• Test knit swatches in silk and wool
    Counterpanes,  Crochet,  Knitting,  Needlework

    A fibre decision made

    A fibre decision has been made. And the choice is… There were many test swatches done and fibres tested until there were three top choices. And then, after some further testing and planning, the choice has been narrowed to two fibres: 100% silk wool / silk blend   The shawl will be a ‘swatch sampler’, consisting of knitted or crocheted squares – or any needlework technique that will lend itself to the fingering weight wool. This ‘sampler’ shawl will be a great opportunity for beginner stitchers to try their hand at a vintage pattern. Kits will be available in the near future that will include yarn and pattern and instructions. If…

  • Counterpanes,  Knitting,  Needlework

    The quest for sheen begins

    The search for the right fibre for the wedding dress recreation is underway. For the first time ever, I find myself trying to knit with silk in the quest for a sheen to match the lovely shine of a vintage wedding dress dating from 1911. The lace-weight silk yarn in my test swatch has a lovely shine. I’ve never worked with silk before, so it feels a bit awkward, a bit too thin somehow. I’m so used to knitting with worsted-weight wool, my hands feel clumsy. I’ve been experimenting with needle sizes and types, trying to see what feels right. The bamboo needles seem to work best with the silk.…

  • Counterpanes,  Knitting,  Needlework,  Updates

    A dress of many patterns

    Hi, everyone! Today on the blog it’s all about the wedding dress recreation project: a dress of many patterns. Last month, I shared the idea of recreating a vintage wedding dress from the collection of the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol. The plan is to recreate the basic pattern of the dress using swatches of recreated needlework items. So, it’s a reproduction on two levels. The needlework techniques used in the swatches will depend on the skills of the volunteers that take part. If there are tatting experts, for example, tatting reproduction swatches could be worked up and incorporated into the dress. The backstory to this idea is here…

  • Counterpanes,  Knitting,  Needlework,  Test-Stitchers

    Volunteer test-stitchers needed!

    Greetings, fellow knitters! Would you be interested in becoming a volunteer test-knitter? I’ve just completed a draft of a pattern for Knit Fingerless Mitts and I’d be happy to get some feedback on the pattern. Each mitt is worked from one corner to the opposite corner, with reverse-stockinette-stitch surrounding an embossed leaf in the lower half of the unit, a row of eyelets through the middle, and alternating stockinette-stitch and reverse-stockinette-stitch ribbing above. The garter-stitch rows feature a yarn-over increase at the beginning of each row. In the image, half of the mitt (the embossed leaf portion) uses yarn dyed with red onions, Burdock, Goldenrod, and Black Walnuts. The other…

  • Counterpanes,  Knitting,  Needlework

    Counterpane Pincushion, inspired by history

    Do you love stitching from old patterns? I certainly do. I also enjoy trying to recreate a pattern based upon a stitched item. This pincushion is inspired by a white cotton counterpane baby blanket in the collection of the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol in Goderich, Ontario. White cotton counterpanes (or coverlets) were common in the nineteenth century, as was “white knitting,” due to the preference at the time for white bed coverings and because of the ready availability of cotton yarn. Counterpanes are made up of smaller units (squares or octagons, for example) that are worked separately and then joined together to create an overall design or effect.…

  • Counterpanes,  Knitting,  Needlework

    Counterpane Pillow

    Recreating the pattern of a knit counterpane bureau scarf from the collection of the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol is a fascinating trip through vintage knitting patterns and traditions. Counterpanes – white bed coverlets or bedspreads – were quite popular in the mid-1800s and into the 1900s and were traditionally made from white or cream-coloured cotton yarn that was so readily available at that time. The knitted 1890 counterpane bureau scarf in the museum collection consists of three components: 3 squares made up of 4 triangles each, a leaf panel below the assembled squares, and a pointed, saw-tooth edging. The four triangles are knit separately then crocheted together. The squares each measure 12″ by 12″; the leaf panel measures…