MKB 31: Vandyke

The thirty-first pattern in Miss Lambert’s My Knitting Book is for a Vandyke stitch pattern to be used in household items such as doilies and tidies but can be modified for use in shawls, wraps and pretty much anything else you can imagine!  The pattern is very straightforward and doesn’t really need too much interpretation if you remember that pearl knitting is the same as purl, plain knitting is the same as knit and thread forward is the same as a yarn-over:

Cast on any number of stitches that can be divided by ten.
First row—pearl knitting.
Second row—plain knitting.
Third row—pearl knitting.
Fourth row—bring the thread forward, knit two; knit two together; pearl one; knit two together; knit two; bring the thread forward, knit one.—Repeat.
Commence again, as at first row.  (My Knitting Book, First Series, p.47).

I charted it up as written, and then changed it so that the chart is mostly knit stitches (instead of purl).  It certainly makes the chart easier to read (and if I’ve done it correctly, does not change the end result).  Click here for full chart.


Then, I cast on 40 stitches and here was the result (assuming that this was the right side!):

I have seen many variations of Vandyke patterns in knitting, crochet and embroidery which made me wonder what the origin of the name might be.  I couldn’t find too much information but did find this in an article on the Interweave website:

The Vandyke stitch (which has no relationship to the Vandyke stitch used in smocking), a collar, and a distinctive beard shape, certainly were named after the great Flemish painter, Anthony Van Dyck (1599–1641), who immortalized the collar and beard in his portraits of England’s Charles I (1600–1649) and other notables of the period. The stitch, collar, and beard share a common characteristic—the chevron shape.

Van Dyck painted this image of Charles I in three poses and you can see that the beard and collar both show a chevron shape:


Charles I in Three Positions


So, it seems that Vandyke is simply another way to say chevron.  What do you think?  Do you know anything about the origins of the use of the term Vandyke in knitting, crochet and needlework?  Please share below!

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