Thursday, January 31, 2013

Listening and Sewing

I'm doing quite a bit of hand sewing and listening to an audio book. The book I'm currently listening to is Tempest and Sunshine by Mary Jane Holmes

I've only two more chapters to go.
Then on to the next audio book which is American Notes for General Circulation by Charles Dickens
I recently acquired an 1857 version of American Notes.

Finished listening to the above books and I'm currently listening to; 
The Missing Bride, E.D.E.N. Southworth, 1855

Monday, January 21, 2013

More on Braces / Suspenders

Here are some directions for suspenders / braces. These are plain utilitarian styles. There are other knit or crochet directions available for the fancier suspenders / braces.  

The Girl’s Own Book 1833 edition
Pg. 228
There is a kind of knitting, called pegging, done by drawing yarn through every loop with one crooked ivory needle. Little woolen shoes for infants are knit a great deal in this way; likewise suspenders.

A very elastic kind of suspenders is made by knitting one stitch and slipping the next upon the needle without knitting, casting the yarn directly over it. The next time going round, this stitch and its loop are knit together, and the stitches which were knit before are slipped, and a loop thrown over them. [Brioche stitch]

Workwoman’s Guide 1840
The shape of a brace is wide in the middle, with two narrow ends.
For the first narrow end, set on twenty-four stitches, and knit two nails in length, in imitation of double knitting, or in huckaback-stitch. Widen to forty-eight stitches, and knit a length of nine nails.
Narrow at each end, till reduced to thirty stitches, then put half the loops on one pin and half on another; continue knitting each end separately until three nails long, then fasten off and the one brace is completed. These two last ends should be knot with a button hole in each, which is easily done by again halving the stitches on tow pins, and knitting them separately a few rows( say eight or twelve), and afterwards joining them together on one pin again.

No. 17.
The Rough Cast, or, Huckaback Stitch.
Set on any uneven number of stitches.
Knit plain and turn stitch alternately, observing to begin every row with the plain stitch.
This is very pretty, and firm, and suitable of borders.

N0. 20
Imitation Double Knitting.
Set on any even number of stitches.
Turn a stitch, and knit a stitch alternately.

The Ladies’ Knitting and Netting Book, By Miss Watts

Second Series – 1840

Suspenders - Pg. 108
Two needles No. 16.

Cast on 18 stitches, and knit about 6 rows in double knitting with the tread once round the needle, knit 9 stitches, take off the other 9 on another needle, and knit the first 9 backwards and forwards until it is long enough for a button-hole; take back the cotton and knit up the other 9 until both are even, (the loop which is left from carrying the thread down can be sewn in afterwards); knit 6 double knitting, and 2 rows double knitting with the thread twice round the needle. Knit 1 row of plain knitting, increasing 1 stitch in every 2, which will make in all 27. Then in the front row; knit the 2nd stitch first, drawing it over the 1st, knit the first, knit the 1st, knit the 4th and 3rd, 6th and 5th, and repeat the same to the end, which will be 1 knitted stitch. Back row; purl the 1st stitch, taking 2 stitches together as if you were going to decrease, but pick up again the stitch nearest to the right hand and purl it: repeat this to the last stitch, which is to be purled. Repeat these 2 rows until you think it long enough, then begin double knitting, decrease to 18 stitches again, knit about 2 inches and finish in a point.
            These suspenders are firmer and less elastic than those given in the first series.

The Ladies’ Knitting and Netting Book, By Miss Watts

First Series – 1840

Suspenders. – Pg. 58
Three needles, No. 15
Cast on 24 stitches, knit about 6 rows double knitting; knit 12 stitches and take off the other 12 on the third needle; knit with the first 12 several rows until you think it will be long enough for one side of the button-hole; take back the cotton and knit up the other 12 until both are even (the loop which is left from carrying the thread down, can be sewn in afterwards); knit 6 or 8 whole rows in double knitting; then bring the cotton forward, slip the 1st stitch taking it off as if you were going to knit it, knit a stitch, by this you increase a stitch, bring the cotton forward, slip a stitch, knit a stitch, do the same to the end, when you will find you have increased 12 stitches.
            Second row; bring the cotton forward, slip a stitch taking it as before, knit 2 in 1, bring the cotton forward, slip a stitch, still observing to take it in the same manner, knit 2 in 1, and so on to the end of the row [this is a brioche stitch]
Every row is alike. When you think it long enough begin double knitting again, and decrease to 24 stitches by taking the double stitch as only 1; continue the double knitting for about 2 inches. Decrease one stitch at each end of your needle and finish it in a point.
The Household Encyclopedia 1859

Knitting, Scotch, is performed with only one needle, and that must have a hook at one end, and there never must be more than one stitch on the needle at a time. To begin the work, take one end for the worsted or cotton in the left hand, and with the right hand place another part of the thread over it in the form of a loop. Draw the thread through this loop, and make as many loops as you may require stitches. When these loops are drawn rather closely together the work will appear like chain stitch; then knit the first and last loops together to join them. To do this pass the needle through a stitch on the side which is next to you, and then turn the thread over the hook, and draw it through the loop; then make another stitch, and draw it through the loop in the same manner. Thus you have a second stitch upon the needle, which must be drawn through the first stitch, so as to have only one stitch on the needle, and so proceed with every remaining stitch round and round. You widen by knitting two stitches in one loop, and you narrow by taking two stitches on the needle, and knitting them as one. You can make an alteration in the pattern by passing the needle into the stitches on the side farthest from you. It might be adopted either to diversify the general appearance of an article, or for the purpose of finishing off its edges neatly. This description of knitting is very frequently employed for infants' woollen or cotton shoes or boots; and braces or suspenders may also be knitted in this manner, and rendered more elastic by knitting one stitch, and slipping the next upon the needle without knitting, casting the thread over it to the next succeeding stitch. In the following row this stitch and its loop should be knitted together, and the stitches which were knitted before should be slipped, and have a loop formed over them. This is something like what is know as the "crochet stitch."--(Finchley Needlework Manual.)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Norwegian Morning or Bonnet Cap

I've been working on the interpretation for this cap. The original directions are in Godey's. Here is my finished cap. I used Filatura Di Crosa Nirvana Extrafine Merino (lace weight) wool, No. 3 knitting needles and a no. 2 crochet hook for the border. The bows are silk.

Knitting with lace weight was a it catches on everything and it takes a light touch to knit.  I've made a number of these caps, using a 4 ply fingering. They are similar in the  finished size. There are a number of interpretations out there for this cap.

Norwegian Morning Bonnet or Cap

Additional photos of another Norwegian Morning Bonnet or Cap...finally getting around to adding the ribbons and bows. Knit with fingering weight wool.

Red, white and blue, Norwegian Morning or Bonnet Cap

One more...Knit with fingering weight wool.
Norwegian Morning or Bonnet Cap

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I joined Weight Watchers last year. I'm now three pounds away from my "goal" and becoming a life member of WW. I've beaten menopause, feel great and have new clothes! :) It is not just watching what I eat but the physical activities I do to made my weight loss a success. I found a few articles about exercising in the mid-19th I need to make an exercise outfit.

Garden Walks for Exercise.
    A friend writes us that, in his large grounds, he has laid out a series of walks so arranged that by going over one track a certain number of times, the extent is a mile. Against a wall he has affixed an iron strap pierced with holes, by the side of which is a pin suspended by a small chain, so that the pedestrian, by moving the pin from one hole to another every time he passes it, knows exactly the extent of his walk.
    This is all very well, when one can't do better. We have known persons exercising by the clock in their rooms, or pacing back and forth over a few rods of pavement, and amid the same scenes, by the hour. But it strikes us that when one wishes a smart walk, he had better launch forth from his garden, and perambulate the public street, so that he may see new faces and new scenes. Or, there is work to be done, put on the garden outfit, and with hoe and water-pot or other implement, he will soon get pleasant healthful exercise. This is the writer's experience.  American Agriculturist 1863

    Females much confined within-doors, often suffer ill-health form the want of exercise. Nature demands it, and health cannot exist without it. The skipping rope, dumb-bells, battledore and shuttlecock, &c., are all aids to the required end. Frequently, however, these exercises are regarded as childish; it is over-looked that some women, as well as girls, nature demands the fulfilment of the same laws, and there is no time when systematic exercise is more needful to the healthy development of the future woman, than between the ages of fifteen and twenty-one. Ladies who are not above superintending their own household affairs--who look upon the rubbing of a mahogany table, and the sweeping of a carpet, as necessary but pleasant helps to the preservation of sound health, are less in need of artificial aids to exercise than those whose most energetic labor or confined to the performance of a set of quadrilles upon the piano, or an occasional promenade in the walks of fashionable life.  Arthur's Illustrated Home Magazine 1858

    Is an essential feature of the practice for classes. The piano is just the thing for parlor gymnastics. Vocal accompaniments are very beneficial. They clear the voice, expand the chest, and strengthen the lungs. The series are adapted to tunes of marked even measure.
    Are furnished by Madam Demorest, of New York:
    "Nothing could be invented more suitable than the Garibaldi waist, the short skirt, and trowsers. The material should be very warm. A flannel lining should be added, which will not only be found necessary in order to impart comfort to a dress which is worn so loose, but preserve from sudden chills when the exercises cease. This is particularly requisite with the waist and drawers, unless knit drawers are worn under the latter.
    "The dress should be loose enough, the waist long enough under the arm, and the sleeves long enough, also, to allow of the arms being stretched out to their utmost limit. The sleeves must be closed at the wrist. The pants should be drawn in at the ankle by an elastic band.
    "It is very important to the good effect that nothing should be left flying, and that no mixtures of colors should be used. Contrasts are, of course, very effective, when the combination is in good taste, but they should always be flat, and seem to form, as far as possible, an integral portion of the dress.
    "Buttoned boots are the best, as elastic gives too much, and laces break. They should be of cloth, foxed with kid, and neatly fitted to the foot.  A manual of free qymnastic and jumb-bell exercises: for the school-room and the parlor, 1864

Happy 2013!