Thinking Outside the Box with Vintage Crochet Patterns
What is crochet lace to you? Is it a delicate edging or an elegant shawl? Is it worked in tiny thread or lace-weight alpaca?
I am currently fascinated by the lace crochet patterns that were printed in Weldon's in the 1800s. Weldon's says of their publication, "In an effort to bring needlework to the emerging middle class, Weldon's, a paper pattern producer of the Victorian era, began to publish monthly newsletters devoted to various crafts (beading, knitting, crochet, patchwork, and the like). These newsletters were typically 14 pages and cost 2 pence. Later, they were collected into book form, titled Weldon's Practical Needlework." These vintage patterns then underwent another transformation when they were reprinted in digital eBooks.
The lace patterns published by Weldon's in the 1800s held few preconceived notions of what the final piece should look like. The patterns provided basic pattern information and include a sketch of either the project or a swatch of the project, but they leave a good deal of the creation up to you.
I love the beginning sentence of the Crochet Shawl in Omega Pattern. It says, "Procure Shetland or Andalusian wool of the colour preferred, and in sufficient quantity for the size of the shawl." A sketch of the swatch gives you a basic idea of the look of the main body of the shawl as well as the intricate edging. The text shawl pattern begins by instructing you to work a chain for the required length.
Some may see these vintage patterns as too difficult to follow or are intimidated by the sparsely written instructions. I love these patterns. They are inspiration. You are not tied to creating a replica of the sample. How do you imagine your lace shawl? Is it a shawlette to be worn for a special occasion, a large shawl meant for both warmth and beauty; or will you think a little outside of the box and create an amazing afghan?
The Crochet D'Oyley is another vintage 1800s pattern I find particularly inspiring. This pattern, originally published by Weldon's, is an exquisite example of a vintage doily worked in cotton thread. I'd like to try it in a worsted-weight yarn for a circular lace afghan or perhaps an eye-catching floor rug.
So let your imagination tell you what to crochet as you explore lace patterns popular in the 1800s. Within the pages of Weldon's you will also find hairpin crochet, bead crochet, crocheted garments, and more. Download the Weldon's crochet series today!
P.S. Have you ever been inspired by vintage patterns? I would love to hear about it below.