1870 Knitting


I’ve just been looking at a book published in 1870 by Isabella Beeton called Beetons Book of Needlework.

It includes crafts such as:

Tatting Patterns
Crochet patterns
Knitting patterns
Netting patterns
Embroidery patterns
Point lace patterns
Guipure D’Art.
Berlin Work
Pillow Lace and Lace stitches

I have no idea what some of these are. However, because I am a passionate knitter, I looked up knitting instructions and, honestly, had a lot of trouble understanding them. It would seem that the English language; the words we use and how we use them today are light years away from the average reader 150 years ago. And there were so many of them!

Maybe we are dumbing down our language and creating shortcuts wherever we can, but in today’s world, with so many distractions, old style how-to books couldn’t possibly survive.

Check out this pattern for a child’s sock copied exactly as it appears in the book – I don’t think paragraphs were an option back then 🙂


Knitted Sock for a Child.

Materials for 1 pair: 1 ounce of single Berlin wool; 1 yard of narrow pink or blue ribbon; 2 fine steel pins.

This sock fits well, and is easy to make. It is knitted upon two pins, backwards and forwards. Cast on 22 stitches and knit 22 rows, but increase once at the end of every other row on the right side of the work, so that there are 33 stitches in the 22nd row. Now cast off 28 stitches and knit 12 rows, increasing 1 stitch at the end of every other row. Now 12 more rows, decreasing 1 stitch at the end of every other row; this forms the toe. Cast on 28 stitches on the same needle, and knit 22 rows, decreasing 1 stitch at the end of every other row, and cast off. Pick up the 68 stitches on the upper part of shoe, and knit 20 rows, alternately 2 plain and 2 purl rows, decreasing 1 stitch on each side of the 12 stitches in every other row, which forms the toe and front of sock. Knit 14 rows of 2 plain, 2 purl stitches alternately, then 3 open rows with 1 plain row between. The open rows are worked as follows:–* Purl 2 together, purl 1, make 1, repeat *, 3 plain rows, 1 open row, 1 plain row, and cast off. The sock is sewn together down the back of leg, centre of sole, and the point joined like a gusset to form the toe.

Make any sense? Well, maybe some but phew, glad I can order socks online today!

Linda x

P.S. There are some fun patterns for beginners listed on our Stix & Yarn page – written in straightforward language with illustrations and paragraphs!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s