red for mouth, a small gold pearl, small pins, white glue and a polystyrene ball. Be sure to select a pine cone that is flat on bottom so that caroler isn’t wobbly.
Carollers should only be wobbly after they’ve drunk all your wassail, not before.

Using given pattern, cut hat and shawl from felt. Glue cotton ball to hat, let dry.
Trust me, cotton balls glued onto circles of green felt look exactly like Victorian top hats.

If you can’t see the clear resemblance, you clearly haven’t eaten enough delicious Rum Balls.
The size of the polystyrene ball selected for head should be chosen according to pine cone size. Using small pins, position sequins and gold pearl for face. Set aside.
The ceremonial importance of the nose being gold has been lost in the mists of time. Nevertheless, do not mess with tradition! One slip up, and you’ll be condemned to twelve months of flood, famine, and ill-fitting thermal underwear.
Wrap pipe cleaner around small end of pine cone, forming arms.
See photo to ensure that the arms are properly positioned to illustrate the caroller’s terrified supplication to the merciless Elder Gods.

With straight end of crochet hook make small hole in center of bottom of polystyrene ball. Fill hole with white glue and press onto center part of pine cone. Glue felt hat to ball, leaving a brim.
All good pagans own a crochet hook. It doesn’t need to be included in the materials list.

Finally, attach shawl by wrapping around pine cone and drawing one end through slit, pull up tight. Let dry for about 2 hours.
One man’s shawl is another man’s scarf. Be sure to make it of red fabric as it symbolizes the ritual beheading of the carollers at midnight. Then, cookies and milk for everyone!
If desired, cut songbook from gold or silver cardboard using pattern. Position in carolers’ arms.
Now kick back and enjoy your new decorations, while munching on a gingerbread man. Be sure to leave his head for last, so Gingy’s screams will drown out those annoying carollers who’ve temporarily escaped Cthulhu’s grasping tentacles.

Click here for the Printable Pattern.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

DIY – Ripple Socks for Superheros!

While I’ve been neglecting this blog (but for very good reason, which I promise I’ll reveal with great fanfare soon), faithful reader Jenny has been busily crocheting up a storm. She’s even made the famous Ripple Socks!

Jenny writes: “Pay no mind to the fact that these socks are worn through...”

Keep reading for her hilarious explanation of the sad state of her ripple socks.
I wear my socks hard. No, really! Sometimes, on my long treks to the store (literally: a mile.5 to get to the shopping center, who knows how much walking in & between stores, then the mile.5 back carrying, for example, 10 pounds of flour, 5 pounds of sugar, a can of coffee, some yarn perhaps, 4 pounds of dry beans, a 2 liter of soda water...), I take my shoes off because my feet have been warmly squeezed into my shoes for so long, I just gotta relieve the pressure. [edit, my feet are only squeezed in when wearing thick socks such as these] [edit 2: i only wear the socks when it's cold out] Walking on the concrete sidewalks, and sometimes in the rain, has led to the demise of these poor socks. Most of the time, though, they are house socks--worn over my sock socks.
I’m sure our gentle reader can’t help but notice that Jenny is a superhero. And clearly these socks were not designed to stand up to the rigors of a life battling crime while toting 25 lbs of groceries around. I would suggest Jenny knit her next pair out of unstable molecules (yarn available for purchase at the Baxter Building, at the corner of 42nd and Madison in NYC).

Also, you will notice that I have demonstrated in the second photo that the socks do not stay put--as exampled by the left sock. The picture with the pattern had me all excited about big tall socks that would stay up--obviously the photo is either doctored or carefully setup then quickly shot because the slightest ant fart brings them down. Not to worry though--they're just socks, after all...and they're worn through anyway. When they first started showing signs of hole making, I thought to myself, I can just seam that back together with my handy dandy, uh, fixing things skills. More time passed and there were more long treks to the store with more concrete walkin' in my stockin's, and the holes just blew out irrationally.
I suspect supervillains were involved.
Don't know if I'll ever fix them, but boy do I enjoy wearing them! I made them! They're the first I've made in the sock-genre, so I'm sure there will be others.

One thing I will say as a note to others who may wish to produce these fine foot clothings is that the pattern only leads you up to the ankle. They say to repeat the last round until 18 somethings have been made or to desired length. Once again, the picture to accompany is misleading, and I think that's filthy. Not as filthy as making people believe the socks will stay up though. No hard feelings, honest. I did have a little, "whaaat?" about the heel, but I was new at crochet in general, and obviously I got through it :)
Jenny also included this important disclaimer.
p.s. there have not been any recorded incidents of seizures induced by my wearing of these socks.......for the record.
That would be for the official record, I’m sure. Those in the know are well aware zigzags (AKA ripples) were standard issue for super heroines in the sixties.

This “Vintage Super Hero Dress” will go beautifully with Jenny’s Ripple Socks, sending villains into helpless convulsions for miles around!

Read more!