Knitty: little purls of wisdom
Knit Companion

For almost as long as I’ve been a knitter, I’ve been fascinated by the history of knitting. I’ve especially enjoyed the mind-twisting process of working with the often obtuse and obfuscatory language of antique patterns. There’s a thrill, I find, in watching a project emerge row by row and knowing that other knitters, long gone, followed the same path.

The process of decoding, testing and correcting isn’t for everyone, though; and so in this column I hope to share the excitement of the journey by removing as many of the roadblocks as possible. You don’t need to be a historian to come along – just a knitter with a curious mind.

beauty shot

translated by Franklin Habit from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Twenty Sixth Series






spacer model: Ethel
spacer photos: Franklin Habit


Fits doll 12–14 inches high



Shoes: Itty bitty
Under-Petticoat: approximately, 8 inches wide in “bodice” portion, unfolded; 12 inches long


spacer Cascade 220 Sport [100% wool; 164 yd/150 m per 50g skein]; color: 8010; 2 skeins

Recommended needle size
[always use a needle size that gives you the gauge listed below -- every knitter's gauge is unique]
spacer 1 set US #4/3.5 mm straight or circular needles

spacer Crochet Hook size F#5/3.75mm
spacer Scissors
spacer Tapestry needle


24 sts/48 rows = 4 inches in garter stitch

[Knitty's list of standard abbreviations and techniques can be found here.]

The original pattern calls for a simple crochet chain to serve as the ties for both shoes and petticoat. If you so desire, feel free to substitute lengths of satin ribbon.



CO 20 sts.

Rows 1–9: K.

Row 10: K6, k2tog, k4, k2tog, k6. 18 sts.

Row 11: K6, k2tog, k2, k2tog, k6. 16 sts.

Row 12: K6, k2tog twice, k6. 14 sts.

Rows 13-24: [K1, p1] across.
BO, leaving 12-inch tail for sewing.

Fold piece at center of CO edge and sew seam from upper edge of ribbed cuff around heel to toe. Weave in ends.

Make an 8-inch crochet chain.

Weave finished chain in and out of fabric where bottom of shoe meets first row of ribbing. Tie loose ends at front.


CO 100 sts.

Work in garter st (k all rows) until piece measures 8 inches from CO edge.

Decrease Row [WS]: K2tog across (50 sts).

K 1 row.

Eyelet Row [WS]: [K2tog, yo] to last 2 sts, k2tog (49 sts).

Work in garter st until piece measures 3 inches from eyelet row.

Second Eyelet Row [WS]: [k2 tog, yo] to last st, k1 (48 sts).

Knit 1 row.


Weave in ends.

Make two 20 inch crochet chains. Weave one chain through each row of eyelets.

Petticoat opens at the front, and is tied under the doll’s arms and at the waist.
Franklin Habit, proprietor of The Panopticon and author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoonslink (Interweave Press), will let you play with his dolls if you promise to bring over your tea set with the blue flowers on it.