Wednesday, January 3, 2018

We might need these sweaters for the bomb cyclone and polar vortex


There's Bad Winter Weather™ headed through the southeastern United States and aiming for the northeastern portion of the country. It's threatening to be Especially Bad Weather™ for the Atlantic coastline, from New Jersey to Maine. Some are calling this a bomb cyclone (bakudan teikiatsu), and it's going to be followed, supposedly, by a polar-vortex event (Полярный вихрь) that temporarily turns the Northeast into The Day After Tomorrow, minus the Dick Cheney impression.1

Anyway ... that's the weather tie-in for today's post, which is something we should all have handy here in the Northeast: sweaters.

Pictured above is the front of a 1955 Knit-O-Graf foldout pattern for a pair of snazzy sweaters, one with hearts and one with snowflakes. Perfect for schmoopies sitting side-by-side in front of the fireplace at the ski resort. Here's an artsy but ultimately ineffective look at one side of the pattern, unfolded...


This 25-cent pattern from the Minneapolis-based company calls for the following "ingredients":

  • 4 Ply Knitting Worsted Yarn of All Wool, or...
  • ...Blends of Part Nylon and Wool
  • 1 pair No. 2 (English No. 11) needles
  • 1 pair No. 5 (English No. 8) needles
  • Gauge: 5½ stitches and 7½ rows equal 1 inch

The general instructions state:
"Knit-O-Graf patterns are life size. Reductions are made only when it is necessary to show a different back or a right and left sleeve, in which case one of the sleeves and either the back or the front is shown life size. Lay work on graph occasionally to check your size. For ease in following, outline the size wanted with a colored pencil."

Nosing around the internet for some thoughts on Knit-O-Graf, I found a July 2006 post on f. pea, a blog by Fawn Pea, who is "a knit designer, working mama and bumbling gardener in North Carolina." She writes:
"Once upon a time I thought I was going to become the Maven of Knit-o-Graf. I first saw these wacky patterns on VintageKnits.com and quickly became obsessed with owning a copy of the Pixie pattern [see below] and using the graphic to make a stylish yet ironic 1940's retro cardi. Look, they're sitting on toadstools! And look at their little tails... can't you just see those pixies on a grown-up's cardigan, or felted into a sweet purse? Can't you?"
She goes on to detail her quest to find Knit-O-Graf patterns on eBay, discusses how difficult she finds the patterns to use and ends with this cautionary note:
"I think I'll keep the Knit-o-Graf patterns for retro inspiration, especially since one day I'll be able to sell them for a mint on eBay and retire to the countryside to pursue my wildest dreams. ... Hopefully this post has fulfilled its public service in dissuading any unsuspecting knitters who might have tried to fool with one of these patterns. If you do try this at home, be sure to have a good bottle of wine at the ready - you're going to need it."
You should also read Fawn Pea's post so that you can check out the two-dozen comments from other Knit-O-Graf enthusiasts (and otherwise).

While apparently hard to use, the Knit-O-Graf patterns are admittedly cute, in a kitschy and nostalgic kind of way. Here are images of some of their offerings, gathered from the internet. Click on the photos to see the source pages.









Footnote
1. See this January 3 story from The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang headlined "‘Bomb cyclone’ to blast East Coast before polar vortex uncorks tremendous cold late this week." Also, here's the cute tweet they unleashed upon the world yesterday...

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