Teen Delinquents Foiled by Midnight Curfew

…and you won’t mind telling us everything, unless you have something to hide. Straight from the 1950s, when high school kids learned how to go along to get along.

Bears, bears, bears

Oh no! Did the Cracker Jack bears eat the little sailor boy?
Cracker Jack Bears (1)

It turns out the bears came first, so the sailor boy and his dog Bingo must have had bear stew before their Cracker Jacks.  Whew!

Don’t look now, but I think the bears’ friends are preparing for revenge.

“Dressed and ready for hours of fun,
With cavalry horse or battery gun.”

Watch out little sailor boy — they’re coming for ya!

scans006

 

Let’s do the Automat for lunch!

You’re in New York City feeling peckish.  Do you dine in a quirky deli or a fancy restaurant?  How about that nifty new Automat?  Sure, since it’s 1941, and who could pass up the chance to walk inside a giant vending machine?

Automat postcard (1) Automat postcard (2)

Get Your MRS. Degree Now

In 1963 the North Texas State University’s newspaper Campus Chat published an editorial covering a Parade article about why coeds go to college.  Seriously?  No really, I wasn’t around in 1963, and I can’t tell whether this was supposed to be biting satire or icky pablum.  This girl is crossing her beautifully manicured fingers for satire, before dashing off to don her apron and prepare a splendid meal for her successful and manly husband.

NTSU Campus Chat Oct 25 1963 editorial on MRS degree

Whaa? Oh, that’s all right then.

Meridian Star 9-21-1961 Radioactive Fallout Normal 1From the front page of The Meridian Star, Sept. 21, 1961 — the Russians are testing nukes again, but not to worry. Miss Hasty is keeping watch. She even has three radiation-testing machines, from No Biggie to Uh Oh to Here Come the Mutants!Meridian Star 9-21-1961 Russians test nukes

Keep reading for a surprise recipe at the end.

Meridian Star 9-21-1961 Radioactive Fallout Normal 2Meridian Star 9-21-1961 Radioactive Fallout Normal 3

1950s cocktail napkin

Can’t you hear Roger Sterling of Mad Men toasting with some of these?  How about this gem:

Here’s to whiskey
So amber, pure and clear –
It’s not so sweet as women’s lips
But a damnsight more sincere!

tipsy cocktail napkin 2

Cabled Cuff Cuss

Some people blog lofty philosophical musings; others share cutting political satire.  I’m out to help fellow knitters with useful tidbits.  Really, I just want to make time spent learning things the hard-headed way more meaningful!  So here’s what I learned about cabling a loop and sewing it together so it looks continuous, and you don’t have to hide an ugly seam.  (Oh no!)

The pattern said to provisionally CO 20 stitches with scrap yarn, then commence to cabling, so I blithely did just that. After working the full cuff, I thought I could simply pick out the scrap yarn, move the stitches to a needle, and be ready to go. No so fast, Ms. Cocky Knitter! Cables twist (duh), and I quickly had no idea what order my blankety-blank stitches should be in. Frak! OK, deep breaths, surely all is not lost. Surely I can sort this out, pick up a few dropped stitches, rearrange… it’s bulky yarn after all… %$#^%&+**! Forget it, sunshine. Better yet, frog it. Yes, all of it. Lesson learned? When provisionally casting on for cables and planning to connect to another end of cables, do it with a spare circular needle. Don’t know how? Figure it out, or better yet, get a more experienced knitter to show you. (Thanks, Carol!)

Take 2. The cuff is redone, and now the directions say to graft the two live ends together. Really? Knits and purls? How’s that?  I found instructions for doing this with a pattern for a gorgeous hooded sweater called Rogue, but they never showed the chart (being a for-pay pattern), so knowing to slip p-wise on stitch 5 or whatever didn’t help. Wise Hilda to the rescue. A million thanks!  For anyone else reaching this point in the Knit Picks Cabled Cuff Mittens, here is how I got my cables to match up.  (Given that I paid for this pattern as part of a kit, wouldn’t you think they would have saved me the grief of working this out?  Enough whinging.)

The above chart shows only the join, with yellow marking the first transition from knits to purls in stitch 3 and the blue marking the reverse.  You have to know how to Kitchener stitch / graft, but then you can follow the steps below.  Each stitch is listed twice because first you slip the sewing needle through it one way, then later you slip it through and take that stitch off the knitting needle.

St Front Back
1 P K
1 K-off P-off
2 P K
2 K-off P-off
3 P P transition from knits to purls
3 K-off K-off
4 P P
4 K-off K-off
5 P K transition from purls to knits
5 K-off P-off
6 P K
6 K-off P-off
7 P K
7 K-off P-off
8 P P transition from knits to purls
8 K-off K-off
9 P P
9 K-off K-off
10 P K transition from purls to knits
10 K-off P-off
11 P K
11 K-off P-off
12 P K
12 K-off P-off
13 P K
13 K-off P-off
14 P K
14 K-off P-off
15 P K
15 K-off P-off
16 P P transition from knits to purls
16 K-off K-off
17 P P
17 K-off K-off
18 P P
18 K-off K-off
19 P K transition from purls to knits
19 K-off P-off
20 P K
20 K-off P-off

BTW, if more experienced knitters find errors in the above, by all means let me know.  It seemed to work out properly for my cuffs, but as you can see I only RTFM as a last resort!

 

Double Knitting Teeth Gnashing

When one of my knitting group’s organizers suggested the heart hot pad as a knit along for February, I thought “how adorable” and “that looks quick and easy.”  For an insane moment I thought I could knock one out in a day for a Valentine’s Day present.  Proud of my one-and-only past accomplishment of double knitting the Rectangly Hat, I thought this would by a cinch.  Hubris pie, anyone?

Cutting to the chase, here’s what I’ve learned so far.

  1. The pattern looks simple, but the directions have confused better knitters than I.
  2. Double knitting in the round means never having to flip a chart in your head.  This ain’t that.
  3. Holding red and white yarn together for a long-tail cast on makes a pepperminty jumble.  It’s easier, and it’s a valid design choice but not my preference.  After some false starts, the Happy Seamstress’ directions made a nice single color cast on edge.
  4. The side edges in the original pattern match the crushed peppermint look of the two-strands-at-once cast on.  Being persnickety, I followed lissaplus3’s video instead.
    • On the final 2 stitches (1 of each color), hold both colors of working yarn in back, and slip the penultimate stitch purlwise.  Move the working yarn of the same color as the last stitch to the front, then slip that last stitch purlwise.  (Call this color B.)  Turn the work.  Knit the now-first stitch (color B) with its matching color, which is already in back.  Move that working yarn to the front, where the other color (A) of working yarn has been  hanging out, then use color A to purl this stitch.
  5. I double knit really loosely and should have gone down two more needle sizes.
  6. The original chart had an error on row 25 (extra red square, removed from charts below), and it showed 29 stitches across, even though the written instructions said to CO 30.  Make it 31, and you’ll have a 2-stitch border on either side.

Here’s the best part — a corrected chart showing 31 stitches across plus row / column numbers and a second chart with the colors flipped.  Hats off to clear-headed knitters who can invert colors in their heads, but I needed a second chart.  I’m using the white background one for the odd rows and the red background for the even.  I hope these help other knitters.  Now, as someone else mentioned about double knitting, take a deep yoga breath and get busy!

white background Double knit heart hotpad 01

Feb. 23, 2012 update:  Finished, unless I decide to add a crochet border as reinforcement.  The side edges came out cleanly in color, although the slipped stitches look loose and wonky.  I bound off by grafting / kitchenering the ends together, which avoids the crushed peppermint look but doesn’t provide structure. Maybe a normal bind off, doing a k2tog on each pair of stitches, would have been the better choice.  Anyhoo, this has been a learning experience, and I hope my thrashings help you avoid similar convolutions!

 

Chip, Sophie & the Bunny

The dog days of summer are in overdrive here in North Texas, in the hottest, driest, most miserable summer since 1980.  What could possibly motivate two black Mini Schnauzers to stay outside for more than 30 seconds?  Prey!

What is this?  A mysterious scratching, scrabbling sound in the downspout?  (Get out of the way!  I want to sniff it!)  What could have crawled in there?

Time for the human to extract the mysterious critter.

Ooo, it’s a bunny rabbit, and not a baby but a full grown rabbit. Now for the final chase! (…after the human, er, points out the prey and said prey makes the mistake of moving.)

That’s right, doggies, you chased the bunny out of your yard, so it can no longer leave "bunny bearings" or tufts of fur or those glorious smells…  Wait!  Come back!

Margarita Cactus Tree Skirt

design by Susan L. HarrisonMargarita in a skirt

Ahh, Friday night.  It’s my favorite time of the week, when hubby and I unwind with our favorite beverage.  As designated bartender, I squeeze the limes and mix top shelf tequila with Paula’s Texas Orange to create those smooth margaritas that kick off the weekend.  The ubiquitous cactus-stemmed glasses work best – not too sloshy, not too big, just right.  In this achingly hot summer of 2011, ‘ritas and rocks cause cactus condensation that fills our thirsty stone coasters.  What’s a margarita lover to do?  Crochet an extra coaster layer, of course.  How to make something that will resist the naughty glass’ efforts to tip over when the second round is poured?  How about a tree skirt for the cactus?  In the fiesta spirit, it doubles as a mini sombrero.  ¡Que te diviertas!

Notes & Abbreviations

Ch 1 at the beginning of a row counts as one single crochet stitch.

CC:  contrasting color (yellow in photo)
Ch:  chain
MC:  main color (red in photo)
Sc:  single crochet
Sl st:  slip stitch
Tbl:  through back loops

Supplies

Approx. 10 yards worsted weight cotton yarn in 2 colors, about 6 yds MC to 4 yds CC.
Size G crochet hook, tapestry needle

Gauge

Rather than a normal gauge, I’m adding tips so you can check the fit on your favorite margarita glass as you work and adjust hook size if needed.

Instructions

•    Leaving a 6” yarn tail, ch 13 in MC.Margarita skirt in progress
•    Sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next 11 sts, switching to CC in loop pulled through final sc.  (12 sc)  Turn.

Tip: Hold your work around the stem of a margarita glass.  It should fit gently around with the initial chain about ½” – ¾” above the glass base, not overlapping but not stretched.

•    Ch 1. Sc in next 11 sts across.  (12 sts)  Turn.
•    Ch 1. Sc tbl in next 11 sts across, changing back to MC in final sc.  (12 sts)  Turn.
•    Ch 1. 1 sc in same st, 2 sc in next 11 sts across.  (24 sts)  Turn.
•    Ch 1. 1 sc in same st.  *1 sc in next 2 sts, 2 sc in next st.  Repeat from * until 4 sts remain unworked.  1 sc in each of the next 3 sts, 2 sc in final st (turning chain).  Change to CC in final sc.  (31 sts)  Turn.

Tip: Hold your work around the stem again.  The row worked tbl should form a turning point around the bottom of the stem so the two rows below flare out onto the glass base.  All rows should meet around the glass without stretching or overlapping.

•    Ch 1. 1 sc in the same st and in the next 30 sts.  (32 sts)  Cut CC yarn and pull through final loop.
•    Move to the other end of the piece, which has the working MC yarn tail emerging through the front side.  Move the MC yarn to the back around the edge of the piece, and pull up a loop through the turning chain of CC.
•    Ch 1. 1 sl st in the next 31 sts.  Work loosely to avoid tightening the edge.  (32 sts)
•    Cut yarn to leave a 6” tail.  Ch 1, and draw yarn tail through final loop.

Finishing

Weave in CC yarn ends.
Thread each MC tail onto a tapestry needle, weave to the edge of the row worked through back loops, and tie a knot in the end of each to prevent unraveling.  Wrap the sombrero / tree skirt around your glass stem, tie the MC yarn tails together, fill the glass with your favorite margarita, and shout “¡Vamos a rumbear!”

Would you like a nice, printer-friendly PDF of this pattern that fits on one page?  Here ya go.

© Copyright Susan L. Harrison.For private, non-commercial use only.Created August 2011.