Friday, August 27, 2010

I'll Bet This Is Highly Effective Birth Control


Includes instructions if a longer rubber is needed.

(Yes, I realize this is extremely sophomoric humor.)

This makes an excellent substitute for a sponge for children, and can be so easily kept nice and free from grease and so quickly renewed that it will be a favourite manner of knitting for the nursery.

Materials : Knitting cotton No. 6 (white only), two knitting needles, No. 10.

Cast on 78 stitches and knit 4 rows of plain knitting.

—1st row of pattern. Knit 3, *, make 1 by putting the thread in front, slip 1, knit 2 together, repeat from * 23 time* more, knit 3

—2nd row. Knit plain.

—3rd row. Knit 3, *, knit 2 together, slip 1, make 1, repeat from * 23 times more, knit 3.

—4th row. Knit plain.

Repeat these 4 rows 24 times (more if requiring a longer rubber), knit 4 rows (NB - I believe this refers to a garter st border); and to form a loop for hanging up the rubber cast off 33 stitches, knit 8, turn, cast off 4, and on the remaining 4 work 16 rows, place the 4 stitches to the first 4 stitches of the remaining 37, and cast off together, cast off the remainder of the row.

From The Queenslander, January 8, 1906

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Ha ha ha ha ha!

Okay, I confess, I don't get the joke, unless he's knitting them up out of steel wool, or knitting extra lumps into them...

It's from The Argus, Melbourne, Australia, 26 June 1941. Perhaps Australian humor is just different.

This cartoon, and the patterns below, are courtesy of the National Library of Australia. You can search out lovely patterns, and even correct the robotic translation if you're bored and anal. Apparently there's also some way to list these on Ravelry, but don't ask me for details. A Rarer Borealis posted in more detail about posting there. Me, I'm content to browse for myself only - but I am tagging articles "knit, knitting" in part because I tend to forget I've already looked at something.

If you're one of us obsessives who seek out patterns from any weird old newspaper, this is a real treasure trove.

I'm posting these as a sample of what I've found. They're not special in any way, really - just a sample of what you can find. These were published in the ladies' Sunday supplement. I guess it had gossip and crap like "Parade" magazine did (haven't read it in 35 years), but also nifty knitting patterns. "Parade" was never that awesome.

Meh, the print isn't quite as large on the pattern text as I'd like. I've saved the originals, which are large enough that even I can read them, so if you want them emailed to you just leave me a comment.

ETA: Of course,  clicking on the images will bring up larger versions. Just not as large as I'd hoped.

I'll post more as I root around on the site.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Victorian Knitted Stocking Tops - The Sequel

From the 1887 edition of The Belding Self-Instructor in Silk Knitting, Crocheting and Embroidery.  You can find the entire book at the Antique Pattern Library if you're so motivated.


Monday, March 29, 2010

In Today's News

Being unemployed, I have plenty of time to comb through newspapers and look for knitting news. Today’s news included an article about needleworking truckers, including this fellow below…

And knitting terrorism in West Cape May, New Jersey, an example of which is below:

South Jersey - you need the help. Trust me - I've been there. Let the knitters alone, would you?

But you don’t really think that I was all excited about these news items, do you? After all, as an old art terrorist myself (and I have the t-shirt to prove it somewhere), I’m not shocked at knitters putting cozies on trees.

So my searches drifted further and further into the past until I landed in November 1933. so here's all the knitted news fit to print from late 1933. (There may be a bonus pattern at the end, but you have to read the electrifying news first, dear reader.)

Neulewing, Germany, Dec. 9—(AP)—Knitting two pairs of woolen socks for Adolf Hitler to wear at his Bavarian mountain retreat was the greatest joy which Frau Marie Kleeman had when she celebrated her 102d birthday recently.

A special Nazi guard of honor visited her, and a congratulatory telegram from Hitler and a costly porcelain cup and saucer from the Prussian government were among the gifts.

“Mother” Kleeman’s pride, however, centered in the socks. She mailed them to Hitler that same day and explained:

“They’ll keep Herr Hitler’s feet warm even in the coldest weather. I’m sure he’ll need them.”
Before you start complaining about the fascist centenarian, keep in mind that she might simply have been excited that she could still whip out a pair of socks at her age. However, I like to think that the last sentence was full of malice, perhaps a dire prediction of Hitler’s ultimate failures, and that the socks were a gift with bitter irony worked into each stitch.
Barring that, I hope they were at least made of the itchiest wool known to man.

In other knitting news, this from the PIttsburgh Post-Gazette November 29, 1933:

Well, here they are—those electrically lit knitting needles Grandma’s been wanting to take to the movies, so she can kill two birds with the same slingshot! The lights in the tops of the needles are so tiny that they are not objectionable in the audience and detract in no way from the interest of the show. The idea must have come from the electric pencils, which made their debut a few weeks ago and which have proved so useful for taking notes in the middle of a dark night The knitting-needle lights are concealed in thick glass so that no matter how many times you drop them they defy breakage. The stems contain the elongated batteries. Not bad, eh?
So all you hip folk out there with your LED needles, ha! It's not new at all, it's an 80 year old idea! (I would soooooo love to find an original pair of these… dream on, girl!)

Of course, I didn’t stop drifting at 1933… I continued many, many years backward. Here’s a last little posting courtesy of the Sydney Mail, dated January 17, 1920, which I’m just giving to you so that you can see it for yourself.

As I fear you have expressed yourself badly. Oh, how many times have I wanted to say that after reading some nonsensical, incomprehensible internet posting! I’ll bet “Persephone” was mocked until she was forced to master the art of communication… more probable is that she never developed the self-awareness to know that she looked like an idiot. (Sigh!)

Anyway, I found a few patterns on my trip through the archives—here’s one that sounded fun, dear readers. If you find typos or something expressed badly, just leave a comment and I’ll double check myself.

Sydney Morning Herald September 6, 1934
Needlework - by Mathilde
The Military Influence in Fashionable Knitwear

This ultra-smart example of the Continental jacket was carried out in dead leaf brown with a tie of Havana brown. The epaulettes give the military touch, which is so popular in this season’s fashions.

Materials: 10 oz of 4-ply wool; No. 9 needles; 3(?) oz of fine Angora wool; 10 large wooden buttons. {NB - I could not make out the amount of angora requested for the design - apologies.}

Measurements: to fit a 34-inch bust. Length to underarm from the lower edge, 14 ½ inches; sleeve at the underarm seam, 21 inches.

Back: Begin at the lower edge, and with No. 9 needles cast on 120 stitches. Knit into the back threads of the newly cast-on stitches.

First Row: *Knit 6, purl 6, repeat from * to the end of the row.

Second Row: *Purl 6 over the knit 6 in the previous row, and knit 6 over the purl 6, repeat from * to the end of the row.

Repeat the last 2 rows twice more (making 6 rows in all).

Seventh Row: To turn the cable use a spare needle or stitch-holder. *Slip the first 3 stitches off with the spare needle or stitch-holder. Hold them in front of the work, knit the next 3 stitches, and then knit the 3 stitches on the spare needle or stitch-holder. Purl the next 6 stitches, repeat from * to the end of the row.

Eighth Row: The same as the second row.

Repeat the last 8 rows until the work measures 14-1/2 inches from the beginning.

Shape the armhole by casting off 6 stitches at the beginning of the next 2 rows and decreasing 1 stitch at each end of the needle in every other row 6 times. Knit until the armhole measures 8 inches.

Shape the shoulders by casting off 6 stitches at the beginning of every row until there are 40 stitches left in the centre at the back of the neck. Cast off.

Left Front: Cast on 70 stitches. Knit into the back threads of the newly cast-on stitches.
At the front edge work a band all the way up the front in moss-stitch.

Knit in pattern for 60 stitches. Knit 10 stitches in moss-stitch. Knit until the work measure 14-1/2 inches from the beginning.

Shape the armhole by casting off 6 stitches at the armhole edge and decreasing 1 stitch at the same edge in every other row 5 times. Knit until the armhole measures 6-3/4 inches.

Shape the neck by casting off 20 stitches at the neck edge, and casting off 3 stitches at the same edge in every alternate row three times. Knit 2 together at the neck edge in every alternate row twice. Knit until the armhole measures 8 inches.

Shape the shoulder by casting off 6 stitches on the armhole edge in every other row until all the stitches are cast off.

Right Front: Make the same as the left front, being careful when the pattern is started that the two fronts face one another.

Make buttonholes in this front.

Make the first buttonhole 2 inches from the beginning of the work. Four stitches from the front edge cast off 4 stitches. Knit to the end of the row in pattern.

In the next row cast on 4 stitches over the castoff 4 and finish to the end of the row in pattern.
In the following row knit knot the back threads of the newly cast-on stitches. Make other buttonholes 2-3/4 inches apart.

Finish off as the left front was finished.

Sleeve: With No. 9 needles cast on 56 stitches. Knit into the back threads of the newly cast-on stitches. Knit in pattern for 2-3/4 inches, and then increase 1 stitch at each end of the needle in every sixth row until there are 90 stitches. Knit until the sleeve measures 21 inches at the underarm seam.

Shape the top by knitting 2 stitches together at each end of the needle in every row until 26 remain. Cast off.

Make another sleeve to match.

Epaulettes: Cast on 28 stitches. Work 5 stitches in moss-stitch, 6 purl, 6 plain, 6 purl, 5 stitches in moss-stitch. Continue in pattern, making the cable come in the centre of the epaulette until the measurement is 5-1/4 inches. Knit 2 together at each end of the needle in every row until 1 stitch remains. Finish off.

Make another epaulette to match.

Scarf Tie: With Angora wool, cast on 3 stitches. Knit into the back threads of the newly cast-on stitches. Knit in plain knitting, casting on 3 stitches at the same edge in every other row until there are 33 stitches. Knit until the scarf measures 36 inches.

Shape the other end of the scarf by casting off 3 stitches at the same edge in every other row until all stitches are cast off.

To Make Up: Press all parts carefully, having first pinned all the pieces to measurement on the ironing sheet.

Sew up the side seams, shoulder seams, and sleeve seams. Stitch the sleeves into the jacket, seam to seam. Crochet round neck 1 row of double crochet. Attach the straight end of each epaulette to the neck edge at the shoulder. Catch the end of the epaulette to the shoulder with a button, leaving plenty of slack for the scarf to go through, as shown in the illustration.

Sew buttons down front.

Thread scarf through epaulettes and fold over in the front.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

A Call for Artists

From one of my favorite sites, Morbid Anatomy, this was posted:


Please note: This is not a typical art show. Not all participants are artists. Inventors, mechanics, and people who ordinarily have nothing to do with the art world are involved in this exhibition. That said, I encourage artists to make use of their whimsy. This show is about wonder, as well as craft, science, mathematics, and experimentation.

"Kinetica" is an exhibition of kinetic, automatic, mechanic, robotic, &etc. sculpture.

It will be held at the Candle Factory in New Orleans. The two main events are the opening on Saturday, April 24, and the closing on Saturday, May 8. The events are scheduled to begin at 6pm.

Proposals-only deadline: March 20th. Send idea, space required, special requirements, etc. to Myrtle von Damitz lll at

I will consider late proposals but must begin to map out the installation as early as possible.

INSTALLATION will begin on Saturday, April 17. Artists are responsible for installation. Work that has to be shipped must include detailed installation instructions, and arrive by April 17.

Also important: whether your piece can only be run by you, its creator, or whether I or anyone else running the exhibition can turn it on when needed.

Participants are responsible for display arrangements, ie: tables, pedestals, etc.

The Candle Factory is a warehouse situated on the west side of the Industrial Canal, and is a known events destination & a good crowd is expected. There is a great electrical set-up and room both inside and outside for a wide variety of work. The owner, Charles Handler, lives inside the warehouse and security is good. However, please take note that this IS a warehouse space and not a pristine gallery.

The show will not run on regular gallery hours, but will be on in full force for both opening and closing events, leaving room for multiple event-specific possibilities. I would like very much to find anyone or any group working on Rube Goldberg Machines!

I'm working towards arranging school field trips to view the work and for the artists to speak to the kids about their ideas and how they work. If you are part of the show, I'd like to know if I can schedule you to be present on any of these days (TBA!).

I will be able to work out showings by appointment, as well, for however many pieces can be operable during the run of the show.

Questions: or 504 908 4741

I'm not nearly the artist, designer, mechanic or engineer for this show, but it sounds great, and I know a few folks who very much create work along these lines. Consider this my public service announcement for the millennium.

By Special Request

I've plenty to blog about - mostly about how I didn't accomplish shit last month.

No FOs.

A Knit Olympics 'Fail' - disqualified for abusing Benadryl. That's what happens when we get Spring in February - I sneeze, my eyes water all the time, and I end up one of the living dead on nasty antihistamines. (Please don't write me and testify to the efficacy of some new-fangled one out on the market; I fell for the Claritin scam a couple of times and still ended up brain dead.)

But I'm not going to write about that, or anything else right now. I'm just posting some lovely stocking tops from this 1884 classic:


Compiled and Edited by Marie Louise Kerzman, Published by Henry Bristow, Brooklyn, New York 1884.

I love this little book, full of nifty designs. I mentioned some knitted tops for stockings in a comment on Severina's blog, the Omnigraphic Blogopticon. Sev's been one of my favorite bloggers for years, and in fact, someday I'm going to make a necklace out of chicken bones - just you wait. In fact, I might gift one of my lucky readers with such a fantastic creation, heh heh. But I digress.

I mentioned I had these patterns, and she requested them. Never say I don't try to be accommodating, eh? So without further ado, five mediocre scans of knitted stocking tops (I miss the HP scanners we had at work - those babies rarely let me down). A good click on the images will take you to an even larger version, for those who hate tiny print.  Enjoy!

PS - I actually did finish one thing last month. I wasn't kidding about the Benadryl. Who knows what else I did last month that I slept through? And under the category of "De Gustibus Non Disputandum", I wrote this post listening to the soundtrack of "Dune" - The Lynch "Dune", the Toto s/t.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Hepper, Anyway...

Wow! I'm going to post some knitting crap on my knitting blog - it must be a new year, if not a new decade. I'm not going to debate when decades end and begin. My orderly mind says 00-09 belong together, and 10-19 belong together. I realize that zero is a weird 'number' mathematically speaking, but if I were organizing the years in a file cabinet, above is how I would order them.

But enough about silly things that people have too much leisure time to worry about. I've some photos of recent projects, and one old one that I'm determined to get off the needles by the end of January 2010. Yes, this January, not next. Ay caramba! I've also a little something at the end for those kind enough to endure poor photos of knitting and that previous rambling blog about Charlie Chan movies.

My Multnomah shawl - a pretty little thing. Hers looks much nice than the rumpled mess I'm working on - yeah, well, that'll happen.


Next up, a cravat/neck warmer/short scarf knitting up from one skein of Claudia Handpainted yarn using a reversible stitch from one of Barbara Walker's books:


My photos do a really poor job of showing off the stitch details. I'm underwhelmed.

Here's something that will be an Xmas gift - a 2009 Xmas gift, natch - called Asphodel (warning - link leads to download, I think):

I'm rather liking the look of it - it will look nice when I've blocked all signs of life out of it - but that bird's eye stitch is kicking my ass. Once I've knitted the 55 inches of it requested by the pattern, though, I expect I'll be pretty good at it.

And then there's the Hemlock Ring Blanket. It's come to life and started to eat anything resembling a life form in my apartment; mostly it's pissed that it's been on the needles awaiting bind off for a year now.

Blogger is being a butt today... Anyway, to save mankind, I'm going to get this thing off the needles this month. Yeah, yeah, I hear y'all out there going, "I wonder how far along she'll be in January - another scallop, maybe?"

I'm also knitting another one of these for my former supervisor:

It's a neck warmer thingy, something that I can even knit when I'm drinking. There are few projects that fall under that category, btw. I've found some cool buttons for these:

I've knitted a few versions of this thing, in case you're wondering why you see a teeny bit of one that looks nothing like the one the monster is wearing. I've posted the pattern for the brain dead, as I think of it, in the notes on Ravelry, but really, it's a four to six inch wide rectangle, approximately 24-26 inches in length, with three or four crochet scallops on one end for button loops. Wow. That's difficult. You don't even need to be a knitter for these, one could crochet the same damned thing.

Okay, so here's a pattern from the archives, a 1933 beauty, kids:


Hyper Ape Yawn!

I'm sure everyone reading this already knows that I was given a set of Charlie Chan dvds for Christmas. In fact, if I hadn't been ill, I would have scripted a little Christmas play, "A Charlie Chan Xmas", in which a famed Chinese-American detective buys a beat-up tree for the holidays, only to discover the proprietor dead beneath it, stabbed through his carotid artery with an expensive glass ornament...

Anyway, I've managed to spend most of the holidays in the 1930's, thanks to this dvd set, and I really want to share some of the beauties of it.

For example, did anyone realize that Bela Lugosi was in one of them? Probably the best of the bunch, in terms of productions values and such, "The Black Camel" is a pretty wonderful film. Here are some shots below, showing that the cinematographer got to have a little fun, at least (apologies for the photo quality - I can't use the Grab function on my computer in conjunction with the dvd player):



Unfortunately, the whole film doesn't look quite this stylized, but it looks good, Bela looks healthy, and he has some fun dialog.

Another favorite of mine is "Charlie Chan Does London", or something like that. London is in the title, at any rate, and Warner Oland is again in the lead role. This film contains the coolest silk velvet outfit ever:



Even though the print was restored for this film, it's obvious the original was in very poor shape. This Chan movie is loaded with wonderful clothing, though. Highly recommended for 1930's fans.

There was knitting in one of them - midget knitting, as Olive Brasno knits up some thing in "Charlie Chan Goes to The Circus" (or some such title - it's Warner Oland and Keye Luke at the Circus, at any rate).  I tried to get close-ups of what she was knitting, and they are uber-crappy:

Part stockinette, then with loopy rows? chenille rows? eyelash yarn spun from the bearded lady rows? See for yourselves:

No bloody help at all. Rent the movie, folks, and then tell me what you see.

As if Bela Lugosi, silk velvet, and knitting midgets weren't enough fun, in "Charlie Chan at The Olympics" he actually rides in the Hindenburg!  Oh, alright, it's just stock footage. But stock footage of the Hindenburg! And one little bit is shot from the inside of a zeppelin (not sure it's the Hindenburg - it could have been from the Graf Zeppelin or another airship). See for yourselves:


I've still got five movies from the set to watch, so you might have to look at more crappy photos of my laptop. Apologies.