Thursday, February 18, 2010

Vintage Evening

You might recognise the name, Miss Lambert, from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today. She's the inspiration behind the spider's web shawl I plan to cast on just as soon as a few more projects leave the needles. In fact, if you open a copy of Victorian Lace Today, you'll see an image of My Knitting Book by Miss Lambert, First Series.

Well, I just got my little mitts on My Knitting Book by Miss Lambert, Second Series! It's such a tiny book, 1846. It has patterns for carriage socks, fish napkins and sofa pillows and attached to one page, a sample, I presume, of the edging described. I'm guessing the previous owner might have done this, but it was a lovely surprise when the book slipped free of the packaging. You can just see it in the photo below.

I put a squishy skein of Damson from See Jayne Knit beside the book for size comparison. And Miss Lambert's book is resting on top of a dressmaking annual I picked up from The Uppity Woman. The cover is a bit tattered, but the cover illustration is fantastic.

Isn't it brilliant? There's a whole section on clothes etiquette. I'm going to keep it in mind for my next trip: "The semi-tailored type of clothes that you wear for the street are correct on the train. A Pullman robe of dark colored material to wear from the sleeper berth to the dressing room is in better taste than a gay kimono. Street, afternoon or dinner dresses are the rule for dinner in a hotel. On shipboard one usually dresses for dinner. A dinner dress and an evening dress will be needed." Personally, I think the gay kimono sounds fascinating.

There's also advice on making pretty 'dainty things' on a moderate income. I'd love to be lounging in monogrammed pyjamas like those pictured - I could pretend to be in my favourite F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, Tender is the Night, seducing Dick Diver.

There's advice on what cuts work for the thin or stout figure, styles for "the roly-poly little girl, also becoming styles for the so-called awkward stage." Bliss.

Last night, while Kate was running about on Lost looking for Sawyer, I cast on the Evenstar Shawl without pulling it out again. I gritted my teeth and told myself I hadn't twisted the needles and that the loops would settle down if I just kept knitting. I did keep knitting and although I'm only about an inch in, it's looking actually okay. I might be on track and I have to say, even the tiny circle of silk lace is divine.

Today I've been cobbling together quotes from the piles of books currently hemming me in. It's been a long day, so I think I'll just shut down, put my feet up with the silk, and watch a little Stargate and snow boarding!


Jacqui said...

Yes I like the sound of the gay kimono too. Stargate AND snowboarding...hmm you are a woman of diverse tastes my dear! How are the chooks? You're going to need another room for all that knitting! Do you do commissions?

Gidgetknits said...

Gosh, it'd be a question of fitting commissions in! It'd depend on how fun they were? And I'm just about to put up a hen-themed post!