Monday, January 30, 2012

Crochet is the Opium of the Masses

Double Crochet Belt from “Learn to Crochet,” 1963

This belt is the very first project in “Learn to Crochet”. The method of instruction, the reader is assured, is most “pleasant”, although one is warned to always keep in mind the importance of neatness of execution. In other words, if your finished work is not lovely, it’s your own damn fault and your time would be better spent pursuing messier hobbies like pottery or bog snorkelling.

Observe the young lady in the picture above. She clearly understands the necessity for neatness as she’s shellacked her hair in place. There’s no arguing with results, her crocheted belt is lovely. True, she also has the pale complexion and lethargic poise of an opium addict, barely able to lift her arm toward her books.

Looks like she’s been reading Morocco by Jean-Louis Mi├Ęge, an historian so obscure he only rates three sentences in the French language Wikipedia. I’m not sure what this tells us about our crochet model. Has she visited Morocco? Is she planning to? Is her opium supplier Moroccan?


Look, there he is! Seconds after this photo was taken, the fellow opened his robe, and asked historian Jean-Louis, “Say, wanna buy some opium? Primo stuff. Fell off the back of a truck. Would I lie to you?”

Or possibly our model can’t breathe and really needs to loosen her double crochet belt before she passes out.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Double Crochet Belt

Coats Mercer-Crochet No. 10 (20 grm.): 2 balls.

There’s a strange symbol directly after Coats. Exhaustive internet research reveals that sadly it’s not a secret symbol used by opium smugglers. It’s actually just an older version of the modern Coats logo.

This model is worked in White, but any shade of Mercer-Crochet maybe be used. No. 10 is available in White, 610, (Dk Ecru), 609 (Ecru), 442 (Mid Buttercup), 621 (Lt. French Blue), 623 (Spring Green) and Spec. 8918 (Lt. Coral).
Lots of choice, so long as you stick to bland, inoffensive shades. No Ravishing Reds or Sex-Kitten Sapphires for you! Even Light Coral has to be special ordered, as a mere glimpse of a colour approaching pink will upset your opium-addled, ahem, delicate sensibilities.

And don’t even think about using any crochet thread other than Coats. Page six of the instructions, which you’ve memorized to ensure the loveliness of your work, decrees: “Coats Mercer-Crochet possesses qualities which are of the utmost importance to the work. It washed beautifully, never loses its colour or becomes ‘stringy’… it is the ideal crochet thread.”

Heaven help you if your thread becomes stringy! Your neighbours will accuse you of being strung-out.
Beads and sequins. 1 buckle.

¾ yd. corded silk ribbon for lining.

Milwards Steel Crochet Hook No. 2 ½. (Slack workers could use a No. 3 hook and tight workers a No. 2.

Slack workers lack proper motivation. This being the early sixties, tight workers simply need a strong sedative.

Of course, even the slack workers will need Nervine, a dry martini, or just plain ol’ opium, as the very first project in this book involves teeny tiny needles and thread.

Welcome to crochet! Please enjoy the complimentary eye-strain.
Tension: 12 rows = 1 in.

Measurements: 3 ½ in. deep x 22 in. long.


Commence with 33 ch.
You can tell this is a classy pattern by the way the designer invites you to “commence” instead of “begin”.
1st Row: 1 dc (double crochet) into 2nd (second) ch (chain) from hook, 1 dc into each of remaining ch, 1 ch, turn.

2nd Row: 1 dc into each dc, 1 ch, turn.

Repeat 2nd row until belt measures 23 in. (or 1 in. longer than waist measurement), omitting turning ch at end of last row.
Or until you have a nervous breakdown from row after row of nothing but double crochet. No wonder the model for this pattern was dreaming of escaping to Morocco!

This also explains why she quit crocheting her belt despite it being clearly several inches too small.
Fasten off.

Damp and press.

Sew on buckle. Then sew on beads and sequins as shown in illustration or as desired. Line inside of belt with corded ribbon.


Don’t go wild with the beads and sequins. Three beads and two sequins is all you can handle as a beginner crocheter and a social opium smoker.

Of course, if you believe that after this pattern you’re ready for the hard stuff, I won’t warn you to just say no. However, if the police show up at your door, you didn’t get this from me.


Click here for the printable pattern.

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Ladies’ Ski Mask from “Easy to Make Fashions for the North, South, East, West”, c. 1960

So, clearly it’s time to fight back by frightening the heck out of Jack Frost.

Those who remember the 1960s speak fondly of the Summer of Love, but they never mention the Winter of Rabid Hate. But now I understand why so many hippies fled to San Francisco in 1967 and overindulged in free love and inexpensive marijuana. How else could they block out childhood memories of their mothers wearing this terrifying mask as she hunted them down like so many snowshoe bunnies? Yes, thousands of baby boom youngsters huddled behind snow banks in their urine-soaked snowsuits praying that this terrifying visage wouldn’t find them and make them come indoors to massage Mommy’s hammer toe.

Don’t believe me? Then explain this: George R.R. Martin, the infamous fantasy author, was but a tender twelve years old in 1960, and he believes to this day the most ominous phrase for all of humankind is...


I rest my case.

For the complete pattern (and more snark!):

Ski Masks

Materials Required:
AMERICAN THREAD COMPANY “DAWN” KNITTING WORSTED
I do believe this calls for another sign...


4 ounces Buff Heather
1/3 ounce each Red, Tangerine and Black
Red sequins, Red and Black felt, 2 large bone rings for Ladies’ Mask
1 pr. knitting needles No. 8
Aluminum crochet hook size F
I’ve complained in the past about the creepiness of so-called skin toned ski masks, but Buff Heather will make you look even less like a ski bunny and more like a bog body that’s been dug up at the 2014 Winter Olympics’ site.

Now, even though dead Soviets have turned up in bogs, I want to make it very clear I’m not accusing the Russians of anything. Especially Vladimir Putin.
LADIES’ MASK: Work Basic Mask.

BASIC MASK:
Cast on 82 stitches (sts) and work in Knit (K) 2, Purl (P) 2 ribbing for 2 inches ending last row with P 2.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 26, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts (Right side).
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 26, K 2, P 2. Repeat last two rows for 1 inch ending with K 2, P 2.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 12, increase (inc) 1 st in each of the next 2 sts, K 12, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, P 12, inc in next st, P 2, inc in next st, P 12, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 12, inc in next st, K 4, inc in next st, K 12, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: P2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 12, inc in next st, P 6, inc in next st, P 12, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts. Continue in same manner until there are 12 sts between increasing points (94 sts).
The helpful definitions of common short forms, along with the pedantically spelled out instructions and the enthusiastically shouted NEXT ROWS, all imply that this basic ski mask is an ideal first project for a beginner.

Of course, it’ll be your first and last knitting venture after your family sees the finished hat and locks you away as a danger to yourself and others.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 38, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 38, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts. Repeat last 2 rows 4 more times ending with K 2, P 2.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 11, bind off 16 sts for Mouth, K 10, P 2, K 2 to end of row.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 11, drop yarn. Attach new skein of yarn on the other side of Mouth, P 11, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 11, drop yarn, pick up 1st skein of yarn, K 11, P 2 K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 11, cast on 18 sts, P 11 on other side of Mouth, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, cut yarn of 2nd skein.

It’s not clear at this point how the Ski Mask will end up looking like a Sock Monkey who died of lock jaw.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 40, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P40, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts. Repeat last 2 rows twice.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 16, bind off 8 sts for Nose, K 15 P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 16, cast on 17 sts, P 16, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 16, P 8, K 1, P 8, turn. Working across Nose sts only, K 8, P 1, K 8, turn, P 8, K 1, P 8, K 16, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 16, K 2 together (tog), K 6, P 1, K 6, K 2 tog, P 16, K2, P 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 16, P 2 tog, P 5, K 1, P 5, P 2 tog, K 16, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 16, K 2 tog, K 4, P 1, K 4, K 2 tog, P 16, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 16, P 2 tog, P 3, K 1, P 3, P 2 tog, K 16, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 16, K 4, P 1, K 4, P 16, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 17, P 3, K 1, P 3, K 17, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 18, K 2, P 1, K 2, P 18, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 19, P 1, K 1, P 1, K 19, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.

Normally, I don’t recommend nose jobs for ski masks, but a knitted schnoz really shouldn’t look like it was on the losing end of an argument with a garden hoe.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 7, bind off 12 sts for Eye, P 2, bind off 12 sts for other Eye, P 6, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 7, drop yarn, attach about 1 yd. of yarn at Nose and K 3, drop yarn, attach another skein of yarn at other side of other Eye and K 7, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 7, drop yarn, pick up other yarn, P 3, drop yarn, pick up other yarn at other side of Eye, P 7, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 7, drop yarn, pick up other yarn, K 3, drop yarn, pick up other yarn at other side of Eye, K 7, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 7, cast on 12 sts, P 3, cast on 12 sts, P 7, K 2, P 2 for 28 sts.
NEXT ROW: K 2, P 2 for 28 sts, K 41, P 2, K 2 for 28 sts.
Unkind people might comment that the eyes look a tad close together...

...and they’d be right. However, keep in mind that the field of Ski Mask Physiognomy has been debunked, so we cannot conclude that only the criminal class would be caught dead or alive in this mask.

Although, it’s true that the last lady wearing this mask was seen in the company of this fellow ski enthusiast.

NEXT ROW: P 2, K 2 for 28 sts, P 41, K 2, P2 for 28 sts. Repeat last 2 rows once, then P 1 row, K 3 rows.
Work next 35 rows in stockinette stitch (K 1 row, P 1 row), decreasing 4 sts evenly spaced every other row but do not work decreases directly over decreases of previous row until 25 sts remain, cut yarn leaving an end. Thread yarn into needle and draw sts tog, sew seam.

Cut a section of Red felt for lower Lip and stitch in place. Cut a section Red felt for upper lip and stitch in place taking care to keep corners of Mouth neat. Cut two sections of Black felt for Eyes and stitch in place. Outline Eyes with red sequins and also stitch a few sequins on each Cheek.
Only a few sequins on those cheeks, mind you! Whether bog ladies were sacrificial victims or young misses with a poor sense of direction, they did NOT make themselves up to look like whores.

Of course, if you use too few, you risk creating sparkly duelling scars.
Embroider Nostrils in red. Cover 2 bone rings with single Crochet using Tangerine yarn and stitch in place for Earrings.
Go big or go home.
HAIR: Starting at ridge as illustrated and with Tangerine, join yarn over a K st. Working toward top of Mask, * skip 1 K st, wind yarn around index finger to form a 1 inch loop, insert hook through both loops of next K st and complete sc. Repeat from * in same row of K sts to top of mask, skip 1 row of K sts and repeat from 1st * until top of Mask is covered with loops.
Why Tangerine hair? Because you won’t win first prize at the Bog Body Costume Party if you forget that the acids in peat bogs eventually turn everyone into gingers. (Warning: only click the link if you’re a fan of graphic forensic content!)

Of course, the red sequins on your mask may disqualify you anyway, as no bog body has been discovered in sparkly disco wear.

Yet.

Click here for the Printable Pattern

Read more!