Thursday, February 16, 2012

Warmth in the Winter

My son-in-law is restoring a Victorian Queen Anne house inn which I plan to open a B&B with a small gift shop on the ground floor. In keeping with the age of the house and the antique furnishings, I am using period patterns to make knitted and crocheted coverlets and bedspreads for the guest rooms and for sale in the shop. The floral patterns and intricate yarn over lace work pieces are lovely to look at. The patterns are not always easy to follow. Like period recipes the directions are sometimes idiosyncratic. I have yet to find the Mrs. Beaton of needlework to give a standard set of abbreviations and directions to these antique instructions.

I envision a group of women sitting in a parlor or a country kitchen showing each other how to turn string into a blanket or coverlet to keep their children warm and beautify their homes. I imagine they show their young daughters how to make a doily that will one day be a piece of lace in a larger tablecloth or coverlet. What better way to prepare your child to make the scarves and sweaters her own children will need than to have her make the table runners and place mats with scraps of left over yarn? What a practical outlet for the creative spirit inside these craftswomen.

I envy them. I am trying to develop patterns of my own, and I am finding the design of a pattern that fits the measurements I need is not as easy as deciphering the patterns of that long ago era.
So far I am a poor follower rather than an innovator, but I am getting closer to my own patterns with every row I copy from them. Even if I never devise a pattern of my own that meets their standard I shall have had the pleasure of their company through their work and their directions. It is a privilege to share a bit of their world while working towards my own goal of covering the tables and beds of my B&B.


  1. I'm with you, all the way, about following a pattern rather than innovating myself! Once the pattern is there, I can create all day! I love the picture you evoke, though, and wish you luck with your new venture. Will look forward to seeing the final venue and products!

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