When it came time to write a post for Victoria Day, I kicked myself for having released a post about Queen Victoria and her knitting back in April. I wish I'd thought of saving it for today. However, what's posted is posted, so today's post will consist of my presenting a selection of some authentic Victorian-era knitting patterns that are attractive and useable by today's standards to you for your enjoyment and possible future projects.
Please be aware that these historical patterns, although they often are available on the web for free thanks to the wonderful concept that is public domain, probably aren't for the beginning or even intermediate knitter. Patterns have become much more user-friendly and standardized in the past century, and these antique patterns often don't provide basic information such as required yardage amounts or stitch gauge, and can be generally really confusing. The sizing will also tend to run really small and have to be altered. You'll need to have significant knitting experience and a certain tolerance level required for the frustrating and time-consuming process of figuring out the patterns.
If nothing I've featured here works for you, there are lots of Victorian-era patterns available online. Project Gutenberg has a number of Victorian knitting instruction books and the Antique Pattern Library has an extensive selection of patterns available, all for free. Iva Rose has quite a good selection of restored reproductions for sale. Your local library might also be helpful. And one thing to be aware of when trying to find authentic Victorian patterns is that Ravelry patterns tagged with "Victorian" are usually so.... not.
This beaded purse is from Isabella Beeton's Beeton's Book of Needlework, and was originally published in 1870. The pattern is available for free and would make a lovely evening bag.
This baby bootie pattern is available for free over on Doodles.
This knitted neckerchief is another Isabella Beeton original and is also a free pattern.
This lovely little baby's knitted frock was originally published in Weldon's Practical Needlework: Practical Knitter, Second Series in 1886, but has been re-released by Interweave.
This little vest is for a child of three, and was originally published in Weldon's Practical Needlework: Practical Knitter, Tenth Series in 1888. Again, it's been released in a new edition by Interweave. I'd be inclined to make it in my size.
This design was originally known as "Gent's Knickerbocker Hose" and was published in Weldon's Practical Needlework: Practical Knitter, Twenty-Eighth Series in 1895. Now of course, they're going to be called men's socks and will be worn with, and mostly under, trousers.
This acorn-shaped pattern for an emery cushion was originally published in Weldon's Practical Needlework: Practical Knitter, Thirty-First Series in 1896, which again was republished by Interweave Press.
This reticule is another pattern from Weldon's Practical Needlework: Practical Knitter, Thirty-First Series in 1896. It's 10" x 6" and could easily be enlarged or downsized as the knitter wishes.
Happy Victoria Day!