• Online collection of Victorian knitting manuals

    If you are like me and love to look through vintage knitting and crochet patterns, I just recently stumbled upon an online resource that you might enjoy. The Knitting Reference Library of the University of Southampton includes the published works collected by Montse Stanley, Richard Rutt and Jane Waller. These comprise books, exhibition catalogues, knitting patterns, journals and magazines. The Victorian knitting manuals donated by Richard Rutt have been digitized and can be viewed online for free. You can search through the extensive collection here! Exciting stuff for pattern researchers!

  • Researching vintage colourwork

    I’ve been doing some research on colourwork patterns and knitting histories and traditions as part of the development of a new pattern, the Huron Wristers. The wristers pattern is based on a pair of lovely knitted gloves in the collection of the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol located in Goderich, Ontario. The museum’s gloves are approximately 100 years old, are knit with wool and are large enough to fit a man’s hands. The pattern is somewhat similar to Sanquhar and Fair Isle colourwork traditions. I went through many a pattern book and magazine, looking for where the pattern may have originated. I’ve come to think that the knitter (said…

  • Knitting History Forum AGM and Conference 2020

    Exciting news for those into knitting history! The Knitting History Forum has decided to stage their AGM and Conference as an online event on Sat., Nov. 7, 2020. This event will be free to attend and open to all, following registration, and will comprise speakers, discussion groups/show and tell and opportunities for research students to give short presentations or present posters online of their current work-in-progress. For more info please see: http://knittinghistory.co.uk/  The Knitting History Forum is an international society, open to anyone with an interest in the history of knitting and crochet. Their website has more info on the latest in knitting history news and forthcoming events, and as well…

  • Knitting in code

    I just finished knitting this lovely lady as a gift for someone special. I’m experimenting and playing with the idea of including a message within the stitchwork itself. This heart has one word stitched into the gray section: look for the odd stitches. I used Madame Defarge’s cipher; each letter of the alphabet is represented by certain combinations of stitches. Here’s the link to more info & to the cipher: https://blog.uwgb.edu/…/knitting-code-a-tale-of-two-very-d…/

  • Huron Wristers

    Greetings & a happy December! Here’s a sneak peek at the new wrister pattern in test stitching stage; the wool is from Steele Wool Farm. The colour-work portion is inspired by the fair isle pattern of vintage knit gloves in the collection of the Huron County Museum. Once the pattern is finalized, a kit will be available for purchase. Stay tuned as this idea is under development!

  • New wristers pattern underway

    So November is here and there’s snow arriving in Huron County. It’s time to return to mitten knitting. It’s been years since I’ve made mittens; about 20 in fact. But, I’ve been thinking about a history-inspired stranded mitten pattern and I can’t get the colour-work idea out of my mind. The fair isle portion (see next post) that I plan on doing is a reproduction of the colourwork pattern of a pair of heirloom knitted gloves in the collection of the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol located in Goderich, Ontario. Happy Stitching!

  • Heirloom museum textiles

    In past centuries, women crafted heirloom needlework and textiles that were practical and beautiful, combining function with artistic expression. These beautiful household textiles from the 19th Century are today rare, yet the Huron County Museum and Historic Gaol, in Goderich, is fortunate to feature many pieces, including two counterpanes (one knitted, the other crocheted), a knitted bureau scarf, a crocheted antimacassar, and an embroidered linen shopping bag. White cotton counterpanes (or coverlets) were common in the 19th Century, as was ‘white knitting,’ because of the ready availability of cotton yarn. The museum has some fine examples of traditional, heirloom-quality counterpanes. According to Merriam-Webster, the word ‘counterpane’ comes from the Middle…

  • History of Tomato Pin Cushions

    Metal pins are an invaluable tool for today’s needleworker and seamstress, and they were no less so for sewers throughout history. With pins came a variety of ways to store them, including boxes, cases and cushions. 15th-Century Debut The first reference to the tomato pin cushion appears in the 15th century. Before this, as metal pins were rare and expensive, they were stored in a variety of protective cases made of bone, ivory or silver. Tudor era During the Tudor Era (1485-1603) it became common practice to use fancy, stuffed shapes to store needles and pins. The familiar tomato shape evolved due to the folklore surrounding the fruit, which symbolized…

  • A dress of many patterns

    Hi, everyone! Today on the blog it’s all about a dress recreation project: a dress of many patterns. I’ve spoken about the idea of recreating a vintage, Edwardian-styled dress from the collection of the Huron County Museum & Historic Gaol. The plan is to recreate the basic pattern of a tea dress using swatches of recreated needlework items. So, it’s a reproduction on two levels: design & construction. The dress design will be based on an Edwardian Tea Dress-style wedding dress originally worn by Francis Mason Watson (1890 – 1918) a former resident of Blyth, Ontario. The shawl and dress will be made up of vintage pattern samplers (swatches) based…