Free Patterns

Welcome. if you are here looking for free patterns you will find them listed in a menu on the right of this page. You may have to scroll down. Click on what interests you. A page will come up with the pattern. Click on "File" in the upper left hand corner. Then click on "download original". If you like what you see click on "save a copy " in the floating toolbar at the bottom of the page. I hope the pattern makes up for these extra steps. Enjoy.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Childhood .

Childhood was very different when I was a child. Nowadays children are kept close to home, sports are organized and everything is supervised by an adult. I can understand this. Children are not safe in today's world. When I was a child, however, we did not have TV, computers or video games. We went OUTSIDE. Outside is where your friends were, where you could run and make noise and have fun. You rode your bike, you roller skated, you played games in the street. These games were not overseen by adults. Here is where you learned lessons from your peers that lasted a lifetime. You learned the art of mediation. You learned how to compromise. You learned to play fair. You learned that whiners and cry babies didn't get picked for the teams.

Outside activities were divided by gender. Girls skated, jumped rope, played with dolls and played jacks. Boys played cowboys and Indians, baseball and football. A girl could sometimes play baseball if a team was short a man, she was good and didn't cry if she got hurt.

There were also unisex activities. Boys and girls rode bikes, played tag and kick the can.

As kids we would disappear for hours. Our parents were not concerned. They knew we would show up when hungry. We had the usual admonitions, "Don't get in a car with a stranger, and don't take candy from strangers." Of course, we didn't know why, but we accepted that was the rule.

Talking about rules, there was this unspoken rule that you should never do anything to bring shame to the family. If you got into trouble in school you better hope no one at home heard about it because you would get into twice as much trouble. There was no point in trying to plead your case either. If an adult reported your infraction of the rules it was automatically assumed you did it and were probably lying about it. Oh, and you were expected to mind every adult whether you knew them or not. I was walking home from school one day when I spotted a piece of broken plaster on the sidewalk. I picked it up and was just about to write my name on the blank wall of the building in front of me when I heard a voice ask me what I was doing. I turned and there was a gentlemen I had never seen before. He began going on about vandalism, giving me a good scolding for an act I hadn't even committed. I was caught red handed and took my scolding. Because of this experience I will go to my grave never having defaced a building, rock or any other surface.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Grocery Shopping circa 1930

I was shopping the other day, and it came to me how different the experience was from when I was a child. Now we certainly have more from which to choose, and what we have may be, in some cases, safer and better quality. However, a great deal was lost when we went from the local grocery store to the big chain supermarkets.

When I went shopping with my grandmother the store owner was behind the counter. On the counter was the cash register and on the wall behind it was a tier of cubbyholes. In each hole was a sales book. You were greeted with, "Good morning, Mrs. Smith. What can I do for you today?" You did not get your own groceries. If you were just picking up one or two items you told the shop owner what you wanted. If you were picking up a number of things you might hand him your list. He went around and took the requested items from the shelves and put them on the counter. He measured and weighed the items that were not all ready packaged, packaged them and put them on the counter. While he was doing this you were wandering through the store looking at sale items or new things that might have come in. If you spotted something you wanted, when you returned to the counter you told him, and he went and got it.

When you were through shopping the grocer reached behind and took your book from it's cubbyhole. Your name was written across one end of the book, but the same books had been in the same cubbyholes for years. He could have found yours blindfolded. In it he wrote your purchases and total due. Once a month the man of the house came in and "settled up", paying the bill in full. My grandmother always had enough money with her to pay the bill when she got the groceries, but that wasn't done. It was a man's obligation to take care of the family finances. It was a system based on trust. The grocer did not have you sign anything before establishing an account, and you never checked his figures. You trusted he had entered the correct amount, and he trusted you to pay it.

If you lived too far out to walk into the store you could phone your order in, and it would be delivered by a local boy on a bicycle. My husband delivered groceries for his local store as well as filled orders and did whatever odd jobs came up. He made the magnificent sum of $5.00 a week working eight hours a day, six days a week all through his summer vacation from school. Allowances were unheard of. Children were expected to work for their spending money.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Another Knitting Tip

I thought this was going to be a knitting blog, but it seems I have spent more time writing about the Depression so here is a bit of knitting stuff.

I make a lot of socks. and for years I picked up the stitches along the heel flap as directed then picked up the strand of yarn that ran between the first and second needles, knit into the back of it to twist it and avoid a hole. I did the same on the other side between the second and third needle. Sometimes it worked, but usually I still had a hole on one side or the other. I found, however, by picking up the stitch in the row below the first stitch on the second needle and knitting into the back of that, then repeating on the other side I never have a hole. This leaves you with one more stitch on the needle than the pattern calls for. If you are supposed to have 14 heel flap stitches, you now have 15. Knit one more row to set up for the gusset decreases. Knit the heel stitches, then knit in the back of the picked up heel flap stitches until you come to the last two stitches. Do not knit into the back of these stitches. Just knit the two off together as one stitch. Knit across the stitches on the second needle. Knit the first two stitches on the third needle together then knit into the back of the remaining heel flap stitches, then knit the remaining heel stitches. Now you are set up to start the gusset decreases.

Another thing that I find sock knitters question is how long to make the heel flap. Knit as many rows as you have stitches. If you have twenty four stitches on the needle for the heel flap, knit twenty four rows. This will give you enough depth that your heel will settle nicely into the sock heel and not pull down in the back.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Saga Continues

My mother finally had to give up. She burned her leg badly and could barely hobble around. She called my grandfather, and he and my grandmother drove from San Diego to Oakland to pick us up. We put our few belongings in the car and moved in with my grandparents. We first went shopping and were outfitted with everything the well dressed child needs including two pair of shoes, one for dress and one for every day. Then we started school. Because I knew how to read I was quickly advanced to the grade in which I belonged, despite the fact I had never been to school. Every meal the table was covered with a white tablecloth, serving dishes, silver flatware and food. Things like roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, two veggies and dessert were the norm. It was all overwhelming to a child who just a few days before made a meal off of creamed carrots over a slice of bread. And then there was Christmas.

The first Christmas I remember having was that first year at my grandparents. There was no money for Christmas before then, no tree, no presents and no special dinner. Well, this Christmas my sister and I saw the tree going up. That was an eye opener. Then we started hearing from our friends about the gifts. Hard to believe, but we had hope. Then Christmas morning we woke up, and there under the tree were the presents. I will never forget. I got a bright red bicycle, skates, a child size roll top desk, a doll, books and clothes. I didn't know where to start. It was too early and too cold to ride my new bike, but my grandmother said I could roller skate on the kitchen linoleum. Of course, I didn't know how and had to hang on to everything in the room, but what joy. All this splendor was followed by the most memorable dinner I have ever eaten.

When one studies the depression one sees pictures of soup kitchens, ragged and hungry children, the desperately poor. Anyone might get the impression that the entire country was suffering and out of work. Such was not the case. The farmers were hit the hardest, and many others lost their jobs as well. However, there were many people who were working. There were government work programs. There were huge construction programs like Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. Many people just kept the job they had always had, went to work every day and thanked God for their good fortune.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Stories of the Great Depression

I had decided to just post on Saturdays, but am getting comments asking for more "Memories". So here is one about how I learned to read.

As I said, we traveled around and lived in the car for part of the depression. As a consequence I did not go to school. However, the roads were lined with reading material, Billboards. I would ask, "What does that say?, and my mother would tell me. Before long I could read the ads myself. From there I moved up to Burma Shave signs. Burma Shave was a man's shaving cream. They started an ad campaign that used little signs along the road. Each sign had only two or three words on it, and as you were only driving around thirty miles an hour, reading them was no problem. The signs were right next to the road, and you read each when you came to it, another a few yards away and so on, and when done you had a jingle that hopefully made you remember to buy Burma Shave. Here is an example:

When I finally started school at age seven I was put in the first grade. Two weeks later I was moved to the second with those of my own age. thanks to the jingle writers at Burma Shave.

I had the thought after writing this that those signs were not pulled up, tagged or vandalized in any way although they were in easy reach of those who might have done such a thing. How different from today.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Child of the Great Depression

My mother was married in 1929 and I was born a year later. Not good timing. By the time I was five my parents were traveling around the country with two kids in tow, my sister and myself. I don't think we were headed anywhere. We lived in our car, and city cops did not like transients to take root so we kept moving. My mother bathed us in service station bathrooms, using their soap and hot water. She also would rinse out a few things in the basin while there. She had the door locked, and we were in there some time, however no one ever banged on the door or chased us out. Attitudes were different then. Now you would be a bum, but then there were so many in the same boat, most people were tolerant.

Once my father was out of the picture my mother went on relief, called that for obvious reasons, and we moved into an apartment in a run down tenement filled with fellow depression casualties. Surplus food was made available to those on relief. In our area you went to a big, green warehouse and stood in line. As you moved past a table you were given staple items such as coffee, canned milk, flour, p-nut butter, cheese etc. You were also given whatever surplus there was of subsidized food. You might get a whole bag of grapefruit or oranges, things of that kind. One thing I remember clearly, you always got margerine. Margerine was a new product and was packaged as a white block that looked like lard. A capsule of orange/yellow food dye came with it. You dumped the margerine in a bowl, broke the capsule and poured the contents over it and then used a fork to mix it. That was my job, and I can tell you you had to mix until your arm about fell off. Then there was a major improvement. The margerine started coming in a plastic bag. The capsule was in there too. You squeezed the capsule until it broke then kneaded the bag to mix it all together.

I don't know about every state, but in California a major effort was made to insure children were getting enough to eat and medical treatment. This was done through the schools. There were not ony lunch programs for those who could not afford lunch, but breakfast programs as well. We were often asked questions that now a days would be considered an invasion of privacy, but at the time were accepted as the norm. "What did you have for breakfast?" "How many baths do you take a week?" These two I remember as they got me in hot water. When asked how many baths I took I said one. When I told my mother she asked, "Didn't you tell them you took a shower every night?" "No, they only asked how many baths." When asked about breakfast I said I drank coffee. My mother put a tablespoon or two of her sweetened coffee in my glass of milk as I liked to pretend. That one resulted in a call from school.

We had free eye exams and free glasses if needed as well as physicals, and you got vaccinated at the health department for no cost.

As a child I didn't give it much thought at the time. I can only guess now at how scared the grownups were.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Felted Purse

I made a bunch of these one year as Christmas gifts. The pattern I came up with is simple and can be embellished in any way you wish. I have included directions on how to felt. Everyone has their own little secrets, but this is the way I do it.

Materials: 2 balls Paton’s Classic Wool Any 100% wool yarn will do. Do not use a superwash wool as it will not felt. Colors matter. Light colors, white, aran, natural do not felt as well as darker colors.

16” circular needle size 10 ½
2 double pointed needles size 10 ½

4 markers, 3 of one color and 1 of a different color.

Purse: With two strands of yarn held together, cast on 34 stitches. Knit back and forth in garter stitch for 34 rows. Break and finish off one strand of yarn. Now with remaining strand of yarn continue by picking up 16 stitches down short side of piece. Place one of the 3 same color markers on needle. Pick up and knit 34 stitches along long side of piece. Place another of the same color markers on needle. Pick up and knit 16 stitches along remaining short side of piece and place last of the same color markers on needle. Knit across remaining 34 stitches. Place remaining marker. This marker marks not only the corner but the row. From now on you will be knitting in the round. Knit 56 rows.
Next round: *Knit 3, bind off 3, knit 4 (includes stitch on needle after bind off), bind off 3, knit 3 ( includes stitch on needle after bind off) Slip marker.*
**Knit 7, bind off 3, knit to last 10 stitches before marker, bind off 3, knit 7 (includes stitch on needle after bind off). Slip marker.**
Repeat * to * for next short side.
Repeat from ** to ** for remaining long side.
Next round: Knit around casting on 3 stitches over every 3 stitch bind off of previous row. Leave the row marker on your needle, but remove the other markers as you go. Knit for 8 more rows. Bind off. Weave in ends on wrong side of work.
Handles: Make 2. Handles are made in 5 stitch I cord. Cast 5 stitches on one of the double pointed needle Do not turn. Push stitches down to working end of needle. Pull yarn across back of work and knit. Continue in this way, pushing the stitches down to a working position at the end of the needle and pulling the yarn across the back of work. Never turn work but always have the right side facing you. Make each I cord 36” long. Bind off.

Felting: Put your finished pieces in a pillow slip or net bag. Note: This is highly recommended as it will keep your I cord from tying itself in knots as well as keep lint from clogging your filter. Set washing machine for the smallest load, hot water wash and cold water rinse. Add a bit of detergent. Put the bag in the machine and run through a complete cycle. Some recommend putting towels, jeans or some other heavy items in with piece to be felted. The friction of items rubbing together during the process is suppose to facilitate felting. I have never found this necessary. At the end of the cycle check the purse. If properly felted the fabric should be thick and firm. You should not be able to see the individual knit stitches on the sides of bag. (The ridges of the garter stitch bottom will still be visible.) If purse does not meet those standards return to machine and run through another cycle. This time, however, check the progress every five minutes. When the purse meets your criteria, advance the machine timer to rinse and complete the wash cycle. Remove purse. Begin to shape with your hands. Pull and stretch the wool until you are satisfied with the proportions. (Note: It is not possible to give definitive measurements as felting is not a precise process.) Hold the ends of the I cord and pull, stretching them to be sure they are the same length. Place pieces on a towel away from direct sunlight. Allow pieces to dry thoroughly.

Finishing: Thread I cord through eyelets. Tie ends on each side in overhand knot. If necessary, adjust knots to insure handles are even. If you have used a yarn that got very fuzzy during the felting process you can trim the fuzzy ends if you wish.
Decorating: You can leave your purse as is or decorate with applique, flowers, or whatever strikes your fancy. You can use one of the many striped or print wool yarns that will make a pattern as you knit.

Copyright 2006 Yvonne Boucher

This pattern is for your personal use only. It may not be reproduced for sale or to conduct classes. It may not be used to make purses for sale.