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.