From the Vault: Vintage Victorian Knitting Patterns

We asked Lindsay Smith, one of our instructional designers, to tell you about PieceWork’s newest release of Weldon’s Practical Knitter. Here’s Lindsay on the set with the next four series—Thirty-Seventh, Thirty-Eighth, Thirty-Ninth, and Fortieth:

One of the most fascinating things about the Weldon’s Practical Needlework collection is the contrast between outdated oddities and classic fashions that have endured through time. Even more fascinating is when these juxtapositions appear in the same volume or on the very same page. This is especially true in the new set of Weldon’s Practical Knitter: Thirty-Seventh Series, Thirty-Eighth Series, Thirty-Ninth Series, and Fortieth Series, a special PieceWork facsimile eBook from Volume 13 of Weldon’s Practical Needlework, which features material not included in the original Interweave facsimiles of Volumes 1 through 12.

Diamond Pattern Shawl, Showing a Corner of the Border and Insertion.

Diamond Pattern Shawl, Showing a Corner of the Border and Insertion.

On page 5 of the Thirty-Eighth Series, I nearly gasped when I saw the project titled “Diamond Pattern Shawl with Wide Handsome Border and Insertion.” Sure, the title is wordy, but the triangular Shetland lace shawl looks like it would fit right alongside the projects featured on the front page of Ravelry. I did a mental scan of my yarn stash at home to determine which skein to wind up for this project. Would I use a modern sock yarn to put a twenty-first-century twist on this classic design or keep it traditional with natural two-ply wool? Both would be equally stunning.

A Bather Doll.

A Bather Doll.

If you have a girl in your life who is anything like I was growing up, chances are she loves American Girl dolls and their accompanying historical fiction books. If you want to wow her this holiday, get started on some of the amazing, true vintage patterns for dolls in the Fortieth Series. I love the “Doll’s Shawl” and “Doll’s Petticoat” on page 11 because they are so approachable for modern knitters and can be made in any size, but who could resist the adorable “Bather Doll” costume on page 9? If anyone makes this set, I would love to see it. Please send us a picture (piecework@interweave.com with Weldon’s Doll in the subject line)!

Some projects are less applicable to today’s fashion but are interesting because their shape or function is unfamiliar to us in modern times. For instance, on the first page of the Thirty-Ninth Series, the “Knitted Cover for a Foot Warmer” is “intended to slip over a tin foot warmer or even a stone one, and is much nicer than a flannel bag.” I have never seen a tin or stone foot warmer, but now that I think of it, one might come in handy during chilly winter nights.

Knitted Cover for a Foot Warmer.

Knitted Cover for a Foot Warmer.

I hope you enjoy this new Weldon’s Practical Knitter series set as much as I have. I think you’ll find each of the more than 80 patterns in this set intriguing. It is such a pleasure to dive in to another place and time and connect with knitters who have paved the way in our craft.

Happy Knitting!
Lindsay S.