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,
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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.
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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.

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