I treated myself to this pretty little book at a book fair a couple of years ago, and promptly forgot about it until I stumbled across it last week. It was first published in 1915, and edited by Flora Klickmann, then editor of the Girl’s Own Paper – this is the second impression, so probably a year or two later.
There are some lovely adverts at the front, reflecting the fact that we were at war (click the pictures to enlarge them).
There’s a lovely picture on the title page of little girls winding wool, no swifts and ballwinders in those days!
Another nod to wartime knitting – and more ballwinding.
I love this little poem.
Now we get to the knitty-gritty, as it were. The book doesn’t seem to assume any previous knowledge, and I’m not sure how it defines a ‘little girl’, but it does seem to hit the ground running, especially with crochet, which is really the main focus of the book, knitting hardly gets a look in. Within a few pages of first picking up her hook, the little girl is going to be producing reasonably complicated clothes for dolly.
Including crocheted combinations!
There are instructions for knitting socks – I’m not sure how thin Baldwin and Walker’s three ply was, but for socks for a baby, the little girl is instructed to use size 14 needles (I think that’s about a 2mm) and cast on 60 stitches – I use 2.5mm needles and 64 stitches for socks for me!
When you’ve made baby some socks, you can also make her some knitted stays…. There’s some very strange abbreviations in this one – k2tog is N for narrow. I suppose it would have been easier to type out if it had caught on.
Soon we’re making what looks to me (as a non-crocheter!) fairly complicated decorative edgings.
Which you can use on your knickers.
And to wear over your knickers, you can knit yourself a petticoat.
And when you’re exhausted from all this productivity, you can have a cup of Fry’s Cocoa to help you sleep.
There’s a bit more from the book on the V&A’s website, here.