As you can tell from my intermittent posting of late, things are hectic here at String. Work deadlines intrude again into life, and promises made to family members in support of the upcoming costumed festivities eat up additional time. I can report that the mini-pirate costume is done (shown here during the family Halloween party sponsored by my kid-friendly workplace:


Gotta love those sneakers!

On the knitting front, I finished the edging on the Wave scarf, but was unable to do the final grafting and repair yesterday evening because we had no power at our house. Windstorms in our area took down trees and electrical lines. We were out from around 4:00 on. I also didn’t get a chance to burrow into my stash to look for the yarn I wish to use for the Spanish hat.

Instead I toyed with an antique pattern from Knitting Essentials: Knitters Historical Pattern Series Volume One. This is a reproduction edition of Butterick’s Art of Knitting, published in 1892. The editor for the repro edition is Melissa Johnson. Amazon’s on-line peek inside feature gives a good representation of the book’s contents. The particular pattern I was noodling with is on page 19. It’s called “Vine Pattern for Stripe.” In the book it’s described as “pretty knitted in cotton or wool…and may be used as an insertion or as a stripe for spreads, afghans, etc.” I’ve seen some similar things in other pattern books, most notably the zig-zag edges, but not in this exact combo, with the edging done on both sides of a faux cable.


When I saw it I thought it might make an interesting base for a narrow scarf. The directions are in this format, pretty standard for the time:

First row – slip 1, k 1, tho o, n, th o, n, th o, k 1, th o, k 2, n, k 4, n, k 2, th o, sl and b, th o, sl and b, th o, sl and b, k 1

Deciphering them isn’t too tough. slip 1 and k 1 are still standard today. “th o” is “throw over” – a yarn over. “n” is narrow – knit 2 tog; and “sl and b” is the abbreviation for slip1, k1 and bind off – the equivalent of SSK.

I graphed out each of the lines as represented and started in on the thing. But like so many old patterns, this one is chock full of errors. That’s probably why it hasn’t appeared in later pattern collections. And the engraving isn’t a literal interpretation of the directions. If you look very closely at the openwork zig-zags on the left, you’ll see they aren’t complements of the ones on the right. They look oddly twisted, without the neat chain like construction of the ones on the right. That’s because the person who knitted up the sample from which the original illustration was drawn used plain old K2tog decreases throughout. You’ll find this a lot in older openwork patterns – the left leaning complement to the right leaning K2 tog was not universally known or used.

In any case, the pattern’s writer did make an attempt to use complementary left and right decreases. The only problem is that he or she didn’t put them in the right places. The pattern as written doesn’t form the neat lines shown, so further redacting on my part is needed. Stay tuned…

Now if only my days were 36 hours long, I’d have time enough to get everything done. And knit…

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One response

  1. That’s the inner repeat of the "Print o’ the Wave" pattern that is also used in Eunny Jang’s like-named stole, which has much better instructions and a graph. I made a before and after swatch of this exact pattern for a cashmere scarf (before washing and after washing) and will send you a jpg if you e-mail me.

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