Lost Arts studio

A lot of the fiber arts I enjoy are things like tatting, netmaking, chair caning, and even weaving, where people will come up to me when I demonstrate and solemnly tell me, "That's a lost art."

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Location: SW Outer Nowhere, Michigan, United States

On the Internet, nobody knows you're a chicken. (With apologies to Peter Steiner.)

09 March 2012


A Little Knitting Mystery

I've probably mentioned before that one of my favorite knitting books is Mary Thomas's Book of Knitting Patterns. Between that and Mary Thomas's Knitting Book, there are very few aspects of the knitting universe left uncovered. A technique might be called by an obscure name, but it's probably in there, however briefly. This pair of books has history, lace, garment design - even how to graft ribbing.

They are full of little historical snippets that make me want to know more: what happened to Mrs. Hermann Tragy's knitting collection? (WWII, I'm afraid.)

Does the amazing piece of knitted lace shown in the Pattern Book on page 190, Fig. 194, still exist?

But today's little mystery is this: on page 241 of her Pattern book, Fig. 235 (on the left in the photo), Mary Thomas has what the caption calls "Knitted Doyley. Modern Danish."

I've always liked this little doily, and guess what was in one of the recent Niebling reprints, Schöne Spitzen?

That would be the charted pattern on the right, Wilhelmine.

Now I know a lot of stuff is getting tagged "Herbert Niebling" that probably isn't. Knitters these days have a lot more name recognition than they ever did in the past, so putting Herbert Niebling in as the designer is more likely to sell patterns than admitting that the designer's name is lost.

But Mary Thomas labels this as "modern". To me that means it was published in her lifetime, and her book was printed in 1938. I have a hard time believing she would have mixed Denmark up with any part of Germany, especially since seven pages later she calls another doily Bavarian.


Probably not Niebling. Who was this Danish knitting pattern designer?

I'll probably never know, but it's a charming little pattern.

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Blogger Katie K said...

My Dover edition says that Thomas's pattern book was published in 1943; her other book was published in 1938. A blogger posted this excerpt from a Niebling book:

Herbert Niebling was born in 1905 in Holstein and was already knitting his own socks as a six year old. Knitting and knitting patterns cast their spell over his entire life. When he died in 1966 in Frieburg he had created thousands of designs for knitted lace over the course of his forty year career and had knitted many tablecloths himself.

So it really is possible that it's his design, maybe she saw it published in Danish, or made a mistake. Whatever way it comes out, great call on your part!

5:10 PM  
Blogger Roxie said...

You're going to be knitting that. aren't you?

6:25 PM  
Blogger Knitting Linguist said...

It definitely is. I often wonder about how it is that some folks do things "first" and are forgotten, while other names become much better-recognized...

8:00 PM  

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