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Writing Progress - Sushi and Suspicions

I’ve been working on Sushi and Suspicions , a Christian contemporary romantic suspense which will be releasing in June in the multi-author box set Summer Suspicions . Trouble follows Liv on her vacation to Hawaii when she is framed for the theft of an antique rifle. Only a handsome investigator can help clear her name ... and maybe give her a reason to stay in the islands. If you want to read a snippet of what I wrote last week, check out my last newsletter !

Knitting pattern - Honoria’s Handkerchief

I grew up using tissues to blow my nose, but when I started reading Regency romances in high school, I became fascinated with the handkerchiefs those ladies were always fluttering around. Unfortunately, there were ZERO handkerchiefs in my parents' house (even my grandmothers didn't have any old ones that my grandpas might have used), and in those days, there was barely an internet, much less internet shopping.

When I went to Japan one summer, I was given a handkerchief by my host family, and I loved it. I bought more as I got older. The prominent ones I could find were the utilitarian cotton type mainly used by men, so I ended up buying bandanas and using those as handkerchiefs.

Then I went back to Japan on a trip with my parents and saw some absolutely lovely handkerchiefs being sold in a stall at Nakamise Shopping Street in Asakusa in Tokyo, on the grounds of Sensoji Temple. They were really thick woven cotton with pretty patterns printed on them. I still use them to this day.

Why am I thinking about handkerchiefs? Because I recently caught COVID while visiting my parents in December, and luckily I had brought a couple of handkerchiefs with me. However, a mere couple of handkerchiefs were not up to the assault of COVID, and I ended up getting my nose rubbed raw from tissues once the handkerchiefs quickly went into the wash.

So naturally I turned to Amazon and bought a bunch. However, they were plain white ones and were actually rather thin, but I hadn't been able to find thick ones.

Being holed up in my bedroom while I was contagious, I decided to "pretty up" my handkerchiefs with a lace edging pattern that was published a couple decades after the Regency period, but I'm pretty sure was in use during Jane Austen's time. It's a lovely, simple vandyke pattern that was very popular.

In my book, The Gentleman’s Quest, my heroine Honoria lends my hero her handkerchief. I'd like to think it might have looked like this.

This is stitch pattern #142 on page 220 in The Lady's Assistant for Executing Useful and Fancy Designs in Knitting, Netting, and Crochet Work, volume 1, by Jane Gaugain, 5th edition, published in 1842. (As a historical side note, this pattern did not appear in the 1st edition published just 2 years earlier in 1840.)

The original pattern was “CXLII.—KNIT EDGING, FOR COLLARETS, CUFFS, PETTICOATS, &c.” It suggested, “Work with two wires, No. 21, and Taylor’s No. 10 Persian cotton.”

Knitting needles in UK size 21 are 0.80 mm, which is incredibly tiny! They really are like holding two wires.

I adjusted the pattern a bit, adding a slip stitch edge to make it easier to sew onto the handkerchief.

I also made this pattern into a PDF, which you can download here.

View this pattern on Ravelry

Needles: I was not brave enough to use the UK size 21 needles. I instead used US 00 (1.75 mm). You can also use US 0 or US 1 to make the edging look a little more open and hole-y.

Yarn: I followed the suggestion in the pattern and used cotton size no. 10, although I'm not entirely sure that our modern no. 10 is the same as the no. 10 cotton manufactured in those days.

Other: A cotton handkerchief, pre-washed (you don't want it to shrink after you sew the edging onto it), sewing needle and white sewing thread, pins.

Measurements: Each vandyke is about 1” wide and 1” long. My unadorned handkerchief was 16” x 16”. With the lace edging, it was about 18” x 18”.

Gauge: 10 rows of the edging pattern is one 1" wide vandyke, 1" long from inside edge to point.

Abbreviations:

k = knit

p = purl

YO = yarn over

k2tog = knit two together

YO twice: Cast the thread twice round the wire, so as to make two stitches in the following round.

Knit Edging #142:

Cast on 7 stitches.

1st Row: slip 1, k2, YO, k2tog, YO twice, k2tog.

2nd Row: YO, k2, p1, k2, YO, k2tog, k1.

3rd Row: slip 1, k2, YO, k2tog, k4.

4th Row: k6, YO, k2tog, k1.

5th Row: slip 1, k2, YO, k2tog, YO twice, k2tog, YO twice, k2tog.

6th Row: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, YO, k2tog, k1.

7th Row: slip 1, k2, YO, k2tog, YO twice, k2tog, YO twice, k2tog, YO twice, k2tog.

8th Row: k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, p1, k2, YO, k2tog, k1.

9th Row: slip 1, k2, YO, k2tog, k9.

10th Row: Bind off 7 stitches (should have 6 stitches remaining on the left-hand needle), k3, YO, k2tog, k1.

Repeat from first row. This finishes one vandyke.

NOTE: The p1 is the last loop of the (YO twice) in the preceding round.

Instructions:

Using waste yarn, cast on 8 stitches using a provisional cast on (this will give you 7 stitches when you remove the waste yarn). The first time you work the knit edging pattern, on row 1, instead of slip 1, instead do k2tog, then continue in pattern. This will ensure you have the right number of stitches for the pattern. For the next repeats of the pattern, work it as written above.

Knit the edging and measure it while stretching it slightly. Knit until you complete row 10 of the pattern and the edging is about 0.5” shorter than one side of the handkerchief. Count the number of vandykes.

NOTE: Measure the knitting against each of the four sides of the handkerchief, because the handkerchief might be longer or shorter along some sides.

You will knit (number of vandykes for one side plus 2 extra vandykes) times 4 for the four sides of the handkerchiefs. My handkerchief was 15 vandykes for one side, so I did 17 x 4 = 68 vandykes total.

Remove the waste yarn from the provisional cast on and put the stitches on a needle.

Now comes a slightly tricky part. On a wide surface, lay the edging down flat in a circle, then match up the cast on edge with the live stitches on your needle. Don't let the ring of edging twist.

Kitchener stitch the cast on live stitches and the ending live stitches. Now you have a ring of edging.

Steam block the knitting using an iron to flatten the vandykes and stretch the edging a little, to make it easier to sew onto the handkerchief.

Pin the edging all around the outside of my handkerchief. For the corners, you will make a pleat with the two extra vandykes to make the edging lie flat around the corners.

What I did was pre-sew the pleats before I attached the edging to the handkerchief, as you can see from the photo below.

Sew the edging to the handkerchief with the sewing needle and thread. Most handkerchiefs have a small hem all along the outside, so you can do a blind hem stitch (also called a slip stitch) to attach it to the handkerchief by tunneling through that hem, and your stitches will not be visible from the opposite side. You can see from my photo below that my stitches are not visible at all from the opposite side.

You can machine-wash the handkerchief, but handkerchiefs in general tend to crumple in the wash and will need to be ironed flat. This is especially necessary with the lace edging in order to flatten the vandykes, but it irons out easily and won’t take more than a few minutes.

Enjoy your pretty handkerchief! Hopefully it will uplift your spirits just a little bit when you have to blow your nose. :)

***

Get my Christian Regency Romantic Suspense novel, The Spinster’s Christmas, free from BookFunnel (no email required)!

My Lady Wynwood’s Spies series starts with Lady Wynwood’s Spies, volume 1: Archer.

Comments

That is so pretty! You did a fantastic job.
Camy Tang said…
Thank you so much Lisa!
Camy

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