Revamping Victorian Lace
Whenever I flip through the pages of Weldon’s Practical Knitter, I’m always looking at the patterns with modern applications in mind. I love everything about the Victorian era—I wish I had the courage to walk down the street wearing the “Lady’s Brioche Jacket,” complete with gigantic mutton sleeves—but sometimes, these patterns just need a makeover.
It seems like nothing in Weldon’s allows for more experimentation than lace. Weldon’s Practical Knitter Series 25-28 includes many beautiful edgings and insertions, allowing you, the knitter, to do with them what you wish! You don’t really have to worry about gauge or whether or not the finished product will fit. Why not try a bulkier yarn (something almost never seen in nineteenth-century patterns, particularly lace ones!), or perhaps a bright, variegated colorway?
Many of the lace patterns are building blocks; there are no complete patterns for shawls or scarves. Use them to create your own designs. Combine an elegant edging with a simple stockinette or garter-stitch body to create a shawlette with a modern twist, or mix and match insertions and edgings for an elegant sampler scarf. Lace insertions look especially chic as a design element in a bold, minimalist sweater.
If you’re ready to get started, take a stab at this pattern a sweet diamond pattern and border.
A Pretty Little Diamond Pattern and a Border.
The pattern shown in the engraving is suitable for many purposes, and may be knitted with either wool or cotton, selecting a pair of knitting needles of suitable size. Commence the Diamond Pattern by casting on any number of stitches divisible by 6, and 1 stitch over to keep the edge even. It is a good plan to allow also from 4 to 8 extra stitches on each side for a margin; these to be always knitted plain. Do a few plain rows as a foundation. 1st Pattern row—Knit 1, k2tog, make 1, knit 1, make 1, slip 1, knit 1, pass the slipped stitch over, repeat the same, and end by knitting the last stitch. 2nd row—Purl. 3rd row—K2tog, * make 1, knit 3, make 1, slip 1, k2tog, pass the slipped stitch over, repeat from *; and at the end, after make 1, knit 3, make 1, slip 1, knit 1, pass the slipped stitch over. 4th row—Purl. 5th row—Knit 1, *make 1, slip 1, knit 1, pass the slipped stitch over, knit 1, k2tog, make 1, knit 1, and repeat from * to the end. 6th row—Purl. 7th row—Knit 2, *make 1, slip 1, k2tog, pass the slipped stitch over, make 1, knit 3, repeat from *, and end with knit 2 only. 8th row—Purl. Repeat these eight rows for the length required. Cast off loosely.
For the Border—Cast on 12 stitches. 1st row—Slip 1, knit 2, make 1, k2tog, make 2, k2tog, make 2, k2tog, make 2, k2tog, knit 1. 2nd row—Knit 3, purl 1, knit 2, purl 1, knit 2, purl 1, knit 2, make 1, k2tog, knit 1. 3rd row—Slip 1, knit 2, make 1, k2tog, knit 10. 4th row—Cast off 3, knit 8, make 1, k2tog, knit 1. Repeat these 4 rows until sufficient length is knitted.
If lace isn’t your thing, don’t worry! There are plenty of other knitted articles in Weldon’s Practical Knitter Series 25-28 to keep your needles clicking. You’ll find a number of beautiful quilt blocks and counterpanes, handsome stocking patterns, and all sorts of fun household items, including the “Pincushion Shaped like a Lemon” and the adorable “Egg Cozy.” I hope this collection of Weldon’s Practical Knitter inspires you!