MKB 31: Vandyke

The thirty-first pattern in Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book is for a Vandyke stitch pattern to be used in household items such as doilies and tidies but can be modified for use in shawls, wraps and pretty much anything else you can imagine!  The pattern is very straightforward and doesn’t really need too much interpretation if you remember that pearl knitting is the same as purl, plain knitting is the same as knit and thread forward is the same as a yarn-over:

Cast on any number of stitches that can be divided by ten.
First row—pearl knitting.
Second row—plain knitting.
Third row—pearl knitting.
Fourth row—bring the thread forward, knit two; knit two together; pearl one; knit two together; knit two; bring the thread forward, knit one.—Repeat.
Commence again, as at first row.  (My Knitting Book, First Series, p.47).

I charted it up as written, and then changed it so that the chart is mostly knit stitches (instead of purl).  It certainly makes the chart easier to read (and if I’ve done it correctly, does not change the end result).  Click here for full chart.


Then, I cast on 40 stitches and here was the result (assuming that this was the right side!):

I have seen many variations of Vandyke patterns in knitting, crochet and embroidery which made me wonder what the origin of the name might be.  I couldn’t find too much information but did find this in an article on the Interweave website:

The Vandyke stitch (which has no relationship to the Vandyke stitch used in smocking), a collar, and a distinctive beard shape, certainly were named after the great Flemish painter, Anthony Van Dyck (1599–1641), who immortalized the collar and beard in his portraits of England’s Charles I (1600–1649) and other notables of the period. The stitch, collar, and beard share a common characteristic—the chevron shape.

Van Dyck painted this image of Charles I in three poses and you can see that the beard and collar both show a chevron shape:


Charles I in Three Positions


So, it seems that Vandyke is simply another way to say chevron.  What do you think?  Do you know anything about the origins of the use of the term Vandyke in knitting, crochet and needlework?  Please share below!

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.


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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MKB Project No. 12: Fringe Pattern Knitting

The next project in Miss Lambert’s 1843 knitting manual, My Knitting Book (First Series), is for “Fringe Pattern Knitting.”  After a lengthy pattern (by Miss Lambert’s standards) for the previous project, this pattern is very simple, comprising only three lines:

Cast on any even number of stitches, in German wool—No. 10 needles.

Turn the wool round the needle, bringing it in front again; knit two together, taken in front.

Every row is the same.  (My Knitting Book, p.23)

In modern day knitting terminology, German Wool is the equivalent of fingering weight yarn and No. 10 needles on the Lambert Filière is equivalent to a 4mm needle.

I chose some fingering weight yarn left over from another project and decided to knit a swatch using this pattern. Although Miss Lambert doesn’t give any suggestions for where this stitch pattern could be used, I suspect that it could be used as a trimming or decorative edge for a scarf, shawl, blanket or any other project that needs a decorative touch.  Once I have knit up the swatch, I’m sure I will have a better idea of where it could be used!