girls like boye’s

i want one…not the needles of course, but the t-shirt. and is there some reason they stopped running this ad?!?

girls like boye's

from McCall’s Needle work and Crafts, spring 1978 – see the whole ad here.  i think this song should be the soundtrack.

p.s. and if you needed any further incentive to make the tabouli mentioned in my last post, here’s a picture of my most recent batch.


sweet yarn

while cleaning the yarn room this week, i found these two little gems.

chadwick's red heart sock and sweater

chadwick’s red heart
‘ready-to-knit pull-out skein
save time – no winding
100% virgin wool 3 ply 1 oz

and the sweetest part:
chadwicks's red heart sock and sweater
why didn’t red heart keep this up?!? come to think of it, why did they ever quit making wool…

lovely little ball of vintage angora
vintage angora
vintage angora
it might need to be made into something for the babe.

have a fabulous saturday!


i was very silly to think that there might not be much blogging this week.  my mother-in-law (katie) arrived yesterday and already there has been yarn gifting.

love the labels on this one!! there’s certainly a sweater lot of this, although i don’t think i’ll be making myself a sweater out of it ;)

although my current place in the world lacks the vintage yarn i used to find, katie found a batch for me in alaska.  woo hoo!

8 skeins of the baby wool, 7 of the wool/moahair, and 5 of the wine red

buttons sorting.

got these a while ago at a craft swap, along with the yarn below, but never got around to sorting them yet!

finished object showing

katie’s most recent shawl, i spent last night wrapped up in it while too tired to move
katie's shawl
katie's shawl

later today there will be yarn store journeying! i love vacation at home.

bernat diamond sock pak

we’re back from our mini-vacation, and although i’m not full functioning yet, i have something i needed to show you all right away.

bernat diamond sock pak
reads: Bernat diamond sock pak in wonderful meadowspun yarn
smaller print: the easiest, most popular pattern of all… in the short length men like

google-ing brought up nothing except maybe some of these on ebay at one point or another.  i found this historical gem in a lovely little antique store in clarion, pa.  they sold it to me for a dollar.  i think they were happy that the right person found it :) i was ecstatic.

bernat diamond sock pak

Anne L Macdonald, in No Idle Hands says that in the 50’s, “Argylers were still in full cry, elaborating on the ‘traditional’ Scottish patterns by knitting diamonds within diamonds and combining diamonds with plaids and stripes. Argyles were so popular for high school cheerleaders that the going rate was $20 a pair for handknit ones.” that quote totally reminds me of my interview with Sue and her answer to how she stared knitting… i must remember to ask her if they were argyles…

bernat diamond sock pak
reads on both sides: 12 DIFFERENT COLOR COMBINATIONS TO CHOOSE FROM – see other side…
this side: This pak contains 2 1/8 ounces of yarn… sufficient to make one pair of short length diamond pattern men’s or boys’ socks in any size up to and including size 12. Easy-to-knit instructions inside.
the other side: This is meadowspun… the yarn with the cashmere-like feel… 50% virgin wool for softness and warmth… 50% Dupont Nylon for lasting strength and easy washability… anti-shrink, anti-stretch.

in her chapter on the 1950’s, Macdonald mentions just such kits as these. i wonder if the kits continued to exist after the craze was over? i have at least one sock booklet from the late 60s or early 70s with argyles in it… but did the kits still exist?  i know they weren’t as wildly popular as the 40s and 50s.  anyone?

bernat diamond sock pak

if this kit does happen to date back to the 1950’s, this next quote from Anne L. Macdonald is apt.  the yarn inside is 50% wool/50% dupont nylon. (click here for more history of nylon).

“Argyle-knitting teenagers were humored by one authoress’s jaunty introduction: ‘You all know what I’m doing!  Knitting.  And I love it… knitting all the time.  Right now I’m turning the heel of a pair of argyles-they’re gray, red and navy.  I’m sure he’ll like these…. Socks, socks and more socks!  He just can’t get enough of them.  Socks prove that a little goes a long way.  Probably he clings to the precious wool, but maybe he’s taken up nylon, and if that’s his liking, nylon’s your meat.  It’s a great advertisement, too, with socks so easy to carry around, and knit.’

She never clarified what was being advertise, but with nylon as the ‘meat,’ someone’s trap was baited!”

in the 1940’s, nylon was only used for re-inforceing by most.  by the time of these, it was better respected and not only did it make it into the yarn, but ended up being 50% of it!!  this kit is, of course, never to be knit – but is destined to ride out its time as a precious piece of knitting history.

turn of the century

when i found out that my friend vivian had knitting/crocheting tools made by her grandfather and great-grandfather, i asked if she would bring them in to show me so i could blog about them. she estimates them at around the turn of the century into the early 1900s. a few of the embroidery hoops might not be handmade.



if you want a closer look at any of them, click into flickr by clicking on the picture and then click the ‘all sizes’ button above the picture in flickr.


i love the double ended crochet hook.


“Check your tension”

good warning

so. i didn’t find anything too bad looking through my collection of old patterns. mind you, i did not read them all the way through and there could be very funny things in the patterns themselves. the old booklets i have from Patons have the following in a box marked ‘GENERAL INFORMATION’ about checking tension:

The garments in this book are worked to the exact tension given. They are closely knitted to insure a firm fabric that will wear better and keep its shape longer than a loosely knitted fabric. Check your tension. Before beginning your garment take the wool and needle specified. Cast on 20 stitches. Work 20 rows of stocking stitch and compare with the tension given in the instructions. All given tension in Beehive instructions is measured over stocking stitch. If your tension is too loose try a size smaller needle. If your tension is too tight try a size larger needle.

under that was this line: Be sure to work to exact tension give if you want your garment to work to correct size.

One Bernat book had this to say about their book:

Every effort has been made to have the knitting directions contained in this book accurate and complete; however we cannot be responsible for variance of individual knitters, human errors, or typographical mistakes.

guess that one didn’t get an errata. here’s their part on tension


The term “STITCH GAUGE” is the most important part of all knitting directions, since the sizing of any knitted garment is planned on this gauge. You MUST work to the gauge which is given or your finished work will not be the size indicated in the directions.


Cast on approximately 20 sts, using the yarn and needles which will be used for the body of your work. Work in specified pattern stitch for 3 inches. Bind off all sts. Block this knitted swatch and then, using a ruler as a guide, count the number of sts to 1 inch…

The rest is similar to the Beehive one, recommending to go up or down a needle size, although they do stress at the end that “The IMPORTANT THING to remember is that the size needle used does not matter, as long as your stitch gauge is correct.”

one Spinnerin Magazine also had similar instructions, but went on a bit about the size of needles used:


People knit differently. Some use aluminum needles, others use plastic; some use 14 inch needles, others use 10 inch; some knit tightly, others loosely. A needle size is given for each pattern with a gauge. The original garment was made on that size needle and at that gauge. BUT YOU, PERHAPS CANNOT GET THE SAME GAUGE ON THOSE NEEDLES. Therefore, since the garments has been charted TO THAT GAUGE, you must get the gauge, REGARDLESS OF THE SIZE NEEDLES YOU FIND YOU MUST USE.

Spinnerin actually goes into the math of why, if your gauge is off, your garment will not fit. Beehive also told you how you might go about adjusting their patterns – in 2 or 3 sentences, granted, but it was still there!

can you feel the angst of the pattern producers? it’s a never ending battle with us naughty knitters :) at least they weren’t acting like the designer from the late 1800s in the historical example from my last blog post.

maggie's hat

my current gauge dilemma is this hat for my roommate – of course i’m not using the recommended yarn. i did, however, get gauge, but it’s a hat so it needs to be stretchy too and it wasn’t stretchy enough. i ripped it out two repeats into the pirate pattern – the people at knitting group were pretty mortified. up the needle size and this is into the second time and i’m still not sure if it’s right. might be destined for a second rip and an even greater needle size – but the colors are perfect!  and they must be used for this hat… you know how it goes.

pattern writing history


today i thought i’d bring Anne L. Macdonald’s historical voice into the mix of thoughts on pattern writing. for that, i’m referring back to quotes i made from her book, No Idle Hands: A Social History of American Knitting, in earlier blog entries.

in this blog entry Macdonald talks about how patterns were passed from generation to generation in unwritten form… 1830 to 1986. i don’t know about you, but 1986 does not seem that long ago.

this entry quotes Anne L. Macdonald on gauge towards the bottom of the entry. gauge was first mentioned in 1870 – which is also not really that long ago. how could patterns work without gauge? hmmm. i think they often didn’t. or successful knitters needed to be more intuitive to make them work. i remember from reading A History of Hand Knitting by Richard Rutt that some of the first published ‘knitting’ books were actually needle point patterns… very intricate and wouldn’t work for knitting at all.

anyhow, i must admit i’m fascinated by how recent pattern writing is and truly it gives us some idea of why it has taken so long to work out the kinks. i also don’t really think there will ever be one standard way to write a pattern and, i must admit, i kind of like it that way. write what suits you. for me and my teacherly nature, i’ll try to make my patterns a bit more easily accessible. for fleece artist? those west coasters don’t know how to read patterns.

happy new years day!

p.s. those long papers with sticky notes on them below the books are my book in progress!

p.p.s. tonight may see me going through some of my older patterns to see if i can find a glaring example of this craziness… stay tuned.