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 (

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


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 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


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:


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: I can’t keep up with my reading list as it is! « sosoclever knits!
  2. Trackback: Tea Time « The Ladies of Mischief
  3. Trackback: The Scent of a Lady, pt 2 « The Ladies of Mischief
  4. Trackback: From Paris With Lace, pt 4: The Sierpinski Gasket Shawl « The Ladies of Mischief

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