This month I had to choose an issue that had patterns that I have yarn for already. Going to the store after a pattern was chosen isn’t really an option so we ended up with a few small projects from April 1980.
Jimmy Carter was the president. US, France and USSR all were still performing nuclear tests. The Iran hostage crisis was happening and Post-it notes were introduced.
The Top 40 Songs included:
Best seller list top 15 Fiction included
Non Fiction included these rousing tomes:
The list gets more interesting towards the bottom half of the top 15 with:
The April 1980 issue of Workbasket Magazine has three patterns; Crochet Trim for Easter Eggs, Quick as a Bunny and Mini-Hanging Planter. You’ll choose between the bunny and the planter because I don’t have Styrofoam eggs and glass headed pins.
The bunny is made out of worsted yarn, felt scraps, glue and stuffing.
The planter description says, “Here is a design for all of the 4 ply worsted yarn or rug yarn scraps in the house.” It doesn’t say how big the mini planter is or how much yarn aside from “all the…scraps in the house.”
I tried to find a version of this to make because I hear toilet paper concealers are back in style:
The two dolls, Jon-Jon and Janie are the toilet paper covers. Little Stinker is made to cover an air-freshener can. Tommy Turtle is hiding an extra bar of soap. If anyone finds me a free version of this I will make something from it!
But for now, should I make the bunny or the planter?
The alligator was pretty easy to crochet but turned out a little odd.
For yarn, I used Red Heart Super Saver in Frosted Green. I used black and purple felt for his eyes instead of blue. Black felt for his claws (they suggested green) and red for his tongue. I used the suggested rick rack for teeth and embroidery floss for the scales.
The crocheting part of this pattern is fine. It does assume you can do the math on increases and doesn’t give you specifics for each row. That’s fine for me; I’ve done enough that I don’t need to know how to increase and decrease to get to a specific stitch count. For some reason his tail looks a little stubby. It’s possible I missed a row or two there.
Stuffing and assembly was a little harder. Assembly directions for the legs say, “Sew legs to sides of body with claws pointing forward”. I have them on a little crooked. And after stuffing, the head looks more like a dolphin than an alligator.
I have a Cricut Maker so cutting the felt parts out was super easy. Add a little hot glue and all of those parts were on pretty quickly. Then there’s the embroidery. This wasn’t hard, it was just a little tedious. I wasn’t sure I had enough of any one color so I made a design decision and gave him an ombre look with the scales.
I think he sort of looks like a lopsided cross between an alligator and a dolphin.
Here's a close up of his eyes, teeth and claws.
Edit: My sister thought it would be good to have something for a size comparison. Abner is 24 inches long from the tip of his snout to the end of his stubby tail. Here's a cat for size comparison.
Next week I'll have the April voting ready!
This week I’m sharing some interesting ads from the March 1974 issue. There are 21 full or half page ads in this issue and they break down into a few different categories; crafts (11), plants (5) and other (5).
Let’s start with the plants.
There’s usually a section in Workbasket called “Garden” so it’s not surprising that there a lot of ads for plants. They are usually full page and full color ads, and one is usually the back cover. This month is no exception with the gladiola ad on the back.
Here are the rest:
We have roses, shade trees, strawberries and a stock sale in very tiny print.
There are ads for embroidery patterns, afghan kits, rug kits, cake decorating and more.
There were three half page ads in the crafting category; a quilt pattern, Jiffy lace, and my favorite; Pre-cut patterns! My least favorite part of sewing is cutting the pieces out.
There were just two black and white full page craft ads. One for a dress form and one for embroidery patterns.
The rest of the craft ads were either full or two page color ads in all of their glorious 70s colors. Herrschner's Afghan kit, Phentex punch needle rugs, American Thread and Ferry-Morse stitchery kits. - edited to add Ferry-Morse is a seed company that still exists.
My favorites are these two; Wilton Cakes and the LeeWards beaded decorations.
The colors of the cakes are just so 1970s; lime green and orange. I remember making beaded Christmas decorations kind of the ones in the LeeWards ad with my mom and sister.
And the last category - Other.
For half page ads we have stockings, wigs and laxatives:
And the badly names Ayds is a full page ad:
And Rubbermaid Girls! I guess Rubbermaid wanted to get in on the Tupperware trend. They've since abandoned the party sales business strategy and chosen to compete by having their products everywhere else.
Do you have a favorite ad in this issue?
There were two projects in the March 1974 issue of Workbasket Magazine that I found questionable. It doesn't mean that these might turn out perfectly fine when done but, well...you be the judge.
First up: A Jump Rope. Made out of bread bags.
At first this seems like an excellent recycling project but it seems like it might be too light-weight or just not swing that well. And then you add in the masking tape ends and a fringe cut from other wrappers and you what seems like a messy rope.
The other "interesting" project is called Creative Containers.
This has you simmering eggshells in a dye and then rinsing and drying them. Then you attach them to your vase or pencil holder or clip holder. Don't forget the razor blade to cut a bottle to make a vase! I love their suggested color choices; cocoa brown, gold, kelly green and tangerine.
Next week I'll have some fun ads from the March 1974 issue. Here's a preview with an ad for some rugs that I think are pretty cool.
The alligator won with 78% of the vote. Taking advice from comments; we will name him Abner and hopefully he’ll hang from the ceiling of a mad scientist’s work room.
The pattern suggests that you use:
Abner should be 21.5 inches long when he’s done. The head and body are one long piece then the four legs are done and sewn on and then the rest of the details are added.
The embroidery is done with a “fly stitch” and we’re given these instructions:
That should be interesting (she says in the most Minnesota way possible).
Next Week: Questionable Crafts from March 1974 – what were those crazy crafters making besides alligators?
Richard Nixon was the president (for a few more months). The Watergate Seven were indicted on March 1st.
Top 40 hits included:
NYTimes bestselling fiction top 10 includes no books that I’ve read. Number one is Burr by Gore Vidal. Jaws by Peter Benchley shows up mid-month at #3 and climbs to #2 by the end of the month.
On TV, people were watching; Hawaii Five-O, Maude, M*A*S*H, Sanford and Son, All in the Family and Kojack. Here’s Lucy, The Partridge Family and The Dean Martin Show were all cancelled that month and Nova started.
The March 1974 issue of Workbasket Magazine had five crochet patterns; a Boy’s Vest, a Granny Sack, a Girl’s Jacket with Loopstitch Hood and the two you’ll be voting on:
The Pan Holder:
This uses “bedspread crochet cotton” and a size 7 steel hook.
The Alligator Stuffed Toy
The alligator uses worsted weight yarn and is supposed to be 21.5 inches long when done.
Which one should I do for March? Voting is open until Friday and I'll post the winning project next weekend.
The March issue also has a few interesting pictures, some fun ads and two questionable crafts that I'll share later in the month.
Yesterday I pointed to another more recent source for baby booties that had a cowboy boot pattern. It was available through Hoopla and my library so I checked it out and made these yesterday:
This booklet was published in 2015 and was a lot easier to understand than the previous ones. There was no extra heel to work out so these came together very quickly. They turned out to be about 3 inches long and 3 1/2 inches high. Here's a comparison shot with the other two sets:
The biggest pair has a sole that's 6 inches long. The little tennis shoe soles are 3 1/2 inches. (Looks like I need to glue those gold stars on a little more.) I love these little boots and would definitely recommend Sweet Shoes for Wee Ones if you want to make some Rootin' Tootin' Cowboy Boots.
It turned out the be the perfect month to have a baby project. My brother and his wife just had a baby girl - my 13th niece/nephew!
Because those cowboy booties in the February 1980 Workbasket Magazine were so cute, I tried to find a version of them online. I found Big Foot Boutique by the same company that did the original (Annie's Attic). The pattern sizes in this book don’t include infant, instead it has versions for child’s size small to an adult extra large. All patterns are done with two strands of worsted weight yarn held together so I think you could do an infant size with just one strand and smaller hook size. I chose to do the child’s size small for these.
I used Red Heart Super Saver in Gold and Café Latte and an H hook.
I had a couple of problems with the pattern – one was resolved by finding an errata page later.
The sole in the pattern is done in gold but the one on the cover is done in brown. I followed the pattern so the bottoms of the boots are gold instead of brown. This has a correction that I found on Annie’s Attic website. This book has five pages of corrections so keep that in mind if you buy it.
The directions for the heel are odd and I still don’t know if I have it right but it looks ok. It would probably look better if I’d done the sole in brown. People on Ravelry for the old version of the pattern also mentioned that this was an issue for them so at least I wasn’t alone in that.
The last problem I had with this was the loopy chain decoration. It’s cute but not easy to get on evenly. At least for me - other people didn't seem to have a problem with that part.
Again, Ravelry and my Cricut to the rescue. There were a few versions of finished projects on Ravelry for the original baby version that used stars so I cut out some gold stars and use those instead. Cricut makes cutting out perfect felt shapes so easy!
There is another Annie’s pattern that has a cowboy boot pattern for babies that is still in print called Sweet Shoes for Wee Ones. If I’d seen this one first I probably would have bought this one instead. In addition to the cowboy boots it has loafers, snow boots and mock crocs; a total of 15 baby shoe patterns. It is available through my library and Hoopla so I might look at it at least and see if anything looks fast and easy.
Next week I'll have voting for March ready!
These booties were pretty easy and came out very cute.
The pattern asked for red and white 4-ply yarn/ DK weight yarn and I used worsted weight yarn hoping the gauge would be close. Even if it was off a little bit I didn't think it would make much difference. The sole measurement they give for the small size is 3 1/2 inches and here is the sole with the worsted weight yarn.
No problems with changing the yarn weight slightly!
The pattern makes the sole first, then the red tongue of the shoe and then the sides. It's finished with the stockings and little edging on the soles and the shoestrings.
Since those cowboy booties were so cute I looked for a pattern for them. I found an Annie's Attic book called "Big Foot Boutique: Kick Up Your Heels in 8 Pairs of Crochet Slippers" that looked like it had similar patterns. Next week I'll have a toddler's version of the cowboy boot ready to show you!
Despite a last minute surge in voting for the elephant, the booties won with 74% of the votes.
These have multiple sections for each part of the bootie and seem pretty detailed. I don’t have any immediate concerns with the pattern.
The Materials – the pattern suggests that you use:
I think 4-ply yarn is the equivalent of DK or #3 yarn and 3-ply baby yarn is #2 weight/fingering. I’m going to use acrylic worsted weight yarn instead of DK and DK instead of fingering. After reading through the pattern I’ve discovered that I’ll also need a size D hook to make the shoestrings.
There is a gauge so I’ll see if what I make matches it but since these aren’t being made for a specific baby I’m not too worried about being exact.
The gauge is 4 sc = 1-inch and the small sole measurement is 3.5 inches.
These adorable booties are going to be pretty quick to make so I’ll have the finished ones up next weekend. The following weekend you get a bonus bootie. I found a similar set of patterns by Annie’s Attic that includes the cowboy boots and I’ll make those for the February 15th weekend. They're in a booklet called Big Foot Boutique. These are more children and adult sizes instead of baby sizes so the boots will be a little bigger than the tennis shoes.
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.