Monday, 28 May 2012


The pattern for this Anklet 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.
These anklets are described as being “warm and comfortable for riding and driving, and are also useful for walking on the moors in stormy weather” – something I would love to do! 

The original pattern calls for “dark brown Berlin wool” and “white Shetland wool,“ and knitting needles No. 12 and No. 8 (modern equivalents 2.50mm/US 2 and 4mm/US 6.) The anklet is knit “ in ribbed knitting” with “a lining of plain knitting” in two pieces, either flat or in the round, with the lining being sewn into the outside piece. There are also instructions for crocheted edges.

I used vintage Beehive Moorland 3 ply Sock & Sweater Yarn (1950s-1960s?) in number 580/Black Cofffee – All Wool, and Knit Picks Palette in White, on the size of needles stated in the pattern. The inside piece, knit on the larger needles, is looser than the brown, exterior piece, which is the one knit on the smaller sized needles. They fit, however, exactly around each other.

I cannot crochet so the upper edge on my anklet is a very reduced, rather pathetic series of single strand loops made with 2mm crochet hook. I have added the knitted Cyprus Edging to the lower cuff of the anklet, knit on 1.75mm/US 00. This pattern can be found in Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 55, Fourteenth Series, 1890, and in the facsimile series, Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 5, Interweave Press, 2001.
The anklet measures just about 3” wide, 5” long, (both flat), and 6” around, unstretched. The flat brown piece measures 6” with a gauge/tension of 12 stitches to the inch; the white, 7” flat, with 7 stitches to the inch. The Cyprus Edging stands 1” high.
I do not own shoes from this era so I could not model the Anklet but I did try it on and it stretches comfortably, not out of shape, and stays in place when I walk, and is, of course, toasty warm for those walks on the moors in stormy weather!

{Note: All quotations are from the facsimile edition of Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 49, Twelfth Series (1890), published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 5, Interweave Press, 2001}

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Olympic Knitting

As the number of days before start of the 2012 Summer Olympics becomes less than the number of projects I have on my knitting needles and Knitting Register spreadsheet, I have been thinking about my decision to make this a personal marathon Year of Completion, and have decided to mark this effort with my own knitted Olympic memento because, most of all, I needed another project to add to the list! Startitis kicked in when I noticed that the Olympic rings bore a distinct resemblance to one of my sets of stretchy, multi-coloured  stitchmarkers, hence the name of my team/nation.

Looking at the logo for the London Olympics, which is made up of differently sized pieces, also made me think of all of my projects in different sizes or, more accurately, stages of completion ( For my flag, however, I used the clear version of the logo, white and black, with the Olympic rings/stitchmarkers in the official colours of green, red, gold, black and bright blue

In a moment of total madness, I had thought of knitting this flag on multiple 0s needles with sock reinforcement yarn, and using those little markers for the rings. This idea was abandoned when a) I realised that this would take me twice/three/ten or more times longer to knit, sacrificing valuable Year of Completion knitting time to this project and b) I didn’t want, even more so, to sacrifice any of those stitch markers to the project as I can no longer get that kind and I particularly need the green ones in my circular knitting as they begin every round (Green for Go!)

Thus, with some level of sanity restored, I raided the KnitPicks’s section of my stash and found Black, Whirlpool, Pimento, Edamame and Custard for the rings. These were knit in I-cords on 3mm needles, as is the flag’s body and edges, and then stitched onto the flag, though not very evenly. The background is in KnitPicks’s Palette in White, and the letters and the edge of the flag is knit in Black. I did not, however, follow the example of the official logo and use the lower-case alphabet but did stick with a streamlined lettering, though without the slant. The alphabet is from Cross Stitch Calligraphy by Iva Polansky* I tried for the angular, 3-D edges, picked up and knit outwards from the body of the completed flag but they did not work out that well so I have, instead, evened them off. 

The flag measures 19 ½” wide and 10 ½” long, the letters and rings both 1 ¼” high, and it flies from one of my beloved Aero needles.

My only justification for this project is that knitting is one of the things I do best, far better than my swimming, kayaking, badminton or Pilates which isn’t an official event {yet} at the Olympics. So I have turned knitting into one of my sports this year. It is absorbing an unconscionable amount of time and I have to make even more of an effort to put the needles down and get out and walk, swim or do those daily Pilates to stretch out the muscles that are needed to do good knitting and keep up the standard of performance. Sad to say, excessive knitting can play havoc with the entire body but that is a subject for another time.

*Cross Stitch Calligraphy, Iva Polansky, London: Kyle Cathie Limited, 1994

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Caps from Plimoth Plantation

I have been working on a lot of caps lately and finishing up some that have been languishing on the needles for some time. The rust-coloured one was the first one I made from the pattern, Knitted 17th Century Cap with a Brim from Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, Massachusetts –

The commentary in the pattern booklet states that there was “a variety of brim styles” on the caps from the early 17th century, and that caps were sometimes”napped (brushed)” to create “a layer of fuzz” which was then “sheared or trimmed off,” rendering the stitches almost invisible and the cap looking more like one made of fabric rather than knitted.*

My caps are not brushed and the raised (purled) stitches make a nice decorative border along the rim of the cap.
The original pattern called for an Aran weight wool on 3.25mm/3 US needles at a gauge/tension of 5 stitches to the inch.  I wanted to make a boy’s sized cap so I worked with a finer wool on 2.75/2 US needles but the cap came out too small even for a boy. I love the wool, though, an unnamed, hand-dyed handspun in that glorious shade, given to me so long ago, I have forgotten when and by whom, so I kept the cap as is as it is a very pretty little one and beautifully shows off the ripple effect along the brim.

I started the second cap in an Aran weight, circa 1970s from my stash, on the suggested sized needles with the required gauge/tension. I had, however, to switch wools again as the knitting was too tight, creating pains in my hands and arms up to my elbows, trying to work it. I changed to three strands of Morehouse Merino Lace in a pale mint green on 4.75mm/7 US to get the required 5 stitches to the inch. I also made this cap a bit taller.

This is a quick and easy cap to knit and I have no doubt that I will probably do another one on coarser wool when I get all of the other different caps currently on needles, off of their needles.

*Knitted 17th Century Cap with Brim, Plimoth Plantation 2004

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Pincushion, Knitted Like a Lemon

 This project can be recommended as one of those “Quick! I need a gift for tomorrow” kinds. In spite of that, it has been languishing for some years in my box of UFOs from 19th century, although mostly due to the choice of yarn. The lemon pieces can be knit in a hour or so and the leaves in less than that.  Sewing it all together took me just over an hour when I finally sat down and did it.

This pattern comes from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 114, Twenty-Eighth Series (1895). It is also published in Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 10, Interweave Press, 2004. The text states that the pincushion would be “a novel ornament for a drawing-room table, ” that it is “also suitable and pretty to hang on a Christmas tree, and “that a plate full of these useful trifles will form an attractive addition to a stall at a bazaar and realise a fair percentage of profit.”*
The original pattern calls for “single Berlin wool” in yellow and green and “a pair of No. 12 and a pair of No. 16 steel needles (modern equivalents 2.50mm / US2 and 1.75mm / US 00.) I made three lemon sections in Paternayan crewel wool but felt the shade of yellow was not lemony enough. The pieces sat around for a few years until I found KnitPick’s Palette in Canary which worked out much better. I also discarded the green shade of crewel wool selected for the leaves and, instead, used KnitPick’s Palette in Ivy.  Both the sections and the stem were knit on the designated sizes of needles. The little loop at the bottom of the lemon is a tight twist.
The lemon, according to the pattern, is knit in five sections and five leaves are knit for the top as well as a stalk. Five sections for the lemon does not, however, work out, so I only made four, putting the fifth section down to a misprint as four pieces creates a mirror set.
The pincushion measure 4” long in body and 6” around, with a tension/gauge of 7 ½” stitches to the inch.  It is stuffed with fleece that has been picked and carded.
*{Note: All quotations are from the facsimile edition of Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 10, published by Interweave Press, 2004.}