J Scholes is absolutely correct! The book I mentioned two days ago is Odham’s Encyclopaedia, not Oldham’s Encyclopaedia. I plead an absent title page, a rubbed spine, and bifocals. Of course I have no excuse about missing the obvious on the various Internet sites I looked at to document the probable date of origin. I’ve fixed Sunday’s entry accordingly.
An evening with Christine Duchrow
In other news, in an idle l moment I took up a book I bought a couple of years ago and tried to decipher the knitting instructions. It’s The Knitted Lace Patterns of Christine Duchrow, Volume I, edited by Jules and Kaethe Kliot (Lacis, 1993).
Duchrow wrote in Germany in the early 1900s. She’s one of the early proponents of charted instructions for lace knitting. The editors do say that some of the book’s patterns contain errors or are incomplete or damaged. To top it off the text is very sketchy and in German, and the symbol set used is a difficult one. For example, purls are represented by a lower case L and YOs are represented by the number 1. The printers didn’t always get the distinction correct, and even when they did – the blackletter font style l and the 1 are perilously close in appearance in the photo-reproductions presented in the book.
But not to be daunted, I try any way.
I started out with a relatively straightforward scarf/jabot pattern named "Muschelschal" (Mussel Shell). The photo isn’t very good, but the pattern looked simple. After wrestling with it for a couple of hours, I retrenched and went back to the basic edgings shown at the beginning of the book. I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t make much headway with them, either.
I’ve got the easy stuff down pat – that the patterns only show right side rows (wrong side rows are plain knit); that there is potential confusion between 1 and l (compounded because it looks like many patterns frame YOs with purls), and that I do need to rely as much on the picture as I do on the directions to figure out what’s going on. But I can’t make the stitch count numbers work. The cast-on value is clearly stated for each design, with each pattern starting off with a row of plain knitting. However, when I count up the stitches consumed by the first patterned row, I never come out with the number currently on the needle. Sometimes I’m one short, sometimes I’m one over. If I were always one short, I’d make the assumption that the slipped edge stitch isn’t calculated into the cast on number – but I’m not. Clearly more experimentation is needed as I am missing something here that’s very fundamental.
In the mean time, more on reading Duchrow’s patterns can be found on Judy Gibson’s site (thank you Judy!). Additional advice is always appreciated. If you’ve ever worked from this book successfully, please feel free to chime in with tips.