Selected Knitting Patterns from "The Ladies' Guide to Elegant Lace Patterns, Etc" 1884

Title page from The Ladies' Guide to Elegant Lace Patterns Etc, 1884

I first learnt about the Ladies' Guide to Elegant Lace Patterns, Etc when Wendy of The Vintage Pattern Files posted a link to the original book back in July 2014.

Since I can never resist the phrase "there are no pictures" when it comes to Victorian lace knitting patterns, I had to take a look. I was so smitten with names such as "Beetle Bug Insertion" (which, looking at it now, sounds kind of disgusting), "Wonderful Lace" and "An Elegant Quilt", I decided to start knitting so this 130 year old knitting pattern book could enter mainstream circulation once again. I've worked through all of the patterns that I think today's knitters will find useful, including the lace edgings and insertions, stitch patterns, afghans, tidies (table runners or rectangular doilies), bedspreads, a lace tie, textured scarf and a very cute wrister.

I've learnt a few new things along the way, including "t over 3, seam two together" means "(yo) twice, p2tog", and there are an enormous number of different ways to wear a lace silk tie!

I must thank JC Briar for creating Stitch Maps, without which this 2½ month journey would have taken more like a year and everyone who has shared my enthusiasm for the project along the way. I hope you enjoy knitting these patterns and incorporating them into your own designs as much as I have enjoyed updating them.

These patterns have been updated, charted, stitch mapped (where possible), corrected (where necessary) and test knit.

These patterns are just a selection of the knitted lace and insertions available for free on! See the full list of edging and insertion patterns for more.

Part I: Wide Laces

Part II: Wide Insertions

Part III: Narrow Laces

Part IV: Knitted Quilts

Part V: Knitted Tidies

Knitted lace star motif knit from a Victorian era knitting pattern.

Star Tidy (made of star motifs)

Ivy Tidy (with or without fringe)

Part VII: Miscellaneous