Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Holiday Gift

In this season of exchanging gifts, here is one that I knit for a good friend and colleague who is also a superb knitter. Since I make so many interesting little objects from the past, this miniature ensemble could be a modern companion to some of my former projects.  
The Yarn Basket and its contents were made on 2.0mm needles. All of the yarns are Knit Picks’s Palette. The Yarn Basket’s pattern  is from Winter Wonderful, a booklet published by Knit Picks, with designs by Kerin Dimeler Laurence and Nina Isaacson. The basket is made in Sweet Potato and measures approximately 3” long and about 1 ½” square at the base. The knitting is in Whirlpool on toothpicks with glued-on beads for the knobs of the miniature knitting needles. The little cap is from the Jayne Cobb Hat Pin pattern, in Bison and Pimento, and is about ½” tall. The Icelandic Sweater is from Miniature Sweaters by Betty Lampen, is knit in Peony and Ivy and is just over 1 ¾” tall.
The little sock, 1 ¼” tall, is my own design, and is knit in Canary and Majestic.

As a finishing touch, I made a cord of various yarn scraps for a loop to go through the handles of the basket so it could become an ornament on the tree.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Knitted Nightcap from Weldon’s

This pattern is from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Eleventh Series, No. 46, 1889, and can be found in Interweave Press’s facsimile, Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume Four, 2001.
I have been living with this nightcap for over ten years. I have knit it five times in all as it kept coming out in different sizes. The sizing problem lay first with the choice of cotton (unknown, label-less from my stash) and trying to knit with a weight that was too heavy for the very fine needles suggested by the pattern, “No. 16 steel knitting needles” (modern equivalent 1.75mm/US 00.) I then moved up to larger needles, 3mm/US 2-2.50, with DMC Baroque Crochet Cotton, and it came out far too large. Another very, very fine, again, label-less cotton in my stash yielded two baby’s sized versions on 3mm/US 2-2.50 and 2mm/US 0 needles. I finally decided to go back to the 19th century sized needles of the pattern.  J&P Coats Royale Classic Crochet Thread (Size 10) was the last choice of cotton and it seemed to be a near match for “Strutt’s knitting cotton, No. 12” as the finished piece looks close to the illustration in Weldon’s and it fits my head.

The cap’s crown is knit first and then seamed up the back. The “Strip of Knitting” that goes around the neck is just that – a long narrow piece that is sewn onto the lower part of the cap. The last part is the lace edging which runs around the entire cap. It is also knit separately, and then sewn on. “A string of crochet chain worked with double cotton and finished off with a tassel at the end” for each side completes the cap.
The pattern states that the cap could be made in “a lady’s size” or for “a gentleman” by using larger needles, “No. 14 or No. 15” (modern equivalent up to 1.75mm - 00 - 0), and “a coarser cotton…No. 8.”

All quotations are from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume Four, Interweave Press, 2001

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!

Cross-stitch on 32 count linen, DMC Mouliné Spécial 25. The silhouette's pattern is my own design, measures approximately 5 ½” long, and is based on the image found in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, London.* 


Monday, 10 December 2012

Knitted Lace Collar No. 2 – Finished!

This pretty collar from “The Knitted Lace Collar Receipt Book,” “Arranged by Mrs. G.J. Baynes, “ “Fourth Edition,” “1846.” is finally off the needles. It is rather heavy and needed fairly stern blocking with pins at every point and a double row through the middle and inner edge. In spite of the pinning, not every point stretched out. The next time I wash and block the collar, I will have to make sure that the points are truly pointy. There are also a few points which are not perfectly knitted.

The two ends do not match, according to the pattern but, covered by a brooch in closing at the throat, would not show. The collar measures 22” in length and 2 ¾” in width.

The collar was knit in two pieces on 1.75mm/00 US, and sewn together with quilting thread.  A final set of fourteen rows should be knit along the top of the collar but I did not do this as the collar was quite wide already.

Former posts about each stage of this project may be found at

Friday, 30 November 2012

Comb Bag

This pattern comes from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 17, Fifth Series (1887). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 2, Interweave Press, 2000.
There is no actual pattern for the comb bag, only a suggestion and stitch count to make this case at the end of the Nightdress Case pattern in the same edition.
The original pattern for the Nightdress Case calls for “Strutt’s knitting cotton, No. 6” and “a pair of steel needles No. 12” (modern equivalent 2.50mmmm/US 2. No gauge or tension or finished size is stated. This bag would certainly hold a small hairbrush and comb, and a few other accessories for the hair but not one of those lovely large brush and comb sets from the 19th century. Both cases are knit into a zigzag lace strip fabric which is trimmed with a lace edge whose pattern is included in the one for the Nightdress Case. The cases should be lined with “pink sateen.”

I had originally started the Nightdress Case in white thread some years ago but changed to this lovely powder blue after discovering it last winter. Both bags are being knit on on 2.5mm/US 2 size needles, using Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet thread (Size 10) in Delft. I have the Nightdress Case on the needles, too, with the same thread, but I thought this smaller bag was a good warm up exercise for the larger project. A good thing, too, as perhaps I can make myself pay more attention to the larger case since there are glaring errors in the lower front part of the lace trim of this bag. I can only say that knitting lace in a poor light is a bad idea and advise that all handwork should be checked every now and then during its production.

The bag measures 8” x 5 ¼”, or 7 ¼” by 11” including the lace border. It is lined with pink imitation silk and trimmed “with strings of pink ribbon to draw.”*

*Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 17, Fifth Series (1887)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Reticule or Knitting Bag

This pattern comes from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 125, Thirty-First Series (1896). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 11, Interweave Press, 2004.
The materials suggested are “dark coloured fine macramé twine, a very little light coloured fine macramé twine” and “braid or ribbon measuring three quarters of an inch in width.”  I used DMC Cébélia Cotton, Size 10 in number 3033 for the entire bag, with no second colour, and brick-red grosgrain ribbon. The bag should be knit on “a pair of bone knitting needles No. 7” (modern equivalent 4.25mm/US 7.)
To quote the pattern again, the bag “is worked in an easy but effective stitch, the holes forming part of which gives room for lines of braid or ribbon to be run in and out, adding considerably to its appearance and firmness.” The fabric is knitted lengthways, then turned sideways and sewn closed on two sides. The remaining open side becomes the drawstring opening at top.
The pattern calls for a total of fifteen sets of holes and I added a two stitch border to each side. The stitch sequence was very easily memorized and this bag knit up quickly. Too quickly, in fact, as racing along, I made mistakes in counting the sets of rows in the beginning but these are somewhat disguised by the woven ribbons.
The weaving was fairly easy but sewing down the edges of the ribbon on either side was time consuming. The pattern stated that this should be done on the seamed bag but I found it more comfortable to work on the flat knitted fabric before it was sewn into a round bag. Several rows were left unwoven, according to the pattern, for the area around the drawstring whose ends are sewn “neatly together two inches beyond the bag.” The top of the bag is supposed to be trimmed in a crocheted pattern included with the knitted one using a “steel crochet hook No. 17.” I do not know its modern size’s equivalent and since I do not really know how to crochet, I put an elementary chain stitch and looped border along the top, with a UK 10/3mm/C-D US sized crochet hook.
The bag holds its shape well with the woven ribbon bracing it but having completed the bag, I think the twine would be a better choice than a cotton yarn as the neck is rather weak and soft when worked in cotton.
This finished bag measures 10” tall, including the crocheted edge, and 6” wide. The twill ribbon is just under ¾” wide.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Knitted Bustle from 1847

This was a quick and easy project. The pattern, which is only three sentences long, is from The New Guide to Knitting and Crochet by Marie Jane Cooper, published by J.S. Cooper, Foreign and British Depot of Berlin Patterns and Materials for Ladies’ Fancy Works, Royal Marine Library, Hastings and Parry, Blenkarn & Co., London, 1847.

The suggested needles are “No. 1” and “No. 10” (modern equivalents are 6.5mm/ US 10.5 and 3.5mm/ US 4.) The recommended wool in the pattern is an “eight-thread fleecy;” I used Lion Brand’s Fishermen’s Wool in Natural.

The top of each piece is ribbed with the smaller sized needles, and the rest of the piece, on the larger sized needles, should be “knit” which I interpreted as knitting every row resulting in a garter stitched material. The three separate pieces, with respectively increasingly numbers of rows, all measure 15” across and 3 ½”, 4 ½”, and 5 ½” long. To assemble, the pattern states to “join them altogether at the part which is ribbed, and put it on a string.”  I used cotton woven tape for the waist’s ties.

The skirts of dresses of this era were full, finely gathered all round the waist.* According to the The Workwoman’s Guide** of 1838, this style of bustle was not meant to make an unnatural curve at the rear of the body as in the latter part of the 19th century but to be “worn by those whose shape requires something to set off the skirt of the gown. They should not be too large, or they look indelicate, or in bad taste.” This “Plate 11,” from the pattern in The Workwoman’s Guide, illustrates cloth bustles (“Fig. 30, 32. “)

A similar bustle, dated 1833 and made of white cotton satin with linen tapes can be viewed here:

**The Workwoman's Guide by a Lady, London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., Stationers' Hall Court: Thomas Evans, Colmore Row, Birmingham, 1838

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Knitted Cover for Medicine Bottle

 This object is, in the words of Dr. Stephen Maturin, a deeply rational one in that it “is intended to cover a bottle of medicine when it is packed for traveling” as the “knitting is thick and soft enough to prevent the glass from breaking, and takes up less room, and is more sightly than the paper which is generally employed for the purpose.” So states the original pattern which is from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 130, Thirty-Second Series (1896). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 11, Interweave Press, 2004. As a further inducement, the text of the pattern warned of the danger of confusing medicine bottles that contain “a draught and a liniment or poisonous mixture” which might be “supplied in bottles of a similar size and shape; if one bottle is covered with knitting, the nurse will know at once, even if working in a darkened room, which is the harmless, which is the dangerous drug.

The knitting will prove a more effectual reminder than any poison label could be.” As a final suggestion, this “knitted case” could be “slightly modified in size” to be made “to fit a baby’s feeding bottle. It then prevents the food from cooling too rapidly, and is pleasanter to the touch than bare glass.”

The original pattern called for “bright-coloured” and “dark-coloured single Berlin wool.” I used single strands of crewel wool, now label-less, from my stash, in green and “Salmon-colour” as one of the suggested lighter colours. The cover should be knit on “Four steel knitting needles, No. 14 “ (modern equivalent 2mm/US  0.) 

The cover is worked from the bottom up. When completed, it is turned inside out to the more corrugated texture created by the stitches. Again, this is a safety feature in that it makes the bottle less slippery. The final instructions were for a ribbon to be run through the eyelets at the bottom of the bottle, and the pattern pointed out that the bottle will not stand up but “must be propped up or suspended with ribbon strings sewn firmly to the sides of the cover.”

This bottle cover measures -->6” long and 2 ¾” at its widest.

 All quotations are from Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 11, Interweave Press, 2004.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Greetings!!!!!!!!!!!!

Blossom Rock, also known as Blossom MacDonald and Marie Blake (1895-1978), pictured here as Grandmama in The Addams Family (1964-1966.)

Monday, 22 October 2012

More Semi-Historical Seasonal Knitting

This charming little Acorn Purse, designed by Sally Pointer of Wicked Woolens*, in the style of a medieval purse, was a delight to make, not only because of the clear instructions in the pattern but because I knit it with one of my most favourite yarns, Unger Britania, 100% wool and in some of its best colours, namely Schiff, Borke and Kamelmeliert. I have knitted so many garments in this wool from Scribble items (one with 19 colours) to plain but elegant round-necked, Shetland-style pullovers. Gloves, hats, scarves – everything! Now sadly discontinued, I have a fair amount of scraps and some small collections of skeins with the same dye lot number in my stash but they have almost all achieved the status of Pet Yarn. I was very glad, therefore, to use some of it for the Acorn Purse.

The purse measures 6 ½” across and 5 ¾” long. Its cords are braided/plaited in strands of all three colours and the loop is an I-cord. The button is made of horn and I do like its shape.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Semi-Historical Autumnal Knitting

Autumn is my favourite time of the year. I love the colours and changing shades of green, yellow, orange, red, gold and brown, and just wish that this was the longest season instead of the shortest.

This scarf, however, helps to remind me of autumn throughout the year. The yarn, Araucania Atacama, 100% Alpaca, is gloriously soft. It is complimented by one of my favourite lace patterns, number 29, from Knitting Lace: A Workshop with Patterns and Projects, the book about the 19th century knitted sampler in the Brooklyn Museum.

I have used patterns from this sampler over and over again for all sorts of projects. This scarf has a four row garter stitch top and bottom edge, and a four stitch garter stitch border on both sides framing the lace repeats. It was knit on 4.5mm/US 7 needles.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Tassel Vandyked

Another item added to the list of the completed projects – this charming little Tassel Vandyked in Two Colours from Wedon’s Practical Knitter, Number 109, Twenty-Seventh Series, (1895). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 10, Interweave Press, 2004.

The object is two-layered, with the fairly substantial tassel sewn under the outer “cover” knit in “a series of vandykes,” a slanted and openwork stitch. I followed the final instructions of adding a “gold chain of gold thread…at the top to hang it by” (a kntted i-cord) but omitted the addition of “tiny silk pompoms” to the chain since I don’t really like pompoms.
The suggested colours are red and white but “any preferred tint” may also be used in an unspecified weight of cotton thread. I choose DMC Mouliné Spécial 25 embroidery floss in 902 (burgundy) and 3820 (gold) on 2.25mm/US 1 double pointed needles.

The needle size is also unspecified beyond “four steel needles” which, in this era, would be fine ones although larger tassels could be knit with coarser (larger), as they used to say, needles for ones for home decoration.  The pattern ends with the comments that this tassel could  “be made up into an excellent penwiper for a bazaar if the cover is made in coloured silks and the strands of coarse black twist.” Since I have made several penwipers in this style, I opted, instead, for a tassel that might be used for a small curtain cord. 

The finished tassel measures 3” long and 2” wide, the cover is 4” long and 1” wide, flat, and the i-cord chain is 3” long around.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Stocking Cap Redux

Thanks to the comments on the first post (  about this project, I finished this as a double stocking cap, one that is folded inside of itself.  The first half, when I was not sure exactly what I was knitting, measured 29 ½” long, with a width of 16” around. I doubled the length, knitting the second part in the natural/undyed yarn as in the original painting.

The cap was knit on 5.5mm/US 9 sized needles using Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted in Winter Blue, Natural, Red Fox, Charcoal, and Lullaby. I put it through two laundry cycles with bed sheets in the washing machine on hot water, and dried it by air over a rack. The cap fulled in terms of width but not all that much in length, losing only 9” (down to 20 ½”) and  only 4 ½” (down to 11 ½”) around.

I based my original measurements on a comparison with the body of the young girl knitting in the painting, using a child of a similar age as a model. Shrinking the cap down by hand might have produced a cap that would fit a child but I think I really needed to have twice the width, and have worked on larger needles. As it is, my cap would fit a baby’s head but then I am not going to re-knit the whole cap to make it about twice its size to allow for fulling. It was just fun to reproduce knitting from a painting.

{Apologies for the two sizes of font. I cannot seem to correct it.}

Monday, 3 September 2012

Re-Footed 18th Century Stockings

These stockings would fit a four year old child and were made for demonstration purposes. I chose a child’s size as they would knit up quickly, and because people always love small versions of clothing.

The stockings, first of all, show how a pair that might have the foot or parts of it worn out, could have a new foot knit onto it or just parts of the foot replaced. I used different colours of wool to show that, in the passage of time, the stockings’ original wool might not still be in the knitter’s possession, and to illustrate the different parts of the foot. The heel, especially, stands out since this is a major point of discussion in the history of stockings. I also wanted to draw attention to the drawstring toes, which are easier to see in these two shades of yellow than most of the other stockings I have made in darker colours.
The completely re-footed stocking had its foot knit with a slightly larger needle which, in a demonstration, will lead to the discussion of 18th century needles, what they were made of, and their non-standard sizes.

The stockings were knit on 2.75mm/2 US and 
3mm/2 ½ US double pointed needles with Harrisville Designs Shetland wool (which I just adore working with) in Zinnia, Marigold and Mustard. They have several purl rows at the welt and the seam/purl stitch down the back of the legs.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Semi-Historical Summer Knitting

 I returned to my favourite knitted 19th century sampler for two presents this summer. Susanna E. Lewis’s book, Knitting Lace*, has provided me with so many patterns that transfer gracefully to 20th and 21st century garments, accessories and objects.  This baby cardigan was knit on 3mm/2 ½US and 3.25mm/3US needles in a nameless soft pale green cotton that I have had in my stash for decades. This yarn is thicker than a sport/double-knitting weight but finer than a worsted, and the lace stitches stand out clearly in it.

The bookmark is knit in Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet Cotton No. 10 in white on 2.75mm/2US needles. It measures about 5” long by 2 ½” wide.

I used pattern number 48 from the sampler for both projects, one set of the pattern for the cardigan and three for the bookmark. I always enjoy seeing how different effects can be achieved with these patterns, not only by using different textures but by concentrating on particular parts of the patterns. The cardigan's lacy sections remind me of little trees whereas the bookmark has dominant diamonds, flanked by lacy inserts.

*Knitting Lace – A Workshop with Patterns and Projects, The Taunton Press, 1992

Monday, 13 August 2012

Egg Cosy, Fluted Pattern

This pattern comes from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 49, Twelfth Series (1890). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 5, Interweave Press, 2001.
The original pattern called for “single Berlin wool,” and “Four steel knitting needles No. 16” (modern equivalent 1.75mm/US 00.) “The edging should be worked with “a fine bone crochet needle.”

I first started this egg cosy in Paternayan crewel wool, but ran out of the blue, which, along with white, were the colours, “used in our model,” even though it is a black and white illustration. The project was then abandoned for a few years until recently, in this Year of Completion, when I started second one in Knit Picks Palette’s Whirlpool and White on the same sized needles as suggested in the pattern.
This is fairly easy and quick to make but the open-weave interior is the key to its structure. The pattern clearly states that in the body of the cosy, the alternate strands of wool in the knitting “must be rather tightly (but not too tightly) drawn in, just sufficiently so as to make the knitting sit in “flutes.”  I quite like the idea of the knitting sitting in flutes.
A “tuft” or pom-pom was made after threading through the stitches and closing the top. Since I cannot really crochet, I did not follow the pattern for the crocheted edge but simply worked a double line of single crochet around the bottom of the cosy.

At the conclusion of the pattern, directions are given for making a matching tea cosy.

Monday, 6 August 2012

19th Century Knitting from a Painting

Figure (1856)
John Dawson Watson
Oil on wood
Atkinson Art Gallery Collection, Southport, Merseyside, England

I like this painting for many reasons. The details of the girl’s clothing and hair, the lush green in the background, the cloudy weather, and, most of all, that very intriguing piece of knitting, which, with its bright colours, leaps out of the painting. So much so for the knitting, that I searched through my stash and found similar colours of wool as I just had to recreate that piece of work.

What is she knitting though? It seems to be a long bag or sack, knitted in the round, in a pale custard yellow, red, blue, cream or undyed natural light coloured wool and a dark brown or grey natural, undyed wool. Could it be a long workbag or a storage bag for wool, not yet carded or skeined or rolled into one of those very large balls at her feet? Even that is odd as in many paintings I have mostly seen (but not always) wool wound into smaller balls, the size of a large orange or smaller, sitting on laps, in workbaskets, rolling on the floor, etc. The one in this painting is such a gorgeous, loosely wound shape, barely even a ball.

Was the bag be intended as a market wallet but with only one end open? Or was it to be a long snap sack, with a belt or strap attached later?

Just how long this bag was going to be, we do not know. I knit an eyelet row, with a hem of four more rows and then the cast/bind off row, for threading a ribbon or cord through for closing. The finished length is 29 ½” and the width is 16” around.

The needles in the painting are double pointed and look homemade or well used, one with a distinct curve to it. I can only see three needles – perhaps one is tucked under her arm, although they are rather short for that but then the girl is young and small. The work is also bunched together in her hands, rather than having the needles splayed – the whole technique portrayed with more artistic license than a comfortable method of knitting.

 I have studied and studied several images of this painting that are available on the web. The stitches seem very large, too large for the size of needles being used unless the girl was a very loose knitter. Based on her physical dimensions, I estimated the size of each section by colour, and experimented with several sizes of needles to get a loose gauge but not overly loose so as to sag or be too lacy. Even so, I probably have at least twice as, if not more, rows per section in my version.

This bag was knit on 5.5mm/US 9 sized needles using Brown Sheep Nature Spun Worsted in Winter Blue, Natural, Red Fox, Charcoal, and Lullaby.

{Please read the comments attached to this post.}

Friday, 27 July 2012

Summer Knitting in Art

Leisure Moments (1874)
James Lawton Wingate
Oil on canvas
Smith Art Gallery and Museum, Stirling, Scotland

This painting has the hazy light of a bright summer day although I wonder if the colours are brighter in person.  In this image, from, there is so much brown, in the clothing, boots, and knitting, that it makes me think of late summer with a suggestion of the golds and browns that are to come with the next season.  The version found here,, is sharper, and has more of the green of summer.

Of great curiosity is, of course, the knitting. It looks like – well, a stocking with rather odd shaping and a white toe section? A sleeve, perhaps an undersleeve with a white cuff, then a wide lower arm section, followed by an elbow section and then the narrow, tighter top section which is on the needle section? There seems, however, to be a brown/grey section under the white one. So is that a toe section or a brown cuff on the lower part of the white?

Or is just more fanciful, artistic knitting?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Extinguisher Penwiper

 As mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I like playing with ink, pens and paper as much as I do with yarns, fabric, threads, needles, stitches and frames. Here is another knitted penwiper, this time from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 125, Thirty-First Series (1896). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 11, Interweave Press, 2004.
The original pattern calls for “Strutt’s No. 8 knitting cotton (any colour but white) and four steel pins No. 16” (modern equivalent 1.75mm/US 00.) The handle is knit separately and sewn on. A small amount of tapestry/needlepoint yarn is also needed for the interior, and a ribbon for decoration. The penwiper’s outer shell, in the shape of a candle extinguisher, is knit from the wide rim upwards and rolls backwards on itself.

I used the pattern’s needles’ size at a gauge/tension of 12 stitches to the inch, and two skeins of DMC Mouliné Spécial 25 embroidery floss, No. 208 which is a mint green. The shaggy interior, made up of a tassel that is sewn to the top, is in Patons Kroy Socks 4 Ply, Black. The pen’s nib is inserted into the extinguisher and the excess ink wiped off, or, the extinguisher wiper could be used before or after swiping with a rag. Either way, this little object is a decorative addition to one’s desk.

The penwiper measures 3” long from top to bottom and about 1 ¾” across the bottom rim. A five stitch band of 3” in length (for which instructions are given in the pattern) makes up the handle.

This was one of the most delightful historical patterns I have ever worked on. I don’t know why it lay abandoned, rim only, on its needles for over a year. It knit up very quickly and was finished off quickly, too, unlike three or four lacy, larger items that are doomed to languish on their needles for some time to come as after the first forty repeats or so of the pattern, they have become unbearably dull. Nevertheless, I like knitting lace in cotton in the summer – or so I keep telling myself……………….

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Non-Historical Summer Knitting

This little fellow was great fun to knit and is so adorable. I made the body two summers ago and the legs this past June – another project completed! I have to admit that six of the same leg and then the two front claws were a tad tiresome but they knit up quickly once I set my mind and needles to them.

The pattern comes from Knitty’s issue of Summer 2009.

I used one skein each of Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Solid in Scarlet and Beige, and 3.75mm/US 5 double pointed needles. The mouth was embroidered with a double strand of KnitPicks’s Palette in Black.

This particular crab measures 5” cross the body. The front legs, with claws, are 4 ½” long, and the back legs are 5 ½” long.

He looks quite happy at the beach, doesn’t he?

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Small Lace Sampler Shoulderbag

I have made quite a few things using the patterns in this lace sampler examined and reworked in the book Knitting Lace – A Workshop with Patterns and Projects by Susanna E. Lewis*
Tams, scarves, mittens, handbags, a card case, historical reproductions, etc., and now this dainty little bag using two repeats of Pattern Number 48.

The yarn, Cravanella, in an ivory shade,  is a blend of 75% wool and 25% rayon, and, most likely, twenty or more years old.  I remember buying it, a slightly unraveled skein, in a remnants’ bin a long time ago.

 I knit the bag in two pieces on 3.00mm/ 2 ½ US needles, with a series of four rows of stockinette stitch and one row of purl at the top. The gauge/tension is 7 stitches to the inch. The interior of the bag is lined with a double layer of muslin. The shoulder strap is made of strong white synthetic cord, by lucet, and then run through a spool-knitted cord in Cravenella. The lucet cord was made for me by a young friend, two years ago, his first project made with a newly acquired techinique and tool.

The bag measures 6 ½” wide and 6” high, and the cord Is 36” long.  Two buttons with an I-cord loop fasten the bag at the top.

*Knitting Lace – a Workshop with Patterns and Projects, Based on a Sampler from the Brooklyn Museum,  Susanna E. Lewis, Newtown, CT: The Taunton Press, 1992

Monday, 25 June 2012

School Socks from 1817

This is the sock pattern from The Knitting Teacher’s Assistant Designed for the Use of the National Girls’ School, printed in 1817. The facsimile edition is available from Robin Stokes (  Information about the historical content of the original book and pattern elements may be found in my post about the pattern for and knitting of the stockings (

The pattern is also available from Chris Laning, aka Claning, using modern knitting terminology, on Ravelry at I followed her pattern so as to be able to enter this pair of socks into the Ravelry project’s database. I did, however, make a few changes, noted below.

A third version of this pattern can be found at There are, however, some differences in this reprint of 1881 and I shall be discussing them when I post about the sock or stocking made from that edition. My thanks to SusanA of the Ladies Work-Table Yahoo Group for posting that Link.

In keeping with the times, there was no tension/gauge or needle size stated in the original pattern. Clanning’s pattern did have a gauge which worked out for me at size 2mm/US 0  needles. The sock wool, Paton’s Kroy Socks 4 Ply in Flax, which knits up as a brownish-grey, is also finer than the Harrisville Shetland that I used for the stockings and, consequently, larger needles, too.

The first row is knit straight which happens to be something I do with every piece of knitting no matter what the instructions as it is the only way I will ever create a smooth edge. This was followed by the original 3/3 ribbing in 12 rows (not six as for the stocking), as in the original pattern for socks.

The three things I like best about this pattern are the alternate knit/purl seam stitch which is continued, decoratively, on the sides of the instep to the toe, the picking up/increasing of stitches in the instep and the different numerical sequences in the decreases of the toe. I, unfortunately, was distracted by 22 men playing in the Euro 2012 when I got to the toe of the first sock and completely forgot about that charming sequence, and did the regular every other row decrease on automatic pilot. The second sock had to follow suit.

I also departed from the past by adding Lang Yarns Jawoll Reinforcement Thread, which does contain wool, to the heels and toes. I reinforce all of my socks either with this kind of yarn or doubling the sock yarn.