Wednesday, 20 February 2008


I have knit or am knitting samplers, stockings, socks, undergarments, caps, gloves, mitts, mittens, reticules, purses, personal and household accessories from the last five centuries as well as a great deal of lace, ethnic and contemporary knitting. I am also currently creating my version of a woolen garment worn by Stephen Maturin in the novel, Post Captain, by Patrick O’Brian. The progress of The Garment, as it shall be known, will, although not historically documented, be discussed as will other objects currently on or off the needles that are related to the Aubrey-Maturin books.

"My wool garment? You have noticed it, have you? I had forgot, or I should have pointed it out. Have you ever seen anything so deeply rational?"

Patrick O’Brian
Post Captain, Chapter Twelve


Hugh Yeman said...

I had barely begun poring over your blog when a bit of etymological intrigue leapt out at me. "Reticule!" sez I. "Whubbahuh???" See, I've been studying the history of cartography and I remembered recently learning that word: it refers to the delineations of latitude and longitude on a map. So I looked up the word and found out that it meant "purse". "Huh." sez I. "I wonder if there's a connection?" Happily enough, the answer is "Yes."

It took only a bit of poking around to realize that I'd remembered the word wrong: the word I'd heard was "graticule". But hey, look at the second definition! I was right anyway!

1. Navigation. a network of parallels and meridians on a map or chart.
2. Optics. a reticle.

1. a small purse or bag, originally of network but later of silk, rayon, etc.
2. Optics. reticle.

Then I Googled "map reticule" or sommat, and found a few really interesting things. is an interesting entry on a Jane Austen site that has some talk about, and a lot of pretty pictures of, Reticules. Here is an etymological article about the word. It tells us that... ta da! "...Reticule comes from Latin reticulum, a diminutive of rete, a net..."

So the word for the net cast over the globe, and the word for the net hanging from a lady's arm, come from the same place!

"Well this is just... neat!"
-Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

One More Stitch said...

Indeed it is, sir! What a prodigiously small world we live in!

Lisa said...

May I beg your expertise on the knitted shawl in which my great grandmother was married? It is made of hand spun wool. She was married in Texas in 1890. How may I email photos to you?