Knitwit, old-school style

Some girls get their grandmother’s diamonds, others get pearls handed down to them. I, on the other hand, scored something that to me is far more valuable, namely, a Paton’s knitting and crocheting book from 1902.

While it wasn’t exactly left to me in my grandma’s will, I’m sure she would be happy that I’ve ended up with it, even though I can’t knit. Even if I could, the relevance of most of these patterns to today’s lifestyle is questionable to say the least, but that just makes the book all the more charming.  It also makes me grateful to be living today rather than 100 years ago – I don’t think I could handle this kind of thermal underwear.

On the other hand, I do admire the frills on this bodice, which is done in fourche work. Has anyone out there done fourche work before? I mean to give it a go when I get some time (give me about 20 years…)…

This cycling jersey beats the Lycra versions of today hands down…

And I love this early attempt at Photoshopping…

A knitted harness for a child, with “Beauty” stitched across the chest? Why not…?

Or for a more manly chest, there’s this protector, which “has been found particularly valuable during severe weather by omnibus drivers and conductors”. Is there an omnibus driver in your life who you could knit this for?

I’m wondering what “Sanitary” shades are (in the Unshrinkable Vest Wool)… and can you imagine wearing a wool petticoat!?

I mean to investigate whether Paton’s is still at the address in Flinders Lane, but I doubt it. I wonder whether any of these branches listed on the back of the book still exist?

By the way, a lovely reader who saw this post alerted me to the Antique Pattern Library site which you may like to visit if you are into this kind of thing – but I’m not accepting responsibility for the amount of time you spend oohing and aahing if you decide to have a look!!