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This week’s pattern took a little extra time to set up because it had to be dug out of an enormous pile of miscellaneous vintage paper goods. Somewhere in that massive stack sat an absolutely patriotic salute to this great land, and consarn it, it would be found if it took all night. And it did! And here it is, the Americana, in all its star-spangled glory. The directions don’t come right out and say it but you can only knit it while listening to John Phillips Sousa marches.

Speaking of directions, apparently I have to come right out and state the blindingly obvious: THESE PATTERNS ARE FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. DO NOT TAKE THE IMAGES AND SELL THEM, DO NOT PASS THEM OFF AS YOUR OWN. Linking to them is totally fine; printing a copy out for your own use is fine, but anything that involves you taking them and making money off of them, STOP. DO NOT PASS GO. Fellow free-pattern sharer Bex recently alerted me that an Ebay seller stole images from our websites and sold (is selling) them in her store. On the downside, this is extremely rude, lazy and annoying. We post these patterns FOR FREE, buying or digging through archives for the originals, spending time scanning and cleaning them up, not to mention maintaining a website where people can find them, all for the sheer love of vintage knitting goodness. So when someone comes along and snags the images to make a quick buck, it hurts.

On the upside, this is the first time it’s happened in my several years of sharing, and in a rare burst of good mood I shall take that as a general sign humanity, or the chunk of it that enjoys looking at vintage patterns, generally understands what theft is and avoids it. Now, onward to patriotic knitwear!

Let the Eagle soar!

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Hey folks, today’s a special occasion here on A Rarer Borealis. This week marks the 100th pattern shared on the site, and I’ve been saving a particular pattern for just such an occasion. It’s one that delights with vintage detail and nerdish charm, and what a coincidence, it’s just in time for the end of the school year!

Yes, no more pencils, no more books, except for the full set of Proust’s ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ (that’s how most kids spend their summer, right? That or deeply immersed in the Teapot Dome scandal?). It’s almost surprising to see ‘algebraic symbols’ used as decor in an age where the phrase ‘guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses’ pointed out the social stigma of girlsmarts (clearly demonstrated by eyewear) and the horror of it possibly impinging your marriage potential (don’t worry about that any more, ladies.)

I hope you children remembered to bring your implements of destruction.

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Alright, alright, I’ve held your hands long enough, with the helpful hints and detailed directions and graph charts. No more mollycoddling- you got a picture and some instructions, go knit that cardigan already!

Perhaps the extreme brevity of this week’s pattern, with its ‘you get the idea’ attitude and lack of any detail whatsoever (“Embroider flowers, as suggested on sketch”) is due more to cramped layout than churlish writer. The paragraph-long charmer was stuck far in back of Handicrafter Vol. 10 without even a picture of someone wearing the finished garment. Just ‘there it is, have at it, kids’.

It’s a pretty adorable cardigan to just be stuck in the back of a magazine when all the other patterns get full-page photos and layouts, what with its pleasing chevron effect, crew neck that’d go nicely with collared shirts, and ease of chunky gauge. It would look great in any sort of jewel-tone, or pastels, I guess, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Pictures of Woolydown, the yarn used, can be seen here on Cathy Knits – a similar substitute would probably be Lion Brand Thick & Quick or a similar all-wool yarn. Enjoy!

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Man, for some reason I am really into these chunky cardigans from Jack Frost. They all have wonderful 40s shoulders and lines but without the painstaking effort of tiny gauges and time. This one caught the eye with another recent fascination, chunky cables and textures.

This would look wonderful just a tad longer for more of a swing coat feel or, for the more adventurous: start off with the knit braid + 1 stitch on the inside edge, knit it long enough to fit across half the back and the front piece plus a little extra, then cast on the rest of the front and continue as normal. When seaming up tack the braid to the sides and seam them together at the back for extra length plus a bit more texture.

Can’t get enough of that Willow Down stuff.

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Bienvenue, fellow crafters! As snow becomes the dominant conversation topic up and down the East Coast, it seems only appropriate to acknowledge our neighbors to the north, Colder USA, aka Canada. It’s a land I imagine in perpetual winter, in no small part due to the national fixation on ice-related sports.

Canadian favorite hockey, with its brutal fisticuffs and rapid-fire action, translates very well to American audiences. Second-beloved curling, on the other hand, gets at best mocking derision and far more commonly a confused ‘Curling? What’s that?’ Oh, you know, the sport where somebody hurls a rock and a bunch of people scrub little brooms in front of it, usually followed by a puzzled and/or angry look, and a rapid move to somewhere else in the vicinity.

Even I assumed curling was invented in the early 80s some dark evening after one too many beers, possibly some bong hits. Certainly the inspiration must have sprung from the depths of cabin fever. I mean, look at it:

But no! Curling has a long and storied history that begins, of all places, in Scotland. The very name of this week’s pattern, Bonspiel, means ‘curling tournament’ in old Scottish, and the earliest references to the game are from the 15th century.

(still looks pretty silly.)

History’s all well and good, but why watch curling? I’ll be lazy and let some curlers tell you:

Wow! Informative! However, the descriptions of the sport culled from Wikipedia’s page on curling also serve as a bullet point list of why the sport will never really catch on in America:

“More so than in many team sports, good sportsmanship is an integral part of curling. Even at the highest levels of play, players are expected to “call their own fouls”, so to speak, such as alerting the opposing skip if they “burned” a stone. It is also traditional for the winning team to buy the losing team a drink after the game. This is often referred to as the Spirit of Curling.”

“It is not uncommon at any level for a losing team to terminate the match before all ends are completed if it believes it no longer has a realistic chance of winning…When a team feels it is impossible or near impossible to win a game, they will usually shake hands with the opposing team to concede defeat.”

“Curling is a game of strategy, tactics and skill.”

It’s not just America though; curling doesn’t seem to have caught on much of anywhere:

“The 2002 Canadian film Men With Brooms…centres on the sport of curling, telling the story of a curling team from a small Canadian town…The film grossed over $4.2 million, all of it in Canada, making it the top-grossing Canadian English film subsidized by Telefilm Canada between 1997 and 2002.”

Those ain’t exactly numbers to brag about.

Still, curling seems a fun way to enjoy the brisk winter weather, so here’s a cozy cardigan to keep you warm while playing. Interestingly enough, white = official curling cardigan, any other color = regular boring cardigan with no real curling value.

Get your stone in the house!

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