Friday, April 25, 2014

Two Knit Edging from 1885

Two Knit Edging
While cleaning out some book shelves at the BCCD Roger Gustafson Nature Center, Boone County Conservation District staff came across a cookbook from the late 1800’s. The name of the book was The True Blue Cookbook by the Ladies of the Central Presbyterian Church, Terre Haute, Indiana.
Inside the front cover was an inscription written in ink; Mrs. D.C. Cuming, Christmas 85.   Since the book was published in 1885 it is likely that it was given as a gift.
Over time Mrs. Cuming pasted hand written receipts (recipes) household tips and health care remedies onto the existing pages. There were also recipes and notes written directly on the pages.  As a knitter the entry shown below was interesting and a challenge.  Could the knitting language be translated into today’s terms? Could this lace edging be produced and what would it look like?
The first step was to type out the exact wording of what Mrs. Cuming had written, then decipher what she was saying into today’s knitting terms.  It took several tries at knitting from the pattern and finding mistakes in the translation until it finally clicked: there was a definite and easy to memorize pattern here.  Once the pattern is memorized, the lace edging can be knit without having to look at the written pattern. Below is a picture of the original handwritten pattern that was pasted into the cookbook.  This is a wide trim and would have been used at the bottom of an underskirt.  Today it can be used to trim a pillow or edge a blanket.

Two Knit Edging- Modern Translation
Use wool lace weight or fingering yarn.
Size 0 or 00 knitting needles
Terms-   k- knit
K2 tog- knit 2 together
                yo- yarn over
Cast on 14 stitches using the long tail cast-on.  Knit row.

Beginning of pattern
Row 1-knit 2, yarn over, knit 2 together, repeat till last 2 stitches of row. Yarn over, knit 2 (15)
Row 2- knit
Row 3- K2, yo, k2tog, * Yo, k2tog, k1 (repeat from * till 2 stitches left in row) yo, k2 (16)
Row 4- knit
Row 5- k2, *yo, k2 tog, yo, k2 (repeat from* till last two stitches) yo, k2 (20)
Row 6- knit
Row 7- k2, *yo, k2 tog (repeat from* till last two stitches) yo, k2 (21)
Row 8- knit
Row 9- k2, yo, k2tog, *yo, k2tog, k1 (repeat from * till last two stitches) yo, k2 (22)
Row 10- knit
Row11- knit (you should end up on the end that has a tail from the cast on)
Row 12- yo, k2tog, knit
Row 13- knit 1 bind off 8 stitches, knit remaining 13 stitches (14)
Row 14-knit

Repeat rows 1-14 till edging is length desired.
Block and pin to open up the lace pattern.
Note: Bottom edge will have a slight arc as you knit and will lean on the diagonal.  This can be straightened when blocked.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Greening of the Gardens

We have been out in the gardens planting all the veggies that we started in the green house.  Cabbages, kale, leek and onions are just a few.  We have taken out around 50 trays of plants but the greenhouse still looks full. It is a phenomenon that happens every year. We plant a few flats and the next thing you know the greenhouse is jam packed with plants everywhere. I swear they multiply at night.

The German garden is planted and will have a new look this year. We have planted it in squares as German settlers would do in their kitchen gardens.  The Scottish is almost done but we are still working on the herb garden in the center.  Red ants had taken up residence and were swarming us as we planted the northwest corner.  The Norwegian will be planted next week , the Yankee also and a volunteer will be planting and maintaining the Potawatomi garden.

Below is another page from the 1893 cookbook. The name of the cookbook was Three Meals a Day: A collection of valuable and reliable recipes in all classes of cookery. With toilet health and housekeeping departments, by Maude C. Cooke. The cookbook in itself is very interesting but what I really enjoy about it is the handwritten entries that the owner wrote in the page margins, sewed onto pages or pasted in. This was her go to book!  Her name was Stella O'Brien and she was a postmistress. I don't know where she lived but I bought the book in Illinois so maybe there.
Buttermilk Pie and Texas Cream Pie Oh My!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cooking 1800's Style

On June 9th BCCD will be having a wood stove cooking class. I really like cooking in the cabins on the wood burner so I thought I would teach a class on how Great Grandma prepared her meals.  I am using recipes from the Heritage Gardens Cookbook and we will be preparing meals that represent each of the 5 heritage gardens.  Unfortunately because of the size of the cabin I am having to limit the class to 10 people.  Since everyone else can't come I will publish pictures and recipes from the class for several weeks after the class.

Until then I am going to share pages from an 1800's cookbook I own. The previous owner, Stella O'Brien, was a postmistress, (where I do not know but most likely somewhere in Illinois), and had sewn in and pinned and handwritten recipes, and household hints into the published pages of the cookbook.

Below is a page that has a cure for Rheumatism and a receipt or recipe for Chilla Sauce.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Temperature is What?

It is March 14th. Again March 14th and the temperature is going to be 82degrees, farenheit! I am kinda old but I don't remember it ever being this warm in March.

I am going to go out to the gardens and check things out but I will resist the urge to uncover anything. I have lived in Illinois long enough to know better. Next week will probably be in the 30's.

We are in the process of booking garden tours, programs and special events. Call if your group would like to book a tour.

A calendar of garden events will be posted soon.

Enjoy the weather!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Seeds,Seeds and More Seeds

There are still seeds available at the BCCD Roger Gustafson Nature Center at 603 N Appleton Road in Belvidere. If there is a certain variety you are looking for you can email me to check availability. We still have a lot of tomatoes, and beans; our favorites!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

It's been a long time between blog posts.

The last year has gone by quickly and the blog lay dormant while we planted, weeded, and harvested in 2011. I am going to try and be diligent about posting this year.

We had our annual heirloom seed sale yesterday and it was encouraging to see all the people who showed up to purchase seeds and sit in on our programs. More than 160 people came out. We sold a lot of seed packets and almost all of the seed catalogs are gone. We still have a great variety of seeds left and some Baker Creek and Select Seed catalogs available, so stop by the BCCD office.

Boone County Master Gardener Mitzi Kelley gave another fantastic program on Organic Gardening. She is so knowledgable and we appreciate her doing this program for us each year. You always learn something new from her, even if you have been to her presentation before.
Aaron Minson, Boone County County Conservation District Prairie Restoration Specialist, gave a really interesting presentation on the preservation work done at BCCD and gave tips for using native plants in home landscaping. He talked about the preservation goats that BCCD uses (learn more about them at the BCCD website) and had a really great power point presentation.

Space was tight in the Roger Gustafson Nature Center as people poured in to browse the seed boxes and purchase their packets of seeds. Coyote kept watch over the event and made sure that everyone got their free seed catalogs before they left.

With the sale behind us, we will be out in the greenhouse getting ready to start sowing seeds for this year. First to be planted will be the leeks. I can't wait to get my hands dirty again!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

We're Back In The Greenhouse!

It has finally warmed up and we are back in the greenhouse starting seeds for the 2011 growing season. Yesterday we started our cold weather crops, some herbs and flowers.

Leeks and onions were the first to be sown. We put the newly planted flats on a warming bed. In a few weeks we will have hundreds of threadlike sprouts that we will eventually have to transplant. Not my favorite job. I am always afraid I will damage them. They seem to survive my transplanting and by mid-summer they are growing strong. It always amazes me how such sturdy plants can come from such tiny seeds.

Cabbages were next. We grow a lot of cabbage. We grow about 7 different kinds of cabbage for our Norwegian, German, Scottish and Yankee gardens. We plant alot of cabbage since we have to replant what the groundhogs eat. They insist that we share!

Spinach and greens were also started plus we direct sow in the gardens.

We started some herbs and flowers that we will be selling at our plant sale. We are going to have a good variety of heirloom annuals. Morning Glories, Holly hocks, Sweat Peas, Nasturtiums, Love in a Mist, Sweet William and Johnny Jump Ups are a few of my favorites. We do not have an exact date for the sale yet but it will be sometime in May.

Next week we are hoping to get into the gardens to till. This week the ground is saturated from all the snow and rain we had. We also have to replace one of our hops poles. It broke right at the base and we will have to dig a new deep hole and replant it. The hops poles have been in the German Garden for 10 years.

After a long winter it is always a good feeling to get your hands dirty and start planting.