Knitting in History – Victorian Baby’s Sock 5

Knitting in History

Knitting in History

Well, it’s finished. What have I learnt from this test of a design published in 1880?

This design is quite sweet but I think a similar effect could be achieved more simply. The stitched on lace      border is charming – see my previous post for instructions – BUT the seam around the leg is quite clumsy.

Adding the ribbon threaded through the eyelet holes around the ankle made a nice finishing touch.

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Knitting in History – Victorian Baby’s Sock 3

Knitting in History

Knitting in History

Well, I’m coming to the conclusion that the writer of this design could have made it a lot simpler, and better.  After knitting the foot and ankle section in the round the writer has us cast off.  The foot sole is then knit as a flap attached at the toe as shown here.

The next steps are to knit a separate lace border and sew it to the cast off top, and to sew the sole piece in place. So there is quite a bit of seaming in this tiny object!

As I have knit it I have concluded that it would be possible to knit the sole first and then pick up stitches around the circumference for the foot. A nice little knitted frill could be grown on from the top of the ribbed section without the need for a seam.

DSC_0113However I’ll continue as instructed for the genuine experience of making this sock as designed in 1880. However I’m planning a new design inspired by this sock with modifications to make it easier.

Knitting in History – Victorian Baby’s Sock 2

Knitting in History

Knitting in History

The baby’s sock is coming along.   The sock is knit in the round and starts from to bottom but leaving the sole to be added later.  The pattern is less clearly written than today’s and I had to pull back a bit when I missed the start of the garter stitch band.

My sample is knit in coarser wool than the original was intended to be and the needles are a tad finer than they could be for this yarn so the sock is possibly more like a slipper than a sock.

From the side the sock looks very like the illustration.

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But the illustration doesn’t show the very nice little band that the shapings on the top of the foot forms.  There is a central band of two knit stitched with a slip one, knit one , pass slip stitch over on each side.  If I were to make this sock for real I would make a left leaning decrease on the right side and a right leaning one on the other to balance them.

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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