Jas. Hook

Stockings... does better than average exist?????

56 posts in this topic

Hi, I'm Mistress D's source and also the Goddess of Cheesecake. I just made six of them last week...

Anyway, I read through a few of the threads and it drives me nuts to see stocking misinformaton. So here is a lot of info based on some of the questions & comments various places in the forum. I have many many slides, but I don't have the rights to publish (which includes posting on the internet)

Most stockings you can make or buy will be a compromise of some sort. By sharing the information, I hope to enable people to make their own decisions and compromises. Short of hand-knitting them yourself, I don't know of any source for 100% accurate stockings.

- Crochet: was not invented yet. There were a few chains here & there, but not to the point of making a solid item, and definitely not stockings.

- Elastic - also not invented yet.

- Cut & sewn Pattern: Kannik's Korner has a lovely one,

http://kannikskorner.com/pataccess.htm

A good basic pattern for many historic periods. Regarding cut & sewn cloth hose, Colonial Williamsburg has some that they date at 1800, which seems pretty late to still be in use. Theirs are a fine linen, about the weight of a dress shirt. You'll notice the gussets are higher on the Wmsbg example as compared to the Kannick pattern, but that can be adjusted.

The Williamsburg museum site is a bit tricky to navigate — no direct link to the object.

http://emuseum.history.org/code/emuseum.asp

Search on "stockings," or you can try the accession number, 1988-466 for the bias-cut linen.

- Cut & sewn from knit fabric: was not being done in the GAoP. It began in the 1790s, when lots of cool things were happening with the technology allowing for some cool patterns in the knit cloth. The pattern might be knit horizontally but worn vertically, necessitating cutting the stockings from the knit fabric. A specific invention was the thread carrier, which allowed the knitting to go fast enough that it was cheaper to cut stockings from knit cloth (and have some waste) than it was to knit them to shape. This became a more common practice after 1800, culminating in the Luddism of 1812. Again, well past the GAoP so if you make stockings cut from knit cloth it is a compromise. Also should you choose to do so, be sure you serge or have adequate seam allowance — "cut ups" of the early 19thC were known to be shoddy goods and fell apart quickly. Knit jersey fabric, which would be like a stockinette stitch, also tends to be a lot stretchier than 18thC stockings.

- Black Stockings: Plain black stockings and black shoes make your feet "dissapear," so if either item is less than perfect it will be less noticeable. One of my theories — the more flashy an item is, the more attention it commands, then the more authentic it needs to be. Yes, some people are doing a theatrical or fantasy pirate impression, but hopefully you can figure out which one you want to be and go from there.

- Stockings being knit because they need to stretch: 18thC knits are not very stretchy compared to modern knits. A bit more flex than woven fabric, but the knit was very tight (and possibly fulled beyond that) into a dense, solid fabric. That's one of the BIG compromises, unless you are willing to hand knit your stockings, and hand-knit them very tight, they will not be 100% right. I think the reason knit was well-suted to stockings was because you can increase and decrease without lumps. Some people will whinge about the 3-needle bindoff at the bottom of the heel, but all that shaping around the ankle works out to be a smooth, flat fabric.

- Cloth hose as being saggier than knit: The solid, non-stretchy 18thC knits did bag & sag. Sure, fashionable people in images will have smooth stockings, but others are portrayed with wrinkles around the ankle. Including Napoleon. Those who can remember back this far, nylons of the 1st half of the 20thC were sold in sizes and also bagged at the ankle. It wasn't just a bright idea to make pantyhose, actually it wasn't really going to work before crimped nylon. The crimped, "memory" nylon is what gives us the fit we expect everywhere these days, very stretchy.

- Machine knit: The knitting machine was definitely in use at the time, and hand-knitting was also an industry. It wasn't granny sitting by the fire making stockings for the family, hand-knitting was a cottage industry making stockings for export. The General Carleton of Whitby, which sank in 1785, had quite a few stockings recovered from the wreck, 3 were frameknit, 22 hand knit. While some items were probably lost completely, hand knits were definitely in evidence well after the GAoP with almost a century more of establishing the frame knitting industry.

- Stockings as straight tubes? Even the naalbanded Roman socks had shaped heels, as did medieval hosen. The only place I can think of where this idea came from is a sock fragment in the collection of the Museum of London. That sock has only a little bit of shaping around the heel – could be the work of a bad knitter, could have been for a deformed foot... Another fragment in the same collection is finely made with a shaped heel. Not sure how that bit of info became an absolute. Also remember back to the knits not being stretchy. A tube sock just would not fit well and comfortably.

- Double point vs. circular needles: Circular needles were not invented yet, but they work more or less the same way as a set of double point needles. Hand-knit stockings were knit in the round and frame knit stockings were knit flat. The circular knitting machine was invented in the very late 18thC.

- Delp Stockings: I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Delp at the Ft Frederick Market Fair, 2010. He's doing some fun things with fairly modern circular knitting machines. They are able to knit patterns, and he has some that are knit-in clocking patterns.

See 1967-131 in the Colonial Williamsburg emuseum page. They are still a compromise, and I think would be great for theatrical or fantasy use.

- Striped Stockings - "vertical" could be a depiction of ribs. In the 1790s it was a fashion to have vertical patterns in the stockings, see above about the earliest cut & sewns.

- The Williamsburg fan - the guy is wearing a ruff & cape, and you can see the cape although the ruff is cropped out. They seem to be depicting someone "historic" or an allegorical figure. If you're going to wear your ruff and cape, then go for it! otherwise Just Say No to horizontal stripes.

These stockings are from my collection:

http://www.visitorreview.com/fashionphotographycompetition/22Plus/RememberingJeremyFarrell

I don't know how long this page will be up, but anyway we're looking at the first photo of my set. There are horizontal bands around the knee, but it's not the same as stripes all the way down the leg. If you're going to do that much embroidery on your stockings, and getting married in 1750, then have at it! Also note the narrow striping at the very top — that was very common on frame knit stockings. Still very different than the horizontal stripes that are available these days.

- South Union Mills: http://www.southunionmills.com/18th-Century-Stockings.html

I've been in touch about his hand-knit stockings, which unfortunately have some 19thC elements. He has some handknitters making the stockings, and since he seems willing to do something accurate for RevWar perhaps he will also produce a style appropriate for GAoP. We'll see how it goes.

- Meekins Pattern — They are coarse, as was mentioned. The gusset does not look right. Maybe they're copying an original I haven't seen... Usually the gusset is a smooth knit instead of what looks like a seed stitch. The way it merges into the front side of the foot does not look like anything I've seen.

- Leslie Carroll's Original Knits — Funny to see the comment that they aren't "handmade." Looks like they are done on a home knitting machine, which involves a lot of hand work. Good dyeing. I think she's making them on a flatbed, can't tell if she's using the ribber to knit them in the round or doing them flat. Since she is knitting toe-up, she will not get an 18thC heel.

I tried working a dense fabric on my home knitting machine, but the latch hooks give me a stretchier fabric than the bearded needles of the original knitting frames. Again, a compromise, but a possibility to get a closer product and still be affordable.

- Burnley & Trowbridge "lace clocked" – too late for GAoP. The overall construction is modern, the circular knit.

For many of these types, it all depends — how precise do you want to be? Heel & toe details are hidden by shoes. Many stockings are good from 5', but not for a table display.

- Linsey Woolsey— for early 18thC? Those are also the modern circular knit. I'm curious about the background on these? There are some clouded stockings that are linen and wool, where the linen is white and the wool is dyed blue. There is a pair from the late 18thC at the DAR Museum.

- Someone mentioned Clocked stockings occurring after the GAoP, and I'm assuming they meant a particular style of clocking. The era was kind of a golden age of clocking on framework stockings, too. Several techniques were done as the stockings were being made. These practices fell out of favor around the middle of the 18thC, replaced by embroidery after they came off the frame.

Stockings are Clocked on both sides! I've looked at many stockings in museums, and all have the clocking on both the inside and outside of the ankle. Clocking is often too coarse in repros, but that goes with overall gauges being too coarse. See in the Williamsburg emuseum, stocking 1967-131, there is the pink design and also the pink long gusset. Often repros have the design without the gusset. The stocking next to it, salmon with a navy blue design, does not have a gusset, but you can see it's a different type of design. A similar pattern can be seen in a turnshape:

http://www.knittingtogether.org.uk/docEX.asp?doc=13692&cat=737

dated 1700. As described, the framework knitter would knit a row, then flip around certain stitches so they would be purls and make up the pattern. The contrast color technique was called "plating." A second color filament was worked into some stitches, a very thin filament that went over the main thread and doesn't add any significant bulk. This was also very hand-intensive. It could be mimicked with duplicate thread embroidery, but would need a very fine thread to get the right effect. Other embroidery techniques were freehand scrolls and florals, or metallics. The metallics might have a portion worked over parchment, and the motif (parchment included) sewn onto the stocking and more stitching added.

These were high-fashion items, not worn by everyone. We had that need to add "pretty," though, and there were ways to do that with the plainer stockings. Even though it is silk, the Wydah Stocking has the clocking done in purl stitches. It was hand knit. It's a fine gauge and a detailed pattern of zigzags. The Gunnister stockings have a fairly simple pattern of purl stitches knit into the ankles.

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Anyway, I read through a few of the threads and it drives me nuts to see stocking misinformaton. So here is a lot of info based on some of the questions & comments various places in the forum. I have many many slides, but I don't have the rights to publish (which includes posting on the internet)

<snip - go back and read it for yourself!>

Wow! What a fascinating and thorough write up! You really have researched socks. (You could stick your resources in there and it would almost be worth publishing.)

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Unfortunately most modern wool is over processed and the oils have been striped out of the yarn ....a good washing in lanolin shampoo or lanolin added like a fabric softener in the final rinse cycle will add a lot to the comfort level of your socks and wool sweaters.

And if you're allergic to lanolin, as some people are, you can rinse them in water with some hair conditioner in it (yep, the stuff you get in the grocery store next to the shampoo). This softens the wool, and is used after the fulling process by some weavers to give the woolen product (socks, scarves, whatever) a softer hand. If you're not allergic to your conditioner, you shouldn't react to it on the stockings.

Linsey-woolsey is a fairly scratchy material on it's own, so some tender parts (like the back of your knees where the garter holds them in place) may just not be happy with it being there after a while. But after you've softened the linen part by wearing them a lot, they may become more comfortable. There's a reason linsey-woolsey is not upper class fabric *G*

Good luck!

Mistress D.

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<br>Hi, I'm Mistress D's source and also the Goddess of Cheesecake. I just made six of them last week...<br><br>Anyway, I read through a few of the threads and it drives me nuts to see stocking misinformaton. So here is a lot of info based on some of the questions & comments various places in the forum. I have many many slides, but I don't have the rights to publish (which includes posting on the internet)<br><br>Most stockings you can make or buy will be a compromise of some sort. By sharing the information, I hope to enable people to make their own decisions and compromises. Short of hand-knitting them yourself, I don't know of any source for 100% accurate stockings.<br><br>
<br><br>Wow, Carol, just, wow!

<div><br></div><div>Mistress D.</div>

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Hi, I'm Mistress D's source and also the Goddess of Cheesecake. I just made six of them last week...

If memory serves I'm the one who bestowed that title unto you, or if not, possibly Lisa did. B) The burning question in my mind is, did you make any of the pumpkin? If so, I'm stopping by on my way home. The pumpkin cheesecake is something of a legend in the kids' minds. We need to get together sometime. You can show us (the few of us who are left, that is) your most recent stockings slide-show!

ps - going to the Pirate Feast this year?

Catch ya on facebook!

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(If this is the right place to post)

I am offering hand-knit socks of Fisherman's wool at a comparable price. Knitted to custom size. Hand-spun available, but quite a bit more. Please enquire for details.

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