Wednesday, August 25, 2010

be fashioned as before

This rainy summer I have spent some quiet and rewarding hours in the reading room at our local State and University Library. I have borrowed old knitting books from 1845 and 1875 and really enjoy reading the patterns - like some people like to read food recipes and imagining flavor and taste without putting on weight. In this case I rest my arm.
The period, I am interested in is urban Victorian style, with its deep colors, tassels and fringes. The yarn, which is often mentioned in the books, is Zephyr wool in Danish, and found out that it is the same as Berlin wool used for embroidery.
Googling led to fly-fishing. The body of some very famous historic flies were tied with leftovers. Guess the salmons never had a chance. Thanks to Mr. William S. Bailey I now have access to colors and fibers, a 3 threads merino, in the adventurous, historic work of knitting.
And the colors are:
black - blue - brick red - green
light brown - magenta - olive - orange
purple - red - scarlet - yellow

I have written down a wonderful fringe pattern from 1845. I venture to translate it:

With Berlin wool held double and steel needles size 17
Cast on four stitches, knit back.
Set up row : yarn over 5 times, purl two together, yarn over twice, purl two together.
Row 1 : Yarn over, purl two together, slip loop, yarn over twice, purl two together, pull out the needle.
Row 2 : Yarn over 5 times, purl 2 together, slip loop, purl two together.
Repeat many times , bind off, and sew on.

This is what I have worked for meeee and myself:
I have finished the Coquille shawl, it is a bit sad, because I enjoyed every minute of knitting it. Here is my scarf for the winter.


  1. Your coquille shawl came out so beautiful! I have decided to spin some merino/seacell bland to make one for myself - you have inspired me.

  2. Who knew there was an intersection between fly fishing and knitting? The internet does lead us to some wondeful places. I must try your fringe. And the Coquille is gorgeous. I love the color. And honestly, I think I prefer the solid color ones after all.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.