Friday, March 13, 2015

Casting About

   The sweater is officially under way! I finished the calculations to scale up the sweater last night, and cast on the back. I couldn't have done it without the help of The Complete Book of Progressive Knitting by Ida Riley Duncan. Originally published in the early 1940s, it's a little treasure-trove of information on how to knit garments that fit. I used it before when I knit the Skull Sweater, and it has come in handy now. Scaling it up meant adding four additional repeats to the back; to accommodate my waist, I also increased the number of stitches at the bottom edge and decreased the number of increases in Row 46.
   Right now, I'm slowly working my way through 45 rows of "1x1" (knit 1, purl 1) ribbing...on #2 needles. No pictures for now--ribbing isn't interesting. I'll post a picture when I'm deep into the cables.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Acting Snoody

Long hair: it never
goes out of style.
   I have long hair. No, I have very long hair: it's waist-length, but curly, so it looks somewhat shorter (mid-back). Most of the time, I wear it pulled back--pinned up in a chignon during the day, in a braid at night or at the gym. I keep it long because I do historical reenacting, and through most of history, women had long hair.
   I'm doing more 20th century historical reenacting, so dealing with my mane has become a bit...problematic. Early 20th century ("Edwardian" and World War I) isn't too much of a problem, as women still had long hair, and the hairstyles require lots of hair. This all changed in the 1920s though--women started cutting their hair, and suddenly short hair was all the rage. Now I look fabulous with short hair...with the right cut. Decades ago, I found a guy who could cut my hair: he had worked for the legendary Sydney Guilaroff, and he knew how to cut it into a short, 1920s-style bob that suited both my hair and my face. Sadly, he's now gone, and I've had enough bad haircuts to make me stick stubbornly to my long locks.
Triple Thread Snood (1942)
   Fortunately, the World War II reenacting lets me get away with having so much hair--if I handle it properly. If I'm dressing as a "Rosie," it's a snap--I can simply pin it up, then tie on a headscarf. On the other hand, if I want to look a little nicer, a headscarf won't cut it. That's where the snood comes in.
   Snoods have gone in and out of fashion since the Middle Ages. The last time they were popular was in the 1860s, and they made a resurgence in the early 1940s when women needed a way to keep their hair out of the way that didn't make them look like frumps. Everybody wore snoods: milliners like Lilly Dache sold them, and yarn companies published patterns for those who could crochet.
   I found a great pattern for a crocheted snood in a little book entitled, Make Do and Mend for Victory. Published by The Spool Cotton Company (maker of Coats & Clark threads and yarns) in 1942, it's chock-full of tips and instructions on how to keep one's wardrobe up-to-date and in good repair. The original pattern called for crocheting with three strands of #10 cotton; I have a bunch of vintage 10/4 mercerized cotton that I've dyed in a rainbow of colors, so I opted for 2 strands throughout, and used a couple ounces of the brightest red, to match the rick-rack on a blouse. I also skipped the ruffle at the top: I plan on wearing a hat.
My new snood, from the back.
   The pattern worked up fast--it took less than 10 hours, start to finish--and it looks pretty good. I need to do something with the front of my hair, as it's too long to put into victory rolls.
I think I'll wear an invisible hairnet under it to keep my hair from working through the mesh, but it has the right shape and weight. Hair problem solved!