Knitting in History – Victorian baby sock 1

For my first Knitting from History feature I am attempting to re-create a sock from The Girls Own    Paper from 1880.

The sock is knit in the round.   I am using Rowan 4ply wool and 2.75mm needles which seems to be about the right for a reasonably close fabric.  This is a experiment and not intended for to any tiny recipient to wear.  My main interest is to explore how the pattern works and how the way it is written differs from today’s patterns.

I’m also intrigued by the idea of following instructions that might have been followed by the original owner of my copy of the magazine      over 130 years ago.

As every writer on knitting always says the first step is to read right through the pattern.  The sock is illustrated by a line drawing and the first surprise is that the illustrator and the writer don’t seem to have collaborated very well.  The illustration shows a deep lace edging. That looks fun to knit I thought. The writer had different ideas,  “A crochet edging would make a nice finish, quickly done. The knitted one in the illustration is rather too deep.  The following would be very similar, though rather narrower.

But I’m jumping ahead.  First to cast on 80 stitches and after a foundation row start to work the checked band around the base of the foot.

I’ll keep you updated as the project progresses.

Starting my Victorian baby's sock

Starting my Victorian baby’s sock
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3 comments

    • The book was from my grandmother. She was born in the early years of the 20th century and the book is from 1880 so it was probably originally owned by her mother or even grandmother but I’m afraid I don’t know. It has a mix of articles, not just knitting and sewing. The familiar mix really – fiction, advice about home-making and even a problem page. Those Victorians were pretty unsympathetic to some of their readers though – if they thought the question was silly they said so in no uncertain term, and scolded some of the readers about their handwriting!


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