Isabella Beeton







287.--KNITTING, though considered to be an old-fashioned art, is by no means so ancient as lacemaking. Knitting has never entirely quitted the hands of English and German ladies; indeed, among all good housewives of any civilised country, it is reckoned an indispensable accomplishment. Knitting schools have been established of late years both in Ireland and Scotland, and Her Majesty the Queen has herself set an example of this industry, as well as largely patronised the industrial knitters of Scotland. Of the rudiments of this useful art many ladies are at present ignorant; it is in the hope of being useful to these that the following instructions are offered.

To knit, two, three, four, or five needles, and either thread, cotton, silk, or wool are required.

Knitting needles are made of steel, of ivory, or of wood; the size to be used depends entirely upon the material employed, whether thread, cotton, silk, single or double wool, for knitting. As the size of the needles depends upon that of the cotton, a knitting gauge is used (see No. 287). The gauge (page 290) is the exact size of Messrs. H. Walker and Co.'s knitting gauge. Our readers will remark that English and foreign gauges differ very essentially; the finest size of German [290] needles, for example, is No. 1, which is the size of the coarsest English wooden or ivory needle. Straight knitting is usually done with two needles only for round knitting for socks, stockings, &c., three, four, and five needles are employed.

-Knitting Gauge.

288.--Casting On.

This term is used for placing the first row or round of knitting stitches on the needles--"casting them on"--and is done in two ways--by "knitting on" the stitches, or as follows:--

Hold the thread between the first and second finger of the left hand, throw it over the thumb and first finger so as to form a loop, and pass the needle in the loop; throw the thread lightly round the needle, pass it through the loop, and draw up the thread; this forms the first stitch (see No. 288).

Casting On.

289.--To Knit On.

Knitting On.

Take the needle on which the stitches are cast in the left hand, and another needle in the right hand--observe the position of the hands [291] (No. 289). Hold the left-hand needle between the thumb and third finger, leaving the first finger free to move the points of the needles. (The wonderful sense of touch in the first or index finger is so delicate, that an experienced knitter can work without ever looking at her fingers, by the help of this touch only--in fact, knitting becomes a purely mechanical labour, and as such is most useful.) Insert the point of the right-hand needle in the loop or stitch formed on the left-hand needle, bring the thread once round, turning the point of the needle in [292] front under the stitch, bringing up the thread thrown over, which in its turn becomes a stitch, and is placed on the left-hand needle.

290.--Simple Knitting (plain).

Plain Knitting.

Pass the right-hand needle into the 1st stitch of the left-hand needle, at the back throw the thread forward, and with the first finger pass the point of the needle under the stitch in forming a fresh stitch with the thread already thrown over, as in "knitting on," only, instead of placing the newly-formed stitch on the left-hand needle, leave it on the right-hand needle, and let the stitch drop off the point of the left-hand needle. Continue thus until all the stitches are taken from the left to the right-hand needle, and the row is then complete.

291.--To Purl, Pearl, or Seam.

Seaming or purling a stitch is done by taking up the stitch in front instead of at the back, throwing the thread over and knitting the stitch as in plain knitting; but before beginning to purl, the thread must be brought in front of the needle, and if a plain stitch follows, the thread is passed back after the purl stitch is made (see No. 291).


292.--To Increase. [293] Increasing or making a stitch is done by throwing the thread once round the needle and in the next row knitting it as an ordinary stitch.


293.--To Decrease.

This is done in two ways: firstly, taking up two stitches and knitting them together as one; secondly, by taking up a stitch without knitting it, called slipping, then by knitting the following stitch in the usual way, and then slipping the 1st (unknitted) over the 2nd (knitted) (see No. 293). When it is necessary to decrease two stitches at once, proceed thus:--Slip one, knit two stitches together, then slip the unknitted stitch over the two knitted together.


294.--Round Knitting.

To knit a round four or five needles are used; it is thus that stockings, socks, cuffs, mittens, &c., are made. To knit with four needles, cast on, say, 32 stitches upon one needle, insert a second needle in the last stitch of the first, and cast on 30 stitches; proceed in a similar way with a third needle, but casting on 28 only; when this is done, knit the two extra stitches on the first needle on to the last; this makes 30 stitches upon each needle, and completes the round.

295.--Casting Off.

Knit two stitches, and with the left-hand needle slip the first stitch over the second; continue this to the end of the row. Note.--The last knitted row, before casting off, should be knitted loosely. [295]

296.--To Pick up a Stitch.

This is done by taking up the thread between two stitches and forming a stitch with it.

The following Designs of New Stitches can be used for a variety of work:--

297.--Peacock's Tail Pattern.

Needles, wood or ivory; Messrs. Walter Evans and Co.'s knitting cotton.

Peacock's Tail Pattern.

Cast on a number of stitches divisible by nine, as it takes nine stitches for each pattern, and two for each border; the border, which [296] is in plain knitting, will not be mentioned after the first row.

1st Row.--2 plain for border; 2 plain *, make 1, 1 plain, repeat this four times from *, make 1, 2 plain; repeat from the beginning--then 2 plain for border.

2nd Row.--2 purl, 11 plain, 2 purl; repeat.

Spiral Stitch.

3rd Row.--Take 2 together, 11 plain, take 2 together; repeat.

4th Row.--Purl 2 together, purl 9, purl 2 together; repeat.

5th Row.--Take 2 together, 7 plain, take 2 together.

Begin from the 1st row.

Thirteen stitches are large enough for a stripe for a sofa-cover. These stripes should be sewn together after all are finished.


298.--Spiral Stitch.

Materials: Needles, thick steel or bone; double wool.

This stitch is far more effective worked in thick wool than in cotton. It is done in stripes alternately wide and narrow. For wide stripes cast on twenty-one stitches, for narrow fifteen; this without counting the first and last stitch, the first being slipped, the last always plainly knitted.

1st Row.--Purl 3 together to end of row.

2nd Row.--Make 1, * 1 plain, make 2, repeat from * end by making the last stitch before the plain knitted one at end of row.

Knotted Stitch.

299.--Knotted Stitch.

Materials: Needles, wood or ivory; double wool.

Cast on 11 stitches.

1st Row.--All plain, throwing the wool twice round the needle before each stitch.

2nd Row.--Each stitch on the needle is now composed of 3 threads of wool: knit the first plain, the second purl, the third plain; cast off the second over the third, and the first over the second; this leaves but one stitch; repeat from first row until a sufficient length is obtained. This pattern makes very pretty borders.

300.--Knitted Moss Borders.

Materials: Steel needles; moss wool of several shades of green.

Cast on enough stitches for double the width required, say twenty, and knit very tightly in plain knitting, row by row, until a sufficient length has been obtained. Cut off and place the strip on a sieve over a basin of boiling water, and cover it over. When it has absorbed the steam, and while wet, iron it with a box-iron. Then cut the strip down the centre, and unravel the wool on each side. The threads of wool all curling, resemble moss. They are held firmly by the selvedge of the knitting.

301.--German Brioche Stitch

Materials: Wood or ivory needles; wool.

Cast on an even number of stitches.

All the rows are knitted as follows:--Slip 1, taken as for purling, [299] make 1, take 2 together. In the following rows the made stitch must always be slipped, the decreased stitch and the slipped stitch of the previous row knitted together.

German Brioche Stitch.

Ordinary Brioche Stitch is made by casting on an even number of stitches, and working the rows as follows:--

Make 1, slip 1, take 2 together; repeat. Note.--The made stitch and the slipped stitch of the previous row must always be knitted together, and the decreased stitch of that row slipped.

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