When historic patterns are on Raverly’s Hot Right Now page, my day is made. This happened last week when the Ladies’ Knitted Hug-Me-Tight, or Zouave Jacket made it to page 1 on Hot Right Now. As any good history nerd would do, I followed the link and started reading the book where it was originally published, made available online at archive.org. The book was The Art of Knitting published in 1892 by the Butterick Publishing Company.
From my quick flip through, it appears to be a fascinating publication. The first part is what we might call a Stitch Dictionary, with many interesting lace work and other stitch patterns to follow. The chapters that follow look at different articles of knitwear, tips on how to work them, and patterns that one could make, provided that knitter is fluent in patterns from the 19th century.
My quick flipping was interrupted in the Useful Articles for Children’s Wear chapter as one pattern provided was for a Child’s Chest Protector. Here’s the image accompanying the pattern:
Why did this pattern catch my eye? Because it looks awfully similar to Godey’s Sontag, a pattern I’ve made so many times now I can basically knit it in my sleep.
The ‘Child’s Chest Protector’ has incorporated the garter ridge into the actual design and pattern notes, rather than with Godey’s where the border (garter ridge or otherwise) was added after the main piece was completed.
The pattern reads:
To begin the protector – Cast on 30 stitches and knit back and forth plain until there are 7 rows
To make the first row of blocks – after finishing the first row, turn and knit as follows: knit 10, purl 5, knit 5, purl 5, knit 5 (in knitting the rows, 5 stitches must be knit plain at each site of every row, in order to firm the boder seen in the engraving). Turn
Knit 10, p 5, k5, p5, k5. Turn
K 10, p 5, k 5, p 5, k 5. Turn
Knit back and forth in this order until there are 6 rows, each formed by knitting across and back. This completed the first set of blocks.
To begin the second set of blocks – (These blocks must alternate with those of the first set). Knit 5, then widen by knitting a stitch out of the next stitch, but to not slip it off the needle; then purl out of this same stitch and slip it off; purl 4, k 5, p 5, k 5, now purl 1 out of the next stitch, but do not slip it off the needle, to widen, and then knit 5. Turn.
K 7, but do not slip off the last stitch; p 5, k 5, p 5, k 7 but do not slip the last stitch off the needle; p 1, k 5. Turn.
Complete this set of blocks after this manner, widening as described at each side between the blocks and border. Then make a set of blocks to correspond with the first set, widening as in the second set, and so on until the widest part of the protector is reached.
To make the Tabs – when the neck edge is reached (in the protector illustrated) pass all the stitches of the border at one side and those of 6 blocks onto another needle; then bind off the stitches of 4 blocks for the neck-edge. Now continue the knitting after the manner directed, to form the tab at one side, making the plain border at each side of the tab and narrowing at the outer border instead of widening as before. Complete for the other tab to correspond.
For the outer Edge – Use Angora wool and crochet shells along the border as follows: 1 single crochet and 2 doubles all in the same space, selecting the spaces so that the shells will be perfectly flat. Fasten ties of ribbon at the sides as seen in the engraving, to tie the protector about the waist.
There are slight differences to the patterns – Godey’s has an increase of one stitch every row while Art of Knitting increases 2 stitches every other row; as well, once you reach the arms, or ‘tabs,’ Godey’s has you decreasing on the inner edge while Art of Knitting decreases on the outer edge. These slight changes aside, following either pattern will result in a garment which will keep your torso warm while your arms are free to move about as you want.
If 100 year old patterns are your thing, or if you’re simply interested in an old read, I’d recommend checking out The Art of Knitting, available to view online.