This section is from the "The Ladies' Work-Table Book: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America" book, by Margaret Vincent. Also available from Amazon: The Ladies' Work Table: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America.
Crochet Edging, for Collars, etc. - Ascertain the length you will require, and cast on the necessary number of chain stitches; you must use a steel hook No. 19. You will find your labor facilitated by sewing a piece of tape at the beginning and the end of the foundation-row of chain stitch. If the tops be an inch wide, it will form a good beginning and termination. The foundation of chain stitch forms the first row; the second is worked thus; the hook is inserted through the first loop of the foundation; (this will be on the tape,) through which, a loop is to be brought in the usual manner; directly above this, a second loop is worked, which forms the beginning. You now leave the tape, and work two chain stitches; after which, you throw a stitch on the needle, by casting the material over it. Then, taking the third loop on the foundation, counting from the one last worked, you insert the hook, passing two loops without working them, and catching the thread from behind, pull it through. Thus, you will have on the needle three loops; and you must now throw a stitch on the hook, which is, in like manner, to be pulled through the first loop, near the point. By this, you will still have three loops on the hook.
Again, throw on a stitch as before, which draw through the two first loops on the end of the hook; then throw on another stitch, which must be pulled through the two loops remaining on the hook. You will then have only one loop upon the needle; and thus one stitch is completed. Make two chain stitches, as before, and then perform another stitch; and so proceed, as in the former row, but instead of inserting the hook in the third loop, as before, pass it into the first open portion of the work, and work the stitch over the two chain stitches of the second row, as follows. The needle being inserted into the open space, you are to catch the material in from behind, and draw it through, by which you will have three loops on the hook: then throw a loop on as before, and let it be drawn through the first loop, on the point of the hook. Another loop is next to be thrown in, and drawn through the two loops nearest the hook, on which you will now have two loops. You thus complete the stitch, as in the previous row, and so proceed to the end. The next row is the same in all respects; and the fifth is to form a vandyke edge: it is worked in the following manner: the needle is inserted into the open space, and work a double tambour stitch round the chain stitches of the fourth row; then seven chain stitches are to be made and fastened to the two chain stitches of the last row, in the same manner as before. Thus one scollop or vandyke is completed, and you work all the others in the same way. Petticoat Crochet Edging. - Work this in the following manner. First row like the last pattern. The second like the second of the last; and finish with the fifth row of the same pattern. Persian cotton, No.6, is the best material; and you work with a long steel crochet needle, having an ivory screw handle.
Crochet Edging, Handkerchiefs. - This is done it three rows, worked as the first, second, third, and fifth rows of crochet edging, for collars. The material is Persian thread, No. 12; and you work with a fine steel crochet needle, with a screw handle.
Insertion, or Crochet Beading. - You work this, if narrow, as first and second rows of the first pattern; if you have it wider, work it as the third row. It may he either worked with No. 8 or No. 12 cotton, and looks neat and handsome.
The following remarks on crochet should be carefully attended to. It is necessary to work this kind of work, rather loose than otherwise, as it is liable to cut, if done over tight. The size of the stitch depends, of course, upon that of the needle ; and, therefore, care should be taken, to have them gauged. If a needle will go into the slit, opposite No. 4, but not into No. 5, then it is a No. 4 needle.
Work in six threads fleecy, and with a good sized crochet needle; work as follows. For the first stripe, commence with two rows of the same color; the three next rows, in different shades, of a color that will contrast well with that of the two first; the sixth row must be of a different color, or it may be white. The next five rows are to correspond, reversing the colors and shades. The second stripe is composed of seven rows: the first, three distinct shades of the same color; the middle one, a contrast; and the other three, the same shades as the first, but reversed as before. The third stripe is the same, but, of course, the colors are different. A white row in the middle of each stripe, is, in our opinion, the best. The fourth stripe is a repetition of the first, omitting the color in the first two rows, the fifth of the second, and the sixth of the third. The last stripe is to correspond exactly with the first.
Turkish Pattern, for a Table Cover. - Use a steel needle, and six threads fleecy. Form the dividing line of two shades of the same color, say claret, and have four stripes, namely, white, gold color, blue, and scarlet. Then, on the white stripe, work the pattern in two greens, two scarlets, two blues, a brown, and a yellow. On the gold color, in two blues and one claret, white, lilac, and green. On the blue, in two scarlets, two greens, one drab, white, brown, and orange. And on the scarlet, one green, one white, two blues, a claret, and a bright yellow. We have merely given the colors in the above, as a specimen, and to assist the youthful artist in the formation of habits of arrangement. She can, of course, adopt any colors and shades she pleases; and the more she employs her own thought and judgment, the more original will her work appear.
A Plain Crochet Bag, in Silk. - Begin at the top with a chain, of one hundred and fifty stitches. The material to work with, may be any kind of silk that is proper for the purpose, and of any color that may be deemed desirable. On this foundation, a plain row is to be worked, and then a row in two colors, in two stitches of each alternately. The second color is employed to form the ground of the pattern. Work one plain row, and then work large stars, in a color to contrast with the plain ground. Between the large stars, work small ones, in a different color. One row of plain ground is to be crocheted on each side of the pattern; and before commencing the second stripe, repeat the row of two colors in two stitches of each. The ground of the next stripe is to contrast highly with that of the former one. The larger stars should also be well contrasted; but, all in the same stripe, must be of the same color; all the small stars should be alike. The stripes are to be repeated successively, until the bag is completed.
A Greek Cap, in coarse Chenille. - With a chain of six or eight stitches, begin at the top, and having united the ends, work round and round, in rows, until it is eight inches across. You must increase your stitches, in each row, so as to preserve the work flat. Work the stitches in open crochet, and between every two rows, it will be best to introduce a few plain lines, in black and gold. This cap is extremely elegant.
Commence with fine plain stitches; then put the needle through the back of the second, and make one stitch plain. By twisting the chain, after every stitch, you will find that one stitch appears to cross; that stitch is the one to be next taken, and crocheted.
This purse is made with middle-sized netting silk, and is strong and durable. A chain is to be made of one hundred and forty stitches, of any color you prefer, on which, you are to crochet three rows plain in the same color Then, five rows, in a color making a good contrast. Repeat these stripes as many times as are requisite, and crochet up the sides. Draw up the ends, and trim the purse.
We deem it unnecessary to add more examples in crochet, as without engravings, they would not be understood. This kind of work is capable of being applied to an almost indefinite number of purposes; but in almost all cases, though easy of execution, the patterns are not easy to be described in writing. We have, however, done all that is required, to afford an insight into this kind of needlework; and have shewn that for purses, bags, caps, neck chains, etc., it can be readily brought into requisition. Much care and judgment are required in the arrangement of colors, as on this, almost the whole beauty of the work depends.