Casting on …

After a search through my stash, I quickly realized I don’t actually have nine coordinating shades of fingering weight yarn on hand. So I decided to use 5 shades in my favourite colours (blue and grey) and see if I can create a nice effect by combining the colours as follows:  AA, AB, BB, BC, CC, CD, DD, DE, EE (where A = dark blue, B = light blue, C = dark grey, D = variegated grey and E = light grey).  With my colours selected and needle located, I am ready to tackle the rest of the pattern.

The remaining three lines of the pattern read as follows:

“Cast on sixty-four stitches with the darkest shade ;—knit three plain rows.

Fourth row—bring the wool forward, knit two together.

Repeat these four rows, (which form the pattern), nine times,—taking a lighter shade of wool each time.” 

(My Knitting Book, p. 13)

As straightforward as this appears there is some unfamiliar terminology that needs to be translated into modern day knitting language.  According to Miss Lambert, a plain row is a row of “simple knitting” and to bring the wool forward is to “bring the cotton forward so as to make a stitch.”  I chose to interpret this as a yarn over.  She does not specify any particular method of casting on, describing it as the “the first interlacement of the cotton on the needle.”  I used the e-wrap/backwards loop cast on.

I have cast on and am knitting away on my first Siberian cuff:

Up for the challenge!

Taking on a knitting book over 170 years old is an intimidating and exciting task.  I know there will be challenges with trying to match the pattern requirements (yarn, needles) to modern day equivalents.  I know I will have to learn the terminology used in Miss Lambert’s patterns and translate to present day techniques.  In some cases, I expect to be doing plenty of research into simply understanding the purpose of a knitted object.  I am up for the challenge!

In the beginning of my My Knitting Book, Miss Lambert provides an “Explanation of Terms used in Knitting” and provides information on the “Standard Filière” (a knitting gauge) designed by the authoress.  Miss Lambert also provides some (vague) guidance on gauge/tension, as follows:

“It is necessary, in giving or following directions for knitting, to caution knitters to observe a medium in their work – not knitting either too loose or too tight.” (p.12, My Knitting Book, 1843)