Sunday, 3 March 2013

Toilet Tidy from Weldon’s

This pattern 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.

The Tidy is a cone shaped receptacle to hold personal items for one’s toilette that can be hung by its ribbons. It is described in the pattern as a  “convenient” object whose “lining, when soiled, is easily renewed,” as are “the ribbons while the knitting itself can be carefully washed more than once and made up again and again with fresh trimmings.”

The original pattern calls for “Strutt’s knitting cotton,” “No. 8” in two colours (“any…but white,” and “four steel needles No. 14” (modern equivalent 2mm/US 0.) Cardboard and ribbons are also needed for the finishing touches.

After trying out several different kinds of cotton thread on the suggested size of needles, I settled on Aunt Lydia’s Classic Crochet (Size 10) in shades of burgundy and yellow. It knit up nicely although the finished object is, once again, smaller than the description leads one to believe. A conical cardboard lining, made up “in the form of a “sugar-paper”” would stretch out the lacy lower section and ”keep it of a good and even shape.” More board, run though the folded over and stitched top section would also make that part more prominent and supportive of the weight of the contents of the Tidy.

The Tidy is knit from the top down, the rim around it being folded over with an eyelet row at the fold, creating “a little ornamental finish for the top.” It is gathered at the bottom, like a drawstring, with ribbon and garnished with “several ends or streamers, made from some of the same ribbon,” as seen in the illustration. I, on the other hand, was stash busting and only had enough ribbon for the “loop” at the top and so made the lower tassel out of the cotton yarn.

My Tidy measures 4 ¼” long and 2 ¾” wide across the top yellow band. It does not have the cardboard inserts.

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


=Tamar said...

It seems to me that you'd have to unstitch the rim to remove the cardboard for washing. The author or editor seems to be hinting at something; I wonder what it was really for. Washcloths? Handkerchiefs?

One More Stitch said...

You are right - it would have to be unstitched for that washing. I was wondering, too, if something that might spill or leak - tooth powder, a hand/face cream/lotion, lip salve, hair oil would be stored in the tidy? What would be soiling the inside cardboard and, possibly going through it and onto the knitted fabric? Or is it something that might be soiled in use, say a comb with hair oil on it, that would build up stains or needed cloths to wipe the oil from the comb?

Oh, where is that time machine?

=Tamar said...

Often when a 19th century writer don't want to specify something that's a hint that it involves feminine products. The easily removed (and burned) lining could be another hint. Maybe it held a supply of rags.

LLB said...

i bet it was rags maybe. my nana, she's 82 tomorrow, said they used a folded rag in their underwear when they had their period. they would be soaked and washed to be used again. she got her period at 9 (so 1940). when were pads invented? i know, people didn't talk at all about this stuff, like it was some dark secret or something... kinda silly. nana had no idea what had happened, she started at school and the teacher told her to put a folded rag in her underwear and sent her home for the day. she had to walk 9 blocks with no clue what was going on! when she got home, her mother said to ask her older sister when she got home and sent her to their room to wait! like, what, she'd already embarrassed her self once having to explain it and didn't want to do it again?! thank you for the modern age, where we talk about all this stuff!

nrdygrl said...

I'm afraid that the purpose of this object isn't glamorous, nor is it specifically feminine. It's made to hold hairs cleaned out of your comb. So I guess it's basically a trash bag.