Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Calling all knitters!

My husband would like to me to knit a tea cosy for our family for Christmas. I've found an easy looking pattern, but its from 1915!

Anyone an expert on antique knitting terms? What does "5-ply BEEHIVE Scotch Fingering" yarn or "No. 8 Celluloid Knitting Needles" mean?

Here's the link:


  1. Well, "Casein" is just that old pre-plastic substance. You can surely use whatever kind of knitting needle you have to hand, plastic or metal or wood.

    This is an old English pattern, so the size numbers of the needles need to be converted to US sizes. An English size 8 needle is a US size 6 (4 mm, in metric) and a size 10 needle is US size 3 (3.25 mm, in metric).

    "Fingering weight" is also sold as "sock yarn" and "baby yarn"-- it's the next size up from laceweight yarn. On the label (or website) a suggested gauge may be given; it should be 28 stitches over 4 inches/10 cm.

    The "ply" of the yarn is how many strands make up the finished yarn. If you've ever done embroidery of any type, you know how the embroidery floss comes apart into six strands-- those are the plys.

    Most fingering weight/sock yarn now is four-ply, I think. It shows patterns well and wears well.

    As you can see, they used to sell yarn by weight. This isn't done so much anymore-patterns usually give the number of yards needed-- but you can still check the label and there should be a weight listed.

    If I could find it, I'd look up the yardage/weight conversions for fingering weight.

    Hope that helps, anyway!

  2. You might find some more modern patterns on It's free and there are tons of patterns.

    Amanda G.

  3. There is mention of a PDF with the scanned first half of the book in the right column. Something about explaining the yarn and the gauge.

    However, I doubt it could do a better job that woolnest just did :)

  4. Woolnest's comment covered everything I was going to say. I did ravel the pattern and two people have made it so far with a sport weight yarn which is heavier than fingering.
    Just a word of caution, it can be difficult knitting from such an old pattern. If you need help, just ask. Have fun knitting! I am not even at the halfway point in my Christmas knitting yet!