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.
I began the year 2012 with about sixty-five historical knitting projects currently in some state of progress, mostly very much unfinished. As of today, the beginning of the fourth month of the year, thirteen are completed and a few have appeared on this blog. Today’s entry had absolutely no excuse for lingering on the needles except that it was cast on, knit up a bit, measured against this corset, found to fit nicely and then put aside to start another project or two or twenty. When I finally sat down with it again, it took less than an hour to finish and even less than that to pin and whip stitch for summer removal. This interesting addition to my collection of handmade accessories and clothing, was suggested for “Many ladies who leave their corsets loosely laced down the back” and could be a substitute for the usual flannel, lacking the disadvantage of becoming “crumpled with wear,” like the flannel. It can also be sewn further inside the edges to fit underneath fully closed lacing just to give some warm extra back support.
The pattern for this “band of ribbed knitting” comes 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 usual, no gauge or tension was stated but there was an illustration. The original pattern called for “soft white wool, single Berlin or 4-ply fingering” (19th century weight) and “a pair of steel knitting needles, No. 12” (modern equivalent 2.50mm/ US 1½.) I used KnitPicks Palette in White on the stated sized needles.
The finished panel is 2 ¾”wide and the “strip of knitting” was made “to the length of the corset,” 11” on mine. It fully measures up to the “many advantages,” namely that “It cannot curl up as does the flannel, preserves the wearer from cold, and is so elastic as to set well if the lacings are loosened or tightened.”
Note: All quotations are from the above mentioned facsimile edition of the pattern in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 11, published by Interweave Press, 2004