A 144-year-old Mystery Scarf
Update: The pattern for this scarf is now available on Ravelry. I hope you find it as fun to knit as I did!
In this week’s video, I delve into the world of vintage knitting patterns to make myself a Victorian Shetland Lace Scarf.
The Victorian Shetland Lace Shawl, or Wedding Ring Shawl, is an iconic part of knitting lore. The more practical Shetland lace scarf, less so.
The Victorian and Edwardian era(s) have seen a surge of popularity on costube recently. While everyone else is sewing corsets and combinations, I’ve been knitting a scarf. The Victorian Shawl is fairly well known, in both knitted and woven varieties, but scarves seem a more practical garment, meant for both prestige and warmth.
I found myself wandering through the Richard Rutt Collection on the University of Southampton’s knitting archive. I found myself intrigued by a scarf pattern in a book attributed only to “A Lady”.
Could this be a pirated or missing Frances Lambert or Jane Gaugain pattern? Or could this be a traditional pattern contributed by a local knitter?
I picked up my Addi Turbo needles and a skein of silk/wool blend, and determined to find out for myself.
Along the way, I found myself wondering…just who is this scarf meant for? And what does knitting have to do with Gilbert and Sullivan, and Courtney Love? The answer might surprise you!
Lovick, Elizabeth. The Same, but Different: Shetland Lace in a European Context. KBTH Lace Virtual Conference, March 2006 http://www.knittingbeyondthehebrides.org/lace/SameButDifferent.pdf
Lady, A. The Home Knitter: A Manual For Making Useful Articles for the Family. Edinburgh: Johnstone, Hunter, & Co, 1876 https://archive.org/details/krl00376334/mode/2up
Sowerby, Jane and Alexis Xenakis (Photographer). Victorian Lace Today. USA: XRX Inc, 2006. https://www.amazon.ca/Victorian-Lace-Today-Jane-Sowerby/dp/1933064102
“The Richard Rutt Collection.” In the Loop – Knitting Collections, University of Southampton https://www.southampton.ac.uk/intheloop/collections/richard-rutt.page
Sources for tracking pattern authorship & notes on IP piracy in the arts:
Sowerby, Jane and Alexis Xenakis (Photographer). Victorian Lace Today. USA: XRX Inc, 2006. Knitting terms developed by Jane Gaugain: Page 15 Diamond Border Pattern by Jane Gaugain: Page 37 Piracy of Frances Lambert’s intellectual property: Page 41 https://www.amazon.ca/Victorian-Lace-Today-Jane-Sowerby/dp/1933064102
Gilbert & Sullivan IP piracy (via Wikipedia page linked below) Rosen, Zvi S. The Twilight of the Opera Pirates: A Prehistory of the Right of Public Performance for Musical Compositions. Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 24, 2007, accessed 21 May 2007. See also Prestige, Colin. “D’Oyly Carte and the Pirates”, a paper presented at the International Conference of G&S held at the University of Kansas, May 1970 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilbert_and_Sullivan#cite_note-37
Love, Courtney, “Courtney Love does the math.” Salon. June 14, 2000. https://www.salon.com/2000/06/14/love_7/
Misc. Image Sources:
Kendrick, C. – https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/var1993000413/PP/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1235342
Andrea Fleming – Courtney Love, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67962433
Sidney Paget (died 1908) – http://www.artintheblood.com/twis/twis9.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11274194
David Shankbone – flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10273439
NASA/JPL-Caltech – NASA, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19525315
Music: Butterflies in Love – Sir Cubworth
C Major Prelude – Bach
Two of Us – Saidbysed
Sangria – Saidbysed
Dancing Star – Aakash Gandhi
Divine Life Society – Jesse Gallagher
Kiss the Sky – Aakash Gandhi
Ravelry Group: https://www.ravelry.com/groups/stringchronicity