Monday, August 25, 2008

Charted Victorian Knitted Lace, Part II

I've finished my "chemise trimming" cuffs that I first mentioned here and then later in this post. From The Young Ladies' Journal, Complete Guide to the Work-table (1885), this is the image of the complete trimming set,

So I started by charting out the written pattern instructions,

This turns out to be a garter stitch type lace. I got through the pattern once, then decided I didn't really care for the garter stitch look. At least, not in size 10 cotton crochet thread. Here's the test swatch, in garter stitch.

So I revised the pattern to a stockinette stitch lace. I also adjusted where the center motif falls, so that I wouldn't have an extra row of plain stitch every 15 rows.

Since the pattern repeats every 15 rows, which is an odd number, the second time through the pattern all the knit rows are switched to purl rows and all the purl rows switched to knit rows. Here's second chart with the knit and purl rows swapped.

I ended up doing 10 repeats of the pattern: five times through the first chart, and five times through the second chart, alternating between the two. I hadn't quite realized that my purl side decreases weren't angling the way I intended; the trim with the stitch marker is the second cuff, with the decreases angled correctly (for the last 7 of the motifs).

This gives me some ruffled wrist cuffs. I don't yet have anything to put them on, but I'm sure I'll find something at some point.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Gavin Fernandes

I'm not even sure how anymore how I came across this article about Gavin Fernandes' Monarchs of the East End. Although I don't care for his other series, some of the photos in 'Empire Line' are an interesting portrayal of Victorian-cross-India. For example the Empire Line 1 and Empire Line 2 images.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Obligatory Steampunk

For some reason I feel a need to make an obligatory steampunk post. I think I personally fall more in the category of Victorian inspired, rather than some of the other subcultures that have formed. While I find it fascinating that people adopt the culture fully within their lives, I'm just interested in the clothing. Not even all the clothing, mostly just the formal wear. Fluffy blouses, fitted waists, long skirts, nice lace, and maybe even a slight bustle. The kinds of clothing that you just don't see much of these days. (As an aside, I was in a shop recently, and everything looked like an oversized t-shirt, or long tank t-shirt, so I started looking for something to wear under my corset, because I just don't get the look-like-a-bag fashion that seems to be the current trend.)

In my search for more about steampunk, I found out there's a steampunk magazine. Now, if only some one could point me to something like 'Victorian inspired fashion' or even 'Historically inspired fashion', I might actually get a magazine subscription. The sad thing is that such a thing probably exists, and I just haven't been able to find it. Sigh ...

So in the clothing arena, The Gentleman's Emporium has a nice selection of items I think of as the base elements: blouses, skirts, vests and coats, and some appropriate accessories such as lace gloves and parasols. Found by way of a Burning Man group blog. I really want a lace parasol for going out and walking about. I'm the kind of person that burns within a couple minutes.

Toxiferous Designs had a post pointing to C. Cordova Fashion, and I have to agree that there are some nice, vaguely victorian-ish (definitely steampunk-ish) clothing items. For example, a paisley duster. Unfortunately, the O'Halloran company seems to have closed in 2006.

I have more links to images, but I think I'll save the rest for later posts.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Charted Victorian Knitted Lace, Part I

[A new (and revised) version of the double rose leaf chart below can be found in this post]

In my previous post I pointed out some of the patterns I found interesting in The Young Ladies' Journal, Complete Guide to the Work-table (1885). So my first step was to translate the written instructions in the book into charts, because I'm a visual person and a chart lets me find the repeated and symmetric elements easier. I then debated the size of needles and thread. Since I had a large ball of white cotton, size 10 thread, I decided to use that for my test patterns.

The needles still had me a little baffled. After a quick online search, I came across an excellent little article about yarn weight and needle size by Eunny Jang of See Eunny Knit. The article, "Majoring in Lace, Part II", suggests trying out different needle sizes and seeing what you prefer. So I decided to test out different needle sizes by making a bookmark out of each pattern I wanted to try. I figured that in addition to determining which needle sizes I liked, I'd have something slightly useful.

I started with the Double-Rose Leaf Pattern, No.50, on page 53,
Text not available

and translated the instructions to the following chart:

Using size 10 cotton thread, and size 00 (double zero) needles, I knitted 13 repeats of the pattern. Its a long bookmark. On the two ends, I crocheted a small edging with size 8 (1.5 mm) hook. The edging was roughly: dc on edge, ch 3, dc into 1st stitch of chain, dc on edge.

While I liked the tight stitching with the size 00 needles, I also wanted to try a larger size, and see what the result looked like when somewhat looser. The second pattern I tried was the wave pattern, No. 56, on page 61.
Text not available

I translated the instructions into chart form, as follows. When knitting, however, I changed the purl 2 edging, to a knit 1, purl 1, knit 1 edging.

I used the same size 10 cotton thread, but this time I knitted on size 3 needles. While on the needles and before blocking, I didn't think much of the pattern and the use of size 3 needles, but after blocking I'm liking the result more. While I still prefer the smaller needles for this cotton thread, I can see that the larger needle size would work well with a fuzzier yarn, such as a wool fingerling.
Although I haven't done so yet, I'll probably add a little crochet edging to the ends to finish the bookmark off.

After these two swatches, I started in on the chemise trim. I decided to change the pattern slightly after the first pass. Thus far, I have finished one cuff and after the second is finished, I'll post the chart and revised pattern.