A Victorian Knitted Stocking Challenge

Included in Donna Druchunas’s “The Delights and Perplexities of Victorian Knitting Books” in the January/February 2012 issue was PieceWork’s “Victorian Knitting Challenge.” We offered complete instructions for “A Knitted Stocking” found in Elizabeth Jackson’s The Practical Companion to the Work-Table Containing Directions for Knitting, Netting, & Crochet (1845). The instructions are worded exactly as they appear in the original; typical of many books of this era, there is no illustration of the stocking and no information on yarn, needle size, or gauge.

knitted stocking

Donna Druchunas’s stocking based on her interpretation of the original instructions for “A Knitted Stocking” in an 1845 book. Photo by Joe Coca.

A Knitted Stocking

Cast on fifty stitches on three needles, pearl and knit ten rounds, then three plain rounds, then decrease every sixth round for five rounds, then decrease every nine rounds till it is narrow enough for the ankle; divide the loops on four needles for the heel; knit and seam two needles alternately for the heel till there are sixteen rows; then decrease one stitch at each side of the seam stitch outside four rows; knit the stitches together to take off the heel, then take up the stitches at the side and join the stitches of the other two needles; knit round, increase twelve stitches on each of the side needles, and decrease on the first six stitches from the end; knit the second needle; knit four stitches on the other side needle, take one without knitting, knit the next, pass the slipt one over it; then a plain round, and repeat as before till you have thirty-four stitches on each needle; knit plain till the foot is long enough, and narrow it off.

The responses to our challenge were varied, but what remains constant in every knitter’s experience was the fun and the fascination in interpreting the instructions. To view the challenge submissions and read Donna Druchunas’s notes on how she knit her own version of “A Knitted Stocking,” download a copy of the July/August 2012 issue of PieceWork.


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