If you are in to knitting, crochet, beading, or needlepoint The Ladies' Work-Book Containing Instructions in Knitting, Crochet, Point-Lac, etc., is worth the read. It is available through Amazon for the Kindle, but the Amazon version does not have the photographs. I would recommend downloading the free Kindle edition from The Project Gutenberg instead, because it contains the pictures. The book was originally published in London by John Cassell, La Belle Sauvage Yard, Ludgate Hill. This book was converted to digital format in 2005.
The book’s author is unknown and I have not been able to determine the exact date it was originally published. The patterns in the book are not written to modern standards and they do not use modern knitting and crochet terminology. Based on the terminology used in the book, I would put the publishing date somewhere in the late 1800s to early 1900s. The date of publication definitely precedes indoor plumbing.
I love the history of this old book. If you are into working with vintage patterns, you will enjoy this book. Most of the patterns for crochet are for filet crochet. The book refers to this as square crochet. Having access to the pictures is a must. Without them, you may have no idea of what the patterns are referring to.
How to use the book
You can make copies of the pictures and enlarge them onto graph paper so that you can actually attempt to recreate the items.
The book gives two ways to cast on in knitting, and the crochet terminology is definitely not comparable to what patterns are today. The symbols are completely different. The knitting patterns are different too. I am not an accomplished knitter—most of what I try to knit comes out looking like a ball of yarn the cat got a hold of.
There are several ways to use this book. You can try to recreate the patterns exactly as they are shown. Most of the projects are very outdated by today’s standard, but if you have an old Victorian home, they would fit in. Another way to use the patterns is to modify them to fit today’s yarns and styles. Colors and patterns can be modified to make them more modern, although some of the table cloths (called toilet covers in the book) would look beautiful on a formal table setting with a dark table cloth underneath.
You can also just read through the book and enjoy it for its historic value and ties to the past. In many ways books like this connect us to our ancestors. Our grandmothers and great-grandmothers most likely had this book or a similar one. They would sit and knit or crochet just as we do now. It is nice to know that some things do not change.
Lynda Altman loves her Kindle Fire. She uses her Kindle on a daily basis for business and pleasure. Lynda has integrated her Kindle into her homeschooling curriculum. She feels that you can get almost any book for free on the Kindle. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.