Knitting Back in Time

Small purse to knit.

Small purse to knit.

Every time I pick up one of the volumes of Weldon’s Practical Needlework, I flash back to the PBS series The 1900 House, which aired in 1999/2000. I was totally enthralled with that up-close glimpse into Victorian life, although I did spend much of my time saying how happy I was not to have lived then! Just thinking about living without electricity, insulation, an indoor toilet, central heating, etc. was just daunting; you can clearly forget items like cell phones, shampoo, on-demand entertainment, refrigerators. The family who did the series managed but made it clear they didn’t want to go back. Existing was hard work.

Tassel pattern square for a quilt.

Tassel pattern square for a quilt.

And then you have the hundreds of thousand women in Victorian England who lived that life and somehow made time to knit. Weldon’s and the numerous other companies producing knitting patterns at the time support the premise that knitting was wildly popular. And these knitters were prolific. That’s understandable because, for many, several balls of yarn was affordable; store-bought quilts, stockings, jackets, baby booties, petticoats, caps, bags and purses, doll clothes, door stops, bath sponges, bottle covers, pen wipes, pincushions, and edgings weren’t.

Little Coral baby bootie.

Little Coral baby bootie.

The list above is just a portion of what’s in store for you with our newest Weldon’s Practical Knitter eBook! For this edition, we combined the twenty-ninth, thirtieth, thirty -first, and thirty-second series from Volumes 10 and 11 of Weldon’s Practical Needlework published in 1895 and 1896, respectively. In all, there are over 80 patterns in the four series—definitely enough to whet the appetite of any lover of Victorian knitting. I am particularly intrigued by the “not illustrated” Knitted Fascinator in the thirty-second series. Is this a toy for baby, a small hat à la those flights of whimsy made fashionable by Britain’s royal family, or what? If you make the Knitted Fascinator, we would love to see it! You can email your photos to piecework@interweave.com.

In addition to step-by-step directions for the various projects, Weldon’s offers a glimpse into Victorian life. Fortunately, one doesn’t have to physically go back in time as the Bowler family did in The 1900 House!

Happy knitting,
Jeane