Friday, July 20, 2012

The Household: Oakleaf Edging




When I was helping clean my grandparents house to ready it for sale in Lake Orion, I came upon some curious clippings that were helping hold the photographers together in a pile. They were so old and brittle that most of them just fell apart in my hands. But from a couple of the larger chunks, I learned that the clippings were part of a column called "The Household" and that it was from the Detroit Free Press.

Its likely that these clippings were fluff from my great-great-grandparents that disintegrated over time. My great grandmother Barry Mae Perry was well known for her embroidery, but no one I've talked to has ever mentioned she was good at knitting or crocheting, either. Since we don't know anything about the great-greats, its anyone's guess.

May Perrin Goff was the editor of The Household, and was the only female editorial staff of the Detroit Free Press. She "does a man's work, get's a man's pay", and "takes her chance with the rest of the boys". I found this fascinating, a female newspaper editor in the 1880s. Submitted from around the distribution area, The Household formed an interesting supplement to the Detroit Free Press, and I imagine that if it was a recipe issue, there were going to be many men having the recipes for supper!

In fact, I'd even call it a primitive form of Ravelry with its "wants and answers" and craft columns. The patterns are likely reprints - looking at the instructions, it seems like it may have appeared earlier and been reprinted as beloved subscriber patterns rather than attributing their regular sources.

Take January 16, 1886 Detroit Free Press.

Wants and Answers:
"Arma" of Chester, asks for a recipe for Swiss salad.
"Mrs. Mary L." of Liverpool, asks for a recipe for a good furniture polish.
"Elna? D" of Michigan, asks how to make chocolate macaroons.
"B.R.F." of London, asks how to crochet a child's sacque in start stitch
"Subscriber" of Allegheny City, PA, asks for recipes for fishballs and corncakes.

Oakleaf Edging, submitted by Pansy, Niles, Michigan
*Pansy even was mentioned in chat "We should be pleased to hear from you again on the subject of knitted work".

"Cast on fourteen stitches, knit across plain.
First row-Knit two plain, throw thread over twice, and seam two together; knit two plain, throw thread over twice, and seam two together; knit one plain, throw thread over twice, and knit two together; throw thread over twice and knit two together, knit one plain
Second row-Knit three plain, seam one, knit two plain, seam one, knit one plain, throw thread over twice, and seam two together; knit two plain; throw thread over twice, and seam two together; knit two plain.
Third row-Knit two plain; throw thread over twice, and seam two together; knit two plain; throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit three plain, throw thread over twice, and knit two together; throw thread over twice, and knit two together; knit one plain.
Fourth row-knit three plain, seam one, knit two plain, seam one, knit three plain, throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit two plain, throw thread over twice and seam two together, knit two plain.
Fifth row-Knit two plain, throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit two plain; throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit five plain, throw thread over twice and knit two together; throw thread over twice and knit two together; knit one plain.
Sixth row-Knit three plain, seam one, knit two plain, seam one, knit five plain, throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit two plain, throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit two plain.
Seventh row-knit two plain, throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit two plain, throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit seven plain, throw thread over twice and knit two together; throw thread over twice and knit two together; knit one plain.
Eighth row - Knit three plain, seam one, knit two plain, seam one, knit seven plain  throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit two plain; throw thread over twice, seam two together; knit two plain.
Ninth row-knit two plain, throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit two plain, throw thread over twice and seam two together, knit fourteen plain.
Tenth row - Knit two plain, bind the first over the second, and so continue knitting and binding until you have bound off eight stitches and have fourteen left on the needles, one on the right hand needle and thirteen on the left hand one; knit five plain, throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit two plain, throw thread over twice and seam two together; knit two plain. This completes one scallop."

First off, I have to mention the genealogy aspect of this. Some of the column regulars become recognizable, and perhaps this Pansy might be a family member. These columns could be an interesting source of evidence for someone who knew their great-greats name or nicknames.

Second, what a change of terminology.
Some Hints:
Seam = purl
throw thread over = yarn over
knit X plain = knit

I had intended on publishing this after I had made a successful oak leaf edging, but find myself more interested in publishing the column that knitting it up immediately.
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