About Weldon's Practical Needlework

From Interweave Press:

About 1885, Weldon’s began publishing a series of fourteen-page monthly newsletters, available by subscription, each title featuring patterns and instructions for projects using a single technique.

About 1888, the company began to publish Weldon’s Practical Needlework, each volume of which consisted of twelve issues (one year) of several newsletters bound together with a cloth cover.

Each volume contains hundreds of projects, illustrations, information on little-known techniques, glimpses of fashion as it was at the turn of the twentieth century, and brief histories of needlework. Other techniques treated include making objects from crinkled paper, tatting, netting, beading, patchwork, crewelwork, appliqué, cross-stitch, canvaswork, ivory embroidery, torchon lace, and much more.

From 1999 through 2005, Interweave published facsimiles of the first twelve volumes of Weldon’s Practical Needlework.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Project 10: Mitten for a Young Child

I needed a quick project after the Knickerbocker marathon.

"Mitten for A Young Child" is from Weldon's Practical Knitter, Twenty-Eighth Series (republished in Volume 10), dated 1895.

"These little mittens are 4 1/2 inches long, including the wristlet, and 2 1/4 inches wide.  They are work upon two needles, and sewn up."

The original pattern calls for 1 oz. of single Berlin wool, or 4 thread soft fingering, a pair of No. 12 or No. 13 steel knitting needles, a steel crochet needle and a yard of "bebe" ribbon

I am using the leftover Madelinetosh Sock yarn in Citrus (orange) that I used for the Baby's Vest, and size 2 US needles. 

This little pattern fits the "quick" requirement, I finished one mitten last night while still keeping up with the plot twists of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo".  Here's the mitten (unblocked and no ribbon yet):

The Victorians did love their little crocheted edging :-)  I think a little girl would love these mitts!  I'll knit the second one and write up the pattern this weekend.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Project 9: Gent's Knickerbocker Stockings are Done!

And it only took me the entire month of March.  But I finished them this morning, and my photographer is taking them on her class trip to Washington DC to get some good pictures of a nice pair of legs clad in plaid stockings.

I will have the pattern available (free, I decided I really don't want to charge for these) as soon as the photos are ready.

They really are beautiful, just hope they fit someone.  And I don't want to look at plaid for a while.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Project 9: Gent's Knickerbocker Stockings Update

The Project That Will Never End is moving along, and my goal is to have the stockings finished by the end of the month.  I'm on the heel turn of stocking #2.

Thinking ahead to Project 10, I may need to find something quicker than these stockings.  I need some instant (or nearly instant) gratification!  One possibility is a "Baby Barrister Wig".  Katie's BFF Sarah is pregs with a little girl, and has already requested a Barrister's Wig for her little one.  Since Sarah is an attorney, this seems appropriate.

Off to knit on the never-ending stocking...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

One Gent's Knickerbocker Stocking Done and Exciting News!

I finally finished Sock #1.  It's blocking and I'll get someone with nice legs to model it as soon as it is dry.

And because my sister sort of shamed me into it, I've started on sock #2 :-)

This really is a beautiful pattern, and I like that saucy little checkered pattern on the sole of the foot too.

Now for some very exciting news (for me): I won a round trip British Airways ticket to England!  I'm so excited, this is my dream trip.  I'm tentatively planning to go around Christmas (which will give me time to save up money for the part of the trip BA isn't covering--hotel and food)

I am already planning a visit to the Victoria & Albert Museum and perhaps I can arrange to view their knitting collection.

And I'll be toting along The Barrister's Wig and taking my picture at various venues.  It'll be my version of "Flat Stanley" :-)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Still Plugging Away on the Gent's Knickerbocker Stockings

Boy, this project is really slow.  I'm nearly done with the leg on sock #1, and I'm  not 100% convinced it's going to work out.  The fabric is thicker than I'd like (though the original does say to use "coarse wool"), and felt a bit stiff.  I steamed it a bit to see if it would soften up and get a bit more elastic with blocking, and it did.

I will persevere and finish one stocking.  Can't promise I will make the second stocking though.  I'm sure Victorian knitters struggled with 'second sock syndrome', too :-)

Here's how it looks so far:
I love the plaid pattern, very elegant I think. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Project 9 Gent's Knickerbocker Stockings Take II

Here's the Stocking so far, using size 3 needles and Dale of Norway Heilo yarn (sport weight)  They are definitely looking more adult size :-)  The fabric is also quite a bit thicker than with the sock weight yarn.  The wearer's legs will NOT get cold wearing these socks.

I think this yarn & needle combo will probably work, though it's not as elegant as the sock weight Wollmeise yarn.  But perhaps that is better, as I'm imagining Lord Grantham wearing these for a week-end hunting party at Downton Abbey.  And thick stockings would be appreciated when one is shooting pheasants.  (And I'm hearing Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess asking "What is a week-end?" in my head as I type this)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Project 9 Setback

The Gent's Knickerbocker Stocking in fingering weight yarn with #2 needles is WAY TOO SMALL.  Even for a slender Victorian fellow these would be small.  The leg is supposed to be 21" long and mine measures maybe 16".  The circumference of the leg is about 9", which seems pretty tiny.

So it's back to square (or round) one with these.  I'm going to try using size 3 needles and DK weight yarn.  I have lots of Dale of Norway Heilo wool in natural and red (though not as pretty a red as the Wollmeise) so I think I'll try that.

This series of projects is certainly testing my ability to be ruthless and start again when the knitting doesn't go as I expected.  At least it's only a couple day's work, this stocking knits up much faster than I expected, considering how complex the plaid pattern looks (it's not really complex at all, but I won't tell admirers of the stocking that lol)

Off to the stash to find yarn.

On a happier note, I'm also knitting away on my second submission to Piecework Magazine.  It's a super cute (I think) and super-easy project.  Can't tell you what it is yet, though!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Project 9: Gent's Knickerbocker Hose Heel

Here's the heel, it's knit in the plaid pattern, which is nifty.

I read ahead in the instructions, and the sole of the sock is knit in alternating "checks" of the 2 colors, so the sock foot is knit in one piece and there are no long color floats across the sole of the foot.

Just about to turn the heel.

Project 9: Gent's Knickerbocker Hose Leg Done

One leg section done.  This is moving along fairly quickly, using 12" circular needles makes color work knitting go so much faster than fiddling with double point needles.

The sock leg has decreases to fit the calf; not MY calf mind you.  Those Victorians were a slender bunch :-)

Today I will tackle the heel and move onto the foot.  From the engraving it appears that the top of the foot is worked in the plaid pattern, but the sole is plain.  Not sure how that is going to work.  Perhaps you knit the top and then knit a separate sole and sew the two together?  Which would be practical, as the bottoms always wear out first, making it easy to replace the worn part.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Project 9 Gent's Knickerbocker Hose

Here's the Blantyre Plaid pattern through 1 1/2 repeats.  Looking good!

Oops.  I just realized I was supposed to knit 2 sets of white stripes on the cuff.  Oh well, not redoing it :-)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Project 9.1: Gent's Knickerbocker Hose, Blantyre Plaid

I am abandoning lace shawls for a bit.  But still looking...

I am in love with these knee socks!  " Gent's Knickerbocker Hose, Blantyre Plaid" was published in Weldon's Practical Knitter, Twenty-Eighth Series (1895)

"Our engraving shows a strong and comfortable stocking worked in Blantyre Plaid with wool of two colors; this plaid is bold and effective, and the colors used in the model (dark brown and light fawn) harmonize nicely together.  The stocking comprises a minimum of work, as it is one of a new and popular kind, knitted with thick wool and coarse needles, and so the work is brought rapidly to completion.  The stocking has a ribbed top, which is intended to fold below the knee to cling closely round the leg and hold the stocking in place.  Depth of the ribbing is 6 inches; entire length of leg, including ribbing, is 21 inches.  Length of foot, 10 inches".

"Coarse needles and thick wool" translate to US 2 and fingering weight yarn to today's knitters.  I'm using a gorgeous skein of Wollmeise sock yarn in the color way "Indisch Rot" (reds) for my main color and ecru yarn for the light color.  I'm knitting my socks using my beloved 12" Addi circular needles, which make color knitting a breeze.  I've charted the leg section using my new (and fantastic) Stitchmastery Knitting Chart Editor software.  This one looks like a ton of work to chart and write up "modern" instructions, so it may end up being a pattern you can purchase for a (small) fee.

Project 8 Egg Cosy Pattern Available

My cute little egg cosy is done and ready to keep my soft-boiled egg warm on a frosty morning (if I ate soft-boiled eggs.  Which I don't.  But this is so cute I may just start)

The free pattern is available here.

This pattern uses very small needles (000 or 1.5 mm) and single strands of 3 colors of needlepoint yarn (I used Paternayan Persian Wool, which comes in an amazing array of 418 shades.  That is chump change compared to the number of colors that our Victorian knitters had available in Berlin Wool; an 1857 edition of Godey's Lady's Book said that Berlin Wool was available in over 1,000 shades.

Knitting with needles this small is really not too difficult, once you conquer those first couple of rounds on the double point needles (I find the first few rounds in any double-point knitting to be a little trying but things settle down nicely after you've worked 3 or 4 rounds)

I bought a cute egg cup for my photo, but the cosy is designed to stand up on its own and fits nicely over an egg.

More Pictures of the Lady's Undervest

Curvy niece Pam modeled the Lady's Undervest for me this weekend:

she's such a cutie :-) 

I think the final consensus is that this is a warm but lightweight sweater.  And that a corset which puts one's breasts in the properly perky position would improve the fit.

The Wrap Bites the Dust

I just finished ripping and rewinding the yarn for Project 9: Wrap in Striped Pattern :-(

For some reason, I couldn't successfully knit a section of the "easy" lace pattern without making at least one error, which usually involved dropping a stitch.  And the error couldn't be repaired without ripping out the entire section and reknitting it.

I didn't love this pattern enough to reknit it multiple times.  So the search for a pretty lace shawl pattern continues.  And a new Project 9 will commence shortly.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Project 9: Wrap in Striped Pattern One Repeat Finished

I have one repeat done of the 'stripe' section and the 'flower' section of my wrap.

The flowers are formed of little purl bobbles of 5 stitches.  Cute.

These two band are now repeated until the center section forms a square.  Which is going to be fairly large, about 24" square.  Then a pretty lace border is added all around the square.

I think I'll keep going on this, the pattern is a bit unusual and I like it.  I'll get some clearer pictures when I have a few repeats done.

Project 9: Wrap in Striped Pattern

Here's section one of the shawl (the "striped" part).  A simple pattern of yo, slip 1 purlwise, k2tog. for 27 rows. 

You'd think that would be a no-brainer.  But I had to redo this section 3 times before I got those 27 rows finished.  First time I misread the instructions and stuck a "knit plain" row in between the pattern rows.  Second time I dropped a stitch AND forgot what I was doing in the middle of a row (I  was watching "Game of Thrones" and was SO upset about a completely unexpected plot development I had to put my knitting down.  When I picked it up again, I forgot there were no "knit plain" rows, and knit one row).  Third attempt I again dropped a stitch, but was able to pick it up with a crochet hook and finish the section.

The next section looks like it has some flowers formed with bobbles of some sort.  I'm having a hard time creating a chart for this section.  Maybe some knitting patterns are just easier in written form rather than creating a lace chart.  "Modern" knitters do like charts though, so I'm going to try to create one that isn't too confusing.  We shall see.

Once I've knit a "flower" section, I should be able to decide if this is the shawl I want to make using my pretty Madelinetosh Lace yarn in "William Morris" colorway.  I'm still on the fence.  I also need to choose something to take on my trip to Portland this weekend.  Pia and I are meeting Susan, Pam and Tate! for the Rose City Yarn Crawl, 19 yarn shops in one fabulous weekend!

I'm contemplating a really cool pair of plaid knee stockings that are in one of the Weldon's books.  If I can find it and chart the color pattern today, I think I will take that with me.  If not, lace shawl goes.