Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yeah, I'm Working on Another Column For Knitty

Dear Anonymous Nineteenth-Century Designer,

Often, as I wend my way through your patterns, I wonder who you were and where you lived.

I imagine what it would have been like to meet you face-to-face; and ponder what you might have tried to say to me as my fingers closed firmly around your throat to choke the life out of you.


The 19th Century Knitting Pattern Designer


Eileen said...

Yes. And thank you.

Lisa said...

All true. But look at that cool dress she's wearing!

Calophi said...

It's one of the reasons I'm so afraid to try an older pattern.

Sewicked said...

Don't forget the joy of 'personal' stitch descriptions. Everyone else calls it it a 'purl' but what do you call it? Who knows. Make something up.

Leigh said...

That is the knitting equivalent of our ancestors leaving us a Superfund site. LOL Hope it's really a diamond in the rough.

Can't wait to see the column!!

Kayten said...

I've run across a few present day designers who try to reinvent the wheel. After hours of struggling, I want to go beat them when it turns out what they want can be accomplished in two steps instead of twelve. They will be cursed in the future, too, for their over verbosity.

Seanna Lea said...

But language is such a fluid thing and my readers will know exactly what I mean.

Heck, I don't have to test this pattern, do I?

Marcia said...

Maybe it wasn't a "standard" cast on at the time?

noricum said...

Perhaps this cast on was new to her?

Heh... my word verification is "nittear"... which sounds a lot like "knit tear". (Whether that is "tear" as in crying, or "tear" as in destruction... both may be applicable to your current mood.)

meezermeowmy said...

Even DH, my patron of knitting, got a good chuckle from this one.

Sara said...

Oh, just admit it, Franklin. This is what you LIVE for! You would have loved this ancient designer and her cleverness were you to have sat with her in the parlor admiring her cleverness! ; )

Chris Laning said...

I'm stuck on "and so take three at the point of your clock." I'm sure it must mean _something_ but the first couple of things I tried were clearly Not It, whatever It was.

Anonymous, too said...

And you forgot to mention her vague description of yarn weight and completely inaccurate needle gauge in any system ever used. "Any good yarn for undergarments" and "size 000000 pins" might translate to "real cobwebs" and "closet rods" or maybe to "3-inch diameter hemp rope" and "gnat eyelashes".

... said...

They are splitting their foundation garments giggle at us as we try to understand their archaic instructions. Just for fun, I'm going to start writing all my pattern instruction in Ubbi Dubbi so I can laugh in my grave too!

Gail said...

Lovely 1860 dress -- wait, in 10 or so years she will also be ripping apart her skirt to possibly re-make it in a newer style, and I will be presented it (or find it) in a box of lots and lots of pieces ...

and the dress patterns aren't much different!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious as always. I so love you.

THIS ALONE is enough of a reason for someone to finally figure out time travel.

Anonymous said...

If it's any consolation, I recently dealt with a new pattern that took 32 pages to explain a short row heel sock. (Of course 6 of those pages were the crappy photographs.)

Mollie said...

My theory is that the corsets reduced the amount of oxygen she could get to her brain and she really wasn't thinking clearly.

Wibbo said...

Haha! Love it :oD

Viviana said...

It seems 50% of the Victorian era patterns I attempt were either written like this, or were edited by a drunken typesetter who decided he needed more room for the local livestock report/custard recipes for invalids. Or both, perhaps?

How about one that states the lace pattern requires 6 sts plus 3 on either side for the edge... and tells you to cast on 40 sts. I'm still trying to get 6 into 34 and end up with a whole number.

Pretty Knitty said...

You say it all so well.

villiputti said...

What? When? NOW you got me clinging on the egde of my seat with suspense.

karen alho said...

So what was it ? A mufflet? A tippet? A tuffet? Ah! Maybe it was a muppet! "It's time to start the music. It's time to light the lights...."

Strix said...

So funny. I have at least two sewing patterns half done at all times for this very reason.
Thank goodness for YouTube videos or I'd be still trying to figure out YO's.

I feel stupid sometimes when I can't understand the so-labeled, "Easy" patterns. And I wonder how the people back in the day were able to follow them. Hmph.

But!I know it's hard to write patterns -- heck, I couldn't do it!

Kokosmom said...

Those patterns just cause my eyes to cross and make my brain hurt.

Flora said...

thank you for your public service to knittingkind! can't wait to read the column

Carrie#K said...

She would have noted it as "easy" on Ravelry as well.

TuesdayFortnite said...

I have a 70's fondue cookbook which contains my favourite recipe ever.

It starts 'take the number of eggs as required for the number of people...' and the rest is worked out on the weight of the eggs. (add 1/2 the weight in cheese...)

At no point does it tell you how many eggs you need per person. Or what size eggs.

KnitWit said...

Amen. Tried to translate a "vintage" baby pattern. Gave up when it called for "White knitting needles."

Made up my own hat pattern and got it finished BEFORE the kid turned 18. Victory!! said...

Oh my god, there's a lot of worthwhile info here!

textilehistorIE said...

So funny that I found this post tonight! Spent the evening with Mee's stocking 'receipt' - tearing my hair out! Thanks for the laugh :D

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