The 21st pattern in Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book (First Series, 1843) is for A Muff, in colours of Sable. The pattern is as follows:
Cast on seventy or eighty stitches.
First, second, and third rows—plain knitting.
Fourth row—bring the wool forward, knit two together, taken at the back.—Repeat to the end of the row.
Repeat these four rows, until the piece be about eighteen inches long, admitting that the shading comes in correctly.
Two No. 8 needles are required, and double German wool, in four distinct shades to match the colour of sable. Commence with the lightest shade,—then the second, third, and darkest, reversing them again to the lightest.
(My Knitting Book, 1843, p. 33-34)
The pattern calls for No. 8 needles, which are equivalent to 4.5mm needles, according to the Lambert Filiere. Double German wool is required for the pattern, which is approximately equivalent to modern day DK weight yarn. Although the pattern suggests that the colours of Sable be used, presumably to mimic a more expensive fur muff with blacks and browns; I chose to use up yarn from my stash and ended up with shades of blue and purple instead.
I chose to cast on 80 stitches, and I was off. About halfway along, I realised that I was not going to reach the required length and maintain a colour balance:
So, I ended up adding a section on each side of the muff so that the colours balanced. I picked up the stitches along each side, knit five rows in stockinette and then did the eyelet row from the pattern (Row 4), purled one row and cast off knit-wise. There was a strong bias to the finished piece:
I sewed the two ends together and threaded a ribbon through the eyelets on the sides which gives an idea of the shape of the muff (unstuffed):
I originally planned to sew up a muff and place the knitted fabric onto it and quite honestly could not get around to doing it. Instructions for sewing a muff for a knitted fabric are not easy to find, and I was really not 100% certain how to go about it properly. I hope that this has given you an idea of the shape and pattern of the finished object.
If you know of any references for a sewing pattern for an 1840s era muff that would have gone under a knitted cover, please let me know in the comments below!
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