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Bingeing on Old Time Knitting Stitches

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Yes, I had to look up how to spell bingeing. In Australia it’s binging but my brain says that rhymes with singing and the world prefers it with an e, so an e it has.

Where was I? Oh yes, old timey knitting stitches!

I’ve spent the last week knitting a bunch of stitches from the 1870’s and 1930’s and thought I’d share them with you over the next 6 weeks. I’ll be posting them on two days per week to leave space for other goodies and textile related ramblings. There will be lacy stitches, textured stitches and a couple of rather twisty ones too.

Today I’ll be started with two very simple, very old school knit and purl stitches from The Knitted Lace Pattern Book, published in 1870. Eloquently named stitch 28a and stitch 28b, they are, in fact, two very utilitarian knit/purl check stitches.

Large knit/purl check swatchKnit/purl swatch with small checks.

I know, they’re not lace. So why were they published in “The Knitted Lace Pattern Book”? Because they’re incredibly useful. I can imagine the large check used to knit baby blankets with a nice worsted weight wool and a thick border of moss stitch all the way round. The small one would be nice on a child’s cardigan or a very understated scarf with a band of red and white a couple of inches from each end. Or two ends of a scarf knit in the small check with 18 to 20 inches of rib in the middle as a Seaman’s scarf! Oh, and afghan squares. I guess it goes without saying that pretty much everything looks great as an afghan square.

Even though they’re very simple, I’ve supplied the patterns in words and chart form, so you can use whichever you prefer. In fact, there’s no reason you couldn’t work the small check in stranded knitting using the chart too.

Come back next time for a cool lace stitch from the 1930’s! (You can be notified by email when I post it by signing up on the left if you’re on desktop, or underneath this post if you’re on a tablet or mobile).


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Posted in Knitting

1 Comment

  1. Susan Deeter Murphy

    The checkered stitch is indeed versatile. I have an oversize cotton pullover patterned with graduated size of checks …smaller at the top, getting larger toward the hem. It remains my favorite sweater. I have used the same idea on a few others I have made. The pattern stitch can easily combine with stockinette. Mine began as a single 5 x 5 inch motif at the shoulder and widening with every repeat. It only covered about 24″ width at the lower end but made the entire garment look sophisticated. Yet simple to do. If you have a novelty yarn that is irregular in texture, the purl stitches show the bumps and flecks that may not show on the knit side.
    With a softer yarn and no blocking it makes a great scarf. Good choice to begin with.
    One more thing … it is reversible.

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