Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wednesday Workbasket: Gentlemen's Nightcap

This pattern, published in a London magazine, did not include a picture to aid in translating the directions, but the backstory compensated for the lack of diagram.

In April 1843, "Eliza" had sent in several knitting patterns, which were published in the correspondence section. She had stated at the end, "Perhaps, in return, some of your fair correspondents will have the kindness to favor me with the pattern for a gentlemen's nightcap."

The following month featured this response, which departs from the English habit of using only three needles to knit in the round. It does not appear that the "doubling" results from double knitting, but instead folding one end inside the other. -- K.

SIR—I gladly forward the rules for knitting a gentlemen's nightcap for your correspondent ELIZA.

DOUBLE NIGHTCAP—You will find 5 needles are required. Two stitches to be cast on each of 4 needles, and in the 1st row increase two, and in the 2nd, one plain stitch in each. In the 3rd row the centre stitch on each needle must be seamed, and you must increase on each side of it every other row, until you have attained the middle required. You then knit the 4th and every succeeding row plain, until the cap is of a sufficient length, say 24 to 28 inches ; then decrease the 1st row, and make the other end to correspond with that first knitted.

These directions are taken from a nicely-written work on the subject of knitting, &c. Will your Correspondent EMMA favour me with an explanation of the term "slip and bind," in knitting?

(Emma had contributed lace patterns in February, for those who had "advanced beyond the initiatory steps in the art of knitting.")

 Originally published in The Magazine of Domestic Economy and Family Review, May 1843.

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