My last post got me curious about my early knitting, so I dug around in some truly historical boxes and found several early FOs that produced significant eye-rolling.
I think I knitted this doily when I was about ten years old.
Following that, Mother had me knit a pillow case edging for my Hope Chest. For those who have never heard of these things, they were big cedar chests that girls were supposed to fill with handmade items in preparation for marriage. Mine was full of cross-stitched pillowcases made by my grandmother. I actually used one once and woke up with a cross-stitched rose pattern embedded in my cheek.
This was the absolutely last pillowcase edging I ever made. I detested working with cotton (and still do). And, as I pointed out to my mother, lace edgings were a bit dated, even back then.
I made one more doily sometime in the 1970's. The pattern came from an old Burda lace pamphlet. As you can see, I don't think I ever blocked it. It was an unfortunate shade of ecru cotton and I can't think why I bothered with it.
There's no date on it, but it has to have been published in the 1930's or early 1940's, because it was a gift from her mother before she was married.
My mother took lessons from Barbara Abbey when she worked at Alice Maynard Needlework in New York City. Barbara Abbey is most well-known for her classic book Barbara Abbey's Knitting Lace. I flipped through this book today and noticed that my pillowcase edging was a variation of her Double Rose Leaf edging. It's a very pretty pattern and could be easily scaled up and used to make a narrow scarf. Used editions of this book can also be found at Amazon.
101 Ways to Improve Your Knitting was printed in 1949 and contains fascinating tidbits about Barbara, who learned to knit when she was 3 years old with two pencils and a piece of string. The intro to the book was written by Susan Bates (yes, she was a real person!). I hadn't opened the book for years until this morning, and was amused to note that she lists three kinds of Novelty yarns: Smooth Boucle (what the heck is Smooth Boucle?), Nubby, and Crepe. Choices were a bit more limited back then. 2-ply, 4-ply, worsted. That was about it. Knitters had to be more inventive then, but frankly, I prefer the wide and deep range of choices that we have today. Let me know if you have a clue about smooth boucle, would you?