It’s a little known fact that the houndstooth weave which has now become a staple of fashion design in fact had more sinister origins hidden in the mists of time in the Antipodes.
At the Sydney Town Conformation Show held in 1860 (known prospectively as a “Dog Show”), Devil, the prize Irish Wolf Hound bitch of Sir Aubrey Mangold, escaped when Her Majesty’s Steam Dirigible HMSD Waratah broke loose during a violent storm from its moorings to the Sydney Harbour Steam Bridge. Whilst Sir Aubrey Mangold gallantly made sure he was first aboard an air raft to help 16 to 20 year old ladies escape, remaining crew members and show officials were also forced to abandon ship.The Waratah drifted unmanned for five days until it crashed into the town of the Broken Hill in the far NW of the New South Wales. It has been deducted by Darwinian scientists that Devil had an unholy union with the dread Canis Lathyrus Odoratus Antarcticus, a particularly vicious and blood-craving Dingo, or native dog, only found in that region of Terra Nullis.
Its innocence conceals a bloodthirsty nature
Upon satiating that union, and at the same time decimating the local population (from 40 to 20), Devil then partially recovered her senses, and instinctively made the arduous journey back to Sydney Town, some 215 leagues, to be found sixty days later, nursing her satanic litter inside Sir Mangold’s second favourite barouche.
I've got goosebumps just looking at it...
A skirmish of biblical proportions ensued, and Sir Mangold (still extending benevolence in his homestead to at least five young ladies following the Waratah incident) escaped with his life, not before managing to launch the damned barouche over a nearby cliff and sending his beloved bitch and hell’s brood melodramatically to their deaths. Whilst the immediate threat was averted, several young ladies swore (in a ladylike manner) to the fact that a couple of puppies managed to escape, and had scampered off into the mulga.
For the next ten years, gentle persons took their lives in their own hands if they were caught after dark in “The Rocks” area beneath the Sydney Harbour Steam Bridge. No less than 35 unfortunates were found savaged and brutally mauled to death by Devil’s heinious offspring.
As a consequence of the fear and panic, citizens took to wearing charms to ward off the evil, and the most popular was the Devil’s Houndstooth*, decorating gaiters (leggings with spats), as it covered the legs and protected the ankles.
Our humble Knitsmith’s pattern for the Devil’s Houndstooth Gaiters (for women & men) follows shortly…
One of the unholy brood escapes to the Mulga!
*Another reason for its popularity was also the fact that following Sir Mangold’s amourous escapades with an alarming number of Sydney Town’s pulchritude, many a young lass found that Sir Mangold, still shaken by his encounter with the Hades hounds, could also be effectively repelled by the sight of the houndstooth, which would cause him to cower in a corner.