Saturday, September 10, 2011

Kinky Stockings!

Well, it’s fall. Oh, alright, technically not until 21 September, but leaves are starting to turn, die and fall off the trees (or turn, fall off the trees and die). Even here in Seattle, where it’s freaking 85 degrees and we’ve had only one day of rain since July 18th.

Those of you in the parade route of tropical storms are experiencing mid-monsoon season, from what I can gather. Hurricanes can show up through the end of, what, November? October? Nope, not gonna look it up. Sorry. But if you’re stuck at home, you might as well knit stockings.

I found these late summer stocking and sock patterns from the Australian Women’s Weekly dated 24 February 1965. (No, I’m not an idiot - their seasons are opposite of ours). The stocking patterns on page 18 are for some wonderfully lacy patterns. I haven’t knitted them - c’mon, if I waited to knit them before posting the patterns, we’d all be living in Keynes’ long run (i.e. dead). So I thought I’d post the patterns along with some other fun (!?!) stuff from that issue of AWW.

The cover shows a nice selection of stockings - none of them are actually included in the patterns to knit, but those brownish-stockings in the diamond pattern would be super-easy to make on ones own. All you need is a diamond pattern & you can make it garter or purl fabric. (Click to embiggen.)

More stocking/sock eye candy from this issue, and another diamond pattern that I like very much (Click to embiggen):

Now, I know everyone is anticipating the stocking patterns - but hold on. There’s some wonderful crap I found in this issue that I’m going to share. For example, there were labels and bookmarks for kids to put on their notebooks. Check out the first one - it has a proto lolcat photo. That cat looks like one surly drunk! The others pale in comparison to “Party Cat”. (I assume everyone understands to click on the photos to see a larger version - and you really do want to click on the next one.)

Here are some photos of the new ‘military look’ coming into fashion that year. I love the pointy plaid shoes, even though I’d never wear them. All that plaid... I don’t see anything exceptionally military by my definition, but I have no idea how the Australian military dressed in the early 1960s.

And some recipes - I love reading through old recipes. Sometimes they're almost Lovecraftian in the level of horror they can induce. This issue had a bunch of gingerbread recipes, some of them disturbing, and we all know I love to share disturbing.

The first page has some basic, decent-sounding recipes. The brandied-honey recipe sounds like a good idea and a nice thing for a chilly night.

The second has what I consider questionable entries. The coffee spice one, for example - coffee, chocolate and ginger... Or recipes that call for treacle (the Scotch gingerbread). And a pineapple upside down gingerbread - I don’t like anything pineapple upside down. Ugh.

I’m not sure about the lemon cheese pie, either - do people use gelatin in that way anymore? It’s made of hooves, you know.

Below is an interesting tale of Olde New Yorke, which sounded, well, rather like Olde New Yorke. No artisanal expensive crap in this story of the East Village. I liked the photos, too.

I love the description of the store on 14th; I always try to find stores like that. Big, sexy, rich cities like Seattle and Manhattan have done their best to eliminate those kind of businesses. Too bad - amazing treasures were to be had in that type of place.

Are you bored yet? Good. Here are the stocking patterns:

And finally, I want to make a product with the name “Dominex”. That’s a great name, whether it’s for pudding or personal ads (or both, I guess).

Seems wasted on a coat manufacturer, particularly since there are no leather straps and buckles and such.

Oh yeah, the Mary Elizabeth Braddon novel I was going to post is on Google now (in my defense, it wasn't 3 years ago when I last checked). So you can click on The Phantom Fortune if you wish to read it (this will take you to vol. 1 on Google books).

Blockage, plus inane ramblings

I finally got some stuff blocked - my friend Trixie asked me to block a shawl for her, so while I was in blocking mode I did a couple of other things:

Finally, the Hemlock Ring blanket completed in January 2009:

And I blocked  December Wind by Renee Leverington (purple confuses my camera - I don't know why - so the photos are extra crappy):

My mother liked this one even before it was blocked, so I gave it to her for her birthday. The yarn was from Susan at the Spinning Bunny, and was lovely to work with. Note that this is the first time my mother has ever liked anything I've knitted.
And then I blocked Dover Castle, which I'd knitted up in the lightweight version of Berroco's Ultra Alpace - that stuff is also really sweet to work with:

Meh. I have no idea what was confusing my camera. They've been tearing down the building just outside my kitchen window; when I take pix of the Leviathan that's eating the building, they turn out just fucking fine:

So perhaps I should just stick with photos of heavy equipment. Or perhaps I need to display my FOs on heavy equipment. I was going to make some snide remark about "forget those tastefully displayed items in beautiful settings", but since I don't put fuck-all effort into photographing my work such sarcasm would simply make folks spit out their coffee. And I don't want that.

I got an email yesterday, along with my other classmates, offering us temporary positions again with the CIA - since I can't live on the $800/month I'm currently getting on UI, I will be working again starting the 16th of this month. So I need to get a few things posted in the next few days. I mean, I've only had 5-1/2 months to do anything.

No surprise, I spent my last Friday night of freedom in a knitting workshop with Franklin Habit. Honestly, I'd recommend taking anything from him, even if it's a workshop on making mud pies. Smart, funny, and passionate about teh knitting. The class I took was Knitting from Antique Patterns, or some such title (you really expect me to move from my seat and look up the exact title? Really? Well, I'm practicing immobility in preparation of returning to work, so there). There was a woman who brought her grandmother's notebook of knitting patterns - I wish we'd had an hour to look through those babies, although perhaps my drooling on them wouldn't have been the best thing. Oh well, I'll satisfy myself with the 1884 Sampler Books (see link on left side bar) and Nancie Wiseman's "Lace in the Attic". In fact, I've a couple of wrister experiments in the wings using several of the 1884 Sampler Book edgings. Someday they'll be completed and posted... someday....

Friday, June 17, 2011

It's only been 10 months

Finally back on the interwebz, as they used to say somewhere at some point in time.

Apologies if you experience weirdness upon visiting the blog. I've been tinkering with a pre-designed template (because I'm too lazy to master html), but it came with some crap that I didn't want, and I haven't been able to disable it all yet. And I'm not entirely pleased with what I'm getting, but hopefully this is at least legible. Let us all pray to our various deities, or wish really hard (for those who eschew the gods) that I'll find it in me to fix it for once and for all.

The main reason for the long silence was that I was employed from September 2010 until April 2011. The job was a soul-consuming madness-inducing tribulation –but nonetheless I was working my ass off, in addition to the hellish commute (most of that time the round trip from the job was 2 hrs 40 minutes), simply trying to stay employed. All for naught, of course – everyone they hired in September they laid off just over six months later.

It’s taken me a few weeks to get things sorted, and to get in the knitting groove again. So I’ll have some things to post over the next while -- I've had more time to look through Australian newspapers for lots of old crap, er vintage & Victorian knitting patterns and the like, as well as  some 1930s stuff (‘cause that’s when the best designs were done if you ask me, or even if you didn’t).

'The like' consists of a novel written by Mrs Mary Elizabeth Braddon, author of "Lady Audley's Secret", one of my favorite Victorian novels, a rather lurid tale. Elizabeth Klett does a wonderful reading of it that you can access at Librivox. I know that some of the Librivox recordings are painful - in fact, some qualify as torture, but I assure you, Ms Klett does a fine job of reading this tale. It was a wonderful thing to listen to during a cold winter, knitting up shawls.

Good grief, have I digressed and in a most meandering fashion! The point is, I found an 1883 novel of Mrs Braddon's in one of the Australian newspapers, so I'll be posting it over the next few weeks. I haven't read it - it could be a real dog. If so, I'll be sharing the pain with y'all fine readers.

I have also knitted up a couple of lace patterns found in various fine down-under fish wrappers. One is from the Launceston Examiner dated 28 November 1893; it's from a ladies' column. It looks like shark fins more than anything else. Yes, yes, a variation on sawtooth edgings... but if you hold it with the points pointing upward, it looks like a line of baby shark fins.

A Young Reader: The following is an easy edging suitable for Shetland or other wool shawls. By Butterfly.

Cast on 3 sts.
Row 1: Sl 1, k 2.
Row 2 & every even row: Sl 1, knit across.
Row 3: Sl 1, yo, k2.
Row 5: Sl 1, yo, k3.
Row 7: Sl 1, yo, k4.
Row 9: Sl 1, yo, k5
Row 11: Sl 1, yo, k6
Row 13: Cast off 5, k2.

To continue in this way, do not knit a 'Row 14' but instead start again with Row 2. The instructions said to repeat from Row 2, but didn't include that last bit, so my first time around proved quite entertaining. The slipped stitches at the beginning of each row do not reduce the stretchiness of the edging - indeed, I cannot emphasize enough exactly how freaking stretchy this is. I chose to knit it in garter stitch - many olde timey edgings were, and of course that helped with the stretchy. Sample was knitted on US 6/4 mm needles with some fingering weight yarn. I blocked the bejeezus out of this edging.

The next is from the North Australian Supplement dated Saturday, 28 April 1888, and was found in the "Household" section.

Imitation English Thread Lace

Cast on 9 sts.
Row 1: K2, yo, k3, yo, k2tog, k2.
Row 2: Knit plain.
Row 3: K2, yo, k5, yo, k2tog, k1.
Row 4: Knit plain.
Row 5: K2, yo, k1, k2tog, yo x 3, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k1, yo, k2tog.
Row 6: K4, k1-p1-k1 in the 3 yos, knit plain the remaining sts.
Row 7: K1 ,k2tog, yo, k2tog, k3, k2tog, yo, k2.
Row 8: Knit plain.
Row 9: K1, k2tog, yo, k2tog, k1, i2tog, yo, k3.
Row 10:  Knit plain.
Row 11: K1, k2tog, yo, sl 1, k2tog, psso, yo, k4.
Row 12: Knit plain.

Again, I worked this in garter stitch for the sample. The pattern calls for 'knit plain', which I generally take to mean stockinette, but again, since I've seen many older edgings worked in garter, I decided to start with that. Sample is worked in Knit-Cro-Sheen (probably - unmarked thread, but the same weight) on US 3/3.25 mm needles for that extra-lace look. Actually because that was the first size that came to hand....

I thought this was an interesting lace - I've seen lots with big holes, but the thread/needle combination created something fairly impressive. And I have no idea which is the 'top' and 'bottom' edge of the lace; no illustration was provided, so I chose the side with the most shape as the 'bottom' edge. I didn't try to get a straight edge on both sides; I suppose one could use it as an insertion but since the pattern is different on the two edges I chose not to try that experiment.

I've also pulled some recipes from the Launceston Examiner, and hints for a woman about to be engaged from the North Australian Supplement in case someone out there is seeking personal advice from 1888.
Woman's World (by Butterfly.) Pudding Recipe.
I am told that the pudding you require is an Austrian (...); its name is Weichzel(?) strudel. The paste is made with egg and flour, and rolled out to the thinness of paper on a clean linen cloth. Have ready cherries (stoned), and spread them on the paste; sprinkle with fine sugar, nutmeg, and a little cinnamon. Then roll as for a "roley-poley" until the roll is between 2-1/2 in and 3 in thick; bend or twist it into a coil; place on a baking-tin well buttered, and put a little butter on the roll. This is often made with apples, sliced and cut into small pieces, when cherries are not in season.  {NB - the type was difficult to read at the beginning of the recipe, hence the parentheses.}
I suspect one could simply go to the grocery store and purchase some filo dough to use instead of experimenting with pastry recipes, but I haven't tried this one, so experiment at your own risk, folks!
Rice Waffles. - One cup of boiled rice, one pint milk, two eggs, butter the size of a walnut, half a teaspoonful of soda, one teaspoonful of cream of tartar, one teaspoonful of salt, flour, sufficient to make a thin batter. Bake in waffle irons.
Chocolate Cake. - Beat up 1/4 lb castor sugar with two eggs, then add very gradually the yolks of six eggs, two small cakes of chocolate grated, a little lemon peel, 1/4 lb of ground almonds, the whites of six eggs previously whisked to a stiff froth and 1 oz of flour; pour the mixture into a buttered mould, and bake.
 I haven't cooked up these either - the chocolate cake recipe certainly isn't the typical modern chocolate cake; I'm certainly curious to make that one. As for the rice waffles - well, let me know how that one turns out, okay?

The advice for engaged women (jpeg on the right, bottom row) is rather long & fairly uninteresting unless you have a mind sufficiently dirty to render the phrase "with a servant behind" mildly entertaining.

Jpegs are included below in case you think I've made a typo (or in case I have made a typo).