Dorothy by Claire Ellen


July 2016
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
26 stitches and 42 rows = 4 inches
in Slipped Stitch Rib (as defined in the pattern)
US 4 - 3.5 mm
900 - 1000 yards (823 - 914 m)
One Size (but adaptable)
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Dorothy Dandridge was an American actress and popular singer. In the 1930s (one source says 1929), Dandridge moved to Los Angeles, California, with her family in search of stardom. She found some success with her musical trio, the Dandridge Sisters. The group included Dorothy, her sister Vivian and Etta Jones. They performed with the Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra and Cab Calloway. The duo even played gigs at the famous Cotton Club in Harlem. As an African American singer, Dandridge confronted early on the segregation and racism of the entertainment industry. She may have been allowed on stage, but in some venues she couldn’t eat in the restaurant or use certain facilities because of the color of her skin. Her ability to break new ground for African American women in film and the struggles she faced while doing so have drawn comparisons between her and baseball great Jackie Robinson.

In 1951, Dandridge sang on the nightclub circuit, this time as a successful solo singer. After a stint at the Mocambo club in Hollywood with Desi Arnaz’s band and a sell-out 14-week engagement at La Vie en Rose, she became an international star, performing at glamorous venues in London, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, and New York. She won her first starring film role in 1953’s Bright Road, playing an earnest and dedicated young schoolteacher opposite Harry Belafonte. Her next role, as the eponymous lead in Carmen Jones (1954), a film adaptation of Bizet’s opera Carmen that also costarred Belafonte, catapulted her to the heights of stardom. With her sultry looks and flirtatious style, Dandridge became the first African-American to earn an Academy Award nomination for best actress.

Skill Level: Intermediate, due to some unusual construction, but the actual stitches are not complicated.

Materials: Color A—approx. 400 yards of fingering weight yarn
Color B— approx. 200 yards of fingering weight yarn
Color C— approx. 350 yards of fingering weight yarn.
The sample pictured used a full skein of Verdant Gryphon’s Skinny Bugga in the color “Sedona Sunset” as Color A; an almost full skein of Koigu KPM in the color 2180 (bright yellow) as Color B, and approx. 3/4ths a skein of Invictus Yarns’ Adventure in the color “Warp Speed” (medium blue) as Color C
Needles: US4 (3.5mm)
Tools: A tapestry needle for weaving in ends, a long stitch holder or spare yarn, one stitch marker.
Gauge: 26 stitches and 42 rows = a 4 inch or 10cm square in the Garter-Slip-Rib pattern— Gauge is supremely unimportant, other than as it might effect yardage requirements. Overall size is at your discretion.
Sizing: The sizing of this shawl is at the discretion of the knitter; however, the sample I worked is 30 inches or 76 cm along the short wing and 42 inches or 106.5 cm along the long wing.