Run for the Border

Hello again, dear colleagues.  I hope you all had a festive Thanksgiving!  I enjoyed my turkey trunk-side and had a very productive time of it, until I managed to fall asleep in a pile of letters.  Fortunately, I’d already set aside a particularly interesting one from a new Lady of Mischief, which I’ve just completed transcribing below.

My Darling Ladies,

I hope this latest dispatch finds you well. How I miss my misty San Francisco; life here in Boston is just as stifling as ever and I simply long to return home. Mother has taken to telling me that in my situation I must refrain from my foolish endeavors, put aside my dreams of world travel and exploration, and focus on finding a husband. What rot! I must confess to you, dear friends, that giving it all up and remaining here is more than I can bear. As soon as my father’s estate has been put in order I shall sail for South America and begin my studies of the aboriginal populations.

By unfortunate coincidence, I managed to run into Mr. Beechworth today; oh, that man is as much a bother as ever. He still maintains that I owe him for the rights on my mine in the Sierra, even though I have repeatedly explained to him about the overseas account and the trustee who is maintaining the funds. Yet Beechworth still insists I pay him or risk the consequences. Well I’d like to see him follow me to the Amazon.

Helen is ringing me for tea, so I must be off. Fear not, I will write again upon arrival in the jungle. Best wishes and good health my dear ladies.

Sincerely yours,

Theodosia LaDuke

The Amazon!  Is there anywhere on earth these gallivanting women didn’t go? And sailing this time, too.  Oh, what I would give for some information on her ship!  It also makes me wonder where their base of operations might have been located, as we seem to have representation from both sides of the pond.  Hmmm.  Hopefully all will be revealed once my cataloguing is complete.  Back to it!

Oh, and as promissed I’ve updated the Lace Gear post with a direct link to purchase the pattern (located at the bottom of the post).

Lace Gear

Greetings again, my dear colleagues.  You may recall I hinted at a pattern re-creation in progress a short while back.   Well, I am thrilled to present to you the finished work, which, in addition to being a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, was also quite the story to unravel! (pun intended)

Original photo of Anna Roisin O' Hare

As you read in the first letter from Miss Coraline Hackworth, she devised a clever means of scenting her helium with a rose oil soaked handkerchief placed in the tank. You can’t imagine how delighted I was to recover from the trunk a small fragment of beautiful lace, smelling faintly of roses!  I was sure it must be the one referenced in her letter

… until I came across a few charming photographs of our very own Anna Roisin O’Hare and Kristoff von Boltenstein (their names were faintly marked on the back – what a find!) featuring a handkerchief with an identical lace pattern to the fragment.

 

Up to some mischief

Now, it looks like one, but smells like the other – are they, in fact, one in the same?  A gift perhaps from Miss Hackworth to her friend, for use on her dirigible?  Or did the idea simply catch on with The Ladies, and many of them took to scenting their handkerchiefs thusly?  Ah, we may never know, unless the trunk reveals a few more secrets.

Regardless, it was such an outstanding find, I knew I had to see if the original item could be reproduced.  And my dear friend Amanda Williams of Le Ton Beau Designs was able to do just that, using the pictures and fragment as a guide.  Let me share the fascinating details with you from a recent correspondence.

Anna Roisin O'Hare and Kristoff von Boltenstein

From: Amanda Williams (LeTonBeau.Designs@gmail.com)

Sent: Monday 11/15/10 2:28 PM

To: XXXXXXX@XXXXXX.com

Thank you so much for allowing me to investigate the handkerchief from your trunk of discoveries. It was quite badly damaged, but I believe I have been able to faithfully recreate the item. The photos you supplied were invaluable in this endeavor.

The handkerchief itself seemed quite delicate and smelled faintly of roses. From the pictures of the lovely couple, I can only assume the young lady applied her perfume to it as a love token for the gentleman shown.  (Note: In the interest of discretion, I neglected to mention any dirigibles in the original request.)

From the bits that remain I was able to determine that this object was knit in the round from the center outwards. There appear to have been 8 spokes radiating out for the increase sections. The final border was a knit on edging.  It is quite a clever design which resembles a gear when complete. The teeth of the gear are accomplished via cast on and cast off stitches. It also has nupps in the border making me wonder if this came from Estonia. Do you have any more information on its origins?

I can’t tell you what a joy it was to examine and recreate this delicacy from the past. I must confess I lacked the time to knit it up such a fine fiber as was originally used–a wool and silk blend perhaps? In the interest of time I knit my test sample from simple kitchen cotton and was rewarded with a delightful washcloth.  It makes me think this could be knit from any weight yarn in any size. Perhaps a worsted weight shawl, or bulky weight lap blanket?  The border is quite ingenious; the pattern repeat for the border will match up evenly no matter where you stop your increases since each round is a multiple of 8 stitches.

I have provided the pattern at http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/lace-gear for others to enjoy as you requested.

Again thank you for allowing me examine this treasure. Please keep me in mind should you have any more items to recreate.

-Amanda Williams

Le Ton Beau Designs

Ravelry–LeTonBeau


I hope you all enjoy this wonderful piece of history, whether for the fascinating story, or to create a Mischief Reproduction Artifact for yourself – the first of what I hope will be many, since as you know I have a special interest in women’s fashion and accessories of that era.  Now, back to the trunk!  I have another few letters nearly sorted out and ready for transcribing.

Until next time,

~The Archivist

 

To purchase the Lace Gear Pattern, simply click this lovely button:

A Dirigible Built for Two

At last, my patient colleagues, I have found the 3rd and final page of (drum roll…) Miss Anna Roisin O’Hare’s letter! We mustn’t leave her waiting for an answer from the charming young man any longer…

He looked at me for a long moment, then looked to his mother, his father, and finally the young woman standing next to him through all this chaos. (I recognized her as the daughter of another fairly local aristocratic family, but not one that held any particular animosity toward me.) He took her hand in his and spoke.

“Elaine, it seems I won’t be marrying you after all. I sincerely hope you find someone who makes you truly happy, and I don’t think that person was ever going to be me… No matter what our parents thought about it.” He looked into her eyes for a moment, and seemed to be willing her to understand. She laughed, and squeezed his hand as she answered. “Kristoff, my friend, thank you. I have known you long enough to understand that we would have been a terrible match.” She kissed him on the cheek and gestured toward me. “Now quickly. I think your future is waiting.”

He ran to me across the ruined lawn, the voices of his parents blending together into an incomprehensible garble of anger. He took my hand with joy in his eyes, and I pulled him up onto the horse behind me and let him settle in. As I urged Belinda into action, he slipped and nearly fell before stabilizing himself with an arm around my waist. I winked back at him. “So familiar and you don’t even know my name yet!” He cocked his head at me as Belinda cantered away from his parents and his old life.

“I suppose I don’t,” he said. “I’m Kristoff von Boltenstein, but you may have figured that out.” He grinned at me, his face alive with humor and curiosity.

“Indeed I had.” I grinned back, quite enjoying being entirely improper. “I’m Anna. Anna Roisin O’Hare. Pleased to meet you.”

He looked behind us on the road, back toward his arranged marriage and what was surely chaos. “I think I can say with all truth, Miss Anna, that the pleasure is all mine.”

And that, dear friends, is how we met! We’re leaving immediately for Mongolia on my dirigible. I thought it a good idea to be well out of the country for a bit, and I have been meaning to purchase some cashmere goats from the wonderful nomads in the East for quite some time. I’m dropping this in the post just before we leave, as I was simply bursting to tell someone and Belinda was there for the whole of it already.

I wish you all the best of luck, my adventuring sisters in mischief!

With great joy,

Anna Roisin O’Hare

Mischief indeed! But highly successful mischief at that. Image what excitement those two must have found on their journey to Mongolia. Mongolia in a dirigible with newfound love! I sincerely hope we haven’t heard the last of them – only time and the trunk will tell, and we’ve many, many more tales yet to discover…

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