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.
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.