Saturday, 29 August 2009

Lace Linen Bookmark

This bookmark, knit in Pattern Number 36 (c. 1830's) from Susanna E. Lewis's Knitting Lace, was a perfect project for experimenting with DMC's linen embroidery floss. I used three skeins on 3mm needles.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

19th Century Undersleeves - Construction

Here are two kinds of knitted undersleeves (literally, worn under indoor clothing) from the mid-ish 19th century. Both are knitted flat or back and forth, and then sewn up.

The first photograph shows one set still in progress on HISTORICALLY INACCURATE NEEDLES but the only ones from my vast collection that gave me the correct gauge/tension. This pair, the very full sleeve ones, were improvised from the daguerreotype below, with the upper arm ribbing and bands from tighter fitting patterns I have seen and making the lower puff very large so as to show under the wide, open sleeves of the top garment or dress. This set was knit from the wrist up. The wool is Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted (Scarlet (2 skeins) and Silver Sage 1 skein) on 4.0/6US needles with a gauge/tension of 6.50 stitches/inch in the full part of the sleeve and 6 stitches/inch in the ribbing. The same size needles were used throughout.

The second, closer-fitting pair are from an original pattern ( Knitted Under-Sleeve by Mrs. Jane Weaver in Peterson’s Magazine, January, 1859, Volume XXXV, No. 1) which called for two sizes of needles (“1 pair steel knitting needles, common size, 1 pair bone knitting needles, small”) I had to use the larger sized needles throughout but still did not, however, achieve the puffs as shown in the original illustration, especially when wearing them (see below.) This set was knit from the upper arm down to the wrist as directed in the pattern. Brown (for the puffs) and crimson (ribbing) “single zephyr” wool was suggested in the original pattern. The wool for this pair is Morehouse Farm Merino Lace (Midnight (2 skeins) and Natural White (2 skeins) on 2.75/2US needles with a gauge of 9 stitches/inch on the puff parts and 10 stitches/inch in the ribbed parts.

Knitted Undersleeves in Daguerreotype

Unknown Baby with Hiding Mother, ca. 1855
Daguerreotype, sixth plate Plate: 3 ¼” x 2 ¾ “
Image: 2 5/8” x 2 1/8”
Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc.
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Kansas City, Missouri

Monday, 17 August 2009

Hold Fast Gloves

This is the second pair of these gloves that I have knit. The words on the half-fingers mimic the tattoos on Joe Plaice’s fingers in the film, Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World (2003.)

I made the first pair, in the round, from the wrists up but the letters did not knit evenly. Same colour scheme and both in Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted. The letters were swallowed up in every other row which may have been due to their having been knit in the same kind of wool or knitting the lettered fingers flatly (the stitches came out slanted on every other row.)

This is the second pair, knit from the fingers down to the wrist (fingers and hands in the round) with fingering weight wool in an Aubrey-Maturinesque appropriate choice of “wine-dark” maroon. This wool was purchased about 30 years ago in New York and comes from my stash. The letters are knit in the heavier Nature Spun Worsted so this time they would stand out against the fingering weight.

Although the letters appear distinctly in these gloves, the S did not really knit up clearly; it looks more like an E. I did not like knitting from the fingers down (I also dislike toe up, neck and crown down knitting) as I felt as though I was swimming against the tide all of the time. In spite of all of that effort and all of the knitting going in the same direction, there is also a slight scar around each finger at the join rows to the hands.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Knitting in Art for a Summer Afternoon

Viennese Domestic Garden (1828-30), Erasmus Ritter von Engert (Austrian, 1796-1871)

Oil on canvas, 32 x 25 cm.

Nationalgalerie, Berlin

I love this painting for its light, cool summer garden and, of course, the quasi-invisible knitter tucked away in the lower left corner, working on what looks like a stocking. The overall effect is elegant as is the woman's cap and grey gown. I also like the fact that she is knitting and reading at the same time, something I enjoy doing whenever the knitting is easy enough to just follow with my fingers.