Jimmy Carter was president.
Top songs on the radio included:
Best Sellers on the fiction list were:
Non-fiction best sellers were
"Galactica 1980" was on TV and I was not impressed.
You could go to the movies and see The Fog (I did see this in the theater in Amery, Wisconsin) or Mad Max.
Workbasket Magazine’s February 1980 issue had four crochet patterns; a reversible crib blanket, a set that included a scarf, cap, gloves and legwarmers and your two choices for this month:
Tennis Shoe Booties
I was a little sad that the pattern for the Cowboy boots were not included in issue – you’d have to send away to Annie’s Attic to get it and as far as I can tell, it’s no longer available. It’s made with worsted weight yarn and F hook for the small size.
Elephant in Crochet
Yes, another odd little toy from Workbasket Magazine. I’m not sure if it quite looks like an elephant but I’m willing to try it if it wins.
Which one should I make? Baby tennis shoes or an elephant?
I had a few problems with the pattern but once those were resolved this turned out to be a fairly easy mitten pattern.
The pattern suggested that you use a No. 00 steel hook and worsted weight yarn in a dark color. I’d planned on using some Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in a worsted weight. They helpfully provided a gauge. “With a No. 00 steel hook the gauge is 7 sc (single crochet) equal 2 inches.” Size 00 hooks seem to come in a variety of mm sizes. Boye has one that’s 3.5mm. Susan Bates has one that’s 2.7mm. The Craft Yarn Council says it’s 3.5 mm.
When I make amigurumi I usually use worsted weight and a 3.5mm hook to get a tighter stitch and keep the stuffing in. It was entirely possible that they wanted a tight stitch on the mittens to keep the wind from blowing in.
I have a steel hook labeled 00 and it seemed like it was more on the 2.7mm end so I decided to start by making a gauge test with that one.
Test number 1: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and a size 00 hook was 12 single crochet per inch.
Test number 2: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and a size 3.5mm hook (E) was 11 single crochet per inch.
Test number 3: Knit Picks Wool of the Andes and a size 4mm hook (G) was 9 single crochet per inch. Getting closer but now the fabric was starting to look more loose than I thought mittens should be. Time to switch to a heavier yarn.
Test number 4: Berroco Vintage Chunky and a size 5mm hook (H) was 7 single crochet per inch! Finally!
So, they suggested a size 3.5mm hook with worsted yarn and I got the right gauge with a 5mm hook and chunky yarn. That's a pretty big difference. Maybe 00 hooks were different in 1947 or maybe they had better control over their gauge. If I'd used their suggestion I would have had toddler mittens.
Here’s a photo of the difference in yarn and hooks.
Now that that part was figured out I could start making the mittens.
For this part, the directions are pretty good. They’re made by doing the back first and then the palm and thumb all in one piece and then stitched together after you do the embroidery. There were separate directions for left and right mittens. This went quickly and the sizing was good when it was held up to the embroidery pattern.
Now for the embroidery.
Here are the directions, “To transfer the design, place a piece of semi-transparent paper, like thin typing paper, over the design shown on the chart and trace the pattern…Make pin pricks quite close together along the lines of the design. Lay mittens on a flat surface with right side up. Pin the perforated pattern in place…Gently pat the perforated pattern with a powder puff which is filled with a SMALL amount of powder. Remove the pattern carefully; the design should show clearly on the mitten back.” That seems like a lot of messy work.
I tried to find a better way to do this but with dark yarn this really seemed like the best way. I don’t have a powder puff or powder though so I bought some quilter’s chalk. I printed out the pattern on paper, poked a lot of holes in it, placed it on a mitten and rubbed the chalk into the holes. I carefully removed the pattern and got this:
I tried to embroider and even started at the bottom thinking that would keep my hands from rubbing it off but it still came off faster than I could embroider and embroidery on yarn wasn’t that easy. It didn’t look very good so I took it all out. I tried again thinking I could free hand the pattern but the chain stitch still looked terrible on these and I just gave up. I sewed them together and added the edging and called it done.
They’re still cute without the embellishment.
Recently I was going through old photos to digitize and came across this photo. One of my sisters is a photographer and loves using film. This is an excellent example of how film goes across the ages.
This is my grandmother crocheting.
I’m not sure what year it is but based on the photo of my aunt in the background it must be after 1960. Both my mother and my grandmother crocheted. They tried to teach me but I didn’t really learn until I was in my early 40s. As much as I remember my grandmother crocheting you’d think there would be more photos but this is the only one I’ve ever seen of her or my mother with a hook in her hand.
My grandmother made me clothes for Barbie and small rugs and blankets for my doll house. My mom made stuffed animals for both of her daughters. Like this pig and cat:
My main use for these as a teenager was to hold all of my stick pins!
This summer while visiting one of my aunts, my cousin gave me this pattern that she found when she was going through old patterns and I knew it looked familiar. It's from Woman's Day, March 27, 1978.
Today I found this adorable photo of my sister holding the duck made from that pattern!
Next month I'll have the mittens finished. I have a lot to say about that pattern so stay tuned!
I finally finished the bed jacket/shrug!
This is a modified rectangle done in a ripple stitch. It’s a rectangle with the sleeve ends done a little smaller. I wasn't completely sure how to increase and decrease the ripples so I kind of winged it and used the photo to count the ripples and sort of made it work. Definitely not something I’d enter in the county fair but it looks ok.
Their version was in pink and white worsted weight wool. I used MadelineTosh DK (100% Wool) in Opaline and Berroco Vintage DK (40% Wool, 60% Manufactured Fibers) in Smoke with the suggested J (6.0 mm) hook. I was a little concerned that the slightly lighter weight yarn would change the sizing even though this had no size listed. Before it was blocked the gauge was a little off but once it was blocked it was right on.
The pattern wants you to do a double loop stitch around the edging and not only do I not like doing that fiddly stitch, I didn’t really like the way it looked and thought those little loops brushing at my neck would annoy me. Instead I did a row of single crochet, a row of half double crochet and then mimicked the pattern in the cuffs with two rows of back loop only single crochet.
I’m not sure if I’ll wear this or not. I don't think it looks that great from the front (maybe that's why they took the photo from the back).
The mittens ended up with 68% of the vote.
The directions look fairly detailed and there are separate instructions for the left and right mittens. An entire paragraph is devoted to the gauge for the mittens which are described as “medium size which should fit most persons.” They go on to say that once you understand how these are made you should be able to adjust the size by altering the directions or the gauge.
There is a pattern included for the embroidery and they explain how to transfer the design by tracing it thin typing paper and then making pin pricks along the lines. Then you pin it to the mittens and pat with a powder puff and small amount of powder.
After the embroidery a ruffle is added to the edge.
The Materials – the pattern suggests that you use:
I think I have a 00 steel hook but at 2.7 mm that seems a little small to use with worsted weight yarn so I’ll have to check the gauge to be sure it will work and since they give a nice detailed gauge it seems a shame not to test it.
For the yarn, I’ll be using Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Blackberry for the mittens. I bought it at an estate sale a year or so ago. I’ll either use crewel thread or Teksrena wool yarn for the embroidery. Teksrena yarn is from Lithuania and was given to me by a friend from work. I have a lot of different colors but not the specific colors suggested by the pattern.
I have mixed color sequins but not 42 gold ones. If I have enough of the mixed color sequins I’ll use those instead.
I’ll have an update on the November Bed Jacket. I might have it finished by then!
Other generations can vote too :)
For January 2020 we'll be going back to 1947. Here's a photo taken in 1947 of some of my favorite boomers - my mother and her sister.
Harry S Truman was president. The Cold War was starting.
The Andrews Sisters, Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, Frankie Lane and Al Jolson would be popular that year. Christian Dior would soon come out with a new post war collection called, “The New Look” that had full skirts since fabric was no longer being rationed.
The New York Times Fiction Best Seller was B.F.’s Daughter by John P. Marquand.
Elizabeth Short “Black Dahlia” was murdered. Mark Dayton, Jack Hanna and Paula Deen were born.
Workbasket Magazine is only eight pages long and has five patterns in it. Crochet patterns are the Bouquet of Zinnias on the cover, crocheted mittens and a Ferris wheel chair set. There is also a pattern for men's knitted gloves and some tatted squares.
You'll get to choose between a flower from the front cover or the mittens. The flowers are made from cotton crochet thread and heavy wire.
Crocheted Mittens use kitting worsted in a dark color and colorful yarn for the embroidered details and sequins. The text says that “similar mittens sell for from five to eight dollars in smart shops.”
Which one should I make in January?
First up, December 1970. The pattern is called simple crochet coat with popcorn border. Described as, “Red, charming and beauteous is this distinctive design.” This is a lovely vintage look. It’s done is worsted weight yarn with a J hook. Finishing directions seem simple if your definition of simple is lacking in specific directions:
“Block and steam sections to measure. Sew or weave seams. Work reverse sc down right front, across lower edge, up other front. Work across each cuff and top of pockets. Line coat for best shape. Sew on buttons and pockets.”
It might be "simple" to crochet but I think you need some experience in garment construction to put it together.
Next we have the cover for December 1972. It's a Christmas Cape or Tree Skirt. That wasn't a question, it's both! The main part of this is knit but the edging and embellishments are crocheted. I love that this is a dual purpose pattern. Who hasn’t looked a tree skirt and thought, “I'm a little chilly, that tree skirt looks like it would make an excellent cape”?
December 1978 - The hooded Jacket. I kind of like this one except that it doesn't have any buttons or zippers to close it. This time there are three pages of directions including charts for the cross-stitching on the white bands.
And last for today, it's December 1979's lacy holiday blouse. I'm pretty sure this person doesn't live in Minnesota. It looks like it might be a bit chilly for December.
Next week - I'll have voting for January ready. January will take us back to a time before I was born. I'm pulling choices from one of the oldest Workbasket Magazines I have in my collection.
Wondering what to make for last minute vintage gifts? Gifts Galore has the perfect project! The back cover has some fun ideas:
I still use hangers like the red version with the crochet around them. I love them for slippery things and tank tops. And those pot holders are all pretty amazing. The owl is done over bone rings. The oven mitt is named "Dopey Duck"!
Would you make any of these as gifts?
Next week I'll share some of the covers of December Workbasket Magazines that have projects that are either too time consuming to make or are knit but are still pretty cool.
I haven't made any progress on the November bed jacket yet. I've been too busy with other projects but we'll get back on track in January.
I still haven't finished the November project so there won't be any voting for a December project. Instead I'm going to share some photos of the 1968 Gifts Galore book by Coats & Clark. The cover says "Accessories to Crochet or Knit" but it's mostly crochet. The front and back cover are in color and the inside is all black and white.
Here's the cover in all of it glory.
There a a few potholders, a sewing kit (that's the guy with the spool legs, three pin cushions, a handbag, a knitted belt and slippers in chartreuse. I'm kind of intrigued by the mouse pincushion - it has a little pocket for a tape measure!
Next weekend I'll be spending time with family so there won't be a post then. The following weekend I"ll share the back of the cover with you - there are even more pot holders and one of my favorite and very practical crocheted items. Hopefully I'll have the crocheted bed jacket done in late December.
Here's how far I am now:
Ah, the 1960s. A time before car seats and bike helmets. Riding in the back of a station wagon or sleeping on the floor of a car was considered safe. Smoking was encouraged and lead and arsenic were still being used in toys.
Here are the crafts in the November 1967 Workbasket Magazine that would probably not show up in a modern magazine.
The Kitchen Angel
This one isn't so much questionable as I would say in my most Minnesota voice, "interesting". Maybe it would come out better than it sounds or the picture looks.
This is described a special decoration for your kitchen and it uses kitchen items to create it.
This issue had three recipe sections; soup, casseroles and mincemeat cookery.
The lead in to the mincemeat section touts it as a “very wholesome and easily digested food” and gives some “new and novel” recipes. I don't have a problem with mincemeat in general but they have a recipe that combines it with that other classic staple of the era - gelatin.
Behold, Coffee Mincemeat Relish, "a good accompaniment for the Thanksgiving turkey".
Joy logs are a diy version of artificial firelogs that give off colorful sparks when burned. How do you get to give off colorful sparks? You burn add chemicals. To make Joy Logs, you roll up old magazines, phone books or newspapers and tape them together. Then soak them in a solution of salt and coloring chemical for 10 – 14 days. Let dry for about 6 weeks. The article lists the chemicals you can use to get specific colors:
This can be done safely and many of the chemicals can be found at fireworks supply stores but you should avoid the lead and arsenic versions. My dad told me that his parents used to throw a small piece of garden hose into the fire. It must have had copper or other chemicals but burning the plastic and rubber would have given off some toxic fumes.
Apple Head Dolls
This seems like it would make a doll more suitable for Halloween. Basically you’re carving an apple, pickling them for 36 hours and drying them for 2-3 weeks. After they’re dry you can soften them up with steam so you can reshape the face and put in sequins for eyes, white beads for teeth and decorate them with other colors. Coat with floor wax. Add a wig of hair or yarn and attach to a muslin sawdust body.
And you get something like this:
If I don't have the bed jacket done by next week you may be voting early for the December pattern. I did decided to do the opaline and grey stripes and it looks really pretty so far.
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.