It wasn't even a close race this month. The handbag is the winner with all but two votes.
I know some people wanted to see this done in modern colors but I had brown and orange yarn so I thought I'd go with the classic colors.
The bag is done in two layers. The outside layer is done in brown and the inside in orange. Then, they're joined together, handles are added along with another bottom part and cardboard is glued inside the bottom to give it structure. That part should be interesting...
Next week there won't be a post but I'll be back on the 19th with the finished bag.
For July we’re going back to 1974.
The Top 40 Songs included:
Best seller list top 15 Fiction included
The July 1974 issue of Workbasket Magazine has five patterns. The cover above was one. The American Flag pattern is still available courtesy of Annie’s Attic and the Craft Yarn Council here. Also in this issue is a Barbecue Mitt, a Two Color Handbag, a Yellow Vest and an Afghan in Two Colors. The afghan photo is unmistakably 1970s. Check out the stereo and the curtains!
For July, you can choose between the Barbecue Mitt and the Two Color Handbag. I know I’ve done both a barbecue mitt and purses before but the flag and the afghan were way too big and I don’t think I’d wear the yellow vest. If anyone decides to make the flag I’d love to see it!
The Barbecue Mitt uses heavy rug yarn in two colors. The black and white photo doesn’t really show how the two colors work but I think that the contrasting color is just for the edging. The Two Color Handbag uses worsted weight yarn and true to 1974, they suggest brown and orange for your color choices.
What's your vote for the July pattern? The Barbecue Mitt or the Two Color Handbag.
The unfinished pieces of this dress are waiting to be rewound into balls. I got pretty far before I discovered that I made a pretty big mistake in the pattern. I’ll start from the beginning.
The dress is done by making the front and back with armhole shaping. Then you sew the front and back together and crochet the sleeves into the openings.
The back starts out with a row of 71 chains and then double crochets back the other way. I did 69 foundation double crochets to match their row one where they give you the stitch count. Row 2 is single crochets in each stitch across. Row 3 is double crochet in each stitch across for 69 double crochets. Then the instructions say, “Repeat last 2 rows for pattern, dec 1 st each end of row on second row and every 3 rows thereafter until 45 sts remain.”
So off I went, decreasing 1 stitch in every third row. Checked my gauge which was 4 rows = 1.25 inches and that was perfect. Do you see what the problem is yet?
In the picture below the dress with the gray portion is now 20 inches and I still had more than 45 stitches across.
Part of the directions tell you to work until the piece measures 12 inches so I knew something was seriously wrong but hadn’t figured out where I went wrong yet. I started by counting the rows in the photo. There are somewhere around 60 rows for the whole dress so I knew that either I read the decreases wrong or the pattern had it wrong. Next, I pulled out a spreadsheet (because of course I would) to figure out how many reductions I’d need to get to 45 stitches from 69 and realized that I should have hit that number by the time I hit row 39. I was at 57 stitches in row 39.
Time to pull the pattern out again and read it over carefully.
And there it is. User error.
When I read the instructions I misread “dec 1 st each end of row” as “dec 1 st each row”.
Written crochet patterns are like another language and each era, parts of the world, and even individual designers have their own grammar and punctuation that they use. Every word, comma and asterisk are important in crochet patterns. My mistake was thinking this was a super simple pattern and just skimming it. If it was a mosaic crochet pattern or overlay crochet where stitch placement is complex I would have read it much more carefully. This shows you that even simple patterns should be read carefully. Lesson learned. I hope.
Next week is the July vote. Get out your ABBA and BTO albums, we're only moving ahead one year to 1974.
I wanted to do another recipe review since the last one was so good. The June issue had a lot of recipes to choose from. We’re trying to eat a little healthier so I had to rule out some recipes.
With the Cooks section
This section is recipes that readers have sent in and it’s all cookies for June. There were Ginger Cookies, Frosty Fruit Balls, White Sugar Cookies, Butterscotch Jumbles, Date or Raisin Jumbles, Poppy Seed Cookies and Confetti Squares. So much sugar! Let’s move on to the magazine recipe section.
Enter the Entrée
I have no idea what makes this Mardi Gras but it seemed pretty simple. I ordered Cod from Costco because it was half the price of Halibut and I didn’t want to use an expensive ingredient in this recipe.
Joel found a lovely tomato at the co-op though. I didn't have any paprika so I used Aleppo Pepper.
This was pretty simple to put together and I used my classic covered baking dish:
Even with a lemon and the Aleppo it was pretty bland. We didn’t garnish with the sour cream but maybe we should have. It was also dry and chewy. I think it was probably over cooked. 35 minutes at 400 degrees seems like a long time at a fairly high temp. As I was trying to troubleshoot the recipe for "next time" Joel suggested that it wasn't really worth trying again. He's right. We have plenty of ways to cook fish that are delicious.
Next week – I’m hoping to have the dress with butterfly sleeves done but I’m not even half done with it so it might be another week before I can share that with you.
The Multi-Shaded bag didn’t make it to the vote because I didn’t have the yarn but my sister-in-law tracked down the Spinnerin Mardi Gras yarn so I could give it a try. I’m glad she did because this pattern had so many problems. I kind of enjoy the Workbasket patterns that leave things out and make you think things through to figure out how to get the end result. (To be clear, I would not enjoy this in a paid pattern.)
The pattern gives a list of supplies as; four colors of the yarn, 1/3 yd lining fabric, crochet hook sizes H and I.
The instructions say, “Pattern is worked on an even number of stitches.” And then goes on to give an eight row pattern that you repeat once for each color.
The directions start out with a row of chains, then a row of single crochets into the chains and keeps going with rows that end with chain one and turn. This gives you a flat piece of fabric. There are instructions for the handle that’s the same pattern as the bag plus a row of single crochet around the outside of the handle.
Here are the finishing instructions: “Block.” I’m not sure how you block polypropelene but aside from that, shouldn’t there be something more? Did they run out of room on the page and edit the rest out?
Nowhere in the pattern does it say make two and sew sides up. It doesn’t even tell you to attach the handle. The photo shows a button but there is no mention of a button in the materials or in the pattern. The materials mention lining fabric but it doesn’t ever mention it again.
So now what?
Sometimes I can use the photo to figure out what they meant. In this case, the photo doesn’t look like it was sewn up the sides. It looks like it was crocheted in the round. And the base looks flat and not what I would expect if it was just two pieces sewn together. So I decided that’s what I would do. I'd make a base from single crochet and then use their stitch pattern in the round. First I need to run through the stitch pattern because the turning seems a little odd.
This is what I got when I tried the stitch pattern:
Huh… Good thing I’m going to do this in the round and I don’t have to deal with their weird turning that added extra stitches.
The yarn itself took a little getting used to. Because it’s plastic, it doesn’t slide on the hook well and that extra drag made my hands tired after eight rows or so. Eventually I ended up with this:
By the time I got to the handle I was kind of tired of their stitch pattern and just did single crochet instead. I hoped I could get through it without opening another skein and made the handle shorter than the pattern wanted. I ended up having to open another skein anyway and the handle really does need to be longer. I’ll probably take it off and make a longer handle.
There it is - The Multi-Shaded bag done in 1970's polypropelene yarn. I think it will be a pretty durable bag and I have some extra yarn for the next time we need to use a straw-like plastic.
The Jiffy Lace Baby Set started out strong but the dress ended up having double the votes as the baby set. The winning June pattern last year was also a dress!
This pattern calls for 6 ounces of sport weight yarn, a Susan Bates crochet hook size G, a 3/8 inch button and a tapestry needle.
I’ll be using Knit Picks Brava Sport in red. I think I have about 5 ounces of this so I may shorten the dress or make the sleeves a different color. I have the exact hook (Bates hooks aka in-line hooks are some of my favorites) they suggest so I’ll definitely use it.
The dress is made in pieces. The front and the back are sewn together and then the sleeves are added so it looks pretty easy. Hopefully it is because I'm going to try to get another project done by next weekend. The bonus project!
Last week I mentioned that I didn’t have the “yarn” to do the bag and my lovely sister-in-law sent me the yarn! The Multi-Shaded Bag will be a bonus project this month.
I’ve started the bag and the polypropylene yarn is really interesting to use. And the pattern for the bag? That is also “interesting” but I’ll save the details for next week.
Richard Nixon was the President and the Watergate scandal was heating up though it would be another year before he resigned. Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes and the Triple Crown.
The Top 40 Songs included:
Best seller list top 15 Fiction included
Some popular movies in June 1973
The June 1973 issue of Workbasket Magazine has five patterns; Dress with Butterfly Sleeves (cover photo), Multi-Shaded Bag, Lacy Shawl, Shell and Jiffy Lace Baby Set..
You’ll choose between the Dress with Butterfly Sleeves and the Jiffy Lace Baby Set.
Both the baby set and the dress are done with six ounces of sport weight yarn. I have plenty of sport weight yarn but I don’t have six ounces of any one color so which ever one you choose will be done in at least two colors.
The baby set is done with a technique called jiffy lace (also known as broomstick lace). I learned how to do this at one of our last in-person crochet guild meetings. The catch with this pattern is that it calls for size 50 knitting needle and I have a size 35. If I do this one it will probably end up being a doll size instead of a 6 month baby size.
I kind of wanted to make the bag but I don’t have any yarn that would really hold its shape and not stretch like the Spinnerin Yarn Company’s Mardi Gras yarn that’s suggested. They describe it as straw like and it’s made out of polypropylene. I could search for it but I’m to do patterns with the yarn I have on hand.
So, your June choices this month are the little girl’s dress or the baby/doll set. Which one should I make?
The carnation was done a little differently than I expected and I kind of liked it.
I used blue and green pearl cotton thread in a size 5 and a B hook like I planned. Starting off with round 1 is where the interesting bit happened. This is a variation on a foundation row that I've never done: “Rnd 1: Ch 3, dc in third ch from hook, * 2 more dc into same st, 1 dc into base of last dc, repeat from * until there are 45 stitches; join with a sl st.”
This version of a foundation stitch makes it into a stepped circle. Here are what the first six double crochets look like. I circled the part where you're double crocheting into the base of the previous double crochet
Round 2 puts two triple crochets in each double crochet to get the hyperbolic look and round 3 is picot stitches to make a “lacy edge”
The base is a green crocheted tube with loops of chains at the top that get pulled through the center and sewn in.
The most difficult part was getting the floral wire in it. The directions say, “fastening wire in center of flower”. If I’d used smaller wire it would have been easier to hide it but the floral wire made it a little sturdier. I used some jewelry pliers to get it in and kind of sewed around it to hide it. The stem wire is covered by wrapping the thread around it and I secured it with some hot glue. (See the big bump at the bottom of the stem? That's clumsy gluing.)
The flower was pretty easy and fast to make so I thought I’d try making the pin cushion. In retrospect, I’m kind of glad the carnation won. I would have had to the pin cushion in a much bigger thread weight than the pattern suggested and it would have been more like a pin throw pillow than a pin cushion.
The pattern asks for “a medium weight crochet thread about like size 30”. I have a small amount of thread that is definitely smaller than size 10 but I’m not sure what size it really is. It was wrapped around a size 10 spool that I think I got from my mother-in-law (hi Alma!) but could be from somewhere else. I didn’t have enough to finish the final round and that’s ok because I didn’t really understand the edging row.
This isn’t blocked and it’s missing a row but it’s already 5 inches long. I used the hook size that was suggested which is about 1.30 mm.
Next week we start voting on June. It’s 1973 and there are some adorable options for kids.
In the early days of The Workbasket it was called “The Workbasket Home and Needlecraft For Pleasure and Profit” and had a section called Aunt Ellen’s Club Notes. These clubs got together and made crafts, sold recipe books, etc. The May 1949 issue devoted 4 pages to the club notes. There are suggestions for roll call, programs, recreational hour and a recipe for social hour.
The roll call suggestion was what I think of as an ice breaker along with introductions. There were two suggestions in these notes; “Name a family heirloom and tell something about it”, “Give a new household hint that you have recently learned.”
The program suggestion was a pretty detailed full page about how and why to do book reviews.
The recreational hour suggestions included two activities. The first is related to Mother’s Day and has members make a list of famous mothers. Whoever gets the most should get a spring bouquet. The second activity is called, “Thread the Needle”. This amusing game is described as a game for people with good eyesight. After dividing the members into two teams, the two teams line up and everyone is given a needle. The first person in line is given a strand of thread. The first team to get the thread through all of the needles on their team wins.
For social hour they suggest ice cream, banana cake and coffee and give a recipe for the banana cake. My husband and I made the cake on Friday night and here’s how that went.
Like many of the patterns in the magazines this one assumes you know things about baking or have a relative who can explain things to you. I know some things – other things…well…I won’t win any baking awards. When I bake, I bake quick breads, muffins, bars or something along those lines. I rarely bake an actual cake so this was sort of a process.
Step One – assemble ingredients:
Cake: Sugar, butter, eggs, sweet milk, baking powder, salt, walnuts, bananas, soda, vanilla
Filling: Butter, egg white, powdered sugar
We had all of those things except sweet milk. I wondered if sweet milk was different than regular milk but the internets tell me that it’s normal whole milk instead of buttermilk. We used almond milk.
Step Two – make the cake:
Cream the butter and sugar. I pulled out the hand mixer and blended the butter and sugar until it was creamy.
Add beaten eggs. I added them and mixed them in.
Sift flour several times. I skipped this step.
Add salt and baking powder to flour. Added that and whisked the flour, salt and baking powder together.
Add milk and flour alternately. Added some milk, mixed it in, added some flour, mixed it in – repeated until it was all mixed in.
Then vanilla, nut meats and bananas (that were mashed and have a tsp of soda added). Mixed all that in in one at a time.
Bake in layer cake pans at 325 -350 degree oven for 20 minutes. I do not have layer cake pans. I have 5 different muffin tins, some pie tins and a round silicone pan. After rummaging around in the cupboard I decided to use the round silicone pan and one Corelle pie pan. I buttered them. Filled the silicone one (it’s a lot taller than the pie pan) and the pie pan. Put them in the oven and set the timer for 20 minutes. They were very much not done. It took 30 minutes for the silicone one and 25 for the pie pan. The silicone one came right out of the pan and while it looked a little brown on the bottom, it held together pretty well. It think that in a normal layer cake pan there would have been less in this pan so 25 minutes probably would have been fine. The pie pan didn’t come out as well.
Step Three – make the filling:
Here’s where things went wrong. I don’t make frosting. I don’t really like it so my frosting is usually a sprinkle of powdered sugar or the traditional way of frosting brownies; a bag of chocolate chips melted on top. I’m sure that there is a process to this that is assumed – maybe you beat it longer or there’s an order to adding the ingredients.
The filling is 1 tablespoon of butter (melted), 1 egg white (beaten), 1 ½ cups powdered sugar. Mix together, if too stiff, add milk or cream.
It was too stiff so I added a little vanilla. It was less stiff but still not like filling or frosting. More like sticky glue. I added some almond milk…Oops!! I added too much almond milk. At this point the hand blender had been running on high for at least 10 minutes but it was way too runny. Joel came to help. We consulted the internet and decided to add cocoa powder in attempt to get it to thicken. A half cup of cocoa powder and a little bit of corn starch and 10 minutes later it was still runny. I declared it a drizzle. I managed to get the pie pan portion on top of the other cake round, drizzled the chocolate on top and called it done.
It’s actually a pretty tasty cake. Like a light and fluffy banana bread. The chocolate drizzle was also a nice addition.
Next week I'll have the carnation ready and a portion of the other pattern to show you.
It was close but in the end, the Carnation pattern won by three votes.
This calls for:
This looks pretty easy but I’ve thought that before and run into problems (see the mini-planter). If it turns out to be very easy I’ll either make a few or make the pin cushion. At this point the biggest question I have on this pattern is the hook size. In modern terms a size 3 is 3.25mm hook. Or do they mean size 3 steel hook? That’s a 2.1 mm. I don’t have one of those so I think I’ll start with a B hook. It’s closer to the steel hook size at 2.25mm.
Next week I'll tell you about Aunt Ellen's Club Notes from the May 1949 issue and maybe make the recipe for their "social hour". It's Banana Cake!
I'm from Minnesota and have been crocheting since 2003. I inherited a box full of Workbasket Magazines from my mother-in-law and became obsessed with the vintage patterns. I'm a member of Crochet Twin Cities, the local Crochet Guild.