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Antique Crochet Extracts

Sample of Contents


Crochet Pattern books flooded from publishers after Mrs Gaugain's first efforts. Some writers began with exhortations to virtue. Allclaimed to be clear and easy to follow; except where they specifically inserteda disclaimer.

Many difficulties arose from not giving unique and uniformnames to stitches.  And several authors got tangled up in their own verbosity. Not all the writing is grammatically correct.

Authors still included general information within specific patterns, and expected their readers to know this information in later orprevious patterns.

Already we find evidence of borrowing between crochetauthors, but I cannot tell who is the original, since the time between writingand publication is an unknown variable.

Tambour disappears, except as an editing error.

Miss Watts

In 1843 Miss Watts published

Selections of Knitting, Netting, & Crochet Work.

These selections came from at least two earlier publications.  The items are made with a crochet-needle and wool or silk.

The publication jumps directly into a crochet pattern without any preliminary discussion.

This pattern gets all of its interest from varying the texture. It describes how to make single crochet and muffatee stitches. (In 1843 you would know what a muffatee is.) It implies that you know how to make a chain stitch and to make your stitches into the upper edge or side of astitch.


Single Crochet Stitch.

Shades of German Wool are the prettiest

With a good-sized ivory crochet-needle, make a chain of50 loops, place the first stitch behind the last, pass yourneedle through it, put your wool round the your needle and pull itthrough both stitches, this will join the two ends together, then pass your needle through the next stitch, catch the wool on your needle, pull it through the stitch and through the loop on your needle; continue the same round and round, varying the shades, until your muffatee is two inches deep, then begin the following pattern:

Muffatee stitch.

The only difference between this stitch and theprevious one is, that instead of passing your needle through the upper edgeor side of the stitch, you pass it through the under one.   This is the stitchgenerally used for mittens, baby's shoes...

Finish your muffatee with an equal depth of the firstpattern.

The beautyof crochet work depends on its being done evenly, and the loops not drawn too tight.

 (endof pattern)

As you can see from thepattern, she sometimes defined a stitch within the pattern. She usedloop andstitch interchangeably.

Unlike modern patterns, thisone does not begin with a description of how many colors of yarn to use. Until you reach the end of the first section of the pattern, you do not know youshould use more than one color. As amatter of fact, Miss Watts doesn't tell what you are making until the secondparagraph of the pattern

As well as describing the Muffatee stitch, she prescribes where it should be generally used. The differencebetween a single and a muffatee stitch is where each stitch is made, in thefront or back loop.

Miss Watts begins the fashion of using Pattern to refer to a section of the entire pattern.

Finally, this patterns ends with prescribing how crochet should be done, evenly...and not drawn too tight. Of course you read the pattern through first.

Before the next pattern, she describes how to form the Double Crochet stitch:

Begin as in single crochet; when you have pulled the silk or wool through the foundation stitch, keep it on your needle so as to have two stitches, catch the silk at the back (without passing your needle through any loop or stitch), and pull the silk through both the stitches on your needle, by this, you do two rounds at once.
This stitch is very pretty for bags: the foundation should be a chain of from 80 to 120 stitches.

This is a very (almost overly) detailed description of how to make a stitch. It is also a sketchy pattern for a bag.

Miss Watts shows a very limited appreciation of the potential of crochet when she claims the double crochet is a way of making two rounds at once. So far we have only chain, single, muffatee, and double stitches. And that is as far as she goes in this volume, making no mention of those new-fangled treble and half-treble stitches.

By 1849, in

The Fourth Series

Mlle Riego began abbreviatingher prefix Mdlle.

The book  began with the following warning:

The Collar Designs are registered under the Act. 5 & 6 VICT, cap. 100
Ladies are respectfully informed that these articles cannot be purchased without the registered mark being affixed; and parties wishing to manufacture them for the purposes of sale, must have the Authoress’s permission.

Mlle Riego made and sold many items from her published patterns and she wanted to protect her profits.

Although she referred her readers to the earlier series for definitions and explanations, she did point out All stitchesthat are not made in the chain are to be worked in Double Crochet ie. through both loops of the stitch.

Joined motifs formed the collars. The leaves were very similar, but the flowers were quite different. In these patterns, the long joins werestems for the flowers and leaves.  Their instructions are generally exact as tostitch counts and where they connect to the flowers.

The first pattern for the first collar begins with directionsfor some shamrocks and leaves and their stems then:

Le Bouquet De Fleurs

Work 6 plain down the stem, and for the

Calyx and First Flower

14 chain,

turn, miss 1, 8 plain,

turn, work 1 chain to cross the stem, and on the other side work 2 plain, 5 treble, 1 plain, 7 chain, 1 single stitch at the point, turn back, and work 16 plain in the 7 chain, turn back ; (7 chain, miss 1, and 1 plain on the 16 plain 8 times), turn back ; 4 chain, miss 4, 1 plain in the 7 chain, (4 chain, miss 7, and 1 plain in the 7 chain 7 times), 4 chain, miss 4, 1 plain on the 1st stitch of the calyx, turn back ; miss 1, (1 plain, and 3 treble in the 4 chain, join it to the 3d division of open space of the large leaf, always counting from the point ; then 3 treble 1 plain, these 8 stitches are all worked in the same 4 chain), miss 1, (1 plain, 6 treble and 1 plain in the next 4 chain), miss 1, (1 plain, 6 treble and 1 plain in the 4 chain), miss 1, (1 plain, 3 treble then 3 treble, 1 plain, these 8 stitches in the same 4 chain), miss 1, (1 plain, 6 treble and 1 plain in the 4 chain) (miss 1, 1 plain, 6 treble and 1 plain in the 4 chain 4 times);

then down the calyx, 1 plain, 5 treble 2 plain, 4 plaindown the stem

(end of pattern)

The instructions for the flower were broken with instructionsfor joins to the existing stems and leaves

So you can see how the rows fit together, I have graphed eachin a different color.

Mrs Savage, 1847

The crochet sectionbegins with:

The elementary stitch of this fascinating accomplishment being now so generally known, and withal so universally practised, we have not thought it necessary to go into minute details of its formation; seeing, also, that the novice might, by five minutes' exercise with any one possessing a knowlege of its mysteries, obtain more real information than from the most elaborately written description.

Mrs Savage seems to be saying a teacher will be more valuableto you than her written instructions.   The reason for theomission is longer than what was omitted, but it iscorrect

The pattern writer'stechnique of hiding general information inside a pattern is an old one, andisstill practiced into the 21st century.

Wefind another bag pattern with vital information:

A Very Pretty Evening Bag.

For which 6skeins shaded Crochetsilk, and 2 reels GoldTwist, are required.

Make a chain of 84stitches. Join it, and work (B) 11 rows plain double crochet.* 1row of the same stitch, and 2 rows single open with gold. Repeat from(B).   Working 3 broad bandsin shaded silk, with 2 divisions of open crochet in gold.

Crochet up the bottom. ...

* Having made the chain, keep 1 loop on the crochet, pass the crochet through the next loop of the chain. You have now 2 loops on the crochet. Catch the silk again and draw it through these 2. This is the ordinary crochet stitch.

(end ofpattern)

Once again Mrs Savagehas a footnote in the pattern, defining the ordinary crochet stitch, otherwise known to her as a double stitch. Fortunately, there is no longer anordinary stitch for crochet.

She has adopted aconvention of using capital letters inside parentheses for repeatmarks.