MKB 29: Scotch Pattern

The 29th pattern in Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book (published 1843, first series) is a stitch pattern called Scotch Pattern.  The pattern has been translated into modern terminology already by the eminent Franklin Habit in his pattern Miss Lambert’s Lace Sampler.  I feel that Franklin’s words on the pattern page really say it all:

For almost as long as I’ve been a knitter, I’ve been fascinated by the history of knitting. I’ve especially enjoyed the mind-twisting process of working with the often obtuse and obfuscatory language of antique patterns. There’s a thrill, I find, in watching a project emerge row by row and knowing that other knitters, long gone, followed the same path. ~ Franklin Habit 

My thoughts exactly, except without the word obfuscatory, which I don’t think I have ever used in any context!

Sample #1:  My first sample of the Scotch Pattern was knit using fingering weight yarn (leftovers of Stardust to Stardust by Indigodragonfly) and 2mm needles.

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Sample #2:  I thought that using larger needles would help the stitch pattern stand out more, so I tried again using some leftover Knitpicks Gloss Fingering (colour name is long forgotten, perhaps Kenai?) and 3.5mm needles.

My chart interpretation of the stitch pattern is a little different than Franklin’s.  His chart is exactly as it was written by Miss Lambert, whereas, I chose to change the direction that the decreases lean for a more pleasing (to my eye anyway) symmetrical shape.

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The original pattern can be found here:  My Knitting Book

My interpretation of the stitch pattern with both chart and written instructions can be found here:  V Scotch Pattern.

The stitch pattern is a multiple of seven stitches plus one.  Give it a try!

Modification: The first time I used this pattern, I misread it and purled all of the even “return” rows instead of knitting them, and this was the result:

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One friend thought it looked like the DNA molecule so I have nicknamed this modification the DNA stitch.  It was knit on large needles using worsted weight wool.  I think the stockinette allows the shape of the lace pattern to shine through.  Although it is not as Miss Lambert originally intended, I like to think she would have been pleased that the stitch pattern was used as a starting point for something different.

Please share this blog post with anyone you think would be interested in learning more about knitting from historical patterns or would like to follow along as I work my way (slowly) through Miss Lambert’s book.

 

 

MKB 28: Gothic Pattern

It has been quite a while since I last posted a pattern knit from Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book (1843, first series).  For those new to the blog, I am working my way through Miss Lambert’s knitting manual published in 1843.  The book is one of the earliest knitting books published in English and is unillustrated.  My greatest pleasure working through this book is that because it is unillustrated and I feel that many of these patterns have not seen the light of day for many years, perhaps over a century.  Some stitch patterns are familiar and are still in use today; however, some seem to have been forgotten.  I enjoy the process of bringing them back to life.

Currently, I am working through twelve stitch patterns “intended for d’oyleys, tidies, fish or basket napkins.” (My Knitting Book, p. 36). Previous stitch patterns that I have already worked through in this series include:

The 28th pattern in the book is for the Gothic Pattern.  This is another straightforward pattern with a lovely result!

Miss Lambert’s original wording for the pattern can be found here.

My full interpretation of the pattern in chart form and written form can be found here:  IV Gothic Pattern.

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I knit the sample using some mystery fingering weight yarn from my stash and 2mm needles. But I think this stitch pattern will work well with any size yarn and would make a beautiful scarf or afghan in a bulkier yarn.  I hope you give this pattern a try, just cast on a multiple of ten stitches plus one and have some fun!  If you have any difficulties with the chart, please let me know.

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A Year of Canadian History – August

This month’s Canada 150 post is about Emma Lajeunesse Albani, the first Canadian international superstar.

I have to say that I had never heard of Ms. Albani before this, but she came up in a search for notable mid-19th century Canadians so I decided I would do a little research into her life.  I have not had much exposure to opera but I find the story of Ms. Albani’s rise to fame to be a fascinating one.

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She was born Emma Lajeunesse, in Chambly, Lower Canada (now Quebec).  It is interesting to note that some sources report year of birth as 1847, 1848 and 1850; however, her autobiography begins by noting her birth date as November 1, 1852.  (I am inclined to believe the latter date but a part of me does wonder if  she misreported her birth date to be later so as to appear younger?)  Her father was a musician and took on her musical education.  Even at the age of five or six, she studied music for four hours per day.  In fact, she remarks in her autobiography:

 

…the editor of one of our magazines which was publishing articles describing the dolls of celebrated women wrote to ask me to tell then “about my dolls.”  I was obliged to reply that “I never had a doll.”  (Forty Years of Song, p. 13).

Emma’s first performances were in the Montreal area at the age of 8 years old and she was instantly recognized as a child prodigy.   At this early age, Emma sang, composed, and played the piano and harp.  At the age of 14, her voice was described as being “sent from heaven.”

Gérard Dicks Pellerin  a-1640xl pc065135Collections Canada – The Virtual Gramophone

In 1868, Emma went to Paris to study with Gilbert-Louis Duprez (a famous French tenor). Duprez reportedly said, “She has a beautiful voice and ardour. She is of the kind of wood from which fine flutes are made.”  Soon, it was suggested that her last name (Lajeunesse) was not suitable for the stage and she adopted the stage name, Albani.  She made her debut in Europe in 1869 and was received with great enthusiasm.

 

I was literally loaded with flowers, presents, and poetry, the detached sheets of which were sent fluttering down in every direction on the heads of the audience; and among the numberless bouquets of every shape was a basket in which was concealed a live dove. They had painted it red, and the dear little bird rose and flew all over the theatre.  (Emma Albani, on her debut performance,

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Collections Canada – The Virtual Gramophone

In 1878, she married Ernest Gye in London, England.  She took a year off from performing in operas the year that her son was born, 1879, but by the spring of the following year was back on the stage.

Throughout her forty year career, she had many fans and became a personal friend to Queen Victoria.

It was always one of my greatest pleasures to sing for the Queen.  She was so appreciative and in the little conversations I had with her ever showed herself so interested, not only in the music, but in many of my private affairs.  It was always said of Queen Victoria that she know all about everything and everybody; and, from my experience, I believe she did.  (Forty Years of Song, p. 250).

When Queen Victoria passed away, Emma sang at her funeral.

Unfortunately, when Emma retired from the stage, she and her husband had financial difficulties due to poor investments.  She began teaching and wrote her autobiography but by the mid-1920s was in a desperate financial situation.  Benefit concerts raised enough money to allow her to live in comfort until her death in 1930.

References:

Forty Years of Song

The Canadian Encyclopedia

Wikipedia