MKB 32: Lace Pattern

This month, we are moving on to the thirty-second pattern in Miss Lambert’s 1843 knitting manual, My Knitting Book (first series).  The pattern is called VIII: Lace Pattern and it is the eighth in a series of stitch patterns suitable for doilies and tidies but could also be easily used in shawls, sweaters or anything you can imagine!   This pattern has already been translated into modern knitting language and charted by the inestimable Franklin Habit in Miss Lambert’s Lace Sampler.  Please use the lace pattern chart provided in his pattern write up to recreate Miss Lambert’s pattern exactly as written and take the time to read his introduction to the pattern as it is fantastic.  Franklin is definitely on my list of must meet knitters!

When I knit up my version of the stich pattern I changed for more symmetry and, I think, less likelihood of creating a bias fabric.  I hope Miss Lambert would approve!

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The full pattern can be found here with written instructions and chart legend: MKB 32 Lace Pattern.

The unblocked sample was just lovely with a gorgeous texture on the right (public) side:

And the wrong (not public) side:

In a chunky weight yarn this would make a wonderfully squishy and cozy afghan, unblocked.   I almost didn’t want to block it but I did and here is the result:

Overall, this is a lovely little lace pattern and I am glad that I went for symmetry on the lozenge shapes.  I can see this in a shawl or wrap in my near future!  Not bad for 175 years old – I really do enjoy the long lasting appeal of knitting stitch patterns.

What do you think?  Would you adapt this pattern to a more modern context?  Let me know in the comments below!

 

MKB Pattern No. 27 – Point Pattern

The 27th pattern in Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book (1843, First Series) is called Point Pattern.  The pattern is quite straightforward, especially once it has been charted (see, I am learning!)

This stitch pattern has already been translated by the talented Franklin Habit as part of Miss Lambert’s Lace Sampler published in Knitty in 2009.  However, my interpretation differs slightly from his as I believe that every other row is a knit row, instead of a purl row as he has shown in his chart (although I think the sample shows the knit row, so maybe it is a typo on the chart?).  Either way, it is a lovely little stitch pattern!

Either way, it is a beautiful little stitch pattern!

I think differences in our translations of Miss Lambert’s pattern shows the significant role of personal interpretation in reproducing these 174-year-old knitting patterns.  At the end of the day, no one really knows what Miss Lambert’s finished items looked like. So we do the best with what we have, using our skills and our smarts and some creativity when things look a bit weird!

My chart and written instructions can be found here: III – Point Pattern.

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Grab some yarn and needles to match, cast on a multiple of 6 stitches plus 3 and give it a try!  I think you’ll enjoy bringing this old stitch pattern back to life!  Happy knitting!

MKB Pattern No. 26 – Rose Leaf

Today’s post is about the 26th pattern in Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book (first series) published in 1843.  The pattern is the second in a group of stitch patterns “suitable for doyleys” and is called Rose Leaf Pattern (pages 40-42).  This is a two-sided lace pattern (i.e. you do yarn overs, purl two/three togethers on the return row) which gives it a nice and compact feel and crisp definition on the rose leaves, but it does make it a bit of a challenge to rip back when you make a mistake!  Note to self:  I really must make use of lifelines.

As with the Leaf and Trellis pattern, the written directions are clear enough but required (at least for me!) a lot of attention and concentration.  I found I needed to read them very carefully each time to make sure I was adjusting everything properly when the pattern shifts.  Here is an example from the first page of the pattern:

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Finally, I decided to put the written pattern into chart form, there was an “ooooh” moment, and things were much easier after that.  My lesson learned here is to try and chart the pattern out before struggling through the written pattern!

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Note:  Cast on in multiples of 10 plus 13.  Purl the 1st row and then proceed to the stitch pattern above.  Horizontal repeats between the red lines as many times as you like.

My interpretation of the stitch pattern including the chart, symbol legend and written instructions can be downloaded here: II Rose Leaf – Miss Lambert.  Please note that this is not precisely as written by Miss Lambert, I changed some K2tog to SSK because I thought it made the pattern more symmetrical and I wondered if this might be what she meant anyway?  With no illustrations, there is no way of knowing if this interpretation is correct, but I think it worked out well.  If you have any issues with the chart/written instructions, please let me know and I will correct it.

I find it a very enjoyable and rewarding challenge to solve the pattern mysteries of Miss Lambert’s unillustrated book and discover these hidden gems.  Some days, I feel a little like a knitting Sherlock Holmes!  This stitch pattern is no exception, and I think it is one of my favourites so far from Miss Lambert’s book.  It does look like rose leaves, but I also see bee hives, and a larger scale project would be a lovely way to pay homage to the plight of the honeybee.  This stitch pattern has many possibilities for use in shawls, scarves, sweaters! The sample was knit using fingering weight yarn and 2mm needles; however, it could make a lovely wrap for sitting outside on a cool summer day listening to the buzz of bees in the garden.

Please feel free to forward this blog post to anyone you know who might have an interest in knitting Victorian patterns, resurrecting forgotten stitches or lace knitting in general.