Thursday, March 17, 2011

Smoking for health

Prepare yourself.  We are about to explore a dark, forbidden place.

There are many murky corners of the internet that the faint hearted should best avoid.  My own research has led me to places that have left an indelible impression upon my mind.  I hesitate to inform you that there are web pages devoted to certain explicit photographs of young ladies...smoking.

What kind of twisted mind would take pleasure from such moral corruption?  So ladies, to redress the balance, here are phtographs of gentlemen in similar degenerate poses....and gentlemen, you may suck the pipe, but whatever you do, don't light it!

This collage of patterns from the 30's/40's shows the variety and imagination employed by photographers.  Go on, click on it for a better view, you know you want to.   Incredible, men of our grand-parents generation were not afraid to get their pipes out in public and saw no shame in having themselves photographed indoors, or out, enjoying the full, rich flavour of an unlit pipe.  What's that? One of them has a cigarette...well, you know, some of these models.

There may have been good reason not to allow smoking in a photographer's studio, but outdoors?  This fellow needs to take extra precautions around potential fire hazards because he's made from plastic.

A bit of variety here.  Why is he fumbling in his pocket when he's on the phone?  He won't find a pen in there. Note how this creation is "reversible", just don't forget to turn it inside out when you want to smoke.

Things getting very racy now.  Here's a pattern featuring, not just smoking, but a large slavering beast.  And  a St Bernard.  How many buttons do you need on a cardigan?  One more!

Photographers were really starting to push the extremes of public taste, but nothing can excuse this...
...smoking a fag in a "health vest" knitted from dishcloths.  Bloody filth!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I wrote a song, I wrote a song for you...

Spring is here, the daffodils are blooming and its time for a dash of colour in our lives.  Throughout the history of knitting pattern photography one colour has featured on more patterns than any other.  Why?  Is it because it is such a happy, vibrant colour?  Is there a technical reason...does it reproduce easier in the printing process?  Was there a factory in Bradford devoted entirely to the dyeing of this colour.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you YELLOW...
For ladies...

for gentlemen...

snappy young dudes...

girls who love ponies...

jet setting sophisticates...

girls who love ponies (again)...

tree huggers...

Doris Day impersonators...

puppy wormers...

and Stepfords...we all love a bit of yellow...

Now rest your eyes.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sticking with knitting

Back in the 60s hair care "products" were in their infancy.  There were only two hair styling options:

Gentlemen kept their hair under control with liberal amounts of Brylcreem; stylish and functional a little dab could give you the "Brylcreem Bounce" and also double as a handy lubricant for bicycle wheel hubs.

Ladies used "Belair Lacquer"; this was liquid shellac that was applied by a pump arrangement and set rock hard, anyone familiar with handling fibreglass resin and matting will know the texture and smell.

Using Belair (just how Hollywood is that name?) enabled women to create the most astonishing, firm holding, water resistant 'hives ever. With the added advantage that your hair could now double as a helmet, should any bicycling or horse riding situation arise.  I can't imagine why it fell out of favour.  Probably the pungent fragrance of ammonia or the tendancy to spontaneously combust had something to do with it.

Unfortunately, in the time-stressed world of knitting photography, there was no chance for a lady's Belair to set properly.  Since Belair was essentially an epoxy glue this could lead to models getting closer than anticipated.  Photographers would often have to work around the fact that models were attached by the hair.

The "Protective Helmet" properties of lacquer are demonstrated here.  In the bottom right hand corner of the pattern the printer has thoughtfully added a diagram of a beehive, just in case we weren't aware of what we were looking at.  Not sure he should have his nose quite so close to the source of that bad smell though...too late, he's stuck.
Lacquer could also be used as cellulose dope in the construction of balsa wood airplanes. (Look it up).  Wendy is ready with her flying helmet on.  Wind up the elastic band...3,2,1 and, oh no its stuck.

Because of its highly flammable and adhesive nature, if using laquer to glue together model airplanes, make sure you have a grown up around to help...

...Or else!

Welcome to the Future

I do remember 1980...and it wasn't like this.
A bit of a change from the knitting patterns, these are from the Newnes Book of Household Management, from 1956 and they show life in the 80s....

I hope you will appreciate that we haven't strayed too far from the knitting theme, check out the all in one shoes/tights combination...and those shoulders.  Mrs Future, meanwhile, has opted for a creation in crimpolene complete with a Tinkerbell hemline.  The exact function of Mr Future's techno-stick is uncertain.  (A quick check in the Innovations catalogue shows it is a device for hanging voile from trees, essential.)

Inside now, and Mrs Future is preparing futuristic invisible food in the atomic oven.  Note that the dining table rises out of the floor.  Mr Future is fiddling with the remote control that operates all the gadgets in the house.  I wouldn't play with it whilst sat at the table.

And here Mrs F demonstrates the Atomic Powered Bath.  Oh yes, this house has its own reactor that powers everything.   No fear of radiation sickness in the 80s.  Afterall, the future family is safely covered up with radiation proof knitting.

Protect and Survive

If you grew up in the 60s or 70s there was one major threat to your future.  MAD -mutually assured destruction, the knowledge that should Brechniev, Nixon or Reagan have a bad day, we would all suffer the consequences.

Those of us of a CND persuasion, who had seen War Game and Survivors knew the drill to effectively improve our chances.  Paint yourself white, hide under the dining room table.  After the blast, take doors off hinges, to use as improvised stretchers and shoot any stray dogs.

Knitting pattern designers were also preparing for the nuclear holocaust with snappy creations which would be useful in the event of radioactive fallout...or just to keep out the cold.

Red haired, freckly children are at high risk of sun damaged skin.  Keep your little ones melanoma free with this colourful (well, different shades of green) sweater/balaclava combo.

Some children just do not appreciate the time, effort and love that goes into making a creation like this.  Or was it because mummy forgot to knit him matching trousers?

Hairdressers used to love "uni-sex", but what does it actually mean?  One sex, all-sexes, any sex?  Anyway, it is still a much better way of de-genderising clothing than "He or She".

Teletubbies may have copyright issues.  Wouldn't you just love one of these?  Now known as "morph suits" and made from some garish plastic material, this is an absolute winner with everyone.  Except the poor beggar that has to wear it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Hold That!

There comes a time for every knitting pattern model when a crisis of confidence, probably in what they're wearing, causes them to utter the words "What should I do with my hands?"...

"Hold onto that ladder" replies the photographer.  "No, don't climb it, it won't take your weight...and if you could lean slightly to the right so the stripes on the sleeves line up."

Sometimes a ladder wasn't available, so the photographer would improvise.  A pint of beer is always a good standby.  A jacket hanging casually from the index finger is also bound to attract the attenton of female admirers.  Note how the beer mug is carefully chosen to reflect the pattern of the jumper.  Back in the 70s crow's foot wrinkles and bad hair cuts were no barrier to a career in modelling.

Over the years the ladder saw a great deal of use.  By the time these two were preparing for their Arctic adventure it was but a stump of its former self.  Note how the man who is praying for a safe return from the North Pole is equipped with splinter resistant gloves.

No such Health and Safety concerns for this young chappie.  He later went on to model fingerless gloves.  Really.

You just can't beat a bit of ethnic sculpture.  And there is nothing quite like an unlit pipe.

Mr Groovy

Mr Textured Geometry of the Future.  
Everything in this man's life is groovy.  
His cord trousers, his half finished jumper, even his ceiling is groovy.
Tall man or small room, you decide.

One suspects that everything may not be as it seems in Mr Groovy's Texture world.  Check out the prominent veins on his arms.  Is he getting ready for a heroine fix?  Or has he just finished working out, trying to target that roll over the horse bridle he is wearing as a belt?