Saturday, November 20, 2010

Before there were blogs there were bells!

Many years ago, my Aunt Grace gave me a pattern for knitted bells that she had clipped and saved from her local paper in 1970.  Long before the internet and blogs, Pat Trexler was publishing a weekly column of advice to knitters. Pat's Pointers was syndicated in newspapers throughout the United States and Canada beginning in 1964.  I cherished the one column that had been passed on to me and made enough of those bells to easily memorize the pattern.  Years later I used the bells as a first project for a Beginning Knitting class.
Recently I searched for the original pattern in Ravelry so that I could share it here.  What I found was the same article, but this time printed in another newspaper a few years later (1975).  At the request of her readers, the designer, Pat Trexler, had adopted the practice of reprinting her bell pattern in her knitting column each October in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season.  
The version I found in Ravelry is attached to a newsletter which has its own web address so you can link to it even if you haven't yet joined Ravelry.  "Kathy's Kreations" (December 2007) has no visible page numbers, but if you scroll down to the top of the fifth page under title "KNIT CHRISTMAS BELL ORNAMENT," you will find the same article Aunt Grace gave me from the October 4, 1970, issue of The Charlotte Observer

Pat's delightful style is well worth the clicking and scrolling.  However, if you don't have time to read an old newspaper article, I've provided my version of the Aunt Grace/Pat Trexler bell pattern here: 

Materials:  Scrap yarn, needles appropriate to the yarn, and tapestry needle.
1.  Cast on 14 stitches.  Row 1:  Knit ten stitches and purl last four.  Row 2:  Knit all 14.
2.  Repeat rows 1 and 2 until you have 22 ridges ending with row 2.  Bind off all stitches.
3.  With a tapestry needle, sew together the cast-on and bound-off edges.
4.  At the top of bell (knit end), run tapestry needle through every stitch and pull tight.
5.  Fasten off.  Tie in a jingle bell for a clapper (optional).  Weave in ends.
NOTE:  Different weights of yarn (with appropriate needles) result in different size bells.

Despite the large number of bells I've knitted over the years, I've always struggled with the seam .  The gold bell is a clear illustration of my failure in this area.  One of these days, I promise, I'll come up with a seamless version and publish it in this blog.


  1. Hi Robin, welcome to Knitbloglandia :)

  2. Used Good Search to try to find a Pat Trexler leaflet and came upon your site. Not sure if I'll get a reply, but here goes. I am sorting through various knitting papers that I stuck in an envelope and came across the newspaper clipping for her candy canes and wreaths, and a picture of a Little Red Riding Hood jiffy-knit cape, but as I read it I should have sent for the pattern (Leaflet No. 2179). How can I find this? Any suggestions at this late date?

    1. Gayle --
      Sorry about the delay in responding to your comment. Sometime back I moved this blog (copied it) over to Wordpress thinking it would break my "blogging block" (aka writer's block). But it didn't and I stopped checking for comments on Blogger. However, I saw yours yesterday. I empathize with your frustration in finding Trexler information. Don't know what all you've checked. I did a quickie look this morning. Amazon's Author Page lists some Trexler material. I long ago purchased her book "Knit Knacks." Checking the index and some quick skimming didn't reveal anything about candy canes, wreaths or a Little Red Riding Hood jiffy-knit cape. Amazon lists another publication, "Knit and Crochet Ideas" published in 2000 -- used copies starting at $9. A general search in "Ravelry" turned up several projects that listed Pat Trexler as the source of the pattern. Three of those cited specific publications by number -- but none for No. 2179. You might want to PM these individuals to see if they have any suggestions about how you could find #2179. Sorry I can't provide anything more specific. Let me know how your search goes. The best way to reach me these days is "" PS: Have you tried contacting Kathy Zimmerman, the author of the newsletter that is a primary reference for the Bells pattern?