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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hand Knit hose (work in progress)

So, my wife is a knitter of many years, and though she has some experience making socks (including a nice pair made from wool we purchased on our honeymoon in Scotland that I love wearing during the winter), she has never made a pair of kilt hose. Until now!

She has several books she is referencing, including Designs for Knitting Kilt Hose & Knickerbocker Stockings, by Veronica Gainford (originally published in 1978, reprinted 2006); Knitting Scottish Kilt Hose & Hiking Socks, by Joanne Gibson Hinmon (2000); and Cables Untangled: An Explanation of Cable Knitting, by Melissa Leapman. This last book is not a kilt hose book, but it has lots of great cable patterns that can be incorporated easily into hose.

She recently completed her first pair for me, in a beautiful shade of loden green, with a cable knit pattern from the aformentioned book. I love them and think they are great -- however, they are her first attempt and she sees every flaw, so out of charity to her I won't post the pictures. The pair she is working on now are from the Gainford book, and are in a design called "small shepherd's check." (There is also a pattern for a large shepherd's check, which would essentially be the diced hose we are all familiar with -- maybe my next pair!).

For this pair I selected a nice off white color called "natural heather" and a brown called "mink brown." I think the combination is very earthy and will go well with many of my kilts. As a proud husband, I thought I'd show a photo of her work in progress, along with a quote from the Dowager Lady Gainford.

"A certain young man came to stay in Scotland for some shooting and a highland ball. He arrived wearing machine made stockings with plain ribbed tops. So shocking was this to his host's family, that two daughters of the house got to work immediately with wool and needles, and within twenty four hours had made him a pair with good design, so that he could appear properly dressed. Nothing else would have been thought decent or correct. What the young man thought on this occasion is not revealed." -- from her 1978 forward, relating a story told her by one of the knitters whose pattern appeared in the book.
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Anonymous said...

Those look very smart!

You are a lucky man, my compliments to your good lady.


Mel said...

The Gainford book is the one I'm using as guide to making my own, though I'm working out a stitch pattern based on a friend's design. It's a fairly classic reference on the subject.

Anonymous said...

Matthew Newsome,
The ancient Dal Riada of Ireland introduced the kilts to Scotland.

Matthew Newsome, FSA Scot, GTS said...

You are about one thousand years too early, anonymous. See my reply in the "kilt as a pan-celtic garment" post.