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.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Project 14 Lives

Had second thoughts after letting the shawl sit for a night while I sulked. I’ve got the thing back on the needles more or less (may need to carefully rip out one more round). I got a copy of several rows of the Victorian Lace Today Cap Shawl chart from a kind fellow Raveler, and it does appear to be the same pattern so I think I can figure out where the error is and proceed. Fingers crossed!

Project 15: Gent's Balaclava Cap

I need something simple/mindless after the mess the shawl has become (currently the 600+ stitches are half on/half off the needles as I ripped out 2 rounds and am trying to decide if I want to salvage the project or not...)  This fits the bill nicely.  And I love the mustache on the gent.

This is from Weldon's Practical Knitter Second Series (1886) and republished in Weldon's Practical Needlework, Volume 1.

"This is a most comfortable cap for gentlemen travelling or for shooting excursions, and is quickly and easily made."

The original pattern calls for "1 1/2 ozs. of navy blue, 1/2 oz. of red, single Berlin wool.  Two bone knitting needles No. 10."

I'll be using US #3 needles (maybe 2's) and fingering weight yarn.  I found navy blue and red fingering/sock yarn in the stash, I think it's Cherry Tree Hill Super Sock.  Off to start ribbing.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Project 14: 9 Point Star Shawl Bites The Dust

Gah.  I was going along swimmingly.  Until I reached Round 122, when the *%^& hit the fan.  The Weldon's instructions evidently have an error.  One I can't seem to rectify, since I don't really know what the lace pattern is supposed to look like.  And I can't fudge the pattern apparently, as the next lace pattern round is now messed up too.

So disappointed, but I don't think I can salvage this one.  Without knowing what the lace looks like, I just can't seem to correct the problem and continue.

So this project is reluctantly going to be ripped out and I'll start with something new tomorrow.

But since this shawl was already charted and published in Victorian Lace Today (at least I assume it's the same shawl, though it sounds like Jane Sowerby may have used a different border on her "Cap Shawl), I guess I'm okay with abandoning this one.  No point in reinventing the wheel.  I'm nowhere near the accomplished lace designer that Sowerby is, so I assume she figured out the error and corrected it in her pattern.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Project 14: 9-Point Star Shawl Update

Plugging away at the shawl.  I'm a bit disappointed to learn that this shawl may be basically the same as "The Cap Shawl" in Victorian Lace Today.  It's described as “This shawl began as a pattern for the crown of a baby’s cap by Mrs. Gaugain (1840), was extended to a shawl by Weldon’s (1886) and is now reproduced with a similar (not identical) border by Mrs Hope (1847).”

I'm hoping that the border at least is different.  I'll finish it and chart the pattern, but I was trying to choose patterns that weren't already rewritten by someone else.  Wah.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Project 14: Round Shawl Progress

I'm nearly done with the first section of the "shawl for lady-workers" and it's looking really good.  I love the "swirly" 9-pointed star that is forming.  It's fun to do a project that I have NO idea how it's going to turn out.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Project 13: Doll's Petticoat in Striped Pattern Available

Dolly's Petticoat pattern is available here, with the instructions corrected so that the scalloped edging will be "right side out".  This should fit an American Girl Doll.

Charting Software

I've used a number of software programs to create knitting charts over the years.  And I think I've found my dream program:

Stitchmastery Knitting Chart Editor

While NO charting program is ever going to do every single thing I'd like, this one comes darn close.  And the customer service is amazing.  Cathy personally responds to every question/problem in a heartbeat, and offers solutions to every question I've had.  And this gal lives in Scotland (I think), which leads me to believe she never sleeps.

The program creates elegant charts, plus written instructions.  You can use symbols or colors to make a chart, and the results are wonderful.  I used Stitchmastery to create lace charts for my upcoming article in Piecework magazine, and the editor loved them.  The plaid stockings were also charted using Stitchmastery.

Like all charting software, there's a learning curve.  But the user's manual provides clear instructions, and there's a helpful group on Ravelry, too.  It's not the least expensive program around, but I think it's worth every penny.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Project 12: Doll's Chemise Model

American Girl Felicity models our Doll's Chemise.  It fits her perfectly!  So this project is a-okay for an 18" doll.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Project 14: Knitted Round Shawl

"Knitted Round Shawl" from Weldon's Practical Knitter, Third Series (1886) and republished in Weldon's Practical Needlework Volume 1.

"This elegant shawl, from the extreme lightness and beauty of its design, is sure to be a favorite with lady-workers.  The pattern forms a nine-pointed star.  Our model is worked with best soft white Merino wool, of which about 6 ozs. will be required and four bone knitting needles, No. 10."

This one is a leap of faith, as no engraving is provided.  I'm using the Madelinetosh Lace yarn in "William Morris" colorway I've been trying to find the right pattern for.  Size 3 (US) needles.  And I will definitely be writing a chart of this pattern, 173 rounds of written lace instructions is making me a bit cross-eyed. 

Pictures soon.

Project 13: Doll's Petticoat in Striped Pattern Finished

Dolly's petticoat is finished.  I'll have the updated instructions up later on this week.

I did find that both petticoat patterns have an error.  The little border at the bottom is "wrong side out" as a result :-(

We tried the doll's chemise on an American Girl doll this weekend (pictures coming), and it fit her perfectly.  This petticoat should also fit an 18" doll.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Project 13: Doll's Petticoat in Striped Pattern

I am switching to the second petticoat pattern in the Twenty-Fourth Series; pattern 1 either had an error or I just wasn't knitting it right.  I've redone it twice and can't get it to match the engraving.  So onward.

"A pretty petticoat suitable for a 16-inch doll is knitted in a striped pattern, using Andalusian Wool, of which about 1 oz. will be required and a pair of No. 10 bone knitting needles; it is fashioned throughout in one piece, shaped to the waist, and joined up the back."

Same yarn, same needles, hopefully better results.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Project 9: Gent's Knickerbocker Hose Pattern Available

Thank you Hannah and Christian for modeling my socks!  And thanks to Traveling Photographer Pia, who carried the socks to Washington DC and got her students to pose for me (actually, she says they ALL wanted to model wearing the socks and wanted me to knit them pairs of Plaid Knee Socks.  Sorry, kids, I'm making the pattern available for free.  Learn to knit.)

The free pattern is available here with charts of the plaid pattern -- SO much easier than reading written instructions for plaid stockings.

Project 13: Doll's Petticoat with Fancy Border

Continuing my outfit for Dolly, I'm knitting a pretty petticoat.
Published in Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Twenty-Fourth Series (1893) and republished in Weldon’s Practical Needlework Volume 8.
"The petticoat from which our engraving is taken measures 7 inches in length; it is worked with an ounce of white Andalusian wool and a pair of No. 11 bone knitting needles, and is exceedingly pretty for a dolly."
Designed for a 14-16” doll. I’m using Knitpicks "Bare", a fingering weight sock yarn from my stash, which I dyed a very pale pink using "Lac", a natural dye, and US #2 needles.

Project 12: Doll's Chemise Update

Dolly's Chemise is done and the free pattern may be downloaded here

Here's a picture of the completed Chemise:

I was surprised at how long the chemise is (12 1/2"); I had the impression that this was going to be like an undershirt, but it's actually ankle length.  I've looked at some vintage ads for undergarments and the chemise is indeed a long underdress.  A 1919 ad for a set of undergarments for a doll shows a chemise:

And this illustration shows a proper set of lady's undergarments from the period:

The chemise was worn next to the skin, under the corset.  Dolly is not getting a corset, but there is a fetching pair of drawers I may knit next, plus a wonderful petticoat.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mitts for an Older Child

my talented knitter sister Susna whipped up these for her granddaughter Tatum, just in time for Easter.

Since Tate is now 9 (how did that happen?), Sue upsized Mitts for A Young Child using sport weight yarn and US 5 needles.


Sue found a little error in the pattern:
ERRATA: Row 4 of Hand should end with K3.

The pdf has been corrected on 4/7/12.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Project 12: Doll's Chemise

from Weldon's Practical Knitter Twenty-Fourth Series (1893) and republished in Weldon's Practical Needlework Volume 8.

I'm continuing with garments for Dolly.  First the chemise.  Original instructions call for " 1 oz. of white Andalusian wool and a pair of No. 12 steel knitting needles.  A smaller garment can be fashioned by substituting Shetland Wool, and a larger one by using Andalusian Wool with No. 11 needles."

I'll be using some pale pink (dyed by me quite a while ago) sock weight yarn and size 2 US needles.  "Andalusian wool" is defined by String or Nothing as lace weight so may need to switch to a finer yarn once I've taken some measurements.

Project 11: Doll's Hood in Plain Knitting Pattern is Available

And here is Dolly in her pretty Hood.  Dolly is a $5.00 thrift store find, not the elegant 1893 Jumeau doll I would have preferred to model for me :-)  She's 16" tall and her head measures about 10" around, which is perfect for this project.

Super simple and fast to knit (and only a teeny bit of crocheting, which you can easily avoid by using a ribbon to tie her hood)  The pattern is available here

Monday, April 2, 2012

Project 11: Doll's Hood in Plain Knitting

"Doll's Hood in Plain Knitting" from Weldon's Practical Knitter Twenty-Fourth Series (1893) and republished in Weldon's Practical Needlework Volume 8.

The Twenty-fourth series features "clothing for dolls, including dresses, undergarments, socks, hoods, infants' cloths, &c." and I'm going to make a few things for a dolly (will have to get a dolly to model them)

"The head of this hood is worked in plain knitting with white wool, and pink is used for the pretty scalloped border which goes round the front and along the bottom of the curtain, the combination is pleasing, and the result is a charming little hood that is certain to give satisfaction."

The original pattern calls for "a small quantity of pink and white Peacock fingering, and a pair of No. 12 steel knitting needles."

I'm using sock yarn from the stash, leftovers from previous projects; the pink is a lovely pink and red Wollmeise yarn in the colorway "Dornroschen".  The white is (I think) Cherry Tree Hill Supersock in natural.

Project 10: Mittens For a Young Child Pattern Available

Done, and lickety split :-)

I will get better photos when my photographer returns, but wanted to post the pattern so you can knit these adorable mitts for your little girls needing spring fanciness.

The free pattern is available here.

These are just precious, and I think any little girl would love to wear them.  I made them exactly as the original, with a little crocheted edging and a silk ribbon around the wrist.  I think they'd be just fine without the crocheted edging though.