Knit stockings inspired by Little House in the Big Woods

Lacy Little House Stockings by Lauren A. Ramsey, from the Fall 2011 edition of Knitting Traditions

I've read every one of the little house books more than once; probably more than twice! My favorite is These Happy Golden Years, mostly because of the love story between Almanzo and Laura, but I can name so many moments from those books that have enriched my life.

How about the time Mr. Edwards crossed the flooded river to bring Christmas presents to the girls? Or the time Pa bought Ma a sewing machine? Or Laura's first, harrowing teaching assignment? Or the sod house on Plum Creek? Or the maple syrup dance celebration? I told you I've read them all!

Speaking of the maple syrup dance celebration, I came upon this little article in the new edition of Knitting Traditions:

Lacy Little House Stockings from the American Prairie
by Lauren A. Ramsey

In the book Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (originally published in 1932 and the first book in the Little House series), six-year-old Laura watches her aunts Ruby and Docia as they dress for a party:

"Then they pulled on their beautiful white stockings, that they had knit in fine cotton thread in lacy, openwork patterns, and they buttoned up their best shoes."

There are many, many references to needlework in the Little House books, but it was this mention of handknit lace socks that struck and inspired me. How lovely they must have been, to merit a place in an autobiographical story half a century later!

—from Knitting Traditions

Lauren designed the stockings as a tribute to Laura and the Little House books, and they're very special. I think Docia and Ruby would wear Lauren's stockings with pride. And I love the background fabric in the photograph—it evokes the fabric that Ma might have made a special-occasion dress with.

Lauren used what's called a "lozenge" lace pattern to make up the body of the sock. The chart below shows how this pattern works. It would be a good one for a lace scarf, too, or even a shawl.

The Lozenge chart is worked over 31 stitches. The red box shows the pattern repeat.

I think the Little House books are such important parts of our American Heritage. The simple, effective way of life is so interesting, and so far from how we live our lives today. Sometimes I wish that my evenings were spent  knitting in a rocking chair by the light of a gas lantern. Then I think about my recliner and Ott light and I'm happy for the strides we've made!

But I'll always hold the Little House books in a special place in my heart and memory.

Get your copy of Knitting Traditions today and join me in reeling back the years to a simpler time.


P.S. What's your favorite Little House book? Leave a comment and let me know which one and why you love it.

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