I do research on and recreate garments and objects from the past. My sources range from original items to photographs in books, periodicals, art works, literary references and period patterns. My research also involves the history of knitting needles and related implements.
The portrait in the corner is by Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842) of Elisabeth Alexeyevna (?), location and ownership unknown.
This piece is from “The Knitted Lace Collar Receipt Book,” “Arranged by Mrs. G.J. Baynes, “ “Fourth Edition,” “1846.” These are the “Fancy Row(s)” part of the collar. After this, I have to knit the “Lace” section and then some finishing rows.
The eight row pattern is logical and, without interruptions, I can knit six sets in about an hour. It is still, however, slow going; note the yellow wool markers that are close together which mark one set of eight rows and measures just under 3/8”. The other, longer yellow wool marker is at the half-way point of the collar, approximately 9 ½” long. The width is just over 1”.
Mrs. Baynes suggests “Needles, No. 16” and “Clarke’s Paisley Cable Laid Thread, No. 38 or Boar’s Head Cotton, No. 44. There is also an illustration for each of the four collars. Such an abundance of information! All that is missing is gauge/tension.
I am knitting this collar with DMC Cébélia, Blanc No. 10 on 1.75mm needles which are roughly the equivalent size of the “No. 16” of the pattern. I say “roughly” as my printed guide to conversions lists the Bell Gauge sizes of 15-17 as 1.75mm and my own Lacis Gauge is letting my Inox 1.75mm needle jiggle around a bit in the 1.75 opening but will not allow more than the tip into the 1.50mm hole.
I need to do more research on collars from this era to see if I am close enough in size. I do not feel as though I have captured the delicacy of lace in the illustration which, so far, does resemble the stitches that I am knitting.* The pattern is visible but will probably need a dark garment underneath to show it clearly. The collar also feels a tad heavy. The next one I knit will be in a thinner cotton weight.