…to decadent Boudoirs

A lovely fall evening to you, my colleagues!  As we continue on with our series of pattern previews – complete with an inside scoop from the designers – let’s make a stop at one of my favorite chapters: Boudoir, where knitting shows its decidedly sensual side.  Let’s start with a gorgeous little number that’s been all the buzz on Ravelry lately…

The Hush Chemise

Designer: Amanda Williams

Yarn: DyeForYarn Lace // Silk/Merino

In the latter half of the 19th century a woman would always wear a chemise under her corset. These were traditionally sewn from fabric, but I thought a knitted version would be lovely.  I wanted a bit of lace at the top and the bottom to make a feminine, playful top. I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather wear a delicate silk/merino yarn. These days we don’t seem to wear corsets quite so often, but in the tradition of innerwear as outerwear, this piece can really shine. I finished the one I did for myself last spring and wore it all summer long with jeans for casual days and a skirt to dress up a bit. I can’t wait to layer it this winter under jackets and cardigans.

A few notes on customizing it to your size. The lace repeat is 23 stitches wide. This means the pattern does not lend itself well to adding or removing stitches. Do be sure to swatch the lace portion to check how it will fit around your shoulders. Likewise check your stockinette gauge to match your bust measurement. This is designed to be close fitting at the bust but relaxed elsewhere. If you are finding yourself between sizes, I recommend changing needle sizes to get a gauge suitable for your sizing.

I ran a cord a through the top eyelets of my personal version to help it stay snug around my shoulders. You can do the same with ribbon or elastic to further enhance the fit. This will work up beautifully in a delicate lace weight yarn to be reminiscent of lingerie, or a fingering weight to be a casual t-shirt style.

Enjoy and please post your projects on Ravelry! I want to see what you do with it and how you wear it

The Trials and Tribulations Chemise and Bloomers

Designer: Aimee Skeers

Yarn: Evermore Studios Swanky Sock (or Prestige Sock)

I love bloomers.  Is that weird?  If so, I don’t actually care.  I love wearing them under full skirts so if an errant breeze rolls in, I don’t have to worry.  They’re adorable, so it’s only natural that I’d write a pattern for them.  I didn’t want to just write a bloomer pattern, though, since part of the fun of bloomers is wearing something over them.  The chemise is intended to be work either as part of the set, or as a top on its own.  Wear it just over a bra if you’re feeling saucy, or over a camisole to make it more work appropriate.  And remember, bloomers are awesome.


…to idyllic Countrysides

Greetings my colleagues!  As I’m sure you heard earlier this week Needles and Artifice has been unleashed upon the world!  Available for you in print and digital format right here at Cooperative Press, or as a download on Ravelry.  Get yours today! (or just admire the lovely pictures)

We here at Mischief Central are eagerly awaiting our very own Box O’ Books, and the first order of business (after oohing and aahing and crying for joy) is signing a whole lovely pile of them for our amazing Kickstarter supporters!  We’ll let you know as soon as they’re on the way.  We’ll also be hard at work putting together the other prizes that included additional treats along with a finished book, with those on their way ASAP as well!  Thanks again SO MUCH for your continued support and patience seeing this project through to fruition!

More news and plans on the horizon, but in the meantime I’d like to showcase two more patterns from the lush and serene Countyside chapter of Needles and Artifice.  Enjoy!

The Mountain Lily Scarf

Designer: Heidi Kunkel

Yarn: Lazy Perry Ranch Baby Alpaca/Silk/Cashmere Extra Fine Lace

This scarf was inspired by the Laminaria shawl by Elizabeth Freeman. I have a strong affinity for knitting lace, and I’ve always preferred floral lace to other more geometric patterns. I had worked nupps many times before, but the Laminaria pattern introduced me to a variation on those: purling each of the increased stitches individually on the following wrong side row. I was hooked from my first try of this “Estonian Star Stitch”, and I knew I wanted to make this stitch the centerpiece of a scarf design… thus, the Mountain Lily scarf was born.

The Take Flight Bonnet

Designer: Jen Schripsema

Yarn: JulieSpins Cable Sport/DK SW Merino

Because I lack impulse control when it comes to haircuts, my hair seems to be perpetually in “that awkward growing out length” and I struggle to find flattering hats. Beanies look terrible and slouchy hats often leave my ears out in the cold. One day when browsing hat patterns in Ravelry, I thought to myself, “There’s no reason why bonnets should be exclusively a baby garment.” To prevent the style from looking too twee or feminine, I used a traditionally masculine herringbone stitch pattern and added metal buckles. Think less “Little House on the Prairie” and more modern Amelia Earhart.

From Paris With Lace, pt 4: The Sierpinski Gasket Shawl

Original photo of Miss Julia Sett wearing her shawl

Greetings my colleagues!  I hope you enjoyed our little side trip last week to share the amazing photos in the works for our book!   Things are really coming along now, and I can’t wait to show more teasers along the way.  Though those patterns are under wraps for now, as promised I have a special treat for you today!  One of our collaborative designers Amanda Williams has worked her magic yet again to re-create Miss Julia Sett’s lace shawl.  I’ll let her describe the project in her own words, and leave you to enjoy the wonderful finished product!  I’m sure Julia would be proud to know her cunning and creative design has reached a far larger audience than her original letters to Miss Alyssa.

Dear Archivist,

Thank you for the opportunity to recreate another of the Ladies items from the trunk. I enjoyed the Lace Gear last year, and this shawl was as much of a treat. Using Miss Julia’s notes and letters was a big help, as was having the original shawl itself. It was interesting to see she had issues running out of yarn; she wanted to create a true interpretation of the Sierpinski gasket which, with our charting, would look like this (click for full size view):

I did some calculations for that. It appears she would have needed at least 2100 yds of laceweight yarn to complete her shawl. Instead she created this variant, which is just as lovely and appears to use approximately 1100 yds.

When I wrote up the pattern, I charted the first section of triangles only, and provided a diagram and directions for the placement of that chart within the larger pattern. I thought that many of your readers would prefer a quicker, snuggly knit as we head into winter and gift giving season, and this smaller size works up beautifully in a soft, bulky yarn.

For your readers looking for a classic, elegant lace weight shawl they can substitute either of the full diagrams above in place of the one in the pattern.  The yarn in Julia’s original shawl is a spot-on match for Silk Hand Dyed Knitting Yarn – Lace Weight from Sunnyside Ellen (3 1/2 oz (100g), 1100yds (990m) 100% Silk in lace weight), which I would highly recommend for this project.  You can use 1 skein for the smaller version or 2 skeins for the large version.

Thank you again for the opportunity to bring a little history to life – I can’t wait to see what you find next!

The Scent of a Lady, pt 3

Greetings once again my colleagues!  I just finished up a very exciting meeting about the Ladies of Mischief book project – lots of excellent progress!  I can’t wait for you all to see it. I have a feeling things are going to start moving very quickly from here on out!

But in the meantime, I have something special to share with you today.  Without any further ado, I’m pleased to present the final installment in the tale of Miss Alyssa Rynne’s perfume.  As you may recall in the previous installment, I mentioned a gorgeous bottle containing the last of Alyssa’s perfume.  Well, it wasn’t specifically the bottle that was so lovely, it was what the bottle was wearing, as it were.  Another dear knitting friend of mine, Valerie DiPietro, was able to decipher and re-create Alyssa’s beautiful lace bottle cozy, which I’m delighted to bring to you now.  Truly, what dignified Lady would use a bottle without one?  Enjoy!

A Most Useful Cozy

A lovely spring day to you, my colleagues.  As promised, I have treat for you today!  You may recall Miss O’ Hare mentioning a favorite tea cozy of hers, yes?  Well, while investigating the trunk a short while back, I found none other than that very cozy (or one in the same pattern) along with her knitting instructions!  As you might imagine they were a little worse for the wear after so many years, and the notes needed some modernization, so I handed them off to a dear knitter friend Aimee Skeers to touch up.  She did an outstanding job, and I’m thrilled to share this lovely Mischief Recreation Artifact with you!  It’s both adorable and quite ingenious, much like its creator.  Here are her original notes on the clever design:

From Miss Anna Roisin O’Hare to the Ladies of Mischief:

Dear friends, I know you will appreciate the difficulties of keeping one’s tea piping hot and one’s teapot protected when one lives a lifestyle such as ours. Fed up with other cozies, I set out to design one that would fulfill my needs. With this clever little thing I can pour my tea without removing the cozy, while the lacing allows me easy access to the top of the pot for brewing. It can be left on at all times, as well, in order to protect the pot when turbulence rattles the dirigible. On my last trip to the Arabias I found my inspiration for the pattern. I do so love to look at the cozy and remember my travels while I have a cup of tea.

View the pattern on Ravelry or 

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


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


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:

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