More Old Lace

April 18th, 2013

I mentioned a few days ago that I’d been knitting lace patterns from the 1880’s onto the bottom of a modern pencil skirt design. Here’s another.

Lace Hem of Knitted Skirt

This pattern is also from Weldon’s Practical Knitter — it’s the border for a “Corinthian Shawl” knitted in reverse. I really like the three-dimensional scale effect of the pattern’s alternating repeats. It’s hard to see in the picture, thanks to poor lighting and dark yarn.

Actually, that overlapping scale pattern is probably the reason it’s called Corinthian. Here’s an illustration of a Greek column, Corinthian order. It’s originally from The Universal Self Instructor, 1883. I’m borrowing it from Clip Art Etc.

Corinthian Capital

The Corinthian also happens to be Georgette Heyer’s first Regency romance novel. In that genre of early 20th-century literature, Corinthian referred to a most eligible bachelor, with a stolid demeanor, an admirable physique, sympathetic eyes, a healthy sum of inherited money invested in The Funds, and calves that looked just as well out of their Hessians. I’m not sure how much the term was actually used in England during the Regency…

Condensed Collar

August 23rd, 2012

Last month, a young friend admired my crocheted lace collars, so I made one in her size.


Here it is, all pressed and ready to go. Only she did ask for a rainbow colored collar…which I haven’t quite figured out how to pull off. Any ideas?

Grecian Pattern Collar

November 27th, 2011

I’ve finished another one. Also from Cornelia Mee’s 1846, this is the “Grecian Pattern” collar. This is definitely better looking overall than the last — though I think I might like the first collar a tiny bit better if it were executed sans edging.

Grecian Pattern Collar

I love the way the front corners are worked on the diagonal. They look so “finished!” I redid this collar three times, and still didn’t get some of the details quite right. The directions aren’t terribly clear, and sometimes have to be tried out a few different ways. And the number of stitches NEVER comes out correctly. I begin to think it’s going to be trickier than I realized to translate these patterns for modern use.

In the meantime, I am having a blast working through the originals, if only to see what they look like! I’m already well into the third collar pattern, imitating point lace. Each is a surprise, and I am in awe of the clever methods of forming the corners — which are, after all, the focal points of the collar once it’s sewn onto your dress.

Completed Collar

October 25th, 2011

Here’s the correctly sized collar, crocheted “in imitation of Brussels lace.”


You may recall that I made this collar last week too — but didn’t trust the original pattern (from 1846) and ended up with a collar that fit my husband’s neck better than mine, and he’s quite a well-built fellow. Just between you and me, I don’t know that I’m overly fond of this collar. The last two rows (which account for the chain stitch borders) are a little silly, and even look kind of sloppy in places. Hopefully they will neaten up a bit when I block it.

I may also make another version and leave the last rows off entirely. But I did have to see how it looked according to the pattern. It’s such fun to follow patterns without pictures — you never know how they’ll turn out. Perhaps it will look better over a dress too.

Next up, Grecian Pattern Collar, also from 1846.


October 20th, 2011

My fascination with crocheted lace continues. While researching petticoat edging, I’ve come across so many collar patterns from the 1840s and 50s that I finally gave in. For my first attempt, I chose a pattern by crochet goddess Cornelia Mee in imitation of Brussels lace. I’m not quite sure in what way it is meant to resemble Brussels lace though.

Lace Collar

There were still two more rows to be added when this picture was taken. They didn’t do much to increase its affinity to any Brussels lace I’ve ever seen.

Real Brussels Lace

This is real lace. I found the photograph (culled from Ebay) on Lace News. Brussels lace is a pillow lace, originally made in and around Brussels, naturally. It’s frequently confused with other types of lace made in the same region, including Brussels point, a needle lace that is quite different. At least the experts say so.

Back to my crocheted collar. It seemed awfully small when I began, so I added an extra 30 stitches to the starting chain, thinking that my gauge was off (always an iffy thing with an historic pattern) or that necks are simply bigger in 2011. But when I finished pressing it flat I was horrified to discover that my “swan-like” neck was just swimming inside the collar. So I immediately began a new iteration, sticking strictly to the pattern. I’m nearly done with the new version (it works up very quickly) and plan to give away the enormous one to someone who will wear it with modern blouses, which have wider necklines.

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