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.


  1. Happy new year to you and to all my fellow readers of this blog. This is a very nice looking sweater for somebody who can wear the small size,but I am not so sure if it would suite those who need to wear bigger sizes. Hind

  2. omg! dangerously close to the years that I actually survived. I'm all to happy to grapple w/the pre-80s patterns of all sorts, but this is truly brave! you provide constant inspiration! Happy New year to readers of this awesome blog!

  3. Dear Hind, I'm quite sure the cityscape would look most alarming on anyone larger than a size 2. It would also be fairly dreadful on any woman with a larger bra size, too. She'd resemble a pair of twin mushroom clouds over the city.

    Karen, you'll be pleased to know that the next pattern I'll be featuring is from 1965. There are still photos out there of me in those awful bat-winged geometrically-patterned eighties sweaters.

  4. Yay for batwinged 80's sweaters!