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, October 24, 2009

Halloween 1940

In 1940 my mother, my sister and I went to Hawaii to be with my stepfather, a Marine stationed in Pearl Harbor. After moving into our house the first to greet me was a neighborhood girl, 12 year old Lavonne Mckay. (I was ten) We had many adventures which I wrote about in a story for my grandchildren. With Halloween coming up I thought I might post an excerpt dealing with my first real Halloween. You will note a wood spool comes into play here as well.

"As Halloween approached Lavonne McKay kept talking about what fun we would have when the day arrived. Halloween was very different when I was a girl. There were no little children dressed in costumes going door to door for candy and treats. In the country, kids might play tricks on their neighbors, turn over an outhouse or put something on top of a barn that the farmer had to climb up and get the next day, but I had always lived in the suburbs. We didn’t even celebrate Halloween unless we were invited to a party at some one’s house. I had no idea how we were going to have all this fun Lavonne McKay kept talking about. On Halloween night we left my house after dark. Despite the fact it was pitch black outside, Lavonne McKay seemed to know where she was going. I hurried along behind. We sneaked up to the window of a house. Lavonne McKay took a wooden spool from her pocket. It had notches cut into it and a string attached. She pulled the string, and the spool turned against the window making spooky tapping noises. Every time the people inside came to the door to see what was going on, we would crouch down and hide in the bushes. On our third stop there was a car parked in the driveway. “Here”, she said, and handed me a piece of soap. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with soap, and then I saw Lavonne McKay rubbing her piece of soap on the windows of the car. Tentatively I rubbed soap on the windows on my side of the car. It left long gooey white streaks. “Hurry”, she whispered. I rubbed faster. Suddenly the front door flew open. “Get away from that car you kids”, shouted an angry voice. “I’m going to call the cops.” We ran as fast as our legs would carry us. We stumbled over things in the dark but kept on running. We didn’t know where we were going but kept on running, and when we finally stopped to catch our breath Lavonne McKay was laughing. Not little giggles or quiet snickers, but big, bent over, tears in the eyes laughter. I was not laughing. I was sure at any minute a policeman would come looming out of the darkness and take us to jail. Fortunately for the state of my nerves, Lavonne McKay seemed to feel we had accomplished our mission, and we headed for home."

When I got home my mother asked if I had a good time. I lied and said "yes" When she asked what we did I said "nothing much." I thought it better for both my mother and myself if she didn't know.

Spool Knitting

You don't have to be too old to remember when thread was wound on spools made of wood. An empty spool was a treasure for a child. They could be made into a variety of toys. The big plus for little girls was having your dad make the spool into a spool knitter. Now a days we have ready made spool knitters in the craft stores. Even the large, round plastic looms are just a large spool knitter. When I was a child, however, our spool knitters were wood spools into which several finishing nails had been driven evenly spaced around the center hole. You could always count on your grandmother for yarn and a crochet hook to lift the stitches over the nails. We made yards of what I now know is called I cord.

What could you do with all this cord? Well, you coiled it into a circle and stitched the coils together to make rugs for your doll house. Of course they were out of scale, far too thick and heavy, but who cared? You could stitch the coils together to make a hat for a doll or even one for yourself. You could fasten the ends together and make a bracelet. You could make coasters.

While the end product was nice to have it was the process that most girls found fascinating, There was something magic about sitting quietly lifting the yarn over each stitch, turning the spool as you went around and seeing the cord come out of the bottom growing longer and longer. For many little girls it was their introduction to the act of creating something useful out of yarn. It made knitters out of many of us.

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Life in Show Business

A bum leg that seemed to get worse when sitting at the computer has kept me from posting for awhile. However, I am better so here goes, a look back at my brief career as a band singer.

My stepfather was a Marine, but was also a professional musician. During the early part of WW2 he was stationed in the Pacific, but in 1943 my mother was diagnosed with cancer so he was sent home and put in charge of the Marine Band at the Training Center in San Diego. There was a military band, of course, but within that unit there was also a dance band that played for all kinds of events. Some of the members of the band augmented their military pay by playing with touring bands that came into town. Dances were a major form of entertainment. Every city of any size had a large commercial dance hall in town. Big bands like Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman etc would tour around the country playing for dances on the weekends. Touring was expensive so they seldom took all the musicians. They would pick up some to fill in at each location. I saw all the major bands of the era for nothing. It is amazing where you can go when you are with someone carrying an instrument case.

While in high school I began to date a member of a band. The band was made up of high school seniors and recent graduates and was well established, playing a gig somewhere almost every weekend. One night I went to a rehearsal. They began to play a favorite of mine, and I started softly singing along. Someone in the band heard me, and before I knew it I was the girl singer with a band. I know you have seen it in old movies, that woman sitting on the bandstand waiting for her number, trying to look caught up in the music. That was me.

The war was still on, and tires and gas were hard to get so sometimes several band members whose cars were out of commission were crammed into other vehicles making the trip to and from the dance very uncomfortable. When we got there I would head for the ladies room trying to make myself look presentable while the guys set up. Once the dance started my place was in a folding chair on one side of the bandstand. There I sat, wearing a dress, of course, acutely aware that if I didn't keep my knees together everyone could see up my skirt. Air condtioning was so new it was generally only in theatres who adverised with a banner with icicles on it that said, "Refrigerated Air." Unfortunately, none of the halls we played had it. With all those bodies and activity it soon got quite warm leaving you damp and sticky. I was introduced and walked to the mike, enduring an itch in a place you can not scratch in public. I did my first number. Applause! A gracious smile, a wave of the hand and back to my chair. It was not glamorous or romantic. It was fun and exciting.

My career as a girl singer was short. The band went into the Army as a unit and did some good will tours, and then the war was over, and I went on to sing lullabys to my children.