You could still make this in time for Christmas

The other night Mr. Guy and I were reminiscing about the J. Peterman catalogue — the ‘Owners Manual’. Maybe you only know it from Seinfeld, but I loved reading those catalogues.  Instead of photographs, there were watercolor sketches.  The copy violated all current insistence on brevity.  It was long copy of the advertising style you find in magazines from the 30’s and 40’s.  It romanced the reader, with outrageous descriptions to conjure up the atmosphere  where a garment or object might be found.

“What if you used that kind of copy for your patterns?”  I snorted, and he wrote.  I present the faux Peterman description of my latest pattern, along with a picture of the hat, which you could, in fact, make in a few hours.  Mr. Peterman only hinted at that, however.  (I tried to make the photo into a watercolor in Photoshop with limited success.)

This is an age-old pattern from a time when men did much of the knitting.  An old herdsmen, listening for the rustle of marauding wolves, sits in a yurt in the long, sub-arctic, winter night quickly turning the rough-spun wool into a last-minute tuque for a young one who will soon ride away for the first time in a winter party to bring back meat.  As he knits, he remembers when the young one met her first snow and played in the cold until her ears blazed red.

We still send our loved ones off to war, to college, or to construction sites without knowing what the outcome will be.  What gives meaning to the uncertainty is that, when time was running short, someone remembered that young Temujjin, whether or not he would grow up to be the fabled Khan, will need to keep his ears warm.

Big Flap Hat (No.53) super bulky in whatever romantic color you choose. Available on Ravelry , Patternfish, or at the Yarnery.

What do you think, should I hire him?

If you want to see the actual J. Peterman, it is back and online, but  the copy doesn’t quite the same.  Perhaps it needs the long, off white heavy paper, and a computer screen isn’t quite the same.


14 responses to “You could still make this in time for Christmas

  1. Thanks for another great post, I like coming back to read your blog and your twitter updates.If you are looking to drive traffic to your site by ramping up your SEO efforts, you should have a read through my Web 2 Mayhem Review.

  2. I don’t know – does he do windows? 😉

  3. these are cute–uhm, I mean HANDSOME!

  4. Tell Mr. Peterman those are chullas, not tuques (I think; frequently when I opine on something in public I turn out to be wrong).

  5. HYSTERICAL! Give the guy a cookie, would ya, for his efforts.

  6. I totally loved that catalog. And Mr. Guy has a new career if he wants to go into advertising. LOVE the hats!

  7. I LOVE this hat! And the idea that it can be made up in a few hours! Just made my first sale on etsy so now there is new $ in my paypal account … to purchase this pattern Yay!
    re: the copy. First paragraph is very J. Peterman. Great beginning! I see the herdsman sitting on the gusty tundra, knitting. Soften and/or extend transition between herdsman reminiscing and the thoughts of ‘today’ and sending loved ones off to college and war (ouch). Perhaps eliminate the uncertain outcome. A downer. Keep the mini fantasy ride uplifting.

  8. I really liked the comment about the meat.

  9. I used to love reading the product descriptions in that catalogue! I love this new take on it; all knitting patterns should be written up this way. (In fact, this is the kind of thing we used to write up for the naming work I did, in another lifetime, to sell the names we created; sometimes we said some pretty silly stuff…)

  10. Thanks so much for this! And I adore your snowflakes!

    You are quite welcome for the pattern–it was a labor of love and I do hope to see some actual knitted shawls soon.

  11. Pingback: Last-Minute Holiday Knitting « Dream Big, Live Large, my artful life

  12. Take a peek. I knit up two of the Big Flap Hats this week! Signed, sealed and delivered! Thanks for a super-clear pattern! This is the short link to the post:

  13. I loved the Peterman catalog, and I love this!

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