Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Frills and flowers

Internet! If you go find the July/August 2011 issue of PieceWork magazine and flip nearly all the way to the back, you'll find a short article I wrote and a pattern for a frilly Victorian accessory.

A collar and a magazine

The article is a quick walk through Home work: a choice collection of useful designs for the crochet and knitting needle. Also, valuable recipes for the toilet, which is as it sounds. It was published in Toronto in 1891 and contains many, many knitted and crocheted edgings, a number of small garment patterns, and a modest collection of horrifying recipes for unguents to rub on your face. (The full text of the book is available online here, though the quality of the scan leaves something to be desired and most of the images are difficult to make out.)

The frilly accessory is a collar (No. 110 – Vandyke Collar), instructions for which begin on p. 335 of Home Work. I made a few minor adaptations, including changing the central motif to make it symmetrical, knitting it at a different gauge (no gauge is specified, but the pattern text implies that it should be tiny!), and charting the whole thing for concision's sake. There are a lot of short rows involved in its construction, which was a lovely surprise. If you knit it out of cashmere and add a row of pretty buttons up the front like I did, it turns into an elegant little wintry piece to wear underneath your coat.

An update on the last thing I posted: after knitting about a thousand rows of edging, picking up five hundred stitches along its straight edge, and knitting about 40 rows, I concluded that the centre line of the triangle was really an ugly disruption to the elaborateness happening on either side of it, so I unknitted it all. I am recycling the pattern thus far into a rectangle, which is probably better suited to it anyway. It includes these very stylized flowers:

A flowery swatch

I learned about them from this picture that edithcone posted in the Heirloom Knitting group on ravelry. The shawl in the picture was knitted by Joan Thomasina Williamson in Shetland, and edithcone did a great service to humanity by visiting it and taking a picture. I think the flowers are too amazing not to borrow, so I have charted them (and a couple of variations with different motifs up top—different species? should they have different leaves, too?) and will fit them into a zigzagging background of smaller stylized plant motifs. Not the zigzags pictured above; different ones, with more plain garter stitch "white space" separating things.

You can tell that the flowers are awesome because I am not disappointed about tearing out this much knitting: it just means that I get to knit them all over again!


Leanne said...

Congratulations! I am looking forward to buying the magazine, and I will now follow your link and see what is on line.

Alwen said...

I have a subscription to that magazine, and thought the collar was the most interesting piece in there this time around!