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Thursday, March 28, 2013

I'm Looking for a Knitting Pattern for a Poncho That Has Cuffs

"I am looking for a knitting pattern for a poncho that has cuffs. I saw one online, but now I can't find it again."  The Newton Falls Public Library staff had trouble imaging what the garment looked like, so we asked for clarification. "It is a poncho you pull over your head, but along the edge there are cuffs to put your hands through; not slits in the poncho, but actual cuffs. This keeps it close to your arms without actually having sleeves." 

Now that our staff had a better idea of what was required, we began our search.  We searched for this item in two ways: looking both at Google Images and  websites.  Searching by images permitted our patron to look at photographs of knitted ponchos with cuffs to see exactly what she wanted.  There were several that interested her, and by clicking on the photograph we were able to go to the originating website.  Each website then directed us to another website with the free knitting pattern.  A tunic length poncho was pictured at  The author of the online article, Daria McGuire referred to this type of poncho as a swoncho.  The link to the free pattern was  The poncho at Sew Knit Me was a little shorter.  The free pattern for it was located at

While each of these previous was attractive, neither was exactly what our patron wished to knit.  Searching for websites we finally located the desired pattern at Garnstudio DROPS Design.  It is a long knitted poncho with a folded turtleneck and cuffs.  DROPS 123-28 by DROPS Design, described on the website as "Perfect for all occasions!".  Our patron printed then instructions from their website. 

Besides the wide assortment of knitting and crocheting books available at the library, crafters can also borrow copies of the magazines Crochet Today and Knit Simple.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Can You Find a Vietnam War Veterans Newspaper?

"I saw a Vietnam War Veterans newspaper. Does the library receive anything like that?  I am also interested in possibly getting a subscription to it. Can you find me the contact information?"  The initial online search by the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library was not successful, so we spoke with our patron to see if we could learn more about the one he saw, and if it was a newspaper, newsletter, or magazine in format.

He said he remembered it as being fairly large and glossy, on better paper than newsprint. From this description it sounded as if the publication was actually a magazine. The staff was able to locate two possibilities for him.  The website This is VietNow states its primary focus is veterans and their families. A selection of their magazine's articles are available online.  If our patron decides that this is the publication he wants, he would need to join the organization in order to receive a print copy.  The second is put out by Vietnam Veterans of America.  Digital editions of the VVA Veteran, back to October/November 1999, can be read on their website. A print version of the magazine is sent to members, and can also be purchased by subscription.

While the library does not have a subscription to either of these magazines, we do have one to Military History.  The articles featured vary greatly, and the May 2013 issue includes topics from a timeline of the battles for Gaza from 1650BC-1967 to the history of camouflage.  Also included are examples of some of the ones featured on their website,  We were able to show this to our patron as something for him to enjoy while deciding which of the Vietnam War Veteran magazines he preferred.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I Need Instructions for a Sweet 16 Sugar Cube Hair Decoration

"We are having a Sweet 16 party, and I would like to make a 16 sugar cube hair decoration.  Can you help me find the instructions?"  Some of the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library remember receiving 16 sugar cube items for their 16th birthdays, but were not sure if they had ever seen one for hair.

Considering current television reality shows and the wealth of information online and the comments on several sites, that Sweet 16 parties are a lot like a wedding without a groom, makes this a interesting reference question. Blogger, Donna Pilato wrote about Sweet 16 Parties and Traditions, on the website Guide March 9, 2010.  She mentions her "nostalgia for the old-fashioned sugar cube corsages."

We were not able to locate instructions specifically for a hair decoration.  However, the blog, Alex Loves NY has very simple instructions for a sugar cube wrist corsage.  Her instructions on tying up the cubes with ribbon, combined with a picture of a Sweet 16 corsage at the website,, could inspire a crafter to modify the latter into a very unique hair decoration.

While searching for the information, we came across this interesting online posting of Candy Birthday Corsages - A Vintage Tradition Poised for a Comeback? Candy Corsages in the 1950s through the 1970s.  Besides instructions for a wrist corsage, there is a listing of various items for making unique corsages for the birthdays of young ladies, ages 10 - 18.  Sweet 16 sugar cubes are followed by Sour 17 lemon drops.

Friday, March 8, 2013

When Were Bobby Pins Invented and Why Are They Called That?

"I was watching a show and they were talking about bobby pins.  When were they invented and why are they called that?" The Newton Falls Public Library staff enjoys inquiries about the origins of things.

The hunt for information about bobby pins turned out to be a bit more convoluted than the staff anticipated.  The general online opinion about the origin of the name is that it became commonly called bobby pin in the 1920s, when the bob hairstyle became popular.  Where things become more confusing is who invented them. Depending on the website selected, the inventor could be Jim Gaylord, Sol H. Goldberg, Luis J. Marcus, Robert Pinney, Robert "Bobby" H. Pinsworth, Bobby T. Plympton, and Sol H. Smolen.  Other sites also say that for many years,  the Bob L├ępine Corporation held the trademark for the term bobby pin.

The paper, The Bobby Pin Revealed by M. E. Pilou Miller, Spring 2006, p.7 includes a chart which lists the manufacturers of the bobby pin.  Miller lists the Solite company of Bronx, New York;  Sol Smolen, as the manufacturer of the Debby bobby pins in 1917.  As of 1920, Hump Hairpin Manufacturing Company of Chicago; Illinois, Sol H. Goldberg, President, produced the Hold-Bob pins.

The archives for People Magazine, Passages,March 26,1990, vol.33, no.12 has an obituary for Luis J .Marcus,  who owned a beauty-supply firm.  It attributes the invention of bobby pin to him "during the flapper era, when dancer Irene Castle bobbed her hair and then appealed to Marcus because her newly cut locks were too short for standard hair fasteners of the day. Marcus concocted a short pin out of wire remarkably similar to the bobby pin women are still using today."

Whoever invented it, we are sure he never anticipated all the uses we discovered for the lowly bobby pin.  The blog, lists 25 practical uses for bobby pins.  Besides using them to fasten hair in place, the list includes using them as a zipper pull and a bookmark, as well as using two of them as a lock pick.  There are also multiple YouTube videos on the proper use of the bobby pin.