We're back to the 80s this week with a Workbasket Magazine pattern. I was intrigued by the reversible part of this pattern. The photo the magazine chose for the pattern did not show enough contrast though so I didn't really have a good idea of what this was going to look like when it was done.
This pattern gives you a specific yarn for this without telling you the weight. They suggest Lion Brand Molaine which comes in 1.4 ounce balls. It says you need two balls of two colors. I looked up the yarn and it appears to be worsted weight so I pulled two skeins of yarn that had 3 ounces each left in them. One was Lion Brand Basic Stitch and the other was Knit Picks Brava Worsted. The pattern had a gauge which I matched pretty closely.
It took me a few tries to get "the trick" of the back and forth. You end up dropping an open loop one one side and using the other color for two rows and then dropping that loop and going back to the first color. Once I got it, I didn't really need the pattern any more since it was a simple repeat. The pattern had you repeat the row pattern until you got to 59 inches or your desired length.
I did not make it to 59 inches. The photo below shows the point where I realized this wasn't going to make it to 59 inches. It's a little over 36 inches at this point and I have enough for maybe one more row.
So now what? I don't want to rip it all out and I can't get more of the yarn in time to get it posted. It's long enough for a cowl! Instead of finishing it their way I seamed the ends together and turned it into a cowl.
It is reversible with one side being more blue and the other side more yellow. It was really hard to tell from the photo that this is what I was going to end up with. I thought it might be just one color on one side and the other color on the other side. I like it though and it makes a nice, thick and cozy cowl.
Based on the criteria this gets a 3.75 out of 5:
Next week I have a booklet to share that has patterns form the early 1900s.
I know this isn't technically vintage but it fits the neck theme. I started this project in September 2022 as my 2023 county fair entry for "Holiday-Not Christmas". It seemed appropriate for a pre-Valentine's day post.
I present to you the Valentine Tie!
The pattern uses #10 cotton thread in silver and red and a steel crochet hook size 3 (equivalent to a 2.1mm hook). I used cream and dark red because that's what I had and I didn't love the way the silver looked in the photo. I happened to have a size 3 steel hook in my collection of randomly gathered steel hooks.
This a pretty easy pattern to follow since it's all single crochet. You get a graph for the colors and a gauge. They even tell you how to change color and tell you to carry the color not being used and work over it. Even though this was easy, it was a little tedious because there are 437 rows! At least the graph was a mirror image so I didn't have to worry about the direction of the row I was on as I went.
Once the crocheting was done I thought it looked pretty good. The cream allowed the red thread that was being carried along to show a little bit but that wasn't a deal breaker for me.
Since this is cotton thread, it really needed to be wet blocked. I've had problems with thread colors bleeding even when soaking in cold water so this time I put some vinegar in and that worked. Yay! I pinned it on the blocking mat and pulled the pins the next day and discovered I'd made a mistake. The pins must have had some rust on them and now I had rust spots in the cream thread. I tried using some OxyClean spot remover on the spots and then let it soak in the spot remover...and that was the next mistake. When I pulled it out of it's stain bath there were red spots all over it where the red thread bled (say that three times fast). And, the rust spots were still there too. Ugh!
After a brief mental reset, I decided I would dye the finished project with the hope that the dye would cover up the spots. As long as I was going to dye it why not try something fancier? Could I make it a gradient?
I bought a box of Rit Dye in Fuschia and some Rit ColorStay and made my attempt. Once I had the dye all mixed up I dipped the bottom of the tie in the dye and held in there for a few minutes and then dipped a little lower and held it. I kept doing this through most of the length of the tie and then just dropped the part of the tie that was just cream in and out quickly. I did a quick rinse, applied the color stay and let that soak and then rinsed again.
It's not perfect but the dye did a pretty good job of covering up the rust and red dye spots without losing the pattern.
I thought it was interesting that this 1991 magazine had very obvious brands in their photo; Kisses and Snoopy. I used Dove chocolate because it's better than Hershey Kisses and I found a cute cat Valentine picture to use instead of the dog Valentine.
And now for it's rating:
Total is 4 out of 5!
This week's pattern is from a February Workbasket pattern. They have directions for a scarf, cap, gloves and legwarmers in some variation of the stitch pattern they give you. Of course, the amounts of yarn given are for the entire set so if you want to make just one of these you'll be guessing at the amounts.
Columbia Minerva John Kloss Heather yarn; 12 ounces of Gray (MC), 4 ounces of each of the other colors they give as Rice (R), Brown (B), Silver Gray (G), Red Onion (O).
An I hook for the scarf (other items use different sizes).
A tapestry needle and 12 inches of 1/2 inch elastic (they don't say in this part what the elastic is for but I was reasonably sure it wasn't the scarf).
The yarn they specify seems to be a sport weight yarn. I ended up going up to a DK weight and used leftover Bernat Softee Baby for the main part of the scarf. The other colors were mostly scraps of DK weight yarn I had.
There is a gauge and I was fairly close to it with the DK weight yarn.
I wasn't impressed by the use of yarn that has unusual color names and that they used a black and white photo for this project. In particular, they used Rice as a color name and gave it the abbreviation R but also had Red Onion which was an O. I ended up using my own colors and had to write out my own color plan for the different rows. Their choice of "O" for Red was even worse when I realized that they were also using "O" as an abbreviation for yarn over.
Row 3 reads, "Sc in first ch 1 sp, ch 1, O, draw up a lp in next ch 1 sp, (O, draw up a lp in the same sp 4 times, O and through 11 lps on hook, O draw through lp on hook (popcorn made)..."
I used white for Rice, green for the Main Color/gray, blue and black for Brown, gray for Red Onion. Once you get through the confusing color and yarn over abbreviations this turns out to be linen stitch with a row of popcorn stitches. It wasn't complicated just not written out very well.
I also guessed wrong on how much blue yarn I would need so I ended up making one end of the scarf blue and the other black.
Here are the final photos:
I think the edges are a little messy and it could really use a border but it's fine the way it is too.
Is the pattern easy to understand? No.
If there is a gauge, could I match it? Yes.
Does it look like the photo? Sort of. I think they used two colors for the bobbles and I didn't see how they did that with the color order in the pattern.
Would someone wear this? Yes.
Did I enjoy making it? Eh. Once I got over the annoyance at their confusing abbreviations it went ok. I didn't hate making it but I wouldn't make this again.
That looks like two yeses and two half yeses so that makes this a 3 out of 5.
Next week it's not a scarf and it's a special Valentine patern!
I know it's early in the year but so far this is my favorite. It took me a while to figure it out and I still got one part wrong but I still love it.
I found this scarf on Ravelry by searching for scarves that were originally published before 1970. The entry sent me to an Australian newspaper archive. You can see the pattern in that archive here. The article had the text written out so I didn't have to try to decipher the tiny print even if I did have to decipher the terms they use.
This pattern asks for:
Row two was hard to read and difficult for me to understand. "2nd row: Work first pattern in loop following the part of pattern, then work a pattern into each loop after each pattern, finishing first st of pattern into loop of last pattern." They use loop a lot to mean different things and I knew after the first section was done that it wouldn't give me that scalloped look when I got to the alternating color section. Fortunately for me, someone else on Ravelry made this scarf and I took a very close look at their version and figured out where I went I wrong. I was just doing the stitch pattern across all of the stitches and not doing the pattern in just one stitch or loop. Once I figured that out this went pretty quickly.
Here's the my version. I ran out of the light blue yarn so I finished it off with a last row in gray.
Can you tell what my other mistake was? The two openings were supposed to be next to each other but again, the text was confusing. If I'd looked at the photo again I think I would have done it right but it still works the way it was intended to. Even though this was wool I decided not to block it. It's pretty evenly stitched already and I didn't want to stretch it out. The dense fabric makes it a little warmer.
Is the pattern easy to understand? Not really.
If there is a gauge, could I match it? Yes.
Does it look like the photo (or illustration in this case)? Yes.
Would someone wear this? Yes.
Did I enjoy making it? Yes.
That gives this one a 4 out of 5.
Next week we'll head to 1980!
Remember this booklet? It had a lot of hat patterns I tried and promptly ripped out. I thought I would give it another chance and try one of the scarf patterns I tried the one in the bottom left corner of the photo.
Style No 2490-231 has a marled look that they got by holding two strands of sport weight yarn together. It uses an I hook and gives a gauge of three sc = one inch. I didn't have enough sport weight yarn to make this but I did have bulky yarn so I tried that and matched the gauge with it.
This has an interesting stitch pattern that it took me a few tries to understand. Once I got it though, I liked how it was turning out. I hated the yarn in everything else I tried with it but it looked pretty good in this pattern. Here's a close up of the stitch partway through and also where I had to stop.
I didn't even come close to having enough of the yarn and it was a clearance yarn so I knew there was no way I was going to find more. I ended up ripping it out so for now I'm not rating this one. It might show up again later though if I get enough sport weight yarn to try it their way.
Next week I have a completed scarf from 1937!
Heads to Toes - 1970 Peaked Scarf
The Heads to Toes booklet had two of my favorite hats; the Checkered Hat and the Striped Beret so thought I'd try to do one of the scarves from this booklet. I chose the scarf from the set that was a Peaked Hat and scarf. This is the scarf the solidified my "no big scarves" rule.
The pattern uses 12 ounces of worsted weight yarn for both the hat and the scarf and a size F hook. It has a gauge of 7 clusters = 3 inches and 7 rows = 3 inches. I did not get the gauge right.
I had a skein of Caron Pound of Love that I thought would be good for this but it's very stiff yarn and I knew that using an F hook for a large scarf was going to make my hands very unhappy. I went up a hook size to a G hook and while it was easier on my hands the gauge was now totally off. I got 6 clusters = 3 inches and 9 rows to 3 inches. The stitch pattern has you pulling up a loop and I couldn't consistently pull it up high enough to make that gauge work. It's a scarf though and gauge shouldn't matter that much right?
The pattern starts with chain 384 (oof) and then you do their clusters in every row, cutting the yarn at the end and going back to the first cluster of the row to start the next row. The ends don't get sewn in. You tie them off and mix them in with the fringe at the end.
Their cluster was defined as; yarn over, draw up a 1/2 inch loop in last chain 1 space used, draw up 1/2 inch loop in next ch-1 space, yarn over and through 4 loops, chain 1.
It ends with a row of single crochet on each long side and the fringe on the ends.
I used 12 ounces of yarn on the scarf alone. My fringe is a little longer than theirs and I used a bigger hook so that may account for the difference but if you make both of these you may need more than 12 ounces.
When it was done the sides were curling. This might be because my gauge is completely off. I thought washing it would help and while it made the scarf a lot softer it didn't really help the curling. It is really long and if you wind it around your neck the curling doesn't show that much.
I don't like this one but I'm not sure if it's user error or a pattern issue. I'm not sure I would have been able to get the gauge consistent even if I had used their hook size.
Is the pattern easy to understand? Yes.
If there is a gauge could I match it? No.
Does it look like the photo? No.
Would someone wear this? Yes.
Did I enjoy making it? Not my favorite but it wasn't too bad since I went up a hook size.
That's 3 out of 5. If I'd used the correct hook to get the gauge right, the last criteria would have been no and we would have still ended up with 3 out of 5 but I would have had sore hands.
My 2023 blog theme is crochet for necks. This obviously means scarves but also I might do ties, necklaces or collars. If this category becomes a pain in the neck I may switch to something else partway through the year.
I've been looking at vintage scarf/neck patterns and while I have a lot of them in my library many of them are patterns I don't want to make. Here are the types of things I'm ruling out (at least for now):
Rating the neck adornments will be a little harder than the hats. A scarf is more of a one size fits all sort of items so "does it fit?" won't be a criteria. Here are the things I'll try to use for ratings:
I have about 35-40 patterns I've marked as possibilities and that might be enough to get me through the year. The three I have queued up for January are from 1937, 1970 and 1977. Next week I'll have the 1970 pattern from a booklet I made some hats out of already.
Recap - The Best Hats of 2022
There are 22 hats that I gave a rating of 4 or higher. Here they are starting with the ones that had a rating of four. Most of these were given to Neighborhood House in St. Paul or Ramsey County Social Services. If it went somewhere else, I put that in the list.
Clicking on the photo should take you to the original blog post for that hat.
Five hats got ratings of four:
Seven hats had ratings of 4.5:
And finally, here are the ten hats that all got a rating of five out of five:
One of the reasons I started making hats in general was that I don't really like them. They often crush my glasses against my ears or just look weird. Overall it was a pretty good year of making hats. I learned a lot about reading vintage patterns and ended up with two hats that I like!
Recap - The worst and the just ok hats
I made 38 hats in 2022. The patterns ranged from 1965-1986 and more than half of them had a rating of 4 or higher. This week I'll share the ones that were the worst and those that were sort of meh. Next week I'll share the best and tell you which ones I kept. I think I rated a little harsher as I went through the year so some of the ones that I did in the beginning might have better scores than I would give them now.
Clicking on the photo will take you to the blog post for each of these.
The Worst (ratings of 2.5 or below):
The "Not so bad" (rating of 3-3.5):
There were seven hats that had a rating of 3 and two that had a rating of 3.5.
Next week will be the 22 hats that had a score of 4 or higher.
Clouds and Rainbows Hat - 1986
The Clouds and Rainbows hat comes from the 1986 Winter Omnibook issue of Crochet World. This issue has a lot of very interesting patterns that I need to share before I show you the hat I made from the magazine.
First we have a mouse that dispenses toilet paper while holding cheese. Kind of cute but is this sanitary? Is the mouse washable?
Next we have a nativity set. At first I thought Mary had blonde hair in the photo but after checking the pattern they skip giving her hair and give her a veil instead. Joseph has a dark beard but the way the photo is taken it looks a little like a skull and is giving the whole scene zombie vibes.
The Crochet World magazines had a lot of Barbie and Ken clothing in the 1980s and this is an excellent example of one. Ken obviously skis and must have his very own, fashionable ski suit.
Other patterns not pictured include;
And now the Clouds and Rainbows hat. I knew I wanted to make this the moment I saw it. I was so confused about how that would stay on and if it would really turn out like the photo.
This uses worsted weight yarn and an I hook. I used Lion Brand Basic Stitch which I think of as a lighter weight worsted. They give a gauge that I matched perfectly in the white part of the hat with the recommended hook. The size is given as Misses and there's a note; "This pattern is recommend for experienced crocheters. With a little help beginners can also work this pattern." The note is accurate but maybe not for the reasons you would normally think. The pattern and stitches aren't that hard but the directions assume you have experience crocheting and can read into the directions to get the parts they chose to leave out.
The hat is done in the round and the white part is all half double crochets that you join at the end of each round. Here's where I think the beginner would have difficulty.
Round two (and throughout the pattern) misses the chain two to start each round or maybe they think you don't need that part and it will be fine. I did the chain two at the beginning of each round.
It's nice that they give you a stitch count to make sure you're increasing the right amount. In fact, they're pretty clear about how to increase the rounds right up until round 16 where they tell you to increase by 12 stitches evenly instead of the nine you had been increasing.
Round 17 is a round of shells, Round 18 is a color round that is mostly single crochet stitches. Round 19-22 it says to continue in pattern and while it's obvious to me that the "pattern" is round 17-18 that may not be obvious to a beginner. It's not that hard to write something like; repeat round 17 and 18 twice. Rounds 23-29 repeat the "pattern" while increasing the size of the shells. It ends with a pompon (I skipped the pom).
This was fast to make but it doesn't fit.
I know you're saying, "What if you just folded the brim up?" Aside from the fact that it hides the rainbow part, it's still too big.
Notice that I didn't sew that last end in. I'm going to rip it out. I did sew in the color ends so hopefully it's not too much work.
I expected this hat to be weird but didn't expect it to be so big. This gets zero stars since I'm ripping it out.
This is the last hat of the year! Next week I'll wrap up with a post on the best and worst hats of the year.
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.