Victorian Knitted Sampler swatch 001

Dear Readers,

As you may know from previous posts I have decided to knit a sampler book, inspired by victorian knitted samplers, using a victorian knitting manual. The book I have chosen is the: 1875; The Ladys knitting book first series. by Corbould Elvina M. For the purpose of this project I am only knitting up samples of the stitch patterns, not the garments as they would not fit into a sampler book!

Starting on page 35 we have the Easy and Handsome Pattern for an Antimacassar or Couvrette. This is basically a drop stitch pattern.

I landed up knitting two samples because it was not initially clear from the instructions whether I should do 2 stitches in between drop stitches or 1. I also was doing a slip stitch edge as I thought it would make sewing into the book easier but what I didn’t realise was that the drop stitches would distort the size of the fabric and that made the slip stitches pull awkwardly to one side. I am including my mistakes here in this write up so that you can learn from them too!

This is the first swatch that I did. As you can see the slack from the drop stitches have worked their way into the non-drop stitches and made them bigger/looser. for this reason, I believe that the instructions did mean that there were supposed to be two stitches between each dropped stitch.
Second swatch with 2 stitches between dropped stitches.

This second swatch looks much more like I would have expected it to. I chose to do a short swatch of about 20 rows so that I would have a small sample to sew into my book however the pattern is for an antimacassar or couvrette and the instructions just tell you to knit it to the length you require. I did do the suggested 14 stitches. As the pattern suggests the bind off was a little tricky as you need to make sure that you bind off over the dropped stitches long/wide enough to allow for that extra space of the ladder. As you can see at the cast-on edge of my swatch the ladders blend back into the other stitches, probably because of my cast on. There were no instructions on how to deal with this in the manual. My guess is that if you are using this for a large enough piece and then maybe crochet a nice edging around it won’t be very noticeable.

I have done a little bit of searching and it seems that long rows of drop stitches are not very popular at the moment. This might be due to the awkward bind off, or it might be due to the “ladders” catching on fingers and toes. In modern patterns, you do find short rows (instead of columns) of drop stitches interspersed with other rows of stitch patterns.

The knitting bee has 2 stitch patterns that show rows of drop stitches rather than columns.

I actually have a book that has a couple of patterns that give a similar effect but use a different technique. The book is 400 knitting stitches by potter craft and the patterns are on 174 and 175. I won’t give the instructions here as it is a copyright book but to explain the difference, the Victorian pattern above drops all the stitches at the end when you cast off whereas these patterns for the vertical openwork have a technique where you drop the stitches as you knit but without ruining the stitch count.

I hope that you enjoyed reading this and might find it useful if you’re planning to knit with some of these patterns in the future. Since I have just begun this project I am very open to suggestions on what more you want to hear about these swatches. Also if you know of other modern/contemporary patterns which are the same now please link in the comments! Sharing is caring 😉

Stay crafty!
Peace and Love,

4 thoughts on “Victorian Knitted Sampler swatch 001

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