After a bit of a hiatus, it is time to get back into Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book (1843, first series). I have had a slow re-introduction into knitting as my shoulder is still impinged and frozen so I am taking it easy and knitting in small doses. But, I am ready to take on the next pattern in Miss Lambert’s book!
The pattern is for a Knitted Insertion and looks very straightforward. Phew!
The pattern calls for fine cotton and No. 23 needles. The needles called for would be equal to US00 or US000 (1.5 or 1.75mm). Based on this, the yarn called for is equivalent to a lace weight cotton. Very fine indeed! However, given my shoulder injury, I will use fingering weight yarn and appropriate needles to make the first sample and, if all goes well, revisit again with lace weight yarn once I am 100% again.
Miss Lambert suggests that the finished lace can be used as a trim for muslin curtains but she leaves the assembly of the curtain to the imagination of the knitter who was likely up to date on the current fashions of the day. For those of us who live in the 21st century, I found a few references to shed some light on the use of lace insertions in curtains:
The Cultivator and Country (Volume 47) (published May 11, 1882), a magazine, provided these directions for making curtains as part of the article entitled Directions for Fancy Work – Curtains of Various Styles:
Plain book-muslin curtains of a blue-white edge with handsome lace, or fluted frills of the same, are quite the fashion now, and are quite useful, as they soften the glare of the hot sun in summer without darkening the room too much… Book-muslin curtains can be made more elegant if a wide insertion of antique lace is sewed between the hems, and a broad edging to match sewn on the edges. The lace can also be carried across the bottom of the curtains, and put on a piece for box plaiting at the top of the window.
An Australian newspaper, the Leader (Melbourne, Vic.: 1862-1918, Sat 6 Nov 1915, p. 51) provided this guidance for the use of edgings and insertions for curtains with a charming hand drawn sketch:
With that in mind, I am off to give the 18th pattern in Miss Lambert’s book a try, wish me luck!