A blog about my life, knitting, and other stuff.

February 6, 2007

Weldon's Practical Needlework

Ever since Knitting Vintage Socks came out I've been curious to look at Weldon's. The many volumes were published over several decades in London at the turn of the century. They feature crochet, knitting and other types of needlework. On a whim I ordered Volume 12. It features "knitting, drawn thread work, crochet waistcoats, smocking, crochet, mountmellick work, knitted waistcoats, knitted stockings for cycling, golf, shooting, etc." This volume happens to have more crochet than knitting but it's still completely fascinating. The Pirate Cap in Point Neige bears the explanation, "A pirate cap worked in point neige, or five stitch, is pretty headgear for a young child, and is just now extremely fashionable." At first I chuckled given how pirates are all the rage yet again. Weldon's, however, goes on to explain, "in shape it much resembles a jellybag." Hmm.

The book contains many knitted patterns for items like corset covers, men's wool "bathing drawers," chest protector ("for those who have constitutionally delicate lungs, or who are recovering from an attack of pleurisy or pneumonia") and lady's knickers. The description that had me just gasping for breath last night was for a "mail cart strap." I still don't know what it does but the description begins, "This strap would make an acceptable little gift for the mother of sundry small children who are young enough to run some risk of falling out of the mail cart when taken our for their daily airing."