A Crochet Pattern 150+ Years Later
One of my favorite projects from PieceWork’s newest special issue, Vintage Crochet, is the Fox Traveling Bag in Tunisian Crochet. Here’s the background on it.
PieceWork has a growing collection of vintage books; we search antiquarian book stores for nineteenth-century original editions. We use them for inspiration, for eBooks, for individual projects. One day, we found a bound copy of all of the 1862 issues of Peterson’s Magazine. Oh yes, we had to have it!
Charles Jacobs Peterson (1819–1887) began his publishing career in 1839 when he went to work for well-known publisher George Rex Graham (1813–1894). Among their endeavors were Graham’s Magazine and The Saturday Evening Post. The two men decided that an opportunity existed to compete with the formidable and highly profitable magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book begun in 1830 by Louis A. Godey. Godey’s Lady’s Book cost $3 per year; Peterson and Graham’s brainchild would cover the same material but cost only $2 per year. Graham and Peterson published the first issue of Ladies National Magazine in January 1842. In 1843, Peterson ended his collaboration with Graham, and in 1848, changed the name of the publication to Peterson’s Magazine. It continued in business until 1898 when Peterson sold the magazine, and it became a part of Argosy magazine.
Peterson’s formula varied little over the years. The following were included in each issue: serialized fiction, short stories, poems, music, engravings, one color-fashion plate, and patterns and instructions for numerous forms of needlework. The Editor’s Table, subtitled Editorial Chit-Chat, ran at the back of each issue. Here, readers could find advice on various subjects (“Useless Accomplishments” and “A Method of Ascertaining the State of the Lungs”), book reviews, recipes, details on that issue’s fashion illustrations, Miscellaneous Receipts (“Invisible Ink” and “Dr. Johnson’s Receipt for Rheumatism”), “Parlor Amusements,” “Scientific Recreations,” and lots of self-promotion for Peterson’s.
We fell in love with the pattern worked in Tunisian crochet with cross-stitched fox heads in the May issue and asked Toni Rexroat, editor of Interweave’s CrochetMe.com, to adapt the instructions for the blanket into instructions for a traveling bag for Vintage Crochet. The Fox Traveling Bag in Tunisian crochet turned out wonderfully well. For Vintage Crochet, Toni provided step-by-instructions for making the bag. For example, here are Toni’s instructions for working the side triangles of the bag:
Row 1: Tss in the bottom ridge lp of 2nd ch from hook and each ch across; RetP.
Rows 2 and 3: Tss across; RetP.
Row 4: Tss2tog, Tss to last 3 sts, Tss2tog, Tss; RetP.
Row 5: Rep Row 2.
Row 6: Rep Row 3.
Row 7: Rep Row 4.
Row 8: Tss across; RetP.
Row 9: Rep Row 4.
Rows 10-13: Rep Rows 8-9 two times.
Rows 14-16: Rep Rows 2-4.
Rows 17-20: Rep Rows 8-9 two times.
Row 21: Tss across; RetP.
BO each st across.
As you can see from the Peterson’s illustration, instructions, key, and chart (shown above), Peterson’s wasn’t really into step-by-step instructions!
The vast majority of patterns in Peterson’s, including The Traveling Blanket, is attributed to Mrs. Jane Weaver. We’ve searched high and low for information on her but only find a plethora of patterns attributed to her. Who was she? Was she an actual person or is this the pen name for various staff members? We’ll keep on looking for more information on her. If you have any, please do send it to us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Thanks to Mrs. Jane Weaver for her work on the original pattern; thanks to Toni Rexroat for being inspired to create the fabulous Fox bag based on the original. I so hope you’ve enjoyed this step back in time! I think Mrs. Weaver would be pleased.