1655 Stockings by Chris Laning
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1655 Stockings

Knitting
January 2013
Worsted (9 wpi) ?
30 stitches and 36 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette
US 2½ - 3.0 mm
640 - 660 yards (585 - 604 m)
one size, see notes
This pattern is available from interweave.com for $5.50.

These stockings are adapted from the first printed stocking pattern, the instructions published in 1655 in the household compendium Natura Exenterata. They follow a carefully thought-out interpretation of the original pattern shaping, construction, and decoration, but are translated into modern knitting terms. The main difference is that they are worked in sport weight yarn at 7+1/2 stitches per inch rather than in fingering weight yarn at 10 stitches per inch. In 1655, stitches at 7+1/2 stitches per inch would have been regarded as “coarse” stockings.

There is one size given, which is likely to fit most people between about 100 and 250 pounds (200 pounds for athletes and men). The fit is different from modern stockings: it’s loose at the back of the lower leg and ankle. The originals were most likely knitted very densely and were not very stretchy, and this additional width may have made it easier to get the stockings on and off -- or it may just be the way people were accustomed to making stockings, perhaps based on the construction of cut and sewn cloth stockings.

In 2013, the pattern is only available as part of the magazine. This will be for sale as an individual pattern in early spring 2014.