Over the weekend, I dove into the internet looking for 1800s era knitting manuals and was honestly surprised at how many are available for free and for purchase on various websites. I was particularly impressed by the Richard Rutt Collection at the University of Southampton (England). Over sixty knitting books from the 1800s from the Collection have been scanned and made available on the internet for free.
After much debate, I have decided that I will start my knitting and history adventure with My Knitting Book by Miss Lambert, published in London by John Murray, Albemarle Street, 1843. The book can be found in a number of electronic formats on the Project Gutenberg website.
“The examples of knitting, contained in the following pages, have been selected with the greatest care,—many are original,—and the whole are so arranged as to render them comprehensible even to a novice in the art.” From the preface to My Knitting Book, Miss Lambert, November 1843
For some time, I have been thinking of starting a blog to share my interest in knitting – over the past few years I have tossed around a number of ideas, but nothing seemed quite right. When I recently discovered that many knitting books and patterns from the 1800s are now available as e-books, they piqued my interest and I thought to myself, why not now? Why not use a blog to document my review of these books and my adventures in trying out some of the patterns? I been researching my family tree off and on over the past five years and find that just by looking through these pattern books, I can imagine my own ancestors looking through the same books and magazines and this gives me a stronger connection to my family’s past.
I don’t really have a plan for how to approach the blog but I will begin by choosing a knitting book from the 1800s and see where that takes us!
“In knitting there are ancient possibilities; the earth is enriched with the dust of the millions of knitters who have held wool and needles since the beginning of sheep.” Elizabeth Zimmerman (The Knitters Almanac)