Project 9: Getting Started with Knitted Cuffs, Shell Pattern

I sat down the other day to figure out what needed to be done to get started with the Knitted Cuffs, Shell Pattern from Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book (1843, First Series, pp19-20).

The pattern calls for “silk, cotton or fine wool” and No. 22 needles.  No. 22 needles are equivalent to 1.75mm needle.  Since I am a very loose knitter, I knew immediately that I might be in trouble as the smallest needle size that I own is 1.5mm, which might not be small enough to get a decent gauge. But, I do have larger than average hands so I thought it might all work out in the end. This small needle size means that a lace weight yarn should be used.  I have some lovely Malabrigo Silkpaca and Malabrigo Lace in beautiful colours so I took a deep breath and forged ahead.

On the first attempt, I cast on the required 100 stitches, dropped some stitches as I knit the first round and seriously considered a need for reading glasses as I struggle to differentiate the stitches. I tried several more times and kept having problems dropping stitches, miscounting stitches and general bad luck in the knitting department. Finally, I got started properly, and after a while, I realized that I had too many stitches on the needle and due to the tiny stitches, I couldn’t figure out whether I had made a mistake (or two) somewhere or whether I had misunderstood the pattern or whether there is actually an error in the pattern itself. The cuff was also turning out to be far to wide for my hand so I definitely had a gauge issue as well. Did I mention that I really don’t enjoy knitting with lace weight yarn?

So, 1843 knitting and Miss Lambert, you win this one, I give up on the lace weight yarn. But all is not lost, I am going to reconfigure the pattern so I can use fingering weight yarn and larger needles. From what I have seen so far, the shell pattern it will be very pretty and I can’t wait to get started again.

Wish me luck!!!

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