This pattern is from The Workwoman’s Guide by a Lady, London: Simpkin, Marshall, and Co., Stationer’s Hall Court: Thomas Evans, Colmore Row, Birmingham (1838.) The decorative “bag” or sack would be placed on the sofa with one’s foot inside of it to keep warm. The pattern states that “These are useful for the feet of an invalid, when lying on the sofa” but I can attest to the fact that they are nice and cosy for the feet of those who are healthy, too. Two should be knit, one for each foot but I have only made the one for demonstration purposes.
The cover is worked to the shape of a square in the “double knitting” stitch of the 19th century which creates a two-layered fabric as it is knitted. I used the “No. 1 Double Knitting” pattern, also from The Workwoman’s Guide (there are three different types in this book.)
A border of twelve rows is knit first in a “fancy stitch” of one’s choice. This is continued in twelve stitches on either side to make it stand apart from the double knitting of the central part of the cover/warmer. Two flaps of this border are separately knit at the top opening on the front and the back. I knit a checkerboard of alternating knit and purl stitches, changing the pattern every three rows. The pattern suggests that “a fringe” may be “sewn on all round, to give a finish to the whole” but I dislike fringes so I left that off.
In keeping with the pattern’s time of publication, there is no needle size or gauge/tension stated, nor, in this case, even a type of wool. Based on the number of stitches stated, I worked out the size of a comfortable square bag and settled on 4.50mm/US 7 needles with Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool in Nature’s Brown. I love knitting with this brand of wool as it is not dense, moves beautifully through one’s fingers and looks just lovely when knit up.
This sofa cover/foot warmer measures just over 12 ½” in length and 13” wide, including the borders which are 2 ¼” wide on the side and 1 ½” tall on the bottom and the top. The interior square measures 8 1/2” wide and 9” long.